In the Signs of the Times story about Franz Jägerstätter (11/12), the author writes, Blessed Jägerstätter was beatified as a martyr, which means he was killed out of hatred for the faith. In other words, someones hate got Franz into heaven. But such is decidedly not the case. It is in fact the martyr who acts by not complying with a demand made by another, because that very demand goes against the faith. And out of love of the faith, the saint accepts the inevitable, fatal results. Hence a better definition would be: he was beatified as a martyr, which means he was killed because of his love for the faith.
Guidance, Not Edicts
Regarding Bishops on Citizenship, by Matt Malone, S.J., and the following Commentary by Frank Monahan (11/5): Im glad the bishops plan to take up the issues of the primacy of and formation of conscience. We need guidance and clarity, not just edicts and orders.
Too many Catholics among my friends and family hung their recent votes almost solely on the candidates reported position on the abortion issue. Myopia, many of us would say. Are not there other issues that cry for attention in legislative and executive offices? It seems the bishops have a robust set of challenges with which to deal.
In the minds of many educated, conscientious and politically aware Catholics their reputations are on the line.
Rancho Murieta, Calif.
Feed the Sheep
As a conservative, I was heartened by the Rev. Michael Kerpers My Second First Mass (12/3). It was nice to read about a progressive pastor who took the time and made the effort to meet the requests of the traditionalists in his parish.
Certainly it will benefit the entire church if more liberal priests follow the lead of this good shepherd and begin to celebrate the Latin liturgy with reverence and regularity.
St. Francis, Wis.
The Body of Christ
My first thought on the Rev. Michael Kerpers My Second First Mass (12/3) is that I wish I had his pastoral sensitivity. The self-questioning he endured between his first refusal and ultimate agreement to meet the needs of sincere parishioners was both humbling and edifying. I only hope that his example will inspire others to emulate his style of service.
I had another feeling of a vague disquiet as I thought back to his description of a sense of tranquility and reverence as he could face the altar and the elements on it in solitude, his back turned to the congregation.
It is no accident that for the fathers of the church, Eucharist had a meaning different from the later understanding of making Christ really present and the worship of that miraculous presence. The core meaning of Eucharist, from the Gospels, Pauline epistles and fathers of the church is that of the celebrant and people becoming all together the very body of Christ. The focus was not primarily on the real presence but on the peoples entering into the mysteries, the acts, the events of Christs dying and risingan emphasis not on a static presence of Christ but on acts of Christ that are everlasting and capable of sweeping us into them.
The subsequent development of eucharistic understanding as the real presence has proved undoubtedly helpful for millions of Catholics over the centuries. At the same time, I believe the more original and core meaning of the Eucharist as entry into the saving events of Christ as the body of Christ must not be eclipsed by the later developments. It is the Eucharist that binds this congregation to one another and reminds us powerfully that our salvation through Christ is never a solitary act but one that is accomplished only within a saving community of people.