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While on campus recently, I expressed my support of the Holy
program to a midshipman and promised to follow through. It
isn’t the first time that the ROTC program has been challenged,
and it has prevailed as it should.
The program provides a unique opportunity to serve God and
country in which one takes tremendous pride. The faculty should
gallantly stand behind the program. I had a military career
in the U.S. Coast Guard prior to enrolling at Holy Cross and
in the U.S. Army Reserve for a total of 29 years—the
latter while engaged in a teaching career. The morals and ethics
found in a Holy Cross education have served me well in my professional
and military careers.
The leadership training of a future
decision-making officer in a Holy Cross-sponsored curriculum
will serve the nation well. I urge other graduates who have
retired from the military—and there are many—to
voice support of the NROTC program.
Retired Master Sgt. Norman J. Plourde, USA, ’62
Thank you for addressing a problem that is all too with us
today—eating disorders in young women and, yes, even
young men. In 1982, when I was a sophomore at Holy Cross, I
was too ashamed to tell anyone about my problem. When I did
open up to a counselor, there was no follow-up or support group
to refer me to. It was as if
my problem, like me, didn’t exist. I know others must
have suffered quietly as I did.
Being different at Holy Cross
isn’t easy. I am glad to see the campus becoming more
tolerant and more compassionate. Thank you for the article.
I think a topic of this magnitude deserves a series of articles
or at least a follow-up.
Julie Zier ’84
Glenn Rock, N.J.
Your note on Lester Sheary (2003 inductees into New England
Basketball Hall of Fame) states that, “The team went
to the NCAA tournament and made one appearance in the NIT.” Why
not mention that the team won the NCAA in 1948 and the NIT
in 1954? Both were obviously very significant accomplishments
and not merely “appearances” as the note suggests.
John Halleron ’60
Abortion and Humanae Vitae
This is a comment on the letter (HCM, fall 2003) of Donald
P. Feeney, M.D., ’52 who clearly has great credentials
to comment on issues of abortion. I credit him, too, because
his recitation of his career changes in medicine seems to
have been made to avoid association with the abysmal practice
Dr. Feeney deplores elective abortion (medically unnecessary),
calling it “a failure of humans to accept the responsibility
of bringing a new life into the world” (perhaps overlooking
the fact that an abortion actually ends a life already brought
into the world, though still in the womb). Nevertheless he
does, admirably, deplore it. So I agree with him up to that
I disagree with what followed. He took the position that
the way to halt the holocaust is to teach the arts of contraception.
He shares this answer with the pro-choice movement and its
He steps across another line and deplores the encyclical
of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, in which Paul disapproved
as the solution to the problem faced by married couples who,
in extreme cases, would find another birth intolerable, or
perhaps merely acutely inconvenient. Dr. Feeney asserts that
this cost the Church great loss of support by its members,
especially “young educated Catholic men and women.” (Only
the uneducated young and old Catholics agree with Popes?
You have to have an education to disagree with a Pope?)
There is, however, a body of thought among many educated
Catholics that Paul VI gave the right answer. They point
out that contraception,
especially by use of the Pill, separates the pleasures of
sex from its former ties with responsibility for the production
of children. Or it seems to do so, especially to young people
with raging hormones and faced with the opportunity. As proof
of this one can cite the great sexual revolution that came
soon after the Pill. It was a reappearance of 19th-century
free love. Of course it also seemed a suitable answer to
anxiety of married people who would have been inconvenienced,
perhaps terribly so; and also to have been a relief to priests
in the confessionals who wanted to help young mothers under
duress. Indeed such relief is hard to resist by even the
best of us.
But what is it that has resulted in the holocaust of more
than 40 million abortions since Roe vs. Wade? Was it all
women who made the choices? I propose that it was principally
unmarried pregnant women and girls.
What would have happened if the Church, especially the laity,
had overwhelmingly accepted Humanae Vitae? One cannot be
certain about a “what if” outcome, but perhaps
the Church would have become a rallying point for those millions
and are repelled by the holocaust of babies.
Without the Pill there probably would not have been the sexual
revolution that has inundated the nation, even, according
to the head of the Holy Cross Chaplains’ office, the
campus on Pakachoag.
Anyway, how effective are the arts of contraception? The
Pill does not always work. Condoms, for example, are about
effective. The odds are high that these arts will fail to
prevent conception among dedicated sexual athletes of the
engendered by the Pill. Even 98 percent effective contraception
produces thousands of pregnancies among millions of people!
So Dr. Feeney’s hope of preventing pregnancies and,
therefore, avoiding elective abortions that he deplores are
to be fulfilled.
This knotty problem calls to mind the aphorism of famed Anglican
C.S. Lewis: “The hardness of God is kinder than the softness
of man and His strictures are our salvation.” I see
him in afterlife meeting Paul VI and commending him. I pray
Edward Kirby ’49