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October 1, 2012 | Volume 87, Number 24


Petersburg installation ‘sign of things to come’

The Catholic Virginian had a very nice article by Steve Neill in The Catholic Virginian (Sept. 3, 2012 issue) concerning the installation of Father Brian Capuano as pastor of Saint Joseph’s Church in Petersburg.

I thought that Bishop DiLorenzo’s remarks, as quoted in the article, hit all the right notes and I hope, too, that Father Capuano will be “a sign of things to come,” that is a revitalization of the Catholic presence in Petersburg.

It was interesting to note that Father Capuano was simultaneously installed as pastor of Saint Joseph School, thus officially recognizing what we longtime supporters of the school always knew — that the pastor of the church is, indeed, the pastor of the school.

A perfect example of how the Catholic Church works — taking from the body of believers that which is evident and canonizing it. (Not as profound as the proclamation of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I admit, but the principle is the same).

As a graduate of Gibbons High School and the proud parent of two children enrolled in Saint Joseph School, I pray for Father Capuano and his ministry as he works with Pamela Hartnett, principal, in taking the school in the “new direction” of which the Bishop spoke.
And I look forward to reading about it in The Catholic Virginian.

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Reader disputes assertion involving University of Virginia


The Catholic Virginian welcome letters in response to content or faith and moral issues. Letters should be typed or neatly written or in e-mail form. Please include the writer’s full name, address and phone number. We request they not exceed 300 words, focus on one topic, and not make a personal attack on individuals or institutions. Letters may be edited for style, size or content. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The Catholic Virginian or the Diocese of Richmond.

Letters maybe faxed to: 804-359-5689, mailed to 7800 Carousel Lane, Richmond, VA 23294, or e-mailed to

I’d like to reply to the letter published in the September 17 edition of The Catholic Virginian from Charles Woerner of Gloucester.

I did not read the letters to which he is replying and therefore do not know why he’d say, “most of the scientists against the global warming issue funded by the American Petroleum Institute which, to my understanding, includes the University of Virginia.”

I attended UVA and studied Environmental Science. We are most certainly NOT on the side of API nor are we taught that global warming is a farce. In fact, anyone paying the slightest attention to UVA news would know that besides our recent presidential debacle, our attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli continues to sue The University to have the private emails of Professor Michael Mann because of “Climate Gate” (where scientists are supposed to have forged data to prove human caused global warming).
As all the environmental science department stands behind Mann, there’s rarely a course that doesn’t defend his work in some way showing how humans have negatively impacted the environment.

Now, I realize that there is supposedly one professor roaming the halls of the geology department declaring Tectonic Plates to still be just a theory, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find a professor declaring global warming to be “just a phase.”

I don’t know where Mr. Woerner got his information, but I think that he’s a bit confused. Since I do not know if API has any hand in funding UVA research, I think it would be beneficial to all to investigate this because the alternative would be blasphemy.

I would like to point out that it is in fact possible that API is funding ENGINEERING projects which generally have nothing to do with environmental research and that API could be funding studies which seem to point away from human caused global warming.

The honest truth of the matter is that every single reputable scientist will say that the data is confusing on a good day, insane on a bad. But overall, the data does say that humans have an influence. Just because API uses the research to say one thing does NOT mean that that’s the conclusion the scientist came up with. In fact, the best analogy I’ve ever heard for the data is this: taking one year of data from the past million years of climate history to describe global warming is like taking 1954 to describe the entire career of Mickey Mantle.

No one has to “fudge” any data and yet the results are completely different.

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Pro-life advocacy includes self-protection

Father Jim Gallagher in his letter to the editor (Responsible Gun Ownership, Sept 17), believes dialogue on responsible gun ownership is warranted due to “recent shootings in our nation and in Virginia (Virginia Tech and Appomattox).”

When a criminal kills someone with an axe or knife or baseball bat, do we talk about responsible axe or knife or baseball bat ownership? When a parent murders his or her children by driving them into a lake, do we talk about responsible auto ownership?

No, we rightfully focus on the criminal and the criminal act, not the ownership of lawful products by law abiding citizens or the lawful conduct of law abiding citizens. To do otherwise would be to say that the lawful product and lawful conduct by good people was the cause of the criminal act, which is ludicrous and serves to excuse the criminal.

Responsible gun ownership is not the question. The question is “do we have the right to protect our lives?”

Senseless attacks by deranged criminals and mass murderers will not be prevented by diminishing the people’s right to self-defense. Rather, gun control is irresponsible: our Christian duty to safeguard innocent human life is pointless without the most effective means to do so. Citing Editor Steve Neill’s laudable call to action against the horror of abortion as an inferred pro-life counterpoint to gun ownership reveals that Father Gallagher fails to understand that support for a citizenry equipped and trained to arms is also pro-life advocacy.

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K of C aid to homeless family lauded

In the Sept. 17 issue of the CV, Rick Brennan wrote about how the Knights of Columbus helped a family from Kentucky stranded here in Richmond. What the Knights did was commendable.

But, what he did not address was what happened to this family. It was a compelling story, as it drew the reader into it. Then he stopped. What became of this family? Did they fix the car and drive back to Ky?

Did he get employment here in Richmond? Did they go elsewhere?

It was more than a half page dedicated to good will but no follow-up. I am sure others who have read the story feel the same way. Our whole family did.

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(Editor’s note — Here is a reply from Rick Brennan, past Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus Council 6189: “Following the days of Saturday, Aug. 4, “Mike” and his family departed in their repaired van on their return trip to Frankfort, Kentucky. “Mike” had not found the employment he sought in Virginia.

Gene Zimmerman gave the oldest girl a stamped, self-addressed envelope through which he could reassure the Council members that they had arrived safely when the family was settled in Frankfort and that the family had prospects for a better life.

During a conversation with Gene over that weekend, “Mike had shared that, since they had other family in Frankfort, he felt that their best option was to return where there was a more reliable support system.

As of this writing (Sept. 20), we have not yet received a communication from them, but expect to when they are settled.”)


‘Cafeteria Catholic’ accusation derided

Your September 17 issue of The Catholic Virginian has me extremely angry. A letter was printed concerning a “cafeteria Catholic.” The writer from Richmond chose to judge any woman who wants a say in the care of her body.

I am pro-choice. I do not wish to force my beliefs on another woman “without first walking in her shoes.”

To my knowledge there is no “my church.” As a baptized Catholic, I am the Church. There is mentioned in the letter a judgment of anyone using contraception. I wonder how many Catholic women have used this method of birth control.

Did the lady from Richmond read the article in the CV concerning the Catholic priest who apologized for his statement that in many cases the victim of child abuse is “the seducer?” Sexual abuse is a crime and should never be covered up.

Did she read the article about the conviction of a Catholic bishop convicted of failure to report abuse?

What about the sale of the archbishop’s residence for $10 million? When I think of the children in this country who go to sleep hungry, the homeless in our midst through no fault of their own. I wonder how anyone who is not part of “my church” could be labeled heretic.

Please do not pass judgment so quickly on anyone’s right to make their own decision.

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View on conjugal love deemed sad by reader

Regarding the writer who chastised and judged women who have chosen in good conscience to control the spacing or number of their children, and termed them heretics (Amanda Keller, Sept. 17 issue); how sad that she would denigrate the ultimate act of conjugal love shared by these women with their husbands as “servicing male sexuality.”

How very sad that the Catholic Virginian implied credence with the publication of such scorn.

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The need to be kind vs. being accusatory

Amanda Keller is mistaken in calling women who speak against the teachings of the Catholic church “heretics.” (Letters, Sept. 17 issue) If we threw everyone out of the church who did not agree with its teachings who would be left?

Aren’t the teachings of the church simply a reflection of Christ? And who can claim to follow and embody Christ perfectly?

At Mass today, the priest talked about the followers of Christ needing to let go of ambition and their need to seek power. I think ambition is also seen in the need to be right. This need to be right is also a need for power.

The priest also said today that the Bible teaches that ambition is what leads to division in the church. Ambition and accusations are tied to together. We should not accuse one another, but rather encourage one another.

Finally, if you do correct someone, it should be done out of kindness and desire for the person to follow Christ more fully. I hope Amanda finds ways to be kind rather than accusatory.

If we took the time to get to know the people who disagree with us, we might find some common ground. For example, both Amanda and Ms. Kennedy want women to have a sense of dignity. There are women who are seeking support who are left to themselves because those with the power of expression are squabbling among themselves.

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Central issue omitted from letter to the editor

Amanda Keller’s letter, “Catholic woman objects to ‘Cafeteria Catholics’”, in the September 12th issue is very interesting.

Everything said about society’s prevalent and accepted practices of abortion, contraception and related deviations is correct, but the letter does not address the central issue. It is focused on the consequences to the exclusion of the morality of these acts. To be more specific, it does not address why these practices are immoral.

Saint Thomas Aquinas states that any act that frustrates the natural end of a function is intrinsically evil. Clearly the sole purpose of abortion, sterilization, and contraception is to prevent the natural consequences of a natural act as it was intended by God.

Mrs. Keller successfully described the dehumanizing degradation that follows the pursuit of these moral evils. We all are, however, members of Christ’s Mystical Body and, as such, the consequences do not apply to women only. All society suffers.

A moment’s reflection upon the sanctity and beauty of God’s plan will bring about the realization of how intrinsically wrong these acts are and how displeasing to God. Saint Paul reminds us: Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were purchased at a price. (1Co. 6:19)

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Magliano charged with lack of orthodoxy

After reading a perfectly reasonable commentary from Tony Magliano about the need for civility Sept. 17 issue), I was prompted to ask him to apply his two principles, “the ability to consider that you might be wrong” and “the ability to admit that you don’t know” to his previous commentary about global warming.

So I went online to find his personal blog or primary publication in order to contact him directly. The first listing that came up in my search was the National Catholic Reporter. I should have known.

It takes only a brief perusal of the content of the National Catholic Reporter to recognize that it is not an orthodox Catholic publication, and much of its content is downright dissident. Having read little of Mr. Magliano’s work at this point, I would not go so far as to label it either unorthodox or dissident, but what I have read fits the general mold. The Catholic Virginian can do better.

If you’re going to bring in outside commentary, I suggest sticking with commentary from sources that strive to remain true to orthodox Catholic teaching. I urge The Catholic Virginian to reconsider the sources of their commentary.

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