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A Keeper

Thank you for Fr. Paul Scalia’s excellent article, “The Church Militant or the Church Belligerent?” When the magazine arrived, I jumped first to that essay, hooked by the title, and then read the editor’s note opining that the piece was “the most important piece of writing we will publish this year.” I agree.

I plan to keep it around to re-read occasionally when I am disheartened and also to remind myself not to get caught up in pettiness and meanness in the pursuit or defense of an ideal.

Thanks—we subscribed to This Rock by happenstance and are so happy we did.

— Valerie Schmalz
San Francisco, California


After reading the May/June 2007 This Rock article by Fr. Paul Scalia (“The Church Militant or the Church Belligerent?”), one can appreciate why you concluded your editorial (Reasons for Hope) for the same issue the way you did.

Any family connection of Fr. Paul with Supreme Court Justice Scalia?

An incisive mind is God’s gift to both of them.

— Fr. Robert Buholzer
Stoughton, Wisconsin

Rules for Battle


I enjoyed Fr. Scalia’s article. In my own experience there are three rules when doing battle:

1. Stand up, state the truth clearly and dispassionately; shut up and sit down.
2. Realize the only weapon the Christian possesses is the cross. It is not to be wielded against your opponent, it is to be crawled up on.
3. Live a clean life.

If you do this, the truth will do the rest. The ontological reality is that all men’s hearts were made for the truth. The truth does not belong to you; it belongs to God, so at best you are a conduit. Apologetics is merely giving a plausible defense of the faith. It has nothing to do with winning an argument or conversion of your opponent. The Holy Spirit is the Hound of Heaven: not you.

A chastened apologist,

— Lee A. Crocker
via e-mail

Too Many Books, Not Enough Time


Thanks for the articles by Christopher Check. They have been a welcome addition to This Rock and I hope that there are more to come. However, they do have a tendency to cause me to buy more books than I have time to read.

— Kevin Cary
Spokane, Washington

Ludicrous Oversight


The image of St. Joan of Arc on page 7 of your May/June 2007 issue is marred by a quite ludicrous oversight. Evidently the image is taken from a confectioner’s advert, as the French words hovering impressively over the ramparts seem to be no mystical exhortation but a bold invitation to “Pour and Compare Poulain Chocolate.”

— Richard Bernier
Montreal, Quebec

Editor’s reply: Can anything be marred by chocolate?

War and Peace


If anything ever illustrated the “Church Belligerent,” it was the spate of letters concerning the sign of peace at Mass!

— Barbara Golder
Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

Shakespeare on Henry


Thank you for the superb article about Henry VIII (April 2007).  You provided many details I had never read before. Henry’s motivation is perhaps most brilliantly expressed by Shakespeare in his Henry VIII, Act II, scene ii:

Chamberlain: It seems the marriage with his brother’s wife / Has crept too near his conscience.

Suffolk (aside): No, his conscience / Has crept too near another lady.

— Fr. Michael Moore
Hanford, California

Revisit Lepanto in Barcelona

The article by Christopher Check (“The Battle that Saved the Christian West,” March 2007) is excellent. I would add one more point, though: The command ship of Don Juan of Austria, completely restored, is on display in the Naval Museum in Barcelona, Spain, a block from the Christopher Columbus statue.

— Bro. Ed Loch, S.M.
via e-mail

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