A Survivor’s Hope
Re “Building a Future for the Church” (Our Take, 11/12): Thanks to the editors for these ideas, these words, these tiny lights in the darkness all around us. This survivor was forced to leave organized religion decades ago. But all these thousands of days and nights later, I still find that faith, hope and love lead to the only answers currently available. Fare forward, voyagers!
Re “Intrusions of the Spirit,” by Jeremy McLellan (11/12): Thanks to Mr. McLellan for his thoughts in this article. I just began working as a volunteer at an equestrian riding center for persons with disabilities; and already in my short time there, I see what the author speaks of and realize that they are all gifts God has placed in our lives to show God’s presence and grace.
Far Off Broadway
Re “The Troubles Bring Trouble to a Farm Family,” by Rob Weinert-Kendt (11/12): It would be so nice if plays like Jez Butterworth’s “The Ferryman” could be produced outside major cities. But that will never happen unless someone adapts the script to four actors, with perhaps one or two actors playing one to three roles.
Re “L.G.B.T. Issues Raised by Youth During Synod Discussions,” by Michael J. O’Loughlin (11/12): It is an important question that needs to be settled, but a ministry that denies the church’s longstanding teaching on sex is no ministry at all. Whether we are talking to L.G.B.T. Catholics or young people or the remarried or seminarians, I think the ambiguity around church teaching on sex is really harmful.
Waiting for Transparency
Re “Has the Sexual Abuse Crisis Affected Your Donations to the Church?” (Your Take, 11/12): After collecting donations for the bishop’s annual appeal, our diocese and parish are now asking for a Catholic Strong fund for over $1.25 million for church repairs—without providing any details for what items need to be repaired and at what cost. I received my donation envelope this past week, and it will not be returned until full transparency is given.
Re “Hungry for More,” by Liam Callanan (11/12): When my daughter went to college, she had previously stopped going to weekend Mass at our home parish. As we were moving her into her freshman year dorm at a major university with a very active Newman Center, I signed her up for the contact list, as I knew she had no such inclination. When a representative from the Newman Center came knocking at her door, she politely declined.
Is the Church Declining?
Re “A Church Not Divided,” by Joseph Hoover, S.J. (10/29): Brother Hoover is probably correct in saying that there is no Catholic civil war, in the literal meaning of that term. But there is large-scale secession, manifested in diminished attendance, diminished financial support, and, from my local sources, diminished interest in initiating adults into the church (R.C.I.A.); and coming years will bring a massive demographic secession as death removes so many of our members.
A Different Era
Re “Cardinal Ouellet Responds to Viganò Charges, Accuses Him of Blasphemy,” by Gerard O’Connell (10/29): The days when prominent ecclesiastical personages could suppress criticism are now over, fortunately. The traditional posture of “You may not say anything negative about the church or clergy” was in no small measure responsible for the sexual abuse scandal in the first place.