Re “Should Catholic women preach at Mass? Here’s a better question,” by Pia de Solenni (9/9).

I’d like to echo what Bernard Häring gave in Free and Faithful, Vol. 2, as a possible reason the Word became flesh in a male human. Häring said it made sense to him that since the Word became flesh to save sinners and since males had taken such a primary role historically in promulgating violence, hatred, greed, etc., it made perfect sense that the Word would take on a male body. I take that to mean the true in persona Christi role is not exercising special powers but witnessing that even the worst can be saved.


Anne Maura English
Baltimore, Md.

Re: “Priest removes Harry Potter books from Tennessee Catholic school, citing ‘actual curses and spells,’” by the Associated Press (9/3).

I was confused when I heard a Catholic school pastor in Nashville decided to remove Harry Potter books from the school's library. The decision was wrong for two reasons.

First, the arguments condemning the books don’t hold water. The pastor cited two sections from the catechism in support of that decision. “All forms of divination are to be rejected” (Canon 2116) and “All practices of magic and sorcery; by which one attempts to tame occult powers [...] are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion” (Canon 2117). Harry Potter fiction isn’t divination or practice of magic and sorcery. It’s fantasy fiction, just like The Lord of the Rings. Neither series is about occult magic. They’re about fantasy magic. And they happen to tell stories of redemption and hope.

Second, the world needs stories of redemption and hope because those stories invariably point to Christ. The lessons from Harry Potter are lessons I've heard in homilies. If you bristle at Harry Potter’s veneer of wizardry, you might be missing lessons that rhyme with Catholicism.

Maybe our lost and truth-starved world loves Harry Potter books so much because they're actually stories of goodness, beauty, redemption and hope in disguise.

Ryan McCostlin
Nashville, Tenn.

Re “Latin is not just for encyclicals. For all Catholics, it is our living history,” by Grace Spiewak (7/19).

I think Latin has an important value in Catholic life. I had two profound experiences back in 1964. Although I was at the time already a strong advocate of the vernacular in local worship, I found in these two happenings a moving and proper place for Latin. The first was a celebration of Holy Week in Jerusalem in August 1964; the second was attending the opening of the Third Session of the Second Vatican Council on Sept. 24 of that year. In both I experienced both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the universal church. Horizontally, there were people of all nations worshiping and singing together in a common language. Vertically, we were united with all the generations of Christians before us for almost two millennia.

Granted that people today do not have the experience of worshiping and singing in Latin very often in their home countries. I have found a few Latin hymns emerging from the past and being embraced by my own worshipping community (although that is in a university and Jesuit context).

The experience of an international Christian community united both horizontally and vertically by ritual in Latin is so profound, I really would hate for it to become totally extinct.

Elisabeth Tetlow
New Orleans, La.

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