Letters – September 18, 2023


Helping Haitians improve healthcare

I enjoyed the article in the Aug. 7 issue of The Catholic Virginian about efforts to improve healthcare in Haiti. Being part of the diocese’s Haiti Ministry, there is no question that healthcare is poorly addressed by both government and Church officials in Haiti.

One of our approaches for a long-term solution is to finance the education of a medical doctor from our twin parish of Savanette. For about $3,000 per year, a parish could support the education of a doctor so that there is greater expertise within the Haitian communities, less reliance on nurses, and a reduced reliance on medical missions from external countries.

The plight of healthcare for Haitians living in the Dominican Republic is also very serious. That is the neighboring country where most Haitians flee, perhaps thinking that life there is so much better than their home country.

Undocumented Haitians living in the Dominican Republic are not allowed medical treatment in hospitals. When I visited Bishop Santiago Rodriguez in San Pedro in June, I visited his diocesan hospital where undocumented Haitians can receive treatment. The hospital was overrun with patients, from children and pregnant women to the elderly.

It would be beneficial, in my opinion, if Haiti committees in our diocese read Robert Lupton’s book, “Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help and How to Reverse It.”

One of Lupton’s suggestions is to limit one-way giving to emergency situations. This is difficult for our parishes to consider. We create such dependency in our sister parishes in Haiti, that if support should stop, the supported program likely stops.  – Richard Neves, Blacksburg


Yes, there is a war on Christianity

In the Sept. 4 letters to the editor, one reader declared concern over a supposed war on religion.

There is a secular nature of many current issues BUT, the flaunting of practices that run afoul of the natural law and Church teaching – including using executive orders to force the nation to accept and even pay for abortions and transgender operations (in the military for example), direct attacks (FBI targeting Catholics, FBI refusing to investigate attacks on prenatal centers, etc.), and laws targeting religious freedoms – shows that this is a real war.

St. Paul said, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12).

Protecting childhood, families, and pro-life policies, while fighting against the LGBTQ+ agenda, abortion and the culture of death are not far-right issues, they are Catholic issues. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Pope St. John Paul II said, “It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all inalienable rights are founded and from which they develop” (“Evangelium Vitae”).

From “Christifideles Laici”: “The inviolability of the person … finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. … for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” (Emphasis added) – Tom Klocek, Chesapeake


Mass calms “whirlwind” of life

Per a letter to the editor in the Aug. 21 issue, a writer pointed out that the “whirlwind” of life might make it difficult to attend Mass on Sunday.

However, with all humility, I would propose that attending holy Mass on Sunday makes it possible to meet life’s demands. I know from personal experience the disaster that overtook me as I “gradually” left the Church. Only when, years later, the Holy Spirit (I believe) prompted me to return to the Church did stability, purpose and hope return to my life.

It wasn’t magic and it didn’t happen overnight but thanks to Mass, the sacraments, Scripture, and prayer (no matter how short), life is returning to “normal” (even blessedness).

My prayer is that all baptized persons return and stay in the Church and that unbaptized persons somehow find their way to the Church. – A. Francis Guidarelli, Richmond

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