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July 6, 1996
(St. Thomas More martyred, 1535)

Mr. Paul Furiga, Editor
Pittsburgh Business Times
2313 East Carson Street #200
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Dear Mr. Furiga:

Thank you again for your phone call (Tuesday, July 2) and your decision to run my June 29 letter in your paper ( July 8-14).

You demurred to the accusation that John Berger's June 17-23 "Editorial Notebook" is blasphemous. I believe you are mistaken.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches the following with regard to blasphemy:

Blasphemy is directly opposed to the second commandment. It consists in uttering against God--inwardly or outwardly--words of hatred, reproach, or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect toward him in one's speech; in misusing God's name. St. James condemns those "who blaspheme that honorable name [of Jesus] by which you are called." The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ's Church, the saints, and sacred things. It is also blasphemous to make use of God's name to cover up criminal practices, to reduce peoples to servitude, to torture persons or put them to death. The misuse of God's name to commit a crime can provoke others to repudiate religion. Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. It is in itself a grave sin. (CCC #2148; emphasis added)
Moreover, the appeal to "humorous" intent is no defense, as the Catechism teaches:
It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it. (CCC #1756; emphasis added)
As I mentioned on the phone, I am enclosing a brief Internet posting of which I was reminded quite forcefully by Berger's "Editorial Notebook." If you will be kind enough to read it, could you answer two questions for me? You would say the intentions were different. But I say, if the result is the same--mockery of the sacred--what matter if the intentions differ?

Besides, as I was taught, the burden is on the writer to make himself understood, not on the reader to make himself understand.

And I say again, I demand an apology.


Mr. Lane Core Jr.


[For the web version of this letter, I have omitted the enclosure of a foul anti-Catholic screed posted to talk.religion.misc in November 1995: it's author and contents deserve no WWW publicity from me.]

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