Letters to the Editor


A ‘Screwtape’ Letter

You may have heard that a stage adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ masterpiece “The Screwtape Letters” recently came to Boston. I was unable to attend, but recently I intercepted this communication from hell:

“My Dear Wormwood,

“In order to draw your quarry in, you must be patient in your application. Catholic Education today holds marvelous promise. First have those in charge think that they and not Him are the arbitrators of what will and not be taught. Once you’ve established that, convince them that the Church, what’s best of it, isn’t really Truth from Him Who can neither be deceived nor be deceived, but rather a private school system. A safe place. 

“Attendance bringing earthly rewards. Make money necessary to receive an education in the faith, and they will come to think that money therefore is then necessary for eternal life. It all dovetails nicely with materialism and contraception. It will take time, but slowly the dissent (make sure you use that word and not the word heresy to that dammed Encyclical that blazes in eternity like a flag stuck in the sand), will cause the loss of nuns and a cost increase where truly only those with few children (HV) will be able to attend. 

“Don’t let them realize that expensive private schools are juxtaposition to having children. Let those with three children require a ‘scholarship.’ CCD, as they call it, is still operating on an eighth-grade education in a time when everyone’s going to college. Cause the majority to leave the Church as they leave childish things, and cause the minority with an education to be puffed up by higher income. 

“Homosexual scandals in the priesthood, my how they do love teen-age boys and opulent things, will do the rest. Above all let no one actually believe in He Who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

“Your affectionate Uncle Screwtape.”

— David Sharples
Attleboro 


Executive Editor replies …

This has been difficult for me to write, since I am called by Christ to love my neighbor as myself. I do truly pray for Mr. Sharples  (by name to God) more than for most of the people for whom I have served as a priest (no offense to all of you former and current parishioners), because I know how unhappy he is with me and with priests for our failure to teach everything the Church teaches. I agonize about what he is thinking and what my response should be.

I pray for him at most Masses and I ask God to help me to love him and serve him (as I should everyone, working to help people on the road to Salvation). 

That is not to say that Mr. Sharples doesn’t have any valid points (I even alluded to that in one of my “Truman” responses). It is true that some Catholic educators have not believed in the truths of the faith. It is true that the failure to accept Humanae Vitae has gotten us where we are today.

However, I do not accept his notion that Catholic schools exist to promote contraception (because of the expense of the tuition). I know that we have been working more and more over the years to help families send their children to our schools, by keeping tuition lower in our diocese than in neighboring dioceses and by having all sorts of scholarship programs. 

I know that Catholic educators work to help their students imitate Christ’s humility and not have a “puffed up” attitude.

Mr. Sharples is also correct about the corrosive effect of the unchastity of the clergy. I refer to that in this edition’s Editorial (which I did not write in response to this letter). 

I write my responses not just for the benefit of the letter-writer (although sometimes I’ve had a back-and-forth via email with some of them, which has become friendly, such as with the men who wrote to defend President Truman), but also to try to clarify things for the readers of The Anchor


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Troubled by editorial blaming abortion on bombing

Gentlemen, I am 74 years of age and attended Catholic grammar school, high school and college. Our four children did as well. 

I am a Pro-Life Catholic.

I am very troubled by your editorial and the connection you made up. You note Archbishop Sheen made a connection between two features of American History. He said: “And I think we lost all of these boundaries at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945, when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.” 

You then opine “That bomb  blotted out boundaries of life and death, civilian and the military, and trust among nations.” 

Trust among nations? What in God’s name are you talking about? The Japanese bombed us at Pearl Harbor and killed thousands of Americans. Trust among nations?? That is laughable. You then conclude, “And so abortion from that point on is defended on the ground that one may do whatever he pleases.”

The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. They proceeded to kill many more thousands of American military in the Pacific. They killed more than one million Chinese peasants who did nothing to them. Actions have consequences. Drop the bomb to save lives!!

One man — President Harry S. Truman — decided to end the war and the murderous rage of the Japanese. One man decided to not bomb Tokyo, too many people would have died. One man decided to end the war by bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That one man’s actions actions saved the lives of what is estimated to have been 350,000 Americans and thousands of soldiers and citizens of Japanese ancestry. 

I have a different take on the matter as to the cheapening of life in this country. 

My explanation involves the actions of thousands so called “Catholic priests” sexually molesting hundreds of thousands of young boys and girls, not only in this country, but all over the world. The Church knew about these sexual predators and condoned their actions, routinely transferring them from parish to parish. 

Not one man’s decision (Truman’s) to end a war and save lives, but decisions made by thousands of Catholic priests to sexually assault young boys for their own gratification — decisions that were supported by the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. 

I conclude that when these thousands of so-called “priests” made their hundreds of thousands of decisions to sexually assault children, abortion from that point became acceptable

If the Catholic priests were and are allowed to sexually assault children, “one may do whatever one pleases” — not one man, Harry S. Truman making a decision which ultimately saved lives. But thousands of priests, bishops and cardinals making individual decisions and ultimately ruining hundreds of thousands of lives, (that’s when) abortion became OK.

I have no “festering sin” about Truman’s actions. I would have made the same decision to save lives.

You have my authority to print this rebuttal in The Anchor, but you never will. 

— Richard S. Farley
Harwich


Executive Editor replies …

Contrary to what you thought, I will print your rebuttal to the editorial I wrote in the July 12 edition of The Anchor

I do have to admit that we do not print all responses, since some criticize particular employees of the diocese. You did not do that, and I appreciate that.

Firstly, you ascribe to me the following comment: “That bomb blotted out boundaries of life and death, civilian and the military, and trust among nations.” That sentence was written by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, not by me, although I did quote it. 

I do agree with you that Imperial Japan’s actions were heinous. I am not trying to apologize for it at all. I think that Archbishop Sheen was not looking at trust between the dictatorship in Japan and the United States, but between countries after 1945. As it is, that was not the central point of the editorial, nor of that paragraph.

In terms of whether we needed to use the atom bomb or not, I did reply on that issue in the July 26 edition of The Anchor. So, I will not reargue that point now. 

I also agree with your analysis that the depths of evil to which a minority of priests sunk in committing such crimes against our youth, together with the more widespread acquiescence of the hierarchy to take true action against these crimes, did contribute to the abortion culture which we have in the United States and in much of the world. 

With some clergy acting like Jack the Ripper, they were not going to work to promote morality. My response in the July 26 edition also makes reference to the failures of the clergy to preach the entire truth about human reproduction from Christ’s standpoint, although it did not mention the evil “hidden under the carpet,” which you discuss, that also had a devastating impact upon Catholicism.

I would have to admit that I believe that President Truman will have a much easier time at the final judgement than these clerics. As I wrote before, I personally like him and think he was a good man, put in a very difficult quandary. 

That is not to say that the Catholic Church is all powerful in the United States and that everything evil here happened because of us. 

We are a minority in this country (declining in our percentage of the population due to our own failures). The sins of other Americans also do have a long-term effect on the country, too.

Although you were annoyed, you have shown me a lot more respect than many other people who email me and I thank you for that. Actually, I can share with the readers that you and I have had a very good dialogue via email since you first wrote, and it has been a pleasure to share ideas (and faith) with you.


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Better communication needed in diocesan revitalization

The Church in the past 30 years has experienced many tumultuous situations. There is no need to rehash them here, as not only are we all aware of these issues, but have experienced their effects throughout our lives. As a result of these issues, we have faced a litany of consequences.

However, we now have a chance to revitalize our community here in the Diocese of Fall River, and thus help to strengthen the Church as a whole. This work can become a reality if priests, religious, and especially the laity come together to support this mission.

This seemed to be the aim of the “Rebuilding in Faith and Hope” initiative begun by Bishop da Cunha a few short years ago. When this mission statement was first released, it gave people hope for a revitalization of the Diocese of Fall River. I want to personally express my gratitude here at the incentive to move forward and create positive change for all.

Unfortunately, this work has not come without grave mistakes that have put all our hopes, efforts, and current progress at risk. We have failed to always be conscious and listening to what is truly needed. We have fallen into the delusion that a “one size fits all approach” is the best method for approaching a problem that affects the Spiritual and physical facets of our diocese.

The greatest example of this is the continuous usage of the “collaborative” method. We have used it in our churches, and we will be using it now in our schools through the preparatory Academy. While it does help to combine resources, its end aim is to assimilate institutions where differences and diversity will no longer remain. We will erode the character that defines each church and school. We will destroy relationships that have been built up, and wreck the progress attempted by each parish. Rather than “Rebuilding in Faith and Hope,” we are destroying in ignorance.

We have exhausted the individuals most important to the process of rebuilding, driving them to disillusionment, frustration, and even a desire to separate from the diocese. Our priests are overworked and overburdened with responsibilities as it is. We only worsen this by constantly moving them, inundating them with new initiatives and paths that are mandatory for them to follow, and leaving them in the dark when they need information. Spreading them out among collaboratives is an additional cross, because they cannot connect with any one parish. If these priests are overworked and exhausted, then they cannot fully devote themselves to their vocation and to those whom they are meant to serve. We are cheating them of their ability to serve God and His people.

Similarly can be said for the laity. News of parish changes or priest relocations have been left until the last minute, and often people have been finding out news through the secular press rather than the diocese itself. It was especially evident when parents and teachers involved with Bishop Connolly High School and Coyle & Cassidy Middle and High School were not involved with the formation or deliberation of this “solution,” and were among the last to be informed about it.

Without the input and aid of parents and teachers, a school cannot operate, and will eventually fail. We have taken the most crucial information needed to teach our children, and have disregarded it to forward our own unclear aims. Frustration has been emitted in regards to the diocesan committees as well, as members have not been fully informed and have been unable to help with the decisions that they have been promised. This has left members of the laity frustrated, and feeling as though they are not fully able to exercise their abilities to help revitalize the Diocese of Fall River.

The great Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Yes, the damage the diocese has suffered in the past 30 years requires more immediate and long-term solutions. However, we cannot continue in the same manner that we have as a result. We must decide with the time we have to establish better communication and cooperation among all members of the diocese, so that we can care better for each other in all things.

— Sonja Morin
Fall River


School superintendent replies …

Responding to Bishop da Cunha’s initiative, “Rebuilding in Faith and Hope,” diocesan and school leaders established a robust strategic partnership between Bishop Connolly and Coyle & Cassidy High Schools. Mirroring the parish changes, the two schools will maintain their own identities and traditions while sharing key human and capital resources. 

This collaboration will allow Bishop Connolly and Coyle & Cassidy to be effective stewards of their resources and strengthen their academic, co-curricular and athletic programs. 

Both schools will continue to offer a rigorous college preparatory program while expanding their offerings especially in the STEM-related disciplines. 

These schools will also directly benefit from the diocese’s new innovative and groundbreaking initiative, The Academy.  

The Academy, through multiple strategic alliances will provide consultative services to schools to enhance their faculties’ instructional practice to meet the education and workforce needs of the 21st-century. 

Both the strategic partnership between Bishop Connolly and Coyle & Cassidy and The Academy initiative were formed as a result of multiple meetings among school-based and diocesan level leaders. A key group in the planning process was the central Catholic Schools Board, which is comprised of a variety of diocesan and community stakeholders. 

The Diocesan Catholic School Leaders are extremely grateful to all of the various stakeholders who helped shape these key initiatives. 

The schools and diocesan leaders are looking forward to working with students, families, faculty, school and community leaders to continue to build on these new initiatives to ensure the long-term vitality of the diocese’s Catholic schools. 

— Steve Perla 
School Superintendent Fall River Diocese


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Editorial wrongly judges Truman, bombing during WWII

As a Catholic and member of Holy Name Church in Fall River, I am very upset with your editorial saying that using the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a national sin. 

You say one cannot judge President Truman yet you clearly do. Using the bomb saved millions of lives. You should research history if you’re going to relate ending a war by saving lives to abortion.

Before using the bomb Truman ordered cluster fire bombs to be dropped on Tokyo. The horrific fires killed more Japanese than both atom bombs together. Yet the Japanese emperor refused to surrender. The first atom bomb was dropped and the Japanese emperor still refused to surrender. Days later the second bomb was dropped and the emperor finally surrendered.

Below is a link to “Operation Downfall” that would have taken place if we didn’t use the atomic bomb. They estimated one million allied solders and up to 10 million Japanese dead.

https://militaryhistorynow.com/2013/11/06/the-campaign-to-conquer-japan-would-have-dwarfed-the-d-day-landings/

(There is also) an article that is now unclassified detailing the information Truman had when he made his gut-wrenching but correct decision to use the atom bomb. 

I’m a retired war veteran and war is hell. Ending a war with the fewest casualties is the best way. If you want to judge how wars start and end, research one the Church knows a lot about like the Crusades.

— David Duhancik
Fall River


Executive Editor responds …

Thank you, David, for your courteous response. The main thrust of my editorial was not to criticize President Truman (who actually is one of my favorite presidents), but to say that when we value our lives over other people’s lives, then we end up (wittingly or not) moving towards a mentality which views the lives of other people as being expendable.

In the editorial I did not repeat all of the information that Catherine and Michael Pakaluk gave in their Aug. 7, 2005 column in the National Catholic Register

Here is something they wrote which in part responds to your letter:

“Eisenhower and MacArthur, the greatest American generals of World War II, both opposed the use of the bombs as unnecessary. ‘Japan was already defeated, and dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary,’ Eisenhower wrote afterwards. ‘Our country should have avoided shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.’

“MacArthur likewise asserted that there was ‘no military justification for the dropping of the bomb,’ and that ‘the war might have ended weeks earlier if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor.’”

My goal was not to criticize the U.S. in World War II, but to be able to criticize the treatment of immigrants held at our southern border. However, to do that, I knew that I had to reaffirm my opposition to abortion, since many Pro-Life friends say that we must be hard-line on immigration. Their argument is: if we let immigrants in, they will vote Democratic and abortion will be the law of the land forever. I have argued before in these pages (and have received a lot of hostility from Democrats and Republicans for doing so) that you can be both pro-immigrant and Pro-Life. 

Another reader emailed me about the editorial. He did not wish his comments to be published as a letter, but I feel the need to respond. He wrote: “wow finally something to address the crisis of complacency in the ongoing sex abuse crisis, never have American Catholics been less inclined to trust Church leaders, finally something. But no, ‘The Pakaluks argued that one may see a direct line from the atomic bomb to abortion.’ Really?” 

The emailer concedes that there may be “an aspect of the ends justify the means” from Hiroshima, but then writes, “The main issue is the utter disregard of bishops, priests and deacons to believe, teach and preach what the Christ teaches in His Church. Not to know that abortion is about birth control, is to be utterly blind. Depart from Humanae Vitae. There you find our present age’s the divorce of man from God, and the ends justify the means.”

We clerics have failed, with a few exceptions, to teach Humanae Vitae. I myself admit that I have not preached about it enough (although I have preached about it).

In Humanae Vitae No. 28, St. Paul VI wrote, “And now, beloved sons, you who are priests, you who in virtue of your Sacred office act as counselors and Spiritual leaders both of individual men and women and of families — we turn to you filled with great confidence. For it is your principal duty — we are speaking especially to you who teach moral theology — to spell out clearly and completely the Church’s teaching on Marriage. In the performance of your ministry you must be the first to give an example of that sincere obedience, inward as well as outward, which is due to the magisterium of the Church.”

The emailer is correct that abortion is a direct consequence of the contraceptive mentality in our society. Hiroshima is a more remote cause. They both lead to the idea of “I’ll do whatever I want, who cares how it effects other people’s lives?” (or if it even ends their lives).


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Act would legalize abortions up to birth

Currently working its way through the Massachusetts legislature is the “Act to Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access,” or the ROE Act. This act would legalize abortions up to birth, illegalize care for infants who survive abortion attempts and are born alive, remove the requirement that late-term abortions be conducted in hospitals, and remove the requirement for parental consent for minors for abortions. 

This act, which goes far beyond the provisions for abortion listed even by Roe vs Wade, endangers not only the unborn children of Massachusetts but their mothers as well, removing any safeguard for the care of the mother from the equation. Further, recent polling has shown that 74 percent of Massachusetts residents, Republican and Democrat alike, oppose at least part of this bill.

It is high time, then, that we cease our comfortable complacency and inaction. If the Pro-Life position is true then abortion is unlike anything ever seen in human history, in scale and in horror. I urge you, fellow Catholics and members of the Fall River Diocese, to act and to act now, no matter how young or old we may be. This is no mere political or legal issue: the lives of millions (yes, millions) are on the line. We must rise up in opposition to this before it is too late. I urge everyone to contact their state representatives and senators this week, whether by email or by phone call. 

Further, we need to contact the members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, who are currently considering the bill. They will be holding a hearing on the ROE Act on Monday, June 18 at 1 p.m. at the state house. Pro-Lifers are starting a rally there at 10 a.m. Even if you are unable to be there, please contact the members of the committee and your own representatives and senators. Every little bit that we can do helps and lets the Massachusetts legislature know that we are opposed to the endangering of the lives of our women and children.

I urge my brother Knights of Columbus, in particular, to be especially active. The defense of human life has always been one of our order’s foremost concerns and it is binding on our honor as Catholic men that we act in defense of the defenseless. I ask that my brother Knights join me in prayer and in action against this grievous attack on human life in its most vulnerable state and rise up in defense of those who have no voice to defend themselves.

Thank you for your consideration.

— Daniel Fealy
Mattapoisett


Legislators waiting to hear from you

Yes, your legislators are waiting to hear from you. I have asked our four legislators representing the Fall River area to stand up and all vote “No” on the proposed ROE Act legislation that would dramatically change current abortion law in Massachusetts. 

One of the four has already committed to voting “No.” Another is thinking of voting “No,” stating they think the proposed changes just “go too far.” 

Is removing parents from the right to stop their child from getting an abortion going too far? Is making it possible for a baby about to be born instead being killed in the mother’s womb going too far? Is allowing a child as young as age 12 to get an abortion without their parents’ consent or even being notified about the abortion going too far? 

If you think that any of these situations is going too far, your legislator is waiting to hear from you. They need your encouragement to stand up for what is right. Ask to speak with the legislator, or if not available, to phone you back. If you do not speak directly with your legislator, their receptionist, no matter how polite on the phone, will simply note your call as either for or against the legislation. You need to make it clear that you are not just a number to be recorded, you are a supporter of the legislator doing the right thing and opposing the ROE Act because it just goes too far. 

Senator Mike Rodrigues, office phone 617-722-1114; State Rep Carole Fiola, office phone 617-722-2430; State Rep Paul Schmid, office phone 617-722-2017; State Rep Alan Silvia, office phone 617-722-2230. Thank you. 

And when you talk with your legislator, do not be surprised if they say “thank you” for encouraging them.

— Daryl Gonyon 
Fall River


Massachusetts law making parents criminals

OK. It is not Halloween time yet in Massachusetts, but a Halloween-scary legislative proposal is now being voted on in Massachusetts making it a criminal act for a parent to stop their child from having a sex change!

Specifically, HB.140 and SB.70 would criminalize “any practice,” including talk therapy and counseling, that encouraged a minor to “change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

SB.70 even adds a provision labeling this type of treatment “child abuse,” and would expand the state’s authority to remove children from their homes.

This legislation talks about a child being confused. I don’t know about you, but I as an adult am confused! My confusion is trying to understand what wisdom our legislators have that I don’t have that would make me a criminal to decide who I wanted to counsel my child about anything. Anything! Isn’t this America?

Our Fall River area legislators that have this wisdom are waiting to explain this to you. Our state reps that have this wisdom are Carole Fiola, phone 617-722-2430, and Paul Schmid, phone 617-722-2017. Our senator, who will be voting on this in a few days, is Michael Rodrigues, phone 617-722-1114. 

— Daryl Gonyon 
Fall River


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Libraries shouldn’t promote LGBTQ agenda

The Massachusetts public library system was once one of the finest in the nation.  However, it has now become a political animal and often promotes the viewpoint of LGBTQ activists.

library_letter

The Boston Public library now hosts “Drag Queen Story Hour” events held at different branch libraries. One of these events is held almost every month. 

The program consists of men in drag reading children’s books  to kids as young as three. The books are written from the LGBTQ perspective and deal with gender fluidity. They typically teach children that they should feel free to identify as a gender that is different from their own biology. 

The (attached) photograph was taken by library staff at one of these events and is deeply disturbing.

The libraries have no business introducing this agenda to children and taxpayers should call their elected officials to speak out against this sort of indoctrination.

— Timothy R. McGuire
Fall River


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Wareham pastor gratefully announces church reopening

On behalf of the faith community of St. Patrick’s in Wareham and St. Anthony’s Chapel in West Wareham, I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have supported us in a myriad of ways, as we went through the challenging process of refurbishing our beloved church after the fire of Sept. 22, 2018.

First, I wish to thank Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., for his guidance and encouragement as we navigated the monumental tasks of restoring our house of worship to its original splendor. We salute our Wareham firemen and police for their quick action in saving our church. I am so grateful for all of our parishioners who have prayed for the needs of our parish during this time of sacrifice and patience. We thank all of the greater Wareham community and the churches who offered their prayers and support. We were made aware of how united our community is in time of need. A special thank you to Mr. Chris Borba for his insurance expertise and guidance through the completion of the project. Also, thank you to Mr. Christopher Lyons from RebuildEx and the skilled craftsmen they employ.

I am proud to announce that our church will be reopening in the near future for Liturgical services. Please watch for the announcement of the official date. Later date we will be having a special blessing ceremony to celebrate the completion of our new organ.

Please join us in worship and witness first-hand the fruits of many laborers and God’s goodness to us all!

— Father Antonio L. da Silva, S.D.V., Pastor
St. Patrick Parish, Wareham





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