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March 7, 2011 | Volume 86, Number 10






– Necrology articles.html


40 Days for Life  to begin March 9

On March 9, Richmond area pro-life advocates will once again join together with people of faith and conscience from many other communities for the area’s sixth 40 Days for Life campaign.

We know 40 Days for Life has made a difference in the Richmond area. Here are just a few of the positive results from one of our previous campaigns:

  • We have knowledge of at least seven children who survived their trip to the abortion center as their mothers chose life and left the center without going through with their scheduled abortions.

  • The VCU Students for Life organized sidewalk counseling training, assembled and distributed informational packets and conducted a very successful diaper drive on campus and in local churches to benefit the local pregnancy resource center.

  • Dozens of new members joined the pro-life network in our city and together spent hundreds of hours in prayer for an end to abortion.

40 Days for Life is an intensive pro-life initiative that focuses on 40 days of prayer and fasting, 40 days of peaceful vigil at abortion facilities, and 40 days of grassroots educational outreach. The 40-day time frame is drawn from examples throughout Biblical history where God brought about world-changing transformation in 40-day periods.

During seven previous national campaigns, more than 330 communities have participated in this effort. More than 350,000 people — representing some 11,000 churches — have committed to pray and fast. And we know of at least 3,400 unborn children whose lives were spared from abortion during 40 Days for Life campaigns.

To learn more about 40 Days for Life campaign, visit: For information about the Richmond campaign, visit:

(Editor: The 40 Days for Life campaign is also being held in three other cities in the diocese at the same time — Newport News, Roanoke and Virginia Beach.)

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Benedictine grad cites Catholic education

As a graduate of Benedictine (High School) and former resident of the wonderful City of Richmond (that I often miss), I was initially saddened to learn that after 100 years this fine school will likely move to Goochland County.

The present campus has been a positive testament to the vitality of Catholicism in Virginia. I have many fond memories of Fathers Donald, Patrick, Adrian, Raymond, and Rembert. Warren Rutledge was not only a great basketball coach but a top math teacher, too.

Although change is part of life, it is often difficult to accept. I wish Benedictine a second century of success on a larger, more modern campus.

My prayer is that Richmond area parents recognize that the value of Catholic education literally stretches over one’s lifetime. I treasure the intangible gift of Benedictine given me by my parents 50 years ago.

Catholic education has been the foundation for my life. I hope many other young people can be given the same opportunity.

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Sexual abuse scandals have hurt her trust

You recently published a commentary and article about the sexual abuse scandals plaguing the church.

I found both articles interesting and informative but ultimately they missed the mark for me. While I agree with and applaud all that’s being done now to protect children and I’m hopeful that guilty priests are going to finally be punished, it’s not enough.

Why are not the good priests and our church leaders coming forward and addressing this at the altar?

I’m not sure what if anything can be done to restore my trust in the church. I continue to go to Mass for my children and because I believe that the church was founded by Christ through St. Peter. However, I often leave feeling disillusioned.

In fact, I went last night and was not impressed with our priest telling us that what we could take away from the gospel reading (Mt 6:24-34) is that we should tithe. Perhaps a better homily would have been....Christ will take care of his church and help us begin to trust our leaders again.

Thanks for your continued coverage of this very important issue within the church.

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Blue Mass omitted corrections officers

After reading the article by Tim Breslin on Page 4 of The Catholic Virginian (“Blue Mass honors police, firefighters), Feb. 21 issue, I wondered why only certain public servants are mentioned.

My husband is a Correctional Officer with the State of Virginia. No mention is ever given to these men and women in blue nor to the many Prison Ministers and Chaplains from our Catholic churches who serve incarcerated persons of all faiths.

For the past almost 20 years, when ironing my husband’s uniforms, I pray for heaven’s protection for him.

In these days of severe budget constraints, he and his fellow officers have worked “short.” Not all positions are filled which adds to the danger to officers and inmates alike.

The only protection a correctional officer has within the compound is a radio. These officers, some working 12 hour shifts, are in harm’s way on a daily basis.

While I, too, salute those “police officers, firefighters, rescue workers and deputies,” it is my hope that future Blue Masses will invite and honor those Virginia Prison System employees who ensure public safety day and night for all in this Commonwealth.

read the article »

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Proposed amendment seen as ‘un-American’

As a Catholic and an American, I strongly disagree with Steve Neill (Editorial in the Feb. 7 issue) on the merits of a pending amendment to Virginia’s Constitution “aimed at ensuring people have the right to pray on public property, including public schools” which has just passed the House of Delegates.

One can only hope that the Senate lets it die. It is patently un-American.

We should move very carefully when we start to suggest public prayer in schools or other civic settings.

Whose prayer are we talking about? Let’s be clear — we are talking about Christian prayer.

I believe such an amendment is poorly thought out. All religions are protected when the state has a clear wall between any sort of prayer and the state. One can pray any time anywhere in this country. No one will stop you. You can also pray like the man in the parable about two men praying in the synagogue. One prayed loudly while the other prayed silently.

You can pray in your heart....but you should not insist that everyone say your prayers at public events. If, as mentioned in Mr. Neill’s column, you want to pray that God keeps football players safe, you are free to do so now....just not over a microphone at a school event.

The suggestion that Jews, non-believers, Hindus, Ba’hai or Moslems can cover their ears or remain silent is ludicrous and demeaning. The ACLU’s action was correct and protects all believers, even Catholics.

(Editor: There was no intention of demeaning people of non-Christian religions.)

read the editorial »

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Gun owners have right to defend themselves

After reading a couple of letters to the Editor about guns, I believe important points are not considered.

One comment from Eloise, saying she disagreed with Mr. Craig, needs to be considered in a much deeper understanding of NOT the reader but the writer of the information.

Our submarines and other vessels carry nuclear arms to keep America safe. Have we as a godly nation used any in anger since 1945? No!

If and when you talk to a person with a concealed weapons permit, they have the same mindset, packing to protect and defend, not packing to waste someone. A person that has a concealed weapons permit is fingerprinted and, trust me, the person is putting their background as a balanced individual on the line and open to the world. What would a person with a concealed weapon do in a Tucson situation? Probably after about 2-3 shots from the bad person, you raise your gun and yell. That makes the shooter turn away from potential targets toward you.

That also gives unprotected people on the scene a few seconds to duck, etc.

Think about it, had this happened, there would have been a lot fewer casualties! Ten to 13 bullets might not have been fired.

The purpose of a weapon in the hands of a godly man or woman is not to use the weapon, but to encourage no one else to use a weapon.

read the letter »

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Self-defense said a God-given right

Scriptures tell us Jesus met with tax collectors and sinners. Scriptures also tell us Jesus maintained a presence with apostles who were armed (Lk 22:35-38), and who were willing and able to use those weapons.

graphic: rules for sending letter to editorThose armed followers were there in the Garden of Gethsemane when His time for glorification had come. Jesus chose not to depend on those arms at that particular time (Lk 22:49-53, Mt 26:51-56, Jn 18:10-11). The option was there but not used.

The right of self-defense is God given, not a government gratuity.

On a personal basis I can choose to defend myself or opt out and suffer the consequences. Were I to choose to carry the means for personal self-defense on my person, that is an extension of my God given right to self-defense.

Should another person decide to assault me, he has made a choice; now I have a decision to make. If there is an opportunity to run, I will.

But what if there is no opportunity for escape? What should I do?

What if my wife or child is threatened? Should I be an obedient victim?

What if the instinct for self-preservation is too strong? What should I do?

What choices are open to me? Should someone, other than me, make those decisions for me?

Is it just for another to interfere with my God given rights?

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