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Readers weigh in on the latest Boston controversy

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Mar 13, 2009

For this week's Mailbag, I'm taking just a representative sampling of the messages we received in response to my Commentary essay, Why would a Catholic agency ask for involvement with the abortion industry?

Elaine Suhre wrote:

This sickens me. This past election has shown me how weak many of the Catholic dioceses/archdioceses are here in the U.S. I wish Pope Benedict would show stronger German Shepherd grit and start house cleaning here in the U.S. and elsewhere. We may wind up with a smaller Catholic Church if he did, but the dirty laundry would be gone.

Bill Loughlin wrote:

Oh, for the good old days of Richard Cardinal Cushing and Bishop John Wright! This never would have happened under their leadership. Cardinal O'Malley may not be on the board any longer, but the bully pulpit---and the Pilot, the Catholic Free Press in Worcester and all the other diocesan publications---is still available to him, if only he will use it. One need look no further than the decades-long savaging of the late Pope Pius XII for his alleged "silence."

Phil Lawler replies: Bill, maybe you haven't read my book The Faithful Departed. If you had, you might recognize that the problems in Boston did not begin with Cardinal O'Malley--or with Cardinal Law either, for that matter. Can you identify the first prominent American Catholic who advanced the line that a legislator can-- in fact should--vote for legislation that promotes something objectively immoral, because he can't impose his moral views on others? The first public exponent of that "personally opposed, but..." line was none other than Richard Cardinal Cushing. 

Rev. Timothy Murphy wrote:

It is difficult for me to understand why this is happening. Kudos for your article. It is right on target. There is a void of leadership here.

John Paul wrote:

Mr. Lawler, I wanted to use this space to speak about the March 4th headlines in general, of which this story was one. Just scroll back through the list, and the only story that doesn't make my blood boil just from the headlines summary was the one on the Pope's message to World Youth Day. Every other story was another grim example of the breakdown of the Catholic Faith and Church around the world. Everything from "wacky" nuns, to bishops (Austria) turning against the Pope, to craziness on our "Catholic" campuses. I know you are working as hard as you can at trying to reverse this cultural (and spiritual) decline, but man, days like yesterday make me wonder if we are really ever going to make any progress. Everything seems "upside down," these days, and very deeply entrenched at that. (I got the same feeling over at lifesite news, with bad news piled on top of bad news.) I guess all we can do is keep praying, and trying. But at times it seems overwhelming.

Phil Lawler replies: Amen. Praying and fasting, too. This year, Lent came just in time.


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