Count on Canon 212

Re the editorial “Paths of Conscience” (5/2): The scriptural arguments of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning the ordination of women have been expressed in two documents, Inter Signiores (1976) and a commentary that treats the arguments in an ecumenical context (1977). Roughly four out of five theologians who have published their evaluations of these documents have found them seriously flawed in both methodology and use of Scripture.

So they should be evaluated and revised by another credible group of international Catholic theologians. Conferences should be held offering persons the opportunity to present theological, scriptural and pastoral arguments on all sides.

They would not have to challenge the 1976 Vatican decision itself. They need only call for implementation of the Code of Canon Law (No. 212, par. 3), which gives the faithful, in accord with the knowledge they possess, the right and duty to manifest to their pastors and to the other Christian faithful their opinion on matters that pertain to the good of the church.

Aron Milavec

Cincinnati, Ohio

Bishops Speak Clearly

In your editorial “Let’s Be Clear on the Budget” (5/2), you note the importance of the current debate surrounding the federal budget and the deficit, and you write, “The bishops, along with other leaders and sectors of the church, need to speak with clarity about the budget as a moral document.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been carrying out that task consistently and persistently. Last month, as the House of Representatives prepared to consider its budget for fiscal year 2012, Bishops Stephen Blaire and Howard Hubbard, chairmen of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and the Committee on International Justice and Peace, respectively, wrote every member of the House of Representatives. They told the members, “the moral measure of this budget debate is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how those who are jobless, hungry, homeless or poor are treated.” The letter also made clear that shared sacrifice means all options are on the table, including military spending and raising revenue. The letter can be read on the conference’s Web site.

Additionally, the U.S.C.C.B. recently took the lead in an unprecedented effort to bring together diverse Christian leaders around a clear moral message: defend poor and vulnerable people in the budget process. This “Circle of Protection” initiative includes Bishop Blaire and Bishop Hubbard, Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA, as well as the National Association of Evangelicals, Bread for the World, the National Council of Churches and the Salvation Army, just to name a few.

John L. Carr

Executive Director, Department of Justice,

Peace, and Human Development, U.S.C.C.B.

Washington, D.C.

Cold-Blooded Killing

The United States has offered no evidence whatsoever to show that Osama bin Laden made even the slightest movement to resist the Navy Seal attack. No matter what one thinks of the Al Qaeda leader, this was a cold-blooded U.S. plot, sanctioned by President Obama, to assassinate Bin Laden and secretly remove and bury his body.

In the classic film “Apocalypse Now,” the character Willard (Martin Sheen) is also given a military “mission to proceed up the Nung River in a Navy patrol boat. Pick up Colonel Kurtz’s path at Nu Mung Ba, follow it, learn what you can along the way. When you find the colonel, infiltrate his team and exterminate the colonel’s command...with extreme prejudice.”

While the U.S. government plays in “real time” with the facts on “Operation Bin Laden” the movie picks up on the real moral: Kurtz says to Willard, “and they call me an assassin. What do you call it when the assassins accuse the assassin? They lie. They lie and we have to be merciful...those nabobs.” In the end, violence begets only violence.

The death of Osama bin Laden should lead us to reflect on our own eventual death and on the moral responsibility we all have before God. Osama bin Laden was gravely responsible for sowing the seeds of division and promoting hatred and violence in the name of religion. But how often do we do the same—even to the extent of murdering our own flesh and blood through abortion—in the name of personal selfishness and greed?

Paul Kokoski

Hamilton, Ontario

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