Our Readers Respond-September 5, 2012

Ryan budget and the poor  
I was surprised to see TLIC featuring Archbishop Samuel Aquila’s defense of Paul Ryan and his budget as the “Guest Column” (August 22), just on the eve of the Republican National Convention. Arguing that “claims that Paul Ryan’s [budget] plans run deeply counter to Catholic social teaching are unfounded and unreasonable,” Bishop Aquila challenges “even … a few American bishops” who criticized Ryan for being “compassionless to the poor” and “somehow anti-Catholic.”  Bishop Aquila’s allegation that some of these criticisms are “insidious” runs smack up against the position taken by the USCCB in four letters written to representative Ryan in April, including Bishop Stephen Blaire, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Bishop Howard Hubbard, chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, who raised “serious concerns about how (Ryan’s budget) meets the (Catholic) criterion of adequately protecting poor and vulnerable people.”

Addressing the Ryan budget directly, Bishop Blaire wrote on behalf of the USCCB, “a just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons; it requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly.” Bishop Blaire also called for repealing “cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps)” and other Safety Net programs and asked Congress to consider the “human and moral dimensions” of budget choices.

Bishop Aquila urges us to balance fiscal responsibility and stewardship against “immediate sentimental inclinations.”  While unclear as to what these sentimentalities are, Bishop Aqiula’s moral guidance avoids the clarity of Bishop Blaire whose letter to Representative Ryan explicitly points out that “the Catholic bishops of the United States recognize the serious deficits our country faces, and we acknowledge that Congress must make difficult decisions about how to allocate burdens and sacrifices and balance resources and needs … However, deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility efforts must protect and not undermine the needs of poor and vulnerable people. The proposed cuts to programs in the (Ryan) budget … fail this basic moral test.”
Richard Koubek
Dix Hills

“Give me your tired …”
I thank God that President Obama is allowing undocumented immigrants work permits over the next two years. Last year Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, Episcopal Bishop Henry Parsley, Jr., Methodist Bishop William Willimon and Mobile Archbishop Thomas John Rodi filed suit to stop merciless anti-immigrant legislation. They won. Archbishop Rodi said that “the love of Christ impels us” (2 Cor. 5) to live our Christian faith. No law is just which prevents the  proclamation of the Gospel message, the baptizing of believers, or love shown to a neighbor in need. I do not wish to stand before God and, when God asks me if I fed Him when He was  hungry or gave Him to drink when He was thirsty, to reply: yes, Lord, as long as You had proper documents.”

Half of all Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or sons and daughters of immigrants. Let’s not turn our backs on them. When I became a citizen 40 years ago, I could never forget the words of Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) on the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Thomas Patrick Folan
Stony Brook

Catholics for Obama?
I have a bumper sticker on my car that I am proud of. It reads, “You can’t be Catholic and Pro-abortion.” Last week in the parking lot of my parish, I saw a bumper sticker that read, “Catholics for Obama.” Now we all know that is an oxymoron!  How can anyone be a Catholic and support such a radical president who supports the killing of a child that survives an abortion!  I think these so-called “Catholics for Obama” need to rethink their stand and do so quickly.
Ann Cook

Choose Catholic schools
Now is that time again when school is about to begin. I suggest parents think seriously about giving their children a Catholic education. I for one would like to praise Catholic schools for their ongoing contribution to education and for their role for ensuring a brighter, stronger future for the nation. These fine schools produce students strongly dedicated to their faith, families and communities by providing an intellectually stimulating environment, rich in spirituality, character and moral development. The teachers in Catholic schools are dedicated to every child and try to bring out in as many children that hidden talent to make them the very best they can be. These children are the leaders of tomorrow and need what these Catholic schools provide. I hope all interested parents get in touch with their parish or the Catholic school in their area and take the first step in improving their children’s future.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Thank you so much for Father Lauder’s column on “Catholicism” as a teaching tool. Since St. Therese of Lisieux is the spiritual shepherdess for this work I expect it will be very useful. As far as I know, only the parish church in Montauk village is dedicated to her.

A fellow mall walker up here told me he realized he had been thinking like a non-Catholic for 26 years when he saw and listened to the chapter on the Real Presence. Where could he go for a long confession?

I drove him to the local hospital. At 9 a.m. the Catholic chaplain would be available.
Done: one blessing, one curse — a parking ticket for me!
John Hardiman

Nellie Gray
Thanks, Bill Devlin, for presenting and sharing such a thorough summary of the life of Nellie Gray, an amazing woman. (TLIC, 8/22) She is indeed a role model for all in the pro-life movement, through her endurance and perseverance until the end of her life. May her life be an inspiration to all who continue to protect life in the many areas we are called to participate. Hopefully, with God’s grace the horrendous evil of abortion will no longer exist in our midst. May she rest in peace.
Barbara Woessner