Letters • November 2, 2020


Remembering Father Apuzzo

Over the years, when our pastor was on leave, our church, St. Timothy, Tappahannock, would invite Father “Pat” Apuzzo to say our Masses. When he arrived, even though he may not have seen us for a while, he always remembered those who assisted him at the Mass by their first names.

Due to his physical infirmities, it was necessary to place a chair at the front side of the altar so he could sit while delivering his homilies. He always addressed some social issue that was current and challenging.

He never raised his voice, but his word choice and his quiet delivery commanded the attention of all those in attendance. And he always had interesting examples from his life as a pastor or from some current news report.

He delivered his homilies from a couple of scraggly- looking sheets of paper, which he held out in front of him as he spoke. Every so often, he would shake the sheets of paper, which was the extent of emotional expressions. Yet, by the time he was finished, we were left with plenty to think about.

After the Saturday night Mass, a couple from our church would invite him out to an Italian restaurant, his favorite cuisine. A dozen or so of us would accompany them. During the meal, he always managed to address each of us personally so no one felt isolated or neglected.

Along with all of these wonderful traits, he had a great sense of humor without ever offending anyone. He was always gentle, kind and considerate. As St. Paul admonishes us, “He put others’ concerns ahead of his own.”

There couldn’t have been a better representative of “Christ on earth” than Father Apuzzo! We will sorely miss him. – Joseph Swonk, Dunnsville

Goal: Make abortion unthinkable

Many Catholics find themselves torn on the issue of abortion. Fearful of a return to the days of self-mutilation and the back-alley abortionist, they balk at a total abolition of the procedure while still seeking to defend unborn children.

Surveys show that about 75% of women seeking abortions do so because of economic reasons. For them, abortion is not really a “choice,” but a compulsion driven by their financial state.

There might be a key here to a constructive approach: remove those economic barriers and the demand for abortion would be greatly decreased.

What do we need to do to eliminate those barriers? First, the mother would need a job that pays enough to support a family. Assistance such as food stamps could fill in any gaps.

Second, we need to provide maternity leave and good, affordable child care. She might need training or education for a career to provide a better life for her family. We can provide this through free community college and even beyond that for those with limited incomes.

Incidentally, such policies, all of which are in accord with Catholic social principles, already exist in most first world countries. Incidentally, millions of other Americans would benefit as well.

Adopting policies like this could reduce abortions by up to 75%. Wouldn’t that be great? What of the other 25%? We can and should continue to make decent, respectful appeals to their consciences.

Our goal should not be to try to make abortion illegal; it should be to try make it unthinkable. Certainly, with measures like those recommended above, we can make it unnecessary. – Dr. Mario D. Mazzarella, Newport News

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