Visiting the imprisoned is an important work of mercy

Re: “Living out the Faith through works of mercy” (In Focus, March 3). 

Granted, my perspective is different and somewhat skewed from others, as I write imprisoned. I also write knowing our small, but vibrant community of Catholic prisoners won’t have an opportunity to make a Lenten confession or participate in all the wonder and mystery of Holy Week.  

As I read Mark Shea’s list of corporal works of mercy, I was alarmed to see he went beyond the bounds of literary license to add “harboring the harborless” and “ransoming the captive” to the defined corporal works of mercy by the Church (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2447). I cannot fathom a reasonable, theological, biblical or practical justification for omitting “visiting those imprisoned.” Shea’s editing of both the Gospel and the Catechism is an insult to the apostolates and clergy and lay volunteers who heed Christ’s command and visit those imprisoned among us, regardless of the reasons that led to their incarceration. Blessed Pope John Paul II reinforced the strength of the Lord’s command when he visited and pardoned his would-be assassin. We are called to do no less.  

David Buchanan, Rosharon, Texas

Love for neighbors

As I read “Living out the Faith through works of mercy” (In Focus, March 3), I noticed an important facet of charity was not emphasized enough, namely a personal relationship with God through our love for our neighbor. 

A person with the virtue of charity in his soul assists a needy neighbor on account of the words of Christ, “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40) or simply that the one in need is a child of God. 

John Gishpert, Denver, Colo.

Renewed hopes

Re: “Pope Francis: First pope of the New World” (News Analysis, March 24). 

With great joy, my prayers and lighted candles are given for Pope Francis. May he be blessed with the Holy Spirit in the love of Christ, the grace of God, as he answers his call to lead the Catholic Church in bringing all Catholics into the light, way, compassion and open love of Christ. 

This Easter, the Church is blessed with refreshed hope of renewal and cleansing, to bring the focus of Catholics away from self-given pedestals of the sins and arrogance of politics, self-importance, ups, betrayals, scandals and cover-ups that have caused many Catholics — priests and parishioners — to divide, scorn and cause harm to the already born of children and adults and especially to the way, life and death of Christ. May the focus be put back on the love and sacrifice of Christ that so many of us have taken for granted and disrespected often.  

May he open the windows of The Vatican for the fresh air of the Holy Spirit to enter and refresh the faith of all Catholics.  

Chandler S. Vincent, Aiken, S.C.

Military assaults

Re: “Should combat positions be open to women?” (News Analysis, March 3).  

Not only should women not be integrated in units designated for combat, they should only be allowed to serve in totally gender segregated units as they were in wars past. 

The Department of Defense is well aware that a gender integrated military is not working. Putting women into combat units will only make matters worse. 

I am an 83-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, and when I served, rape of women in the military was unheard of. 

Now it is so common that the Department of Defense looks at rape in the military as an “occupational hazard”! 

The Department of Defense has all the figures. There were 19,000 sexual assaults in the military in 2011. Most of those occurred during tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. I thought this must mean al-Qaida and the Taliban. Unbelievably, I was wrong. 

Sadly, these women were assaulted by fellow servicemen or superior officers. Furthermore, assaults on women are happening not only in the field but in all of our service academies. 

The news media must shine a spotlight on this “cancer” in our military. There must be court martials, dishonorable discharges and prison for the perpetrators and those shielding them. 

The DOD, by allowing these “crimes against women” to not only continue but to grow, has reduced our beloved mothers, sisters, nieces and friends to military sexual chattel to satiate the sexual appetites of the “criminal element” in our Armed Forces. 

Jerry Mazenko, Garden Grove, Calif.

Not a clinic

Re: “Former abortion clinic employee fights for life” (News Analysis, March 17). 

I am once again compelled to object strongly to your egregious use of the word “clinic” in association with abortion. Clinics are places where healing treatments are administered, or positive skills are learned. Abortion, on the other hand, is the quintessence of evil: the killing of innocent human beings, and of spiritual, mental and physical anguish for their mothers.  

I suggest the use of the term, “abortion facility.” The pro-abortion-choice side has won much of the war against the culture of life. Why also cede them the semantic battle, when it is so easy to resist it? 

W. A. Krotoski, Baton Rouge, La.