Arthur Saginian | Are You a ‘Good Catholic’?

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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Bill Ryan takes Joshua Heath to task (letters, July 30) for claiming to be a Catholic but supporting the right for a woman to terminate her pregnancy through abortion, and justifiably so. I myself was once a Catholic. Twelve years of parochial schools, first through 12th grades. I was baptized, got my first holy communion, and finally confirmation. The stern Irish nuns of the Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Hollywood beat me senseless for my “willfulness” and the Dominican brothers who ran the now-defunct Daniel Murphy High School in Los Angeles educated me on how to design and operate a formal Inquisition. Those were fabulous times that left long and lasting memories. 

I am no longer a Catholic, but an apostate. I could not see how anyone claiming to represent an all-merciful, loving and forgiving God could treat children (or anyone) with such cruelty, or as Cardinal Strauss stated in Dan Brown’s novel, “Angels and Demons,” “Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed.” So I rejected churches and religions, but held onto the Bible (it’s a “good read”) and went my own way. But more to Bill Ryan, Joshua Heath and what the Catholic Catechism has to say about abortion and faith:

Doctrine No. 2270 of the Catechism is quite clear: Human life begins at the moment of conception and intentionally ending that life is a “moral evil” and an “abominable crime.” That’s it, end of discussion. If you’re a devout, practicing Catholic, those are the terms, American citizenship notwithstanding. Now, Mr. Heath may attempt some defense of his position by invoking Jesus’ statement, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s,” but as an attorney I would object and I think the judge would sustain my objection. But that’s not the point.

The point is that the Catholic Church has its dogmas and its doctrines and you either follow them or you don’t. That’s what makes a “good Catholic,” which Mr. Heath by his own admission is not. 

Now, may I be so bold as to whip out another doctrine from the Catechism that might make Mr. Heath’s head spin. 

Doctrine No. 2125 under the heading of Atheism states, “Believers can have more than a little to do with the rise of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their instruction in the faith, or present its teachings falsely, or even fail in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than to reveal the true nature of God and religion.” 

Which goes back to Bill Ryan’s final statement regarding our purpose to “know, love, and serve the will of God.” How can that even be accomplished by a finite species such as humans trying to comprehend an infinite concept such as God? I don’t think it’s possible. In the final analysis you can believe whatever you want to believe, whether or not it makes those things real, but if you’re going to go about making claims the least you can do is live by those claims lock, stock and barrel, lest your actions inadvertently create people like me. 

Arthur Saginian

Santa Clarita

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