A better understanding on family planning teachings
I am a 65-year-old woman who converted to the faith in 1966. The first time I remember even hearing about the great encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, was on Catholic radio in Rochester, N.Y. I will always remember how I felt when I finally read the document. I sobbed for a long time while I read the document and afterward. Reading the pope’s prophetic words, my whole life flashed before me and I was physically ill.
I went to confession as soon as I could to pour out my heart to a priest, sure that he would understand my regrets. To my surprise and chagrin, the priest scoffed at the document and said that encyclical was the biggest mistake the Church ever made! Not wanting to disagree with a priest who certainly was a whole lot holier than I and far more educated — and knowing that God understood my guilt and sorrow — I continued my confession. But I couldn’t help thinking that the biggest mistake the Church made was not rallying around that encyclical.
That brings me to today as I read “Discovering the many benefits of NFP” (In Focus, July 22). I planned to pass it on to my sister, a non-practicing Protestant. However, my concern was that the authors clearly tout NFP as a form of regulating births. What I thought I had read and heard about the Church’s position is that couples are always suppose to be open to God’s will for them in all things — including new life. As much as I wanted my sister to understand the Church’s position on contraception and a little about how NFP works, I decided not to give her the article. I was afraid the article was giving the wrong idea about the Church’s stance on family planning. Then I went to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and found that, to my surprise, No. 2399 states: “The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example direct sterilization or contraception).” So, the Church does approve the regulation of births. The big difference between the Church and today’s culture is that the regulation must be done in a natural vs. unnatural way.
So, I will pass along this article to my sister and if we get to discuss it, I can even now better explain the Church’s teaching.
— Sue Waterstraat, Honeoye Falls, N.Y.
Why in the world would you choose to put the title of an article about the next pope on the July 22 cover of your periodical? Pope Benedict XVI is still in fairly good health and faces enough opposition from the politicians in the Church without you perpetuating it among the laity. I am disappointed with OSV to say the least.
— Christopher Smith, Dimondale, Mich.
Praising Cardinal Wuerl
Re: “Determining the top candidates for papacy” (News Analysis, July 22).
Why not an American pope? To quote Matthew Bunson, “Cardinal (Donald) Wuerl, 71, suffers from the deficit of being an American ... (emphasis added).”
Is this a reason that he may not be elected to be pope someday? I see Cardinal Wuerl as one of the kindest, most knowledgeable, personable and intelligent of men in our time.
I have been to Mass when he was celebrant in Washington, D.C., also have seen him on EWTN speaking to thousands of people during Masses and being interviewed in person. If I could vote when the time comes, I would vote for him, and I am an American.
— Name withheld, via email
Re: “Weighing the ethics of international surrogacy” (News Analysis, July 15).
This piece could have weighed in on more ways using a surrogate mother can affect the genetic family.
The surrogate mother’s tragic medical event and death following a depersonalized, unnatural gestation period just show the disordered criteria of “efficiency and functionality” (Evangelium Vitae) resulting in the objectification of women and children. As such, all involved are affected in some way.
— Kasandra Barker, Hot Springs, Ark.
God’s presence in our life
Thanks for the awesome story (“Road trips, heat stroke and detecting the hand of God,” July 22).
We used the sky-themed VBS this year, and on the first day we introduced “watching for God.” The next day, I asked if there were any God sightings. Of course, I was supposed to offer my own, but I really had to think!
I’ve had some obvious God sightings in my own life, but you are right in that we miss a lot. Missing leads to forgetting, which leads to doubting and mistrust. I know I learned during our VBS week, and I hope the kids did, that no matter what ... trust God!
— Carla Hubbard, via email
Re: “Plea for political civility” (Essay, July 22).
This piece encouraging more common sense, yet demanding support of the bishops regarding religious freedom and conscience protection, was one of Russell Shaw’s best columns.
— Leroy Schneider, Mitchell, S.D.