Spiritual damage of government aid

I, too, like Steven Neyer (Letters to the Editor, Dec. 16), was dismayed by Msgr. Owen F. Campion’s recent column stating that the election was split along “aid to the poor” vs. “pro-life” issues, implying that conservatives are only “lukewarm” about helping the poor. 

I have been a caseworker for the St. Vincent de Paul Society for the past 28 years. I do actual home visits to the poor who come to us for assistance with rent, utilities, etc. At least 40 to 50 percent of the couples I have visited are cohabiting and will not get married because their government aid would then be decreased. They benefit financially, but the lies they have to tell corrode the families from within. We help them regardless of their lifestyle, but I have come to realize that the greatest source of spiritual damage to the poor is government aid. 

When presented with a choice between extra benefits and morality, the poor are even more susceptible to temptation than most of us who are financially comfortable. Is it any wonder I am “lukewarm” about government aid that encourages immorality? 

I care deeply about the plight of the poor I meet every day. Is there a better moral solution? I don’t have an answer to that question. I only know that if government aid is cut, there will be an increase in aid requested through religious organizations. 

Perhaps that will be our opportunity to care for the souls of the poor as well as their bodies. 

Jim Chude, Fredericksburg, Texas

Importance of sacrament

Re: “A great opportunity to get right with God” (Faith, Dec. 16). 

Many good points were brought up concerning the laxity of the faithful regarding the Sacrament of Penance. However, what was not mentioned was the drive to rid the parish priests of “hours in the box,” propagated by many priests and bishops around the world starting in the mid-1960s, with some even saying that the sacrament was “unnecessary and out of date.” 

The idea of mortal sin was left up to the individual conscience (and isn’t that easy to manipulate?).  

Most Catholics are not even sure as to what is sinful and what is not. Many, if not most, priests are much more interested in joke-telling and so-called social justice than in pointing out what is sinful. 

I am very happy to see this push, aimed at restoring the importance of this sacrament, which was instituted by Christ. I hope and pray this awakening will bring all back to the sacraments. 

David J. Taube, Marine City, Mich.

Questionable quote

Re: “This Week” featuring the quote by journalist Cokie Roberts (This Week, Dec. 16).  

Roberts is an experienced and intelligent journalist. It’s noted that Roberts praised the work of nuns as making our nation a “place closer to fulfilling its promise for all people because of the contributions of these determined and dedicated religious.” I have great respect for our religious, but, unfortunately, Roberts was referring to the dissident nuns of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  

According to The Cardinal Newman Society, Roberts has “espoused abortion rights and ridiculed pro-lifers as ‘extremists.’”  

To her credit, during the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Roberts did offer limited criticism of the party’s extreme position on abortion, but, nonetheless, she has retained her stand in favor of legal abortion on demand.  

Tim Donovan, Folsom, Pa.

Try subsidiarity

Re: “‘Fiscal cliff’ could devastate country’s poorest” (News Analysis, Dec. 9). 

Catholic bishops want the U.S. government to support the poor. That is what the churches should be doing. The moral principle of subsidiarity has a part to play here.  

Just prove that charity says the U.S. government must be the first responsible entity. Even bishops must prove their positions. 

Anthony D. Lutz, Vienna, Va.

Just say Christmas

I was dismayed to see so many instances of the term “holiday season” (Openers, Dec. 9). As I see it, the term is used by those who wish to secularize Christmas or those who don’t want to “offend” anyone.  

It should not be considered synonymous with “Christmas season,” especially in a Catholic newspaper.  

Merry Christmas! 

James Becker, Woodstock, N.Y. 

Disastrous consequences

This is in reference to the letter from Alvin Kirtz (Perspectives, Dec. 2) with which I strongly agree.  

I think it is scandalous when so-called Catholic legislators vote pro-abortion, suffer no penalty and remain Catholics in good standing. Many people see this and erroneously conclude that abortion isn’t so bad after all! Maybe that is why so many Catholics voted for President Barack Obama. And Obama’s re-election is truly a catastrophe for the Church and for the pro-life movement. 

Why do U.S. bishops refuse to enforce Canon No. 915, which states that “persons who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy Communion”? 

Ralph A. Marson, Center Line, Mich.