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Catholic Courier. (Rochester, N.Y.) 1989-current, December 01, 2004, Image 18

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Persistent link: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/np00020006/2004-12-01/ed-1/seq-18/

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A18 i 'Values people' must learn to talk the talk _ 4J at . o •11 u 0 Q 3. u «0 U *)'\ PHS correspondent Mar- § garet Warner recounted a | conversation she'd had with j| a .John Kerry aide, still reel- ing from the results of a con- test he and his boss were I certain they'd win. \You know, Margaret,\ he said, \the Republicans were talk inn to 5, 6, 7 million people that we don't understand at all ... and you and the press don't understand therri ei- | ther. And the pollsters aren't picking them up.\ The com- ment was deeply revealing and brutally honest. Judging from the post- election reaction of his more fervent journalistic and aca- demic supporters, the Kerry candidacy wasattractive be- cause it represented the Ku- ropeariization, the \secular- ization,\ of American public life. A Kerry presidency would keep the great un- washed hordes of evangeli- cals at bay; put assertive Catholic bishops in their place, leaving the field to the more \understanding\ staf- fers at the bishops' confer- ence and their episcopal al- lies; regulate biotechnology in utilitarian terms; support the federal courts' effdrts to legislate social policy, thus J nailing down \choice\ as the supreme value involved in \social issues\; insist that the unborn's right to life and the traditional understand- ing of marriage are matters y of \doctrine not to \be im- GeorgeWeigel The Catholic difference posed on a pluralistic soci- ety\; and secure a virtually unlimited abortion license. The new-president would- n't let the moral teaching of his church interfere with his policies, although that teach- ing expresses basic norms of natural jifstiee rather than particular Catholic claims. Religious faith would be pri- vatized: a matter of what Americans do with their soli- tude, to paraphrase William James. Publicly assertive . Catholics and the rambunc- tious evangelicals would be dealt a'crushing blow. It was not to be. Indeed, I felt a twinge of sympathy for Sen. Kerry after the elec- tion as former acolytes turn- ed on him, suggesting that a more likeable candidate could have sold the Democ- rats' message. Rut I thought the message, not the mes- senger, was the problem. What Kerry's secularist supporters can't seem to un* derstarrd is that evangeli- cals, John Paul H Catholics and observant Jews don't need explaining; what needs explaining is.the Harvard faculty club, Michael Moore and most of.the op-ed regu- lars at The New York Times — people who've persuaded themselves that a profound belief in God, a commitment to live by the Ten Command- ments, is the fast track to fascism. They are the anom- aly. If they'd take a field trip out of their secularist bunkers to meet the rest of America, they might find we're not so scary after all. The secularists did have one triumph: Imposition 71, which embroils California in scientifically dubious and morally reprehensible stem- cell .research. It's success suggests that we \values people\ haven't yet learned to talk the talk of the new biotechnologies. We make scientific, moral, philo- sophical arguments which are rationally persuasive. Then Michael J. Fox comes* into the hearing room, and the debate is over. What language meets the challenge of misconstrued compassion (\Did you want Chris Reeve to spend the rest of his life in a wheel- chair?^) and utilitarianism • (\If it,works, it must be right.\)? We don't have it yet. We need it. Soon. George Weigel is a senior fellow of the Kthies and Pub- lic Policy Center in Wash- ington, D.C. Sympathizes with parents Tb the editor: Once again, the American, Cafholic Church is failing to recognize a crisis — the closing of Catholic schools and the very future of the Catholic Church. Bishops and priests look at our school enrollment problem as a bookkeeping and fi- nancing problem, not the fu- ture of our Church. Their closed society misses the whole point of how Catholic Schools have generated vo- cations to religious orders, and the very commitment and dedication to our parishes that is needed un- der their failing leadership. I am a Cardinal Mooney graduate and totally sympa- thize with the parents that worked hard to keep their Catholic school open only to find out it is being closed without consulting with par- ents. Merging schools is not the answer. Small Catholic churches or parishes are very similar to U.S. Army units. Their members are to- tally, loyal and dedicated to their Church and work hard to make it the best it can be. When you lose a parish school, you lose the future, the young people who will repopulate the pews as the population ages. Most of these parents of closing/ merging schools will not send their kids several more miles away to another Cath- olic school that they have no . i •>v>J()(W Riuhi'strrl alholk Prvv> Asvn 1136 Buffalo Road P.O. Box 24379 Rochester, NY 14624 S85/529-9S30 800/600-3628 outside Rochester http://www.aitholktourier.com e-mail: info<*katholkcourier.com President Bishop Matthew H. Clark General Manager Editor Karen M. Franz kfram@catholiccourier. com Advertising Department Advertising Director Daniel M. Zollo diolk>@cathoHccourier. com Display Advertising Executives Jerry Rivers jrivers@catholicqaurier.com Donald P. Wilson dwikon@catholiccourier.com Business Department Office Manager Mary DiPonzio mdipomijo@catholiccourier.com Administrative Assistant . Arlene S. Gall agfill@catholiccourier.com Circulation Manager Donna Stubbings dstubhmff@catholiccourier.com Editorial Department Assistant Editor Jennifer Ficcaglia jficcagUa@catholiccourier.com StafTWriters Rob Cullivan rvullivan@catholiccourier.com Mike Latona mlatona@catholiccourier.com Jennifer M. Burke • jburke@catholiccourier. com Staff Photographer Mike Crupi mcrupi@catholiccourier. com Editorial Assistant Louis Litzenberger Uitzenberger@catholiccourier.com Graphics Department Graphics Manager Kim Parks kparks@catholiccourier.com Graphic Artist Lindajeanne Rivers lrivers@catholiccourier.com loyalty to. Instead, they will be fed up and send their children to a closer public school. If you go and visit any Catholic school and talk to the; very dedicated lay teachers a.nd administra- tors, you will find that al- most all of them are the product of Catholic schools themselves. Their experi- ence motivated them to work at seriously low wages because they believe in what they are doing. How many times have you re-. cently seen diocesan offi- cials writing newspaper ar- ticles, being interviewed on television, etc., trying- everything in their might to tout how great our Catholic schools are? Miehael R, Sayers Williston Road Rochester Sayers wrote while at home on leave from his Army base in Germany., To read Bishop Clark's letter to parents and other materials explaining the reasons for the schools announcement, visit the Catholic Schools section at www.dor . org. Policies omit some values To the editor: This presidential race was won in part, it seems, be- cause of a set of \moral val- ues\ based in Christianity. If we're going to bring God in- to politics, then let's talk about some of the Christian values that this administra- tion seems to ignore. What about the clear principle taught by Jesus of caring for those who are in need? I don't think he meant the pharmaceutical companies. People are struggling ' to make it in this country. Peo- ple truly go to bed hungry, uncertain of what the next day may bring. And what about Jesus' teaching of acceptance of others? Jesus reached out to people who were different from him — even those who were shunned by society at the time. We seem to be afraid of anything that is dif- ferent or unfamiliar to us. What about that tricky val-

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