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August 6, 2012 | Volume 87, Number 20


‘Dark side’ of Church theory said mistaken

In response to the letter from Joseph Toler on the “dark side” of the Church, (July 23 issue) I would like to say that, while the Catholic Church is made up of humans who are woefully subject to sin, some of the historical events on the list presented were not part of the “dark side.”

The Crusades were not just Catholics beating up on Muslims for no reason. They were declared in order to protect the holy places that were being desecrated, and pilgrims to those places who were being tortured, and even killed by the Turks.

The Crusades did bring peace to the Holy Land for a time. The high ideals encouraged by Popes and saints for this conflict were not always heeded, resulting in crimes and atrocities; but these sins were never condoned by the Church.

The Spanish Inquisition did not kill anyone; the Spanish government did. Contrary to popular belief, most people condemned by the Inquisition as heretics were given penances, not executed. Very few were executed, certainly not thousands.

The Inquisition had a detailed set of laws for making sure that no innocent persons were even tried. For those interested in a close and honest look at the Spanish Inquisition, I would suggest William Thomas Walsh’s Characters of the Inquisition.

Much of the Church’s glorious history is ignored or misunderstood. Catholics need to be serious about not just knowing their Faith, but also knowing its history. Dr. Warren H. Carroll is an excellent Catholic historian who has written a series of six books on Church history, beginning with The Founding of Christendom.


Article on July 4 said misinterpreted by some

Tony Magliano’s article about July 4th certainly attracted much attention given the number of letters written to the CV.

These responders were reacting, I believe, rather than giving serious consideration to what Mr. Magliano wrote. He made no statements degrading America or diminishing her greatness.

What I read was his invitation for people to take into account all sides of the picture. As he wrote America is not without its sins, its dark side.

We need to be open enough to develop a balanced outlook on our government and society. I thought that July 4th was an appropriate time to present these thoughts. How offensive can it be that we are called to a healthy patriotism which recognizes evil for what it is and work to transform it into virtue?

I commend and respect Tony Magliano for challenging us citizens and Christians to open our eyes and see both sides of our nation. I also commend the CV for publishing such an article.

read “Mature Patriotism on the Fourth of July” »


Felons deserve chance for meaningful job

I take some issue with your editorial commentary, “Background Checks,” in the July 23 issue.

I totally agree that Mr. Cracchiolo was wrong to deceive the Nevada Catholic Conference about his conviction and current status. And I am glad to hear that the Diocese of Richmond does look at the backgrounds of its staff members.

Yet, I am sorely disappointed in the statement “It seems unlikely that a church organization would hire a convicted felon.”

Yes, as you say, criminal activity is an impediment to employment. But the suggestion that the Church should have a blanket attitude of not hiring anyone with a felony record seems to me to be contrary to who we are.

Each person’s case is different. If a felony conviction for a forgiven mistake is a bar to employment even in the Church, where do these people find jobs? How will they find jobs that help them become productive members of the community?

The whole point of “penitentiary” (and Christian forgiveness) is that we change our lives for the better. Do we really want to have a blanket attitude of “yes, you are forgiven but you can’t have any job in my Church”? Believing in repentance means our willingness to act on that belief. If we believe in rehabilitation, we need to make that belief real by allowing for appropriate employment, even in the Church.

Perhaps you mean impediment in the sense of an obstacle or an issue that can be overcome. Your statement “it seems unlikely” appears to me to be more stringent. As you know, in ecclesiastical law “impediment” often has the meaning of a bar or barrier.

Every case is unique. Some convicted felons deserve to be given the opportunity for meaningful employment, even in the Church. In other cases, such employment is not warranted. But we should make that decision on each individual case.

In the situation where an applicant such as Mr. Cracchiolo deceives the potential employer, then the issue should be the deception, not just the original offense.

To be clear, my mistakes in life have never risen to the level of felony, thanks to God’s grace. I know convicted felons who have turned their life around and certainly deserve a chance to be gainfully employed — even in our Church.

Not every felon. But they deserve our looking at each case on its own merits.

I am saddened by the attitude expressed in your commentary.

(Editor: Agreed, each individual case should be judged on its own merits. The employer should also have absolute authority to hire who he or she deems is the right person for the job, based on fair hiring practices).


Church’s options noted under federal mandate

It is time to consider the possibility that the contraception, sterilization, and abortion inducing drugs mandate will stand.

It is essential that all of us understand what situation or options the Church would have assuming it stands. Before examining these options we must acknowledge that the use of contraception, sterilization, and abortion inducing drugs are all clearly against the teachings of the church.

This situation of the HHS (Health and Human Services) requiring support of these three practices by Church related organizations is key to this whole conflict. Some Catholics may not agree with these teachings, but agree or not the church opposes these practices.

The Church’s options in the event this mandate stands seem to be as follows.

  1. Comply even though it would be contrary to church teachings.
  2. Refuse to comply and incur financial penalties that would probably shut down all Catholic Organizations that are not churches.
  3. Turn over all these Catholic Entities to secular ownership, abandoning all of this property, services, and benefits to secular control.
  4. Shut down all these entities completely.
  5. Continue to operate these organizations but remove all non-Catholic persons from employment and from receiving benefit, thereby falling under the exemption to this mandate. No one could work at or be a client or beneficiary of these entities who did not pass the test of their catholicity.

This would mean that Catholic universities, hospitals, charities, television and radio networks, etc. could not employ or serve non-Catholics.

There is much discussion that each of these options would engender. We need to have that discussion now so we know clearly what we are facing in the event the contraceptive, sterilization, and abortion inducing drugs mandate stands.


Upcoming election needs prayers, wisdom

The July 23 CV issue presented an array of opinions on multiple topics and I would like to add some focusing comments. Abortion is the murder of an unborn child. If that horror is not heartbreaking or repulsive enough to convince one to make it illegal, then that person should never be supported for an elective office nor appointed a bench position.

How can he ever have his thinking/logic correct to guide decisions ‘issues’ of more complexity if he cannot understand how simply demonic abortion is?

Sin’s effect on man and nations creates the need for a military. Even with our imperfections, if America sinks, woe to the world. Yet major mistakes must be recognized. Truthfully, we ruined Iraq with an illicit war, and Afghanistan is a military black hole. Radical Islam has a strangling grip on these countries, fueled by ideology, poverty and forced ignorance.

The Catholic Church is under attack at all times, particularly now in America. Additionally, our country is being destroyed from within. May we, as Catholics, proceed with much prayer and true wisdom as we select leaders in the upcoming elections.

Strong leadership is required to save our sinking Republic. The sheep need better guidance from our shepherds to help us defend the Church and to help her save souls. May our Lord Jesus give us strength and courage.


Burial plots available from St. Francis Home

In response to Father Kevin Doyle’s recent column on burial (July 23 issue), I would like to add that the Diocese of Richmond, with cooperation from Saint Francis Home, has ample burial plots for significantly reduced rates available for seniors or any person for that matter who cannot afford a plot for a loved one.

In addition to caring for seniors and disabled persons, the Ministry of Saint Francis Home exists to aid those who find themselves in a vulnerable position, (such as the need for a burial plot after the death of a loved one) and find a compassionate and meaningful solution.

Father Doyle's column does not appear in the web edition of The Catholic Virginian.

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