Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Writing Effective Letters

July 24th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

I recently contacted James Likoudis because we’ve linked to his writings on multiple occasions and I’ve always been impressed by them.  He passed along a couple of letters he penned and I think they’re worth sharing for a couple of reasons:

1)  It is encouraging to know that there are faithful and knowledgeable Catholics who are actually doing something about the radical progressive agenda pushed by our diocese and our secular culture.  How many of us can say the same?  If you read this blog, get all riled up, and do nothing about it, I would suggest you spend your time doing something else.  Either take action based on legitimate righteous anger or don’t read this blog at all.  Go do something more productive like read your Bible and pray.  I’m not going to pretend that I’m capable of telling you what action to take.  There’s lots of things to be done – the small things are as important as the big.  Some of us are able to do more than others and I don’t wish to present a litmus test or anything like that.  Even if it’s only one little thing you do to work for the sake of the Gospel, it is very important.  I’m only wishing to ignite a flame under people out who do nothing at all.

2)  If the action you take involves writing letters, James Likoudis sets a good example for how to do so.

This first letter is addressed to Mr. Dennis Proust, Director of Communications, NY State Catholic Conference.

Dear Mr. Proust,

The recent approval of “same-sex marriage” by the NY State Legislature is a severe blow to all right-thinking citizens, especially Catholics who did not seek a re-definition of marriage that violates both the Natural and Revealed Law of God. Great harm has resulted to our society and especially to children who have a right to both a father and a mother. Such legislation ,moreover, will not prevent persecution of the Church by gay-inspired “Hate-speech” accusations by Catholic priests and lay people who speak out or write in defense of Catholic moral teachings.

Since I live in the Diocese of Rochester, I am writing you to note that resistance to the proposed NY State legislation in the Diocese of Rochester was practically nil. Catholics here are aware that there was no attempt by the gay-friendly Diocese of Rochester to mobilize parish priests and laity to engage in the political effort to prevent overthrow of a key principle of a humane social order. Did you, as Director of Mass Communications for the NY Catholic Conference utterly fail to bring attention to Bishop Clark and the other Bishops the absolute need to mobilize the Church in NY State to prevent apolitical atrocity from taking place? Could it be true that our Catholic bishops failed out of fear and human respect to take action to discipline pro-abortion and pro-gay politicians calling themselves Catholics from voting for the incredible re-definition of marriage? Our secular media certainly think so.


In the eyes of many Catholics seeking real leadership by their Shepherds, politically correct liberal bishops have become a plague of the Church, lacking the courage to openly confront the evil sin in our society destroying the family. An occasional Conference Statement is not enough. The Church has become a laughing stock not only to the NY Times but also to my non-Catholic friends who see our bishops compromised not only by the clerical sex abuses that have disfigured the Church, but by their issuing pusillanimous “pastoral” statements lacking vigor, clarity, and coherence regarding the salvation of souls.

“Social justice” has been the relentless mantra in our Rochester parishes. I would be grateful for your observations on why “social justice” played no role in our Bishops getting out the Catholic vote defend marriage against pro-gay Catholic legislators. I would appreciate a reply.

Sincerely yours,
James Likoudis

This next letter was published in  Elmira Star-Gazette which continues a flurry of columns supporting the homosexual agenda. The “Ganette Monopoly”, which includes Rochester’s only local paper the Democrat and Chronicle, has long favored contrary-to-nature unions.

The column by Dana Radcliffe (Star-Gazette 7/3/11) claimed that the NY Senate vote for Same-Sex marriage showed “moral leadership” on the part of Governor Cuomo and Democrat legislators promoting a social-sexual revolution on the people of NY State. What moral leadership? Was it moral leadership to fail to hold appropriately extensive public hearings and to impose a radical social-sexual revolution on the people of our state? Was it moral leadership to redefine the essential definition of marriage as that between a man and a woman that was believed by the human race from its very beginnings? Can it be moral leadership to undermine the well-being of the family structure, and to rejoice in the destructive social consequences that will inevitably follow?

One fails to observe moral leadership in “Catholic” Governor Cuomo who only once again manifests his disbelief in the teachings of the Catholic Church. He is not ignorant of the moral teaching of his Church that homosexuality is a disorder and that homosexual acts are always gravely sinful. As for the Republican legislators who retracted their pro-life position in order to favor a social experiment promoting an immoral sexual life-style, they are hardly in a position to claim “moral leadership”. They have chosen rather to ignore the will of the Creator regarding human relationships and to foster a permanent and ugly social conflict in the heart of American society.

Sincerely yours,
James Likoudis

Thank you, Mr. Likoudis, for defending Christ and the Gospel.

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10 Responses to “Writing Effective Letters”

  1. avatar Diane Harris says:

    I’ve received literature in the mail from the National Organization for Marriage, 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006 targeting Alesi in particular and quoting him from a Village Voice interview he apparently gave the day after the vote in which he said: “It’s not our job to be moral…” They analogized him to Benedict Arnold who also received cash, for betraying West Point to the British. They are revealing what was done and active in “Let the People Vote” campaign. If you are not on their mailing list, you may want to be. See http://www.LetthePeopleVote.com . The other thing not mentioned in their mailing is that voters need to make selling a vote a felony, IMO.

  2. avatar annonymouse says:

    Random thoughts –

    Ben, I think Mr. Likoudis’ first letter was essentially worthless, yet you’re holding it up as some sort of model of effectiveness. He’s writing to the NYS Conference Communications Director to complain about the lack of forcefulness on the part of the NYS Bishops, like Mr. Proust has any control over THAT! More specifically, he’s complaining about Bishop Clark and other unspecified liberal bishops as if they report to Mr. Proust. This letter might have been more effectively sent to the Metropolitan (Archbishop Dolan) or to the U.S. Papal Nuncio. Those two actually have some power. Of course, as others have noted, numerous such letters appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

    And I hope the many grammatical mistakes are the result of transcription and weren’t in the original.

    Finally, if the addressee were appropriate, it would have been an improvement of the letter to state that opposition to same-sex “marriage” IS a social-justice issue as defined by the US Conference!! There’s nothing wrong with “social justice” issues, you see, so long as we allow our magisterium to define what is meant by that term! And you probably won’t score many points with letters to bishops, conservative or liberal, by besmirching the concept of “social justice!”

  3. avatar annonymouse says:

    The second letter, on the other hand, is quite good.

  4. avatar Mike says:

    “Catholics here are aware that there was no attempt by the gay-friendly Diocese of Rochester to mobilize parish priests and laity to engage in the political effort to prevent overthrow of a key principle of a humane social order.”

    As far as I can tell, Bishop Clark’s ONLY attempt at fighting passage of the SSM law involved the re-issuance of this 7-year-old policy statement.

    I guess he didn’t want to upset Bill Pickett and the rest of the Fortunate Families crowd.

  5. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    annonymouse,
    The attitude you’ve expressed is exactly what I was getting at when I said I didn’t want a “litmus test” or anything like that. Instead of critiquing the few people who are actually doing something – get in the game. Please send me the letters you’ve written to Archbishop Dolan and the Papal Nuncio and I’d be happy to post them.

  6. avatar annonymouse says:

    I have not written to either the Archbishop nor the Nuncio. I do not think that such letters are likely to be effective. At this point, I think folks in Washington and Rome are well aware of what’s happening in Rochester, and I am willing to bet that they’re counting down the days as is CF. I think the liklihood that there will be any action in the next twelve months is pretty low. In the meantime, I don’t expect that Mr. Proust at the NYS Conference is going to be able to do anything to assuage Mr. Likousis’ concerns or anger.

    I do write letters to the editor; I’ll have to find one for you.

    But based on the first letter and others of Mr. Likousis’ that I’ve read, I fear that such letters may do more harm than good. Rather than presenting balanced, rational arguments, it seems to me that such letters are easy for the addressee to categorize and dismiss as representative of a “right-wing fringe.”

  7. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    mouse,
    The typos were not in the original. I had copied and pasted and it apparently got mangled in the process. I went in and fixed those errors.

    same-sex “marriage” IS a social-justice issue

    I thought Mr. Likoudis actually made that point very clearly. Go back and read the last paragraph in the first letter.

    As far as who if the most effective person to write to? I don’t know for sure, but in my opinion we should address as many different people as possible. One of those people is the general public. And if “the right” person already got a letter on a certain topic, than receiving 500 more can’t hurt. It shows people care. Think back to the sex abuse crisis? What did it take to get the Church to do something about it? Was it the normal, “just write letters up the chain and the hierarchy will handle it on its own”? No! It took the secular media reporting it to the world. It took a slap in the face to force the bureaucracy to do something about it. If we took the approach of doing nothing that so many propose, the Church would’ve gone on covering up the scandal ad infinitum.

    it seems to me that such letters are easy for the addressee to categorize and dismiss as representative of a “right-wing fringe.”

    once again being simply Catholic is labelled as “right-wing fringe”. At least we’re exposing people to this fact. To be “in the center” in our diocese is actually to reject your own Church’s teachings. The word Catholic as far as being a label for a parish or an individual has become meaningless.

    I fear that such letters may do more harm than good.

    you’re entitled to your opinion. I ask you, then, does your degrading comment about Mr. Likoudis’ letter do more good than harm?

  8. avatar Nerina says:

    I think Mr. Likoudis made it pretty clear that “gay marriage” is a matter of “social justice” and I have heard several bishops now proclaim it as the moral issue of our time. I find it unfortunate that addressing issues like “gay marriage” or contraception or abortion is quickly labeled “right wing” and therefore dismissed. (I’m not saying that’s what Annonymouse is doing, but I fear he or she is right that others do.) Unfortunately, too much of our dialogue is wrapped in political terms and this problem becomes quite evident when talking about such issues.

    Mr. Likoudis is exactly correct when he laments the weakly worded conference statements offered in the run-up to the gay marriage vote. He is also right that our local church was completely absent from the battle. I heard not. one. word. from the pulpit about the vote, but when S-CHIP was being voted on and when immigration policy was being considered, the diocese couldn’t say enough about contacting our legislative representatives. Our diocese has “pet issues” it supports wholeheartedly while its silence on others speaks volumes.

    On a personal note, I have met Mr. Likoudis and he is an intelligent and thoughtful man not prone to quick judgment. He has lived here a long time and he has seen and heard much. I believe he is a convert from the Orthodox faith to Catholicism and is deeply rooted in tradition. I find great solace in the letters he has written to the Courier for the simple fact that there are others who “get” the problems we face and are willing to speak out and educate the less well-informed and/or educated.

  9. avatar annonymouse says:

    Ben – all good points, except the “right wing fringe” point. There is faithful Catholicism, and there is nuttiness.

    We must be careful to be reasoned and calm, even when we are angry and outraged – because it’s very easy for our opponents to label us as frantic, fringe nuts.

  10. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Mouse,
    Please explain what specifically in Mr. Likoudis’ writings are “right wing fringe”, nutty, unreasoned, uncalm, especially angry or outrageous?

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