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Holy Cross Magazine welcomes letters regarding the magazine's content. Letters intended for publication must be signed and may be edited for style, length and clarity. Opinions expressed in the letters section do not necessarily reflect the views of the administration or the editorial staff.

Cover Fall 2003 Supporting ROTC
While on campus recently, I expressed my support of the Holy Cross NROTC
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
Sterling, Mass.


Eating Disorders
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.


Tournament Winners
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
Brightwaters, N.Y.


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 of performing abortions.

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 point.

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 apologists.

He steps across another line and deplores the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, in which Paul disapproved of contraception 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 the 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 married 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 who were 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 90 percent effective. The odds are high that these arts will fail to prevent conception among dedicated sexual athletes of the revolution 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 not likely 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 for Chris Matthews.

Edward Kirby ’49
Whitman, Mass.


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