Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

Along with many Catholics I was proud of Pope John Paul II’s act of courage and humility in confessing the sins of the church and asking forgiveness. Such an acknowledgment was particularly appropriate in this Lenten season, when the Passion accounts candidly acknowledge the failures of the disciples. The clarification of the International Theological Commission, distinguishing between the holiness of the church and the sinfulness of certain of her sons and daughters, introduced a distinction that was inopportune and, despite their good theological intentions, misleading. The critique by Francis Sullivan, S.J., (4/8) was excellent. There’s a time and a place for such distinctions, and an apology is not one of them.

Neither is prayer. The opening prayer of the Mass for Monday of the Third Week of Lent is refreshing in its simplicity: God of mercy, free your church from sin.


(Most Rev.) Kenneth Untener

Bishop of Saginaw

Saginaw, Mich.

Free to Agree

James Martin, S.J., notes in his article The Last Acceptable Prejudice? (3/25) that "Catholics for a Free Choice...can be counted on to disagree with the church on almost any topic." Not true. C.F.F.C. has agreed with the church that population control is immoral and is not the solution to environmental degradation or poverty; we disagreed with Act Up demonstrations inside churches or during Mass on the grounds that the problem is not the church’s sacraments but the church’s policies. We agreed with the U.S. bishops and opposed welfare caps on funding for poor women and their children; we applauded Cardinal John O’Connor for his support of nurses striking at Mercy Hospital in Port Jervis, N.Y.; we supported Cardinal Thomas Winning in Scotland when he provided funding for a young, developmentally disabled woman who became pregnant and decided to have the child. When the encyclical Evangelium Vitae was released, I was quoted in The New York Times as saying the document was a very thorough, very intelligent exposition.

I could go on and on, but I think I’ll stop while I might be ahead.

Frances Kissling

President, Catholics for a Free Choice

Washington, D.C.

Heart in Hand

The title of the art on your March 18 cover, I hold out my hand and my heart will be in it, is a poignant description of Thom Savage, S.J., the deceased president of Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo. He was a dynamic, compassionate, effective force in the city and in the university. We were friends, and I admired him. My hope is that people will remember him for his contributions, his dedication to improving the condition of the downtrodden. He was brilliant, erudite and fun to be around. His suffering and death from AIDS is a heartache. Truly, his heart was in his hand, extended toward all who knew him.

Kathryn W. Sullivan

Leawood, Kan.

Live With It

Re Stay-at-Home Dad (2/26): Why do you publish such as this? To what point?

Mr. McCarthy has made his choice. He should live with it now like a manexcuse me, person. This column seems very much a presentation of pride dressed in humility seeking reassurance!

John A. McMurrer

Minden, Nev.

Keep Singing

In his letter (3/18), Gino Dalpiaz, C.S., expresses his impatience with the whining of both theologians and liturgical translators in their lament over recent Roman treatment. As one who said Mass in Italian and French in Europe for many years, Dalpiaz deems the efforts of ICEL to be self-evidently deficient in terms of poetic beauty and prayerful impact. I’d suggest that even the most wondrous of translations will do little to aid the longsuffering men and women in the pews, so long as these texts remain the preserve of a priest who says Mass. The divide between ICEL and Dalpiaz is not that of the literaryrather an entire theology of celebration would appear to be at stake here. I hope that chorus of whiners continues to sing with all its might.

Michael J. Marigliano, O.F.M.Cap.

Mount Calvary, Wis.

Broken Stoicism

Thank you for Thomas Condon’s article Called to Death Row (4/1). My friends and family often criticize me as an emotionless 22-year-old, but the article broke my stoicism. Meeting Robert Willis and learning his story brought me to tears. My emotions were for Robert Willis. My emotions were also for a blind, broken society that can condonejustifya punishment as barbaric as death.

Jack Macken

Raleigh, N.C.

Target: Commitment

Having read the book by the Rev. Donald Cozzens, The Changing Face of the Priesthood, I found that your review by Paul Wilkes (4/1) was on target. The book is refreshing, honest, thought-provoking and encouraging to priests who are trying to live up to their commitment. His reflection offers hope to the priesthood in our new millennium. I hope bishops will listen to his ideas.

(Rev.) Leonard F. Badia

Middle Village, N.Y.

Good Advice

In his article Priests With AIDS (3/18), Jon Fuller, S.J., makes an excellent point when he states: Religious orders have recognized that...their members cannot be asexual’ but must be possessed of a consolidated understanding of their sexuality.

As a high school senior (1973) seriously considering priesthood, I was interviewed by the diocesan vocation director and given a psychological test and evaluation. When the test results came back, I was told that I would make a fine priest, had good people skills. But I was also told that I needed to date more before I would be accepted as a seminarian. Today I have four children, a lovely wife and happily minister with the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia as liturgy and music coordinator. Some say I have the best of both worlds.

Jack Louden

Wilmington, Del.

God Willing

Thanks to George Anderson, S.J., for his insightful reflection on Si Dios quiere (3/25). I also found that the Hispanic parishioners of Nativity parish evangelized me through their use of this phrase in so many aspects of their lives.

During the last few years, as I attempt to learn Arabic and meet both Muslim and Christian Arabs, I have discovered that the term inshala, which peppers their conversations, is their way of saying that God is in charge of their lives and God is the one on whom they depend from day to day. We seem to have, in these two phrases, a common ground for interfaith dialogue as well as a potent message for us security conscious North Americans.

Jack Podsiadlo, S.J.

New York, N.Y.

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