CORRESPONDENCE

CORRESPOND. ENCE Abortion Debate San Antonio, Texas To the Editors: Father Decker's article on abortion [Feb. 14] shows an overall perversity of legal, social and political...

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...As a physician, educator, and father, I found Father Decker's words so adaptive to modern thinking as to represent more defeat than conviction or responsible theology...
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...000000| CORRESPONDENCE (Continued from page 35) classical situation of "begging the question...
...And "he wrongly attributes to the whole "U.S...
...Many of us wonder why the Court does not protect the life of that which at the time of conception has the irreversible potentiality of becoming the human person...
...Nearly two-thirds of them are single, divorced, widowed, or separated, or have husbands whose earnings fall below the poverty level...
...He employs many, if not all, of the arguments peddled out by those who will not take a firm stand against abortion...
...Richard Neuhaus' article, "The Dangerous Assumptions," Common...
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...and at which precise moments a show fulfills its ideal possibilities, and when and why it fails...
...Trinkhaus asWe are preparing documented sup- sures us: "In contraception, however, port for the above position and will be there is no living victim...
...73] a cleric law dean lucidly proves with serene prose that the Court's "More Christian Than Its Critics...
...The skills required of a serious critic of drchie Bunker, Kung Fu, or the Smothers Brothers do not at present - i Hl l Commonweal welcomes letters on [ subjects treated in its pages...
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...This appears as follows: '~'he moral argument against abortion is based on the premise that there is a victim--a tiny, helpless, innocent human being whose very life is being taken for the convenience of others...
...To the Editors: As an Anglican Catholic opposed to abo~on, I have been persuaded that the case Against the legalizing of this crime would best be furthered, not by the invoking of magisterial pronouncements, but a careful examination of the legal and philosophical dimensions of the question...
...In a few passages, rather apologetical in tone, Sheed argues too fundamentalistically from the Bible...
...Roland Murphy, Barnabas M. Ahem, Robert KarHs...
...Trinkaus are provocative...
...how the symbolic materials of the show are shoddy, or genuine, or complex, or stereotyped...
...and send one to Pres...
...Fifty-seven percent of all black women workers-Aowest paid on all scales---are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act...
...In the last year this country has sold about $5 billion in arms to Persian Gulf states, particularly to those two traditional rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia, but in legser amounts to Kuwait and Oman...
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...Few Scripture scholars today would speak so confidently about the historicity and interpretation of the words of Jesus as given in the Synoptic account of the Last Supper and in John's discourse on the "bread of life...
...Because the state deems him unworthy doesn't mean that the issue is closed...
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...Trinkaus is quoted followed by the criticism of "begging the question...
...Every moral issue these days seems to be relegated to a penumbra where the issue tends to languish and no one seems obligated to stand firmly on a point of view, particularly if it is a bit uncomfortable...
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...This raises the second basic error of equating realization of a Constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion to the working of some collective Catholic demagoguery...
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...He tells a rather typical story about how, when asked to speak on '1"he Church in the Underdeveloped Countries," at the Bombay Eucharistic Congress, he used the occasion to describe Catholicism in the "spiritually underdeveloped" countries of Australia, England and America...
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...In some cases his reporting of Vatican II is oversimplified...
...Abigail McCarthy, Commonweal, May 24, 1974 Send ]or a Trial Subsedpgon...
...In establishing laws society does not inquire into the freedom of conscience of the murderer nor the runner of red lights on the extremes, nor should it...
...from ununited egg and sperm cells...
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...The good television critic, perhaps, would be able to put into words, and to articulate perceptions, that a great many viewers could be led to share...
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...Genetically speaking, humanity, like life, is continuous: the sperm and ovum are human gametes...
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...ENCE Abortion Debate San Antonio, Texas To the Editors: Father Decker's article on abortion [Feb...
...This episcopal party wrongfully pro...
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...we train the locals in their use: the Defeme Department has nearly $700 million in contracts to train military personnel in the Persian Gulf area...
...Works the tatter comment on may be works experienced by a few, subjected to criticism by even fewer...
...1974...
...It is unfortunate when there is doubt as to the exact time, that rather than protect the life of that that has the potentiality of becoming the human person, we allow it to be destroyed...
...ez (Abortion: The Myths, the Realities, and the Arguments) gives them in abundance, from valid sources...
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...For instance, he states that to find any parallel for the Council's statement that "the study of the sacred writings is the soul of sacred theology" one would have to go back almost to the time of Jerome...
...HUBER University of Pittsburgh Clinton, N.Y...
...Is justice supposed to he so blind that Father Decker can ignore the same biological facts the Court ignored...
...Revelation, for Sheed, is primarily a matter of providing the believer with a "map of life...
...LESTEIt mNSOLVmG "Immeasurably" different...
...Drew University) TIfEOLOIgV TheFourth Gospel Brendan McGrath, OSB, S.T.D...
...Self-Help IN A SEVERE drought in Sold'hem India, a Sales|an has set up a community center: a haadicraft section giving Tobs to SO poor girls, a sewing end needle work school, expansion of dairy and pig-and poultry-reisln 9. Needed funds should be sent to: Ray...
...In spite of his words of praise for the social encyclicals of John XXIII and Paul VI, his dominant thought would seem to be that no skill in sociology can make a good society out of bad men...
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...The magisterium occupies that position of prophecy or the word, Catholic, is disemboweled...
...A prophet is one sent by God to speak for Him not only about the future but also about the past and the present...
...The dramatic range of television is at present severely constricted...
...Classified payable with order...
...Scientiticially, the life of a human being begins at fertilization...
...Raymond Decker's article relative to abortion with disbelief and disillusionment...
...Catholic commtmity" (99 and 44/100 percent pare laity) what properly applies to the "episcopal party...
...At fertilization there is formed a new and unique individual that will never be anything but alive or anyt~g but human until it dies...
...is supplying the Shah of Iran, who makes no bones about his desirv to Commonweal: 35 teaching of Humanae Vitae, though he regards the rhetoric of that encyclical as unpersuasive...
...Sheed's judgments on Hfigel and Loisy strike me as excessively harsh, since he seems to accuse them of insincerity and deception...
...TUOMAS E. CRONIN is the author of the forthcoming The State o/ the Presidency (Little-Brown...
...Repeatedly, clearly, and with the utmost seriousness the magisterium has spoken all over the world against the legalization of abortion by civil governments...
...REV...
...Then might he trade the Latinate "destruction of the fetus" for the phrase Wulfstan used a thousand years ago: child-murder...
...both alive and human, and since conEDWARD C. FREILINO traception destroys their possibility of President, Scientists for Life becoming a human being nine or so months after conception, I am unable Washington, D.C...
...deed having aborted the National Pus...
...sv...
...And in Christian Than Its Critics" refers to a connection with this statement, I recall "Catholic" anti-abortion stance, but the the testimony in Sacramento of one of pro-life movement includes Jews and Struggle for Justice THERE ARE NEARLY forty million women in the labor force and most of them work because of economic need...
...Adult vocations...
...This universe includes, for example, all similar critics who have written in the area...
...ture of the generation before Vatican II...
...21100 30r oooooeooooooooooooeooo oooooooooeo 1110 Fellomhip o( Reconcililtion Bo0(271, Nyack, New York l__n~o__ 1:31=18...
...To the Editors: Reflecting on Father Decker's article, I am reminded strongly of Our Lord's succinct observation, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house" (Matt...
...The pair ~or $3...
...While Dr...
...I believe Father Decker would agree from the position he took in his debate...
...In the present eddy of diverse ecclesiologies, it is difficult to be critical of Sheed's...
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...Catholic community...
...Rather free conscience must be balanced against requirements for an ordered society...
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...Private entrepreneurs in the kill business are in a highly competitive endeavor...
...Kathivakkam Social Welfare Center, Ennore, Madras 6000S7, South India (Airmail 26c...
...Hayim Greenberg, Daniel Jeremy Silver, Milton Steinberg, Max Lerner, Leo Jung, Jacob Neusner, Morris Adler, Eugene J. Lipman...
...Iran and Saudi Arabia are not direct participants in the Israeli-Arab confrontation, but is there any real guarantee that our arms shipments will not find their way to other Arab countries and thus further exacerbate a situation we are trying to calm...
...nity as "the Catholic party" knowing it lacks laity support in this issue...
...Yet Father Decker dismisses their words and condemns the response of the rest of us who follow them as "myopic," "strident," "reprehensible" and even "less Christian" than the Supreme Court itself.* It is sad to read his repetition of the weary canard that we Catholics are imposing sectarian morality on a free society...
...These statements are no more matters of opinion than any other science has to offer...
...The critic of serious books and serious movies can assume that he or she is enga~ng in an activity that will appeal to a "discriminatiing" audience...
...In this book he appears as what he has been for fifty years--a sensible, articulate and dedicated lay apostle...
...civic tradition, this party has no machinery for consulting the "U.S...
...June through August...
...Sheed's view of the Church, which permeates this volume, stands in the tradition of the "Mystical Body" litera...
...ROGER D. MOORE, M,D...
...Such language begs the question in a disgraceful manner...
...The sperm and ovum are living links between the lives of the parents and that of the child...
...As might be expected, much of the disagreement is a matter of semantics...
...I should hope their writings would receive wider distribution so as to stimulate much needed discussion on the position they have presented respectfully...
...how certain effects were attained...
...Write for llst of tapes on phTlosophy reilgion psychology, healt'1, others...
...By confusing the Court's "Critics," Father Decker unwittingly helps perpetuate the deliberate and false myth that the episcopal party represents "the U.S...
...The Court's decision doomed thousands of unborn babies to be forever denied that fight--or any rights...
...7) A critic of television must locate himself psychologically, then, in a somewhat different position from the critic of movies or of books...
...Ordinarily "human being" means a living human individual...
...FATHER AVERY DULLES, S.J...
...how to compare them with other effects in other shows in other places...
...Its definition can be ap- bating Walter Trinkhaus, a perfectly proached in either of two ways...
...And how sad for those who love their country that the United Statu hag become the preeminent contender for the title of world champion death merchant, followed only by that other superpower, the USSR...
...Whereas the television critic must match himself or herself against the skills and perceptions of millions...
...Personally I would have liked to see more attention given to the Church as a mystery of grace and as a sacrament of encounter with Christ...
...3S THE PLACE OF PRAYER: John Garvey SG THE POWER AND THE PRESIDENCY Thomas E. Cronin $4 BOOKS: Robert Phillips, Avery Dulles SS JAMES O'GARA: Editor JOHN DEEDY: Maaag/ef |d/for RAYMOND A. SCHROTH: Associate Editor ANNE M. ROelERTSON: |d/fer/4d Ass/4teat COLIN L. WESTERBECK, JR.: Movies JOHN FANDEL: Paatrf BRIAN WICKER: Great Britain ALAIN WOODROW: I~lris HENRY TEN KORTENAAR: Rome JOHN COONEY: Didm/lu EDWARD S. SKILLIN: Publisher JOHN BRUBAKER: Advertising MaNlier Staff: MILDRED COOK, LINDA P. KAYLER, PAMELA J. WALSH COMMONWEAL A review of Public Affairs, Literature and the Arts Second class postage paid at New York, N.Y...
...Our Lord called Himself a prophet in that meaning and it applies to those whom He would send to speak for Him...
...then the artists or writers who practice the arts...
...It is ten years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, specifically prohibiting discrimination on the basis ot sex in all aspects of employment...
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...ple can insist on a subjective definition, I am disappointed, however, to see and here lies the danger...
...For me the above harkened back to Rev...
...But peo- more charming than cunning...
...To the Editors: Two years after our US Supreme Court ruled on abortion [Jan...
...But the sperm and ovum are not genetically complete individuals...
...sents itself to the wider civic comae...
...glad to send a copy of the final version Since the sperm and the ovum are to anyone who requests it...
...The unborn child, no matter where he is in that exciting, creative nine months before he is seen, is a citizen as valuable as any other citizen, and a creature greatly in need of as much justice as society can provide for him...
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...The sacraments he views as means of supernatural life, and the Eucharist, in particular, as spiritual food...
...Seminar credit possiblefrom Iltff School of Theology...
...Unkindest cut of all is the quotation marks: we in our little ghetto are supposed to understand that pro-life is not a real conviction, only a product of early conditioning...
...Trinkhaus contends that a fertil- tion to baptize an "unborn child" ized ova is "immeasurably different" exists "only if you' can find it...
...PAUL Jr...
...everyone by testifying that the obligaMr...
...dangerous decision...
...For the difference in Pittsburgh, Pa...
...Many governments have attempted this tactic, and we don't need to get into that, although recent European history is a gruesome teacher...
...If someone speaks of a life that begins at viability, birth, etc., they are speaking of some other kind of life, and should say what kind that is...
...For box numbers add 50c per insertion...
...Classes taught in English...
...54C, seven times...
...it is an absolute joy and an inspiring experience to read...
...Biological life may end, but does not begin, because it is continuous...
...And until the passage of the minimum wage law this year the median wage of full-time, year-round household workers was less than $2,000...
...Fund Raising I~OPE PAUL COMMEMORATIVE MEDAL honoring Papal peace visit to U.N...
...They too, after all, have gone through the experience of the works in question, and have their memories as viewers to hold as a check against what the critic is saying...
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...to agree with the Trinkhaus statement To the Editors: Many thanks for the that there is no living victim...
...SiS a year...
...To make matters worse, amounts to the degradation of a black they combined it with criteria like "per- human being to the level of an embryo...
...these microscopic entities can hardly be To the Editors: Father Decker's "More measured with the naked eye...
...The Supreme Court took For this rather desperate stratagem this approach...
...I beLng published...
...Father Decker's elegant logic might well suffer were he to think of his own fight to life as depending upon the conscience of a threatened person stronger than he, or were he to scrutinize some killed unborn babies...
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...Some idea of the scope of the problem can be seen in the proportionate amounts of Defense Department dollars involved: the contracts with Iran and Saudi Arabia for technical assistance and training amount to $676 million, according to the N.Y...
...CHARLES A. SCHMIDT Arlington, Va...
...But Margaret Sanger, like my father, were Language of Faith A Selection from the Most Expressive Jewish Prayers Gathered and Edited by Nahum N, Glatzer $4.95 hardcover Principles and Precepts of the Return to the Obvious LANZA del VASTO "From others you can learn all sorts of knowledge, but the obvious is what you can learn only by yourself...
...A subjective this skilled attorney (and as I recall definition is subject to manipulation, clean-up hitter in the California antiand eventually gets down to the point abortion line up) compare Roe v. Wade that a person is whatever I (we/society/ and Doe v. Bolton to the Dred Scott the Supreme Court/the power struc-Decision...
...This is the first of a regular column on books on religion that he will write for Common...
...Indlviduels, families, Write for session details to: Executive Director, RING LAKE RANCH, Dubo~, Wyoming B2SI3...
...As to the question of when life begins, Webster gives 21 different definitions of life...
...Scientifically, Roe v. Wade is replete with error...
...Or, am I to abjure the Faith to he an effective pro-life spokesperson...
...Biology and everyday experience teach us that life is to be understood in continuity with life...
...SACRED SCRIPTURE...
...At the same time, Mr...
...Are Catholic Americans to be mute and so disenfranchised as citizens . . . when they speak up for the inviolability of human life...
...Decker's is a wonderful and fertile statement...
...PATRICK HENRY REARDON Fredericksburg, Va...
...Chestnut H|IJ, Mass...
...JOAN It...
...and then their relatively select audience...
...He is able, as few others are, to span the abyss that separates the complacent, static pre-concillar Church from the turbulent Church of our own day...
...E. Courtney Murray yet lives...
...11021, Workshop, LONERGAN WORKSHOP, Boston College, June 1620+ Key participants: Flanagan, Going, Lamb, McShane, Tracy, TyrrelJ, Vanasse, Yertin...
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...To the Editors: Please let me help to clarify the issues in the Decker-Trinkaus abortion debate...
...Trinkaus' use of an analogy with the Dred Scott issue was marked by a compelling logic, Father Decker's remarks were based entirely on an understanding of Vatican II which would both surprise and shock the bishops who gathered at that Council...
...We not only sell arms...
...Proabortion people don't argue about fetal life...
...Ford, the Ambassador to Saig0n and to Congressman Andrew Young...
...A few statements in the book seem questionable...
...Frank Sheed would make no pretense to being a creative thinker or a literary giant...
...The One, the Only, the Simple are the name, the number and the form of the obvious," $4.95 hardcover Jewish Reflections on Death Edited by Jack Riemer/Introduction by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Contributors include: Etie Wiesel, Hans J. Morgenthau, Abraham J. HescheL Joseph B, Soloveitchik...
...Institutes BIBLICAL INSTITUTE, Trinity College, Burlington, Vermont 05401, June 15-20...
...JAMES P. RILEY Weston, Mass...
...He is open to the idea of a married clergy, at least if the celibate clergy cannot be maintained, and argues persuasively for a more benign treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics in the Church...
...Panels Workshops, Lonergen dialogs, pastoral workshop with Vanasse, two lectures by Lonergan...
...I should hope that Father Decker is doing everything he possibly can to assist in reaching a consensus among those trained in medicine, philosophy and theology to determine when the life of the human begins...
...Seventh Annual Institute...
...ern Churchl Hosannah...
...When scientists speak of life they mean biological life...
...7.95 hardcover --Harold Kushner, author of When Your Chi/dren Ask About God ~ SCHOCKEN BOOKS INC., 200 Madison Avenue, New York 10016 Commonweal: 61 being charged with "the deadly sin of Mr...
...They are merely trying to save the lives of fellow citizens, their neighbors if you will...
...Vatican Council II, in its most wild interpretation, does not advocate a hohum attitude toward abortion...
...This is simply the (Continued on page 59) NEWS & VIEWS: 34 CORRESPONDENCi~: 85 EDITORIALS: 35 WASHINGTON REPORT: Nose Comes the Winter of . . .: SLryphus 3T UNIONIZING TRE EHITOIL~: Brian Wicker 38 TOWARD TELEVISION CRITICISM: Michael Novak 40 A BRITISH EYE'S VIE1W: Rosemary Haughton 41 MARCO'---SOPHISTICATED DICTATOR: Daniel B. 5chirmer 44 POLITICS, LABOR AND GEORGE MEANy: Joe Hill 47 NEW PRAL~E IN CHINA: John Sharkey 40 VERSE: Ernest Kroll 43 PRESS: UNMASKNG TRE CIA: Thomas Powers SO THE SCREEN: Colin L. Westerbeck, Jr...
...Deadline: May 1, 1975 Order quantities for your school, church or community group: $2011,000...
...To the Editors: I wish to commend you for the written debate and rebuttals, "The abortion decision: two years later" which appeared in the February 15, 1975 issue...
...Times, as compared with $51 million for 32 other countries around the world...
...Indeed it is...
...lillllllll I II Virtually all a critic's moves could be followed by a very large audience, so that they could learn to see in a more perfect way...
...M. A. Augustine, S.D.B., S.J...
...Letters [ o/not more than 250 or 300 words ]naturally have a better chance o/ coincide with a rise in status, of the sort that Pauline Kael or Stanley Kauffmann or Edmund Wilson-have attained in other symbolic fields...
...I prefer a full-year subs:fiption at $15...
...14] shows an overall perversity of legal, social and political understanding, but there are two outstanding basic misconceptions...
...The word human also means different things to different people, but scientifically it is determined by genetic constitution...
...But at the reasoned and yet thoroughly provoca- same time I am relieved to note the tive debate on abortion...
...Additional courses are available through the Institute of Pastoral Studies...
...August 3-8...
...It remains to be seen what enforcement will mean for them...
...Rays...
...18612...
...The functions of the Church, Sheed maintains, are "to do the work for which Christ founded her--teaching doctrine and morals, giving us Mass and sacraments...
...Properly to distinguish between these two parties and between civic and religious ideologies and their histories is critical to the adequate definition of the problem central to revitalizing the West...
...Even ardent abortion advocate Garrett Hardin now admits this (see Psychology Today, Nov...
...07444...
...Yet perhaps for a time we should examine prime time television on its own terms, measuring with more accurate appreciation what it in fact does, without rushing on to compare it to what it does not (or cannot) do...
...re-natal life is denigrated as a "piece of tissue," "a woman's mistake," or "vegetating unborn matter...
...October 1965...
...mmcl...
...weal...
...University of Ottawa) at LoyolaWestern andEasternMysticism G. Justin O'Brien, Ph.D...
...tara1 Council (another mandate of Vatican II), so congenial to U.S...
...Objec- delightful person, whose absolutely tively, a person is a living human be- astounding beliefs are usually advanced ing, regardless of state of perfection, with such consummate skill as to be development or organization...
...portant task, but he is also in some ways a guardian of the symbolic materials that enter into the nation's psyche every day...
...These books may be borrowed free of charge by visually impaired persons in the U.S...
...T~nkhaus' cohorts, the distinOnanism" or "race suicide" by leaders guished director of Cardinal McIntyre's of the stature of the late Patrick Cardi- seminary in Camarillo, who relieved nal Hayes of New York...
...It is legitimate to compare the deliverances of television to those of cinema and of books...
...Women's groups point out that, even in the recent actions brought against the steel and telephone companies enforcing equal opportunities for women and minorities the government settled for only token back pay for the women who had experienced discrimination...
...Twelve words mlntmum...
...312-27r IIIIIIII glllll III Illllll I IIlllllllII I Commonweal: 63...
...Science has nothing to say about the I do remember the enjoyment in deword person...
...First, regarding the essential concept of freedom, Father Decker suggests that maintenance of free conscience is the only criterion of freedom...
...The point of television criticism may not be to find in shows materials that no one else in the world could see except the privileged critic and a few of his peers...
...sons in the whole sense" and "capabil- This tortuous concept, at the heart of ity of meaningful life" so that even the so-called right-to-life movement, is pro-abortion Yale law professor John the attempt to equate a miscarriage (an Hart Ely calls Roe v. Wade a bad de- abortion which is not induced) with the cision, a frightening decision, and a victim of, say terminal meningitis...
...But most disturbing of all is that the poorest of the poor are women workers...
...distinct change from those days not so I do not believe I have had the very long ago in which backers of pleasure of meeting Father Decker...
...It owes much to Karl Adam and Edward Leen---two theologians who, as Sheed points out, lay under a cloud of suspicion in their own lifetime...
...weal, June 30, 1967...
...Responsible anti-abortion groups in this counI1 April 1975:62 try are not trying to enforce a brand of politics or a religion on the people in general...
...Quite the opposite...
...tags...
...I will agree, in part...
...HARRINGTON, COL...
...US and Canada...
...Nowhere in his article does Father Decker give recognition to this primary fact in the appraisal of the Roe-Wade Decision...
...But some kind of earthy humanity suggests that freedom of conscience is useless unless you are alive to exercise it...
...but his or her return must always be to a medium shared by all...
...Our national arms trade has tentacles around the globe, but a good example of its mode of operation and its perils is currently provided in our dealings with the nations of the Persian Gulf...
...rl I'd like to know more about the F.O.R...
...But Father Decker appears to juxtapose the historical sequence and interaction between civic and religious traditions and ideologies, although that history reinforces his main thesis...
...DR, JOSEPH T. SKEHAN President, National Association of Laity Nashotah, Wise...
...To the Editors: I read Fr...
...If the law is an amoral chess game, then Father Decker's statements are incontrovertible...
...Television presents, by contrast, something like a Protestant reformation in fields of criticism: everyone his own experience...
...MURPHY, $.J', Bloomington, PA...
...S/ogle copies t0c 000000000000000000 REGIONAL ARMS RACE "Merchants of Death" is what they used to call the world's arms suppliers---a somewhat melodramatic term, perhaps, but painfully accuratz...
...May I say that such a persuasion is II Apdl 1975:60 strengthened in me by the recent treatment of abortion in Commonweal...
...The critic might help them to see what is working, and why...
...In Father Decker's rebuttal Prof...
...they argue about quality of life...
...He is apparently unaware that this sentence in the Constitution on Revelation is a quotation from Leo XIII and Benedict XV, and that it expresses a commonplace of medieval scholasticism...
...For example, he attempts to prove the Real Presence from "the plain meaning of the words uttered by Jesus within hours of his death on a matter which he had already declared to be a matter of life and death...
...City, State, Zip...
...University of Nijmegen) ot Christ in Contemporary Thought Mary Peter McGinty, CSJ, Ph.D...
...Address...
...Gregorian University...
...ture) say it is...

Vol. 102 • April 1975 • No. 2


 
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