September 22, 2006

Letters to the Editor

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Sacredness of human life is the paramount moral absolute

Imagine my surprise to read in The Criterion about Father Michael Place and his nuances.

Father Place is no stranger to Chicago and the pro-life movement. I found his choice of words (cited in an editorial and challenged soon thereafter in a letter to the editor) interesting.

Father Place states Terri Schiavo died in Florida two weeks after her nutrition and hydration were removed. I would say she was euthanized by starvation and dehydration.

In reading what was presented in your publication, Father Place is building his perspective on end-of-life issues by using consensus and nuance.

Moral absolutes are just that; they are not dependent on a consensus of theologians.

Nuance, in my dictionary, means a slight difference, a variation, a fog (similar to the penumbra on the 14th Amendment that Justice Harry Blackman used to legalize abortion).

I believe Father Place has nuanced Pope John Paul II’s teaching on the moral imperative of providing food and water to the sick person in a vegetative state awaiting recovery or death.

In the minds of many theologians, consensus has replaced moral absolutes. The sacredness of human life is the paramount moral absolute upon which all of the others depend.

If I were not educated on end-of-life issues, I would have to say after reading what Father Place said that a fog had enveloped my mind, not allowing me to clearly understand that the provision of nutrition and hydration are morally obligatory in all cases.

It seems as if consensus has replaced catechesis. I urge Catholic readers to read the papal address on food and water by the late Pope John Paul II on March 20, 2004.

- Bonnie Quirke, R.N.
Vice President, Illinois Federation for Right to Life
Libertyville, Ill.


Story cites wrong date for Archbishop Sheen’s death

Those of us who greatly admire Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen have to be pleased that two cases of alleged miracles through his intercession have been sent to Rome as part of the promotion of his sainthood cause.

I’m surprised, though, that in the article in the Sept. 8 issue of The Criterion, Cath-olic News Service had the wrong date for his death. It said he died on Oct. 3, 1979. Archbishop Sheen always said that he wanted to die on a feast of the Blessed Virgin while in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He died on Dec. 9, 1979, one day after the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

He did, though, die in front of the Blessed Sacrament, in his private chapel.

- John F. Fink, Indianapolis
Editor Emeritus, The Criterion


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