I'd like to see the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops become more proactive, not reactive, in their response to the problem of abortion. Denying communion to politicians is a knee-jerk reaction to those who are pro-choice ("Catholic bishops advance political communion plan," June 19). A proactive approach, in order to make abortion the least desirable method of birth control, would be to support mothers and their infants born into poverty and homelessness and who make the desperate choice to abort because they see no other way.
Another proactive approach would be to advocate for and provide sexual education for young people and open the door to easier access to contraceptives. Yes, a unique approach for the Catholic Church, for sure! But the church is sure not helping to reduce the number of abortions performed in the U.S. by denying communion to President Joe Biden! It's only adding to the list of reasons why people are leaving the Catholic Church.
Mary Lu Jackson, Bloomington
I like to think of myself as a faithful Catholic, although, to be fair, my faithfulness is selective. I lean on the teachings of Jesus, which skewed heavily to the poor, and he spoke often of love (about 200 times in the New Testament). On my way to mass this weekend, I found myself raging about the group of bishops who decided that their priority was to deny communion to Catholic leaders who do not follow Catholic doctrine. Notably, the focus seems to be on Biden and his support of abortion.
I do not agree with this recommendation. However, if it does become final word, I'd like to make sure it is extended to any Catholic leader who does not follow Catholic doctrine, including supporters of the death penalty. According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic social teaching also calls Catholics to protect human rights, put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first, protect the rights of workers to fair wages and to join unions, and care for the earth.
Come to think of it, the recommendation should apply to all Catholics, making it time for me to consider whether I can rightfully receive communion. Before I decide that, I will take direction from Pope Francis who stated that "the Eucharist ... isnot a prize for theperfect but a powerful medicineandnourishment for the weak." Maybe I'll receive communion after all.
Patty Schmitz, Minneapolis
I am learning that U.S. Catholic bishops are demanding that church members follow church doctrine in their roles as government officials. The topic in the paper was that church members must support legislation banning abortion. Does the church also seek to reinstate laws making sex with someone of the same gender a crime?
Dianne Bjornson Damer, St. Paul
As a devout Catholic, I was absolutely embarrassed and disgusted after reading that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have decided to flout a warning from the Vatican and determine whether or not Biden (and other Catholic politicians) should receive the holy sacrament of communion. 168 of them voted in favor. All because of his political stance on abortion.
Separation of church and state — which is common knowledge — has been written about and paraphrased a few times in American history. It's interpreted as the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution and found in a letter President Thomas Jefferson wrote to Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.
These U.S. Catholic bishops, with this knowledge in hand, dogmatically move forward to prevent the president and others from receiving the eucharist. Shame on them. Why aren't these bishops being leaders and doing more constructive work, like investigating cases of priests who sexually assault and prey on others of their flocks and reprimanding them? Instead, this will open the door to who can and cannot receive the eucharist. What does this mean for all Catholics? Will we be denied any other holy sacraments? As far as I am concerned, these 168 U.S. Catholic bishops who voted in favor of rebuking the eucharist have no credibility with me and have proven they're incapable of being the leaders the Catholic Church needs.
Zach Doyle, Savage
The term no longer applies
There seems to be some confusion about the term "birthing person" — it is used to describe someone in the act of giving birth ("Stop telling us what to call ourselves," Readers Write, June 21). There are many mothers who have never given birth, and many people who have given birth never become mothers. About a year ago I was a birthing person. Now I am a mom.
Hillis Byrnes, Minneapolis
To paraphrase Orwell, they ratchet down the language to squeeze the life out of your mind.
President Joe Biden has become the puppet of the abortion industry, and in endorsing the term "birthing person" as the official first step in having the government ratchet down the language of the American people, he furthers that cause.
The abortion industry must be delighted to see its wedge in dividing the mothers who take joy in sharing the heartbeat, giving birth to, loving and mothering their children — and those who terminate the unborn.
If the industry attempts to make this trend succeed, it can attempt to squeeze the life out of all who value motherhood, including those who consider the womb the most sacred place in the world.
Gene Floersch, Richfield
I wish to counter recent letters whining about a mother being called a "birthing person." I am a mother both by adoption and by birth, and I cannot tell you the number of times my adopted daughter was asked, "Do you know who your real mother is?" Those questioners want to know about the birthing person.
To me, a mother is a person who squeezes every single bit of love they have into raising their child. A mother is a person who hugs, feeds, scolds, kisses owies, schedules playdates and consoles a child when that child is sick or hurting. A mother cancels a three-day weekend with friends so that their child can go on the school ski trip. A mother puts a jacket on her child because she herself is cold. If you ask a teenager, a mother is a person who embarrasses them just by being somewhere in the vicinity.
Mothers are created through adoption, stepparenting, fostering, birth ... I'm sure you can think of others. Many, like I, are both a birthing person and a mother. But a birthing person is different than a mother.
Let me posit that being a mother is something that must be earned.
Shary Kempainen, Mendota Heights
SUPREME COURT CASE
Not really about freedom
The case Fulton v. City of Philadelphia is supposed to be about religious freedom ("Court deals ominous blow to LGBTQ equality" and "Court shows law stands outside culture wars," Opinion Exchange, June 21). When Catholic Social Services announced that it would not accept same-sex couples as foster parents, Philadelphia stopped referring children to the agency. Catholic Social Services asked the courts for exemptions both to Philadelphia's anti-discrimination law and to the clause of the contract it had signed in which it explicitly promised not to discriminate. Catholic Social Services was not suing to protect its religious freedom but for the privilege to ignore anti-discrimination laws.
The Supreme Court on June 17 ruled in favor of Catholic Social Services. Religious privilege has triumphed. In similar circumstances, if a white-supremacist church refuses to provide government-funded benefits to other races, where will there be a difference?
George Francis Kane, St. Paul