June 21, 2021

Amid the Catholic power struggle over abortion, Biden is upholding personal rights

Steven P. Millies’ May 7 op-ed on the movement in parts of the Catholic Church…

Steven P. Millies’ May 7 op-ed on the movement in parts of the Catholic Church to withhold Communion from lay Catholics, most notably President Joe Biden, who “hold policy views that diverge from many Catholic bishops” was well-written and informative about some of the struggles within the church — especially on abortion.

Pope Francis’ statement that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” is in line with the sense of many Catholics that all of the sacraments are conduits of strength and grace, not rewards for “good behavior,” as we were once taught.

Yet his article failed to discuss a major component of the abortion controversy: the accusation that being pro-choice is the same as being pro-abortion. This logic, a key feature of anti-abortion rhetoric, is simply not true. Being pro-choice is essentially in line with a key American ideal: the right of free choice in most matters, such as what religion we will, or will not, practice.

“Pro-choice” is not just advocacy for abortion, it is an advocacy for the personal rights promised in our founding documents. If you make a judgment in conscience that abortion is morally wrong, you should have the freedom to speak out on that, to educate your children and others. But that freedom should not include the right to force a woman facing a difficult decision to act only as others personally believe. Nor does it include the right, based on an ideal of “sanctity of life,” to murder persons providing abortions.

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Joe Biden was not elected president to enforce the religious and moral beliefs of one group of citizens on all others. Among other things. he was elected to provide badly needed leadership to ensure that basic American values are respected. Otherwise, we slide into a repressive society in which the currently powerful seek to enforce, with brutality if necessary, their own views on all others.

That was the case with Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China — and the Catholic Church of the Crusades, the Inquisition and Franco’s Spain.

The Catholic hierarchy in America should rejoice in the fact that enough of our nation’s ideals are upheld that we can have a devout Catholic as president and a woman of color as vice president. The bishops should use their positions to help lead us toward a more moral and just America, a country in which diverse opinions are not only respected but treasured.

Charles Berg, Hyde Park/Kenwood

Marquette and DuSable

Regarding Laura Washington’s column on May 3 about renaming Lake Shore Drive: She stated that without DuSable, there would be no Chicago.

She surely must have known that Pere Marquette explored the area 100 years before DuSable was here and that he built a cabin in 1674 near the shore of Lake Michigan, which would then become Chicago. So DuSable was not the first non-native inhabitant, though in truth he did establish a more permanent settlement. However, because of its location, Chicago would have been settled and become the great city that it is, no matter who was first.

But if Lake Shore Drive is to be renamed after Chicago’s first settler, maybe it should be Pere Marquette Drive.

Mario Caruso, Lincoln Square

FOID infringes on gun rights

In a letter published on May 5, a reader states the FOID card does not prevent any law-abiding citizen from owning a firearm. It prevents EVERY law abiding citizen without one from ownership.

In Illinois, ownership or possession is not allowed if you don’t have a FOID card. That takes away the Second Amendment right to bear arms from a person who doesn’t have a card. The 2nd says that one’s right “shall not be infringed.” Not “allowed only with a FOID.”

Don Parish, Burbank