I simply cannot understand why the movie “There be Dragons” got such bad reviews. Emily Stimpson had nothing good to say about it either, which seems unfair (“Media matters,” March 11). My family and I liked that movie very much, and so did many of our friends. It’s a wonderful story, and it has good acting. We had to get it via Netflix, because it was never shown in any of the theaters around here. Why is that?  

“There Be Dragons” certainly is a lot better than many a movie I have seen that had received great praise, only to leave me scratching my head and wondering what was so great about this one. Have we not all had such experiences?  

As for myself, I have found out that the opinion of critics is just not my opinion. Find out for yourselves. Watch the movie. 

Irmi Casteel, Savannah, Ga.

Voter’s remorse

Let me begin by saying that I voted for President Barack Obama. Since his election I have prayed every day for him and truly felt that his desire for health care for all was a “Catholic” ideal.  

However, his pursuit to overturn the First Amendment with the Health and Human Services mandate has to waken the Catholic faithful (“Next steps in HHS mandate controversy,” March 4). This is our “holocaust” moment and shame on us if we sit idly by and let this happen.  

Do not let the mainstream media’s ploy of portraying this as a contraception battle fool you.  

I urge everyone to go on line and view Father John Hollowell’s “I Have a Say” YouTube video. It will make you proud to be a Catholic, and I truly hope it will cause you to take action! 

Joe Sevic, Mooresville, N.C.

Sacrifice lost

Robert P. Lockwood’s column “Markers of Faith” (Catholic Journal, March 11) decries the demise of the penitential meatless Fridays. At age 89, I wholeheartedly agree, and, feel it is just one indication of the “slippage” of Catholicism as a result of some decisions to make it “easier” to be a Catholic. 

It’s a shame, clergy and parishioners born after 1955 really have no idea of the penance, sacrifice and self-denial demanded of Catholics before the Second Vatican Council, to have a chance for eternal happiness with Christ. 

Bill Bandle, Manchester, Mo.

Sex is root cause

In “Why do people hate the Church?” (Essay, March 11), Russell Shaw offers his scholarly opinion. Permit me, please, to offer a more concise explanation: 

People want to enjoy their sexual pleasures unrestricted by any individual, institution, philosophy or legislation and will vehemently oppose all such by any means they can devise and any argument they can make, logic not required. 

Examine closely any conflict with the Church today and you will most likely find sex as the root cause, theology a far-distant second. 

Walt Kessel, Savannah, Ga.

‘Civil arrangements’

It is a mistake to constantly link the words “gay” and “marriage,” particularly in printed material. Constantly connecting these words leads to a dulling of the senses, which in turn promotes acceptance. It is a form of brainwashing. 

A proper description of the relationship in mind is “homosexual civil arrangement.” Do not even use the word “union.” 

Loren Milnarist, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Pastoral concern

Re: “Our Lady of Guadalupe battles ‘Holy Death’ for devotion of Mexican faithful” (News Analysis, Feb. 19), coincided with my wife’s and my watching of an episode of “Breaking Bad” [which featured a story line related to Santa Muerte]. 

I have just stepped back in the house after a visit to a local bargain store in suburban Philadelphia, where I just spotted a veladoras (religious candle) of Santa Muerte. It appears that this is, indeed, a growing pastoral concern, of which our clergy should be aware.  

As your article notes: “Some people are willing to abandon Santa Muerte when they understand what she is, and is not. Others need more catechizing to understand why they cannot be good Catholics and offer prayers to death, the last enemy that Jesus defeated.” 

Joseph Tevington, Morrisville, Pa.