Letters 03.03.19

Readers respond to Register articles.

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Failure to Lead

Relevant to “Rash Judgment’s Destructive Power” (Editorial, Feb. 3 issue): After all that has happened in the past year, I find it sobering that Catholic bishops in the U.S. have been unable to grasp the magnitude of their failure in leadership. The response to the Covington incident is just another expression of that failure. After joining in the condemnation of those students, do you ask them to follow your leadership?

Some of these men I count as personal friends, and I am aware of the terrific pressures and challenges they face. Yet they have allowed sin in the sanctuary of God — the abuse crisis, in all of its various expressions is sin, much of it grievous — and they have given no convincing spiritual leadership to a Church desperately in need of it.

Every year these men read in the Office of Readings Augustine’s sermon on pastors. That ought to inspire in them the fear of God and equip them to overcome fear of the media and the increasingly overt hostility to the Gospel that surrounds us.

         Bruce T. Yocum

         London, England


Politicians and Communion

Regarding “Seeking Moral Coherence” and “Countering Cuomo Catholicism” (Jan. 20 and Feb. 17 issue editorials): Evidently most of the pastors and bishops of  the  Catholic politicians who are supportive of abortion in our Congress and Senate are able to avoid their responsibilities, as detailed in the memorandum “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion” from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in July 2004.  Such politicians are to be personally admonished and, if they persist, denied Communion. Until the parishioners see this happen, that the Church leaders are serious about the issue, we will continue to see a high percentage of Catholics disagreeing with the Church’s abortion position and continuing to think they are still good Catholics. It should be made clear to all the faithful that those who refuse to change and repent of supporting this evil and persist in presenting themselves for Communion commit a sacrilege and “bring judgment on yourself” (1 Corinthinas 11:27). 

         John Erlinger

         San Juan Capistrano, California


Publishing With Candor

Congratulations are in order for the Register for its forthright coverage throughout the scandalous year of 2018, and in particular for Joan F. Desmond and Edward Pentin. 

Despite the disclosures shocking for us all, you have not hesitated to put truthful and complete journalism (e.g., “Assessing 2018’s Revelations,” Jan. 20 issue, page one) at the service of the Church we Catholics love. You embody the intent of Canon 212.3: The laity must speak.

This has been in marked contrast to some of the bland and blind diocesan newspapers whose heads-in-the-sand editors have chosen to avoid scandal, to rely solely upon the bishops’  soi-disant Catholic News Service for news with spin,  to focus on local trivia, and to duck the very word “homosexuality.”  

         Charles Molineaux

         McLean, Virginia   



Heroic Virtue

Related to “The Rush to Condemn” (Publisher’s Note, Feb. 3 issue): Stories of Church leaders who make decisions that are confusing at best emerge week after week. More perplexing are the explanations given by those leaders. A delegation, purportedly led by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, brokers a deal with China, allowing that country to have decision power in selecting its bishops. This was explained as a breakthrough. 

All these stories, including the abuse scandal, have a common thread that points to something that is bigger than each scandal by itself. Since the 1960s, the Church leadership and the Church faithful grew apart. We became distant relatives; and in 2019 we seem to no longer be related at all.

My own church pastor has never failed me, but when I look beyond my neighborhood to the archdiocese or the bishops’ conference or Rome or anyone in a Catholic leadership position, I feel unwelcome and stymied: “There is a program here; consult your manual; and get with it.”

What changed everything for me was the event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Things became clear in a way that they never were before. I used to give the Church and its leaders the benefit of the doubt, but the Catholic Church leadership in Kentucky revealed its true self when it made a case for who its real enemies are. They condemned the students, and in a way that was as fiery as it was unified. They did not say “we are saddened by these acts” or “we do not condone what we saw.” Their words were direct, pointed and chosen to burn like a hot coal: “We condemn.” As a New York City resident, I am constantly approached by strangers on subways and streets, and not knowing what their intentions are, I usually choose the easy solution. I turn away and run. So I greatly admire the calm, polite and even courageous stance that Nick Sandmann took when a man approached him banging a drum.

I have less admiration for my Church leaders. They were not polite or restrained. They passed judgment, and they insisted on retribution. Their verdict called for immediate and complete punishment, in the form of expulsion from school and all the attendant shame that comes with such a sentence. That’s strong stuff coming from Catholic adults who so often say they are concerned about “the children” and “the victims.” I believe Sandmann’s actions are a good example, a Christian example, of how to meet someone half way. Unfortunately for Nick, he must make those entreaties alone. Heroic virtue is hard to find in these times. I cite Sandmann and the students of Covington Catholic High School as examples of such virtue. My generation may suffer from staleness that comes from indifference, but when I see young people who are not afraid to sacrifice for the ideals that Pope John Paul II told us to uphold, I can be hopeful, and joyful, that I am part of a Church whose youth, if not its adults, are willing to stand for something.

         Jim O’Neill

         New York, New York


‘Vatican 2 Mass’

In the last issue of January there was an article on the two different forms of Mass (“Extraordinary Mass,” Culture of Life, page B1). I would like to offer a third option: what I call the “Vatican 2 Mass.” If you read the Council’s constitution on the liturgy, you’ll get an idea of what it was like: basically the Novus Ordo format, sung Mass in Latin, with readings and homily in vernacular, sacred music, Gregorian chant, the priest facing ad orientem, silence before and after Mass and at appropriate times during Mass, and participation by the congregation in much of the above.

The only place I was ever blessed to attend this Mass was early in this century at the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago.

         Georgia Montana

          Norwalk, Ohio


Mystical Connection?

The article “A Church Scourged,” front page of the Jan. 6 issue of the Register, is very sad. But, as we proclaim in the Memorare, we know we are not “left unaided.” In our struggle for solutions to sex abuse, both in the priesthood and in the plague of contraceptive marriage, our Blessed Mother provides an answer. She did this by pointing to the 13th day of the month in her apparitions at Fatima.

In a study of more than 10,000 cycles of life in the universal biorhythm of life, Carl G. Hartman, Ph.D., in the book Science and the Safe Period: A Compendium on Human Reproduction, establishes that ovulation occurs on the 14th day of the life cycle. To prevent conception there is need to sacrifice or abstain from conjugal union for four days. That is, from the 13th day in anticipation of ovulation and for the three days (a “triduum”) that follow. St. John Paul II refers to this as being the sacrament of redemption in marriage; and he tells us this can be offered “for the forgiveness of sins” (general audience, Jan. 13, 1982).

The sacrifice of conjugal union for these four days each cycle of life can regulate birth. This supernatural connection to the natural can provide the grace that is needed to restore eternal love in our priesthood, in our marriages and in our fallen world.

          Ruth Kavanaugh

          Kalamazoo, Michigan