The More the Merrier
Re Of Many Things by Maurice Timothy Reidy (1/4): Thank you for the podcasts. I look forward to them. It is good to sit back and listen to a favorite author, get acquainted with a new personality and just plain enjoy it all. And these podcasts can easily be downloaded, burned to a CD and passed on to a person with limited physical vision. In addition, they make for great listening on a long drive. The more the better.
Holy Mothers and Fathers
I could not agree more with “Venerabile Subito!” (Current Comment, 12/14). We need more lay people canonized. As a priest, I am humbled by the example of our good people who day in and day out live the Gospel. As a religious living in community, I need only walk down the hall to be in the chapel, and yet so many of our lay people make incredible sacrifices to go to daily Mass. They visit the Blessed Sacrament, read the Scriptures and make great financial contributions to the church. I second the nominations of those great men and women you mentioned.
Paul Wierichs, C.P.
North Palm Beach, Fla.
Your article “Parish Revival,” by Bruce Cecil (12/21), was enlightening. It shows what a certain Protestant pastor can do to bring in a crowd. On the other hand, when my parish in Seattle applied for a huge loan to replace our little wooden church, the bank made the loan immediately.
A prominent local Protestant church complained to the bank for not loaning funds to complete their building. The bank replied: “With a Catholic parish, no matter who the pastor is, the parish carries on, generation after generation. But with Protestant parishes it depends mainly on who the pastor is, whether he can attract a large following.”
The Word Never Fails
Re “God’s Family Reunion” (The Word, 12/21): Just a note to express my appreciation for Sister Barbara Reid’s help in my understanding of the Sunday readings. She never fails to prompt thoughts for my meditation. Just wish I could be as brief as she!
Michael R. Braun
War Totally Unacceptable
Re “Another War President?” by John DiIulio (12/21): We might recall the homily of Pope John Paul II in May 1982 at Coventry Cathedral in England. As Britain prepared for a major aerial bombardment of the Falkland Islands, an assault that eventually would kill over 600 Argentine soldiers, the pope had the courage to say to his hosts the following: “Today, the scale and the horror of modern warfare—whether nuclear or not—makes it totally unacceptable as a means of settling differences between nations. War should belong to the tragic past, to history; it should find no place on humanity’s agenda for the future.”
I think it is safe to assume, given this statement, that Pope John Paul would not support our country’s actions in Afghanistan and would see it as the unjust war that it is.
No Need to Worry
It seems to me that the Rev. Michael G. Ryan (“What If We Said, ‘Wait’?” 12/14) is setting us up to hate the new translations even before we’ve experienced them. I’ve read those parts of the new translations available on the Internet and nothing struck me as so horrible. I do not mean to be too harsh, but why would anyone seriously consider the opinion of a liturgical theologian or liturgy commission? Aren’t they the ones who have contributed so much to making the mess of worship that afflicts so many parishes today?
In any case, Father Ryan should not worry too much. If any priest does not care for the new translation, I am sure he will just make the prayers up as he goes, as so many do today, confident that he is doing his people a favor by sparing them the horrible new translations.
A Question of Control
The church is experiencing much more than a translation problem. The problem is one of governance. The Vatican under Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI has been showing an appetite for control that is nothing less than indecent. The Second Vatican Council’s accomplishments in the way of collegiality, so specific in allocating translation authority to regional bishops, is now openly jettisoned. In 2002 the Vatican replaced leadership in ICEL with bishops dramatically aligned with Vatican views. Now the naked grasp for total control! Our U.S. bishops have shown inappropriate surrender of their proper role.
(Msgr.) Harry J. Byrne Bronx, N.Y.
(Msgr.) Harry J. Byrne
Growing Up Catholic
Thank you for your thoughtful, genuine and insightful article (“This Boy’s Life,” by Gerald Schiffhorst, 12/21). I have much gratitude for those who offer the whole, concrete experience of growing up Catholic. As one who wandered away from the church for a number of years, finding my way back has often been through illustrative reflections such as yours. You have put into words what I have felt in my heart but had not yet given a voice.
Winter Springs, Fla.
The Divine Feminine
Praying the rosary (“Beads of Power,” by Thomas Shelley, 1/4) appears to be another example that belief matters more than history. Personally, I am thrilled with Marian devotions because they do tend to be “bottom-up” instead of “top-down.” And just when scholars and wise clergy think these irrational devotions are under control, doesn’t Mary end up appearing to some peasant somewhere! The message seems always to include, “Pray the rosary.” Popular devotions are popular because they touch souls, souls that long for the divine feminine. No matter how loved and adored our fathers are, in deepest need we all cry out for our mothers.
Re “Opening School Doors to Hispanics,” (Signs of the Times, 1/4): What do the current minority members of the Supreme Court, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas, as well as the current surgeon general of the United States have in common? One is a female Hispanic, the others male and female African- Americans, yet all came from humble backgrounds. They are not all of the same race, sex or political viewpoint, but all three of them had parents or grandparents who made the extra effort to enroll their children in the parochial school system.
Right now some 1,700 students of inner-city families in the Washington, D.C., area have had the good fortune of receiving vouchers to enable them to escape the underperforming public school system there. But teachers’ unions are fighting to end this opportunity for the most needy.
Nothing would help the less-fortunate minorities in the United States more than an expansion of the voucher program, with two Supreme Court justices and a surgeon general at the pinnacle of their professions living proof of the result. All Catholics concerned for social justice for our poorest citizens should support the effort to extend and expand vouchers across the nation, especially for needy inner-city residents. They will perform the same uplifting service they did earlier for impoverished Irish and Italian immigrants only a few generations ago.
New Orleans, La.