Letters • March 22, 2021


‘Catholic Schools as a Beacon of Hope”

I write to express my heartfelt gratitude to Catholic schools for being beacons of hope providing continuous in-person learning to millions of students nationwide since August.

Catholic school teachers and administrators have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the academic, physical, emotional and spiritual growth of Catholic and non-Catholic students despite being paid significantly less than public school counterparts. They have lived the motto: “Faith. Excellence. Service.” Any unbiased observer must admit that this school year is a resounding success.

In contrast, most public schools have refused to offer in-person learning, resulting in stunted emotional, physical and academic development and achievement gaps that may never be fully overcome. On June 29, 2020, the American Academy of Pediatrics followed the science and called for offering in-person schooling. It warned that failing to do so would lead to increased “child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression and suicidal ideation.”

This is why Catholic schools opened after implementing simple, commonsense, safe and affordable protocols, e.g., temperature checks, handwashing, open windows, 3-foot spacing, masks and minimizing movement. None of these required expensive school upgrades, and all of these could have and should have been implemented by public schools.

Catholic schools did so despite the fact that their per-student tuition is a fraction of the annual per-student taxpayer funding that neighboring public schools receive. One must ask why public school teacher unions/administrators have refused to allow parents to choose and how many more parents would have chosen Catholic schools if they could have used vouchers to divert a portion of the public schools’ taxpayer funding to do so? Stephen K. Pudner, Ashland

Girls, boys should have own space, opportunities

I want to commend the young women’s hard work and passion for their Eagle Scout projects (Catholic Virginian, March 8). While I am now grown, as a young girl I loved hiking, archery, shooting, camping and boating. I know the challenge of finding female compatriots in these activities.

However, I am concerned that since the Church seems to be the last bastion of authentic masculinity and femininity, we should not so quickly cheer the integration of women into a traditionally male group. Men are leaving the Church in droves, in part due to over feminization and infiltration by women into men’s groups and roles.

This is not to say that women shouldn’t be in Scouting or serving in any number of honorable pursuits that men and boys do, but it’s important that we preserve those spaces for boys and for girls without outside pressure to incorporate. In a society where masculinity is a bad word, it is not appropriate that a paper representing the diocese is cheering for yet another female co-opting of a special space set aside for boys.

Girls can and ought to do these things too, but why do girls have to join a boys’ group to get the same recognition and publicity? Shouldn’t we create, as some have, Catholic groups for young women that afford these opportunities and highlight them?

Girls should be able to have their own space and opportunities, but so also should boys. We are, after all, the different but beautiful creations that God has made, equal in the sight of our Lord, but different for a purpose in his divine plan. – Maria MacBain, Roanoke

Concerned about Catholic politicians causing scandal

I read the article about ‘weaponization of Eucharist’ (Catholic Virginian, Feb. 8), and do not understand why the leader of our country, who calls himself a “good Catholic,” is allowed to provide scandal for our Church.

The catechism teaches us that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. Yet there are lawmakers — and now our president — who claim to follow the teaching of the Church but do not agree with this statement.

Why are they allowed to continue to spread scandal and receive our Lord in the Eucharist while not supporting basic Catholic teaching? – Diane Butler, Waynesboro

President has to see abortion as murder

President Joe Biden has repeatedly affirmed that he agrees with Church teaching that human life begins at conception. Logically, therefore, he cannot hold abortion to be anything other than murder, the deliberate destruction of innocent human life.

Given that there have been more than 62.5 million unborn babies murdered in the U.S. in the last 50 years, and over 1.5 billion worldwide in the last 40, Biden cannot see it as anything other than mass murder.

Far from opposing what he believes to be murder, on such a scale as to dwarf every genocide in history, Biden seeks to expand it — by legalization through all nine months and by actively funding it, domestically and internationally.

If you support him, do you support anyone else who has promoted and expanded mass murder on the basis of their aid to poor and marginalized people? Exactly how great an evil must a candidate materially support to convince you to vote against them, with a third-party protest vote if necessary? – Amanda Olmsted, Hampton

‘Take abortion issue head on’

Re “Bishop’s group completes work on Biden, “eucharistic coherence,” (Catholic Virginian, March 8): Some time ago, it was “weaponization of the Eucharist” and now the Catholic hierarchy in this country addresses “eucharistic coherence.”

I read the article twice and discussed it with my wife, and I still have questions. Why do we come up with some gibberish that doesn’t advance the issue — changing President Biden’s abortion position? Why can’t we just take the abortion issue head on?

I ask myself one simple question: “What would Jesus do?” He would take the issue head on with a parable that makes sense.

More than half a million people in this country have died due to COVID-19 during the past year — that’s making headlines across the country. However, compare that with more than twice that number who are aborted every year since Roe v. Wade in 1973. That tragic and sad news doesn’t even make headlines.

In my prayers, I foresee a situation in 2023 when pro-lifers have control of the U.S. House and Senate, and President Joe Biden has an epiphany and becomes pro-life. – Ted Cors, Williamsburg

Sanctity of human life most important issue

Re: “Supporting the president” (Catholic Virginian, March 8): It is quite shocking to read in a Catholic newspaper a letter to the editor that says saving the planet is more important than the right to life.

The letter writer even makes the outrageous claim that Catholics who aggressively promote abortion, like Joe Biden, are compassionate people worthy of our vote. I disagree.

The sanctity of human life is, in fact, the most important issue of all, because without the God-given, inviolable right to life, all other rights collapse. Even Hitler did good things for Germany while committing unspeakable atrocities against the Jews whose right to life he abolished.

It is just as grotesque to say, “We defend your ‘right’ to tear your unborn baby apart limb from limb, but don’t you dare chop down that tree.” There is nothing compassionate about poisoning, scalding and dismembering a baby.

How we treat the most vulnerable members of society is the true measure of our compassion. To suggest that the finite, material universe should be held in higher esteem than a human being endowed with an immortal soul, made to the image and likeness of God, whose only begotten Son shed every drop of his precious blood for love of us, is quite simply obscene and not Catholic at all. – Scila Hudson, Virginia Beach

Let God be the judge

It seems so sad that we are so willing to judge one another and so argumentative about the separation of Church and state.

Of course, abortion is wrong. We are called to witness to our faith and so we should, but can’t we trust our bishops and our pope a little more? And be less furious with each other? And bring our focus to bear on mercy as well as justice?

Are we feeding the children who are here? Are we ensuring that they have shelter? Are we doing all this not as governmental policy (only), but for those who are living with and around each of us?

We are the Church and are in communion with each other. Let God, the reader of hearts, be the judge. – Minerva San Juan, Blacksburg

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