Gun violence is symptom of our culture of death

Re: “America, shooting massacres and the gun control debate” (Openers, Aug 5). 

Whenever there is a tragedy like the shootings in Aurora, Colo., or at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the gun control issue comes up. Father James Martin calls gun control a “life issue,” but I think he misses the point, as do the gun control advocates. The “question” is not essentially about “how to make it more difficult to end lives,” as Father Martin states. That only addresses the “symptoms” rather than the “disease.” Why do people like James Holmes shoot people in a theater? It isn’t because guns are available, that is only a means to an end. The “question” is really about the lack of respect for human life in our culture — we live in, and continue to promote, a “culture of death.” 

Three thousand to 4,000 children die each day by abortion in the United States. Two states (Oregon and Washington) permit assisted suicide (euthanasia) and the Journal of Medical Ethics recently (Feb. 12) published a paper justifying “after-birth abortion” (infanticide). When our country comes to believe that killing is an acceptable way of dealing with “problems,” then human life is de-valued, we are no longer sacred creations of a loving God with dignity and value just because we are human beings. 

Gun control does not change the culture of death, it ignores the basic problem and tries to stop the killings with a “band-aid.” As my pastor put it so well in a letter to our diocesan newspaper, “If human life is not sacred in the womb, why would it be considered sacred outside the womb? If you are not safe in your mother’s womb, why do you think you would be safe in a movie theater?” 

We need to address the real problem, the sacredness of human life from fertilization to natural death. Then our country needs to teach and support the value of human life until it is again part of our culture. 

Brian Krutka, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Worthy of emulation

Re: “Burning man” (Spectator, Aug. 5). 

While Greg Erlandson seems to praise “The Dark Knight Rises,” he commits several errors. He implies that comic book heroes are improper role models, claiming “they are far removed from a God-man,” specifically because “we want our gods made in our image.” 

Assuming that flaws are what cause comic heroes to be “far removed from a God-man,” the reason that comic heroes possess flaws is so that we may relate to them and be inspired by them; because their weaknesses place them as our moral equals, their heroics show that we can do good in spite of our weaknesses.  

As the Dark Knight trilogy demonstrates, Batman is a character of uncompromising principle: It is he who resists the temptations of the Joker, not the self-acclaimed “White Knight” Harvey Dent; it is Batman who assumes responsibility for Two-Face’s murders so that Gotham will not fall into chaos.  

Far from being ambiguous, Batman is a character whom more people would do well to imitate. 

Nathan Eugene Stone, Cosby, Mo.

Dying process

In his response to the writer who asked what to do about a dying man who was not being fed or hydrated (Pastoral Answers, Aug. 5), Msgr. Charles Pope addressed one situation when it would be justified to withhold food and hydration from a patient: “in ‘rare’ cases when nutrition and hydration become excessively burdensome for the patient because the fluids swamp the body.” There is one other time, however, that should also be mentioned. When a patient is within days of death, his body is already in advanced stages of shutting down and he has no desire to eat or drink. Nutrition maintains life. A dying body is not trying to live, but working at dying.  

In this day and age of worry about the withholding of food and/or hydration being used as a means of euthanasia, it is necessary to remain aware that the natural process of dying finds the body itself rejecting such intake.  

Sandy Wedel, Great Falls, Mont.

High praise for priest

Re: “What international priests have to offer U.S. parishes” (News Analysis, Aug. 12). 

I’ve been blessed my whole life to have been around many fine wonderful priests, but there has been none better than our current pastor Father Sebastian Mundackal of St. Anthony of Padua parish, High Ridge, Mo. He’s originally from India, he’s been our pastor two years now. Father is so well-rounded in everything. He has a funny personality and is very devoted to the Holy Mass and the Eucharist. He’s a great writer and preacher. He will celebrate his 23rd anniversary to the priesthood on Aug. 26. Thank you, Lord, for Father Sebastian and all our priests and religious. 

Gerry Kettler, Fenton, Mo.

Who is Charles?

Re: “C.S. Lewis’ work gains popularity, scrutiny” (Faith, Aug. 5). 

I was surprised to learn that Clive Staples Lewis and Warren Lewis had a brother named “Charles.” Was he Clive’s very talented ghost writer? 

Joanne Fiske, Moorpark, Calif.

Editor’s note: The story you reference had an incorrect first name for writer Clive Staples Lewis, who is better known as C.S. Lewis.