Infallibility is antidote to rampant relativism

The In Focus articles have been excellent, but I would say that the one of most important, so far at least, is “Infallibility” (“Authority in the Church,” July 11). This is because relativism, the archenemy of infallibility, is rampant in our modern culture. It is the mistaken view that just about everything is a matter of “opinion.”

Relativism took a huge leap into “matters of faith and morals” after Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter Humane Vitae (“Of Human Life”) was published in 1968.

From Jesus, himself, we know that “He who hears you, hears me; and he who rejects you rejects me” (Lk 10:16) and, as we also know, “faith without works is dead” (Jas 2:20).

Consequently, faith in the teaching authority of the magisterium of the Church collapsed when many of us Catholics objected to Pope Paul’s encyclical — no doubt, in many cases, influenced by the false teaching of several theologians and others, who have since (not surprisingly) left the Church.

— Pamela T. Haines, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Unsafe sanctuaries

Re “Pistol-packing parishioners” (Our Take, July 4).

I am a 56-year-old grandma, and I have been a carry-permit holder for more than 20 years.

“The Church is supposed to be a place of sanctuary,” New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond is quoted as saying. I couldn’t agree more.
That said, the kooks don’t care that we want it to be a place of sanctuary. Almost every mass shooting in the last 10 years has been in a gun-free zone. I repeat, the kooks, bigots and the mentally ill don’t care.

Some people feel uncomfortable thinking a carry-permit holder, who has gone through a background check and taken gun training, may be carrying a gun in church. Frankly, I am very uncomfortable in a gun-free zone, because you’re a sitting duck for any deranged maniac who chooses to ignore laws, rules and requests to leave their guns outside.

— Name and location withheld

Separate issues 

I am happy to see that the Vatican has released updated procedures for handling the clerical sex abuse cases (“Vatican issues revised priest sex abuse norms,” Aug. 1).

But how outrageous it is that they include the “attempted ordination of women” in the document.

How insensitive and ignorant of those who would vitiate the egregiousness of pedophilia, pornography and the sexual abuse of those who are mentally challenged by equating it to the attempt to ordain women who feel they are called to ordination.

The issue of women’s ordination needs to be handled separately and more comprehensively. May the Spirit guide us to new life.

— Georgette Colombraro via email

Lost in translation

I am responding to“Welcome changes” (God Lives, July 25).

First, I need to acknowledge Msgr. Owen F. Campion’s greater familiarity with the New English translation of the Roman Missal. Since I was 7 years old, to this day, I have served about half of my Masses and novenas in Latin. Even then, I found the Latin response to the priest’s Dominus vobiscum (“the Lord be with you”) to be inappropriate. The priest blesses our whole being with the being of God. We return a response to only his spirit. I left that to poetic license. I find no logical connection between our response and the grace of the priest’s vocation.

It appears that promoters of this document are comforted by the familiar words of their youth and are unconcerned with elucidation or catechesis. It may be a boon to older Catholics’ emotions, if not their minds, but it will have little relevance for our youths.

— Ken Dolph, Lancaster, N.Y.

Value of friends

Thank you for the wonderful Openers column regarding the paralytic in Matthew 9 (“Why we truly need the companionship of good friends,” July 18).

I have been involved in leading and fostering men’s small groups for the past 25 years. This passage is one of the foundational Scriptures I use to help men understand what being in a men’s group is all about.

Our simple call is to hold each other accountable to live authentic Christian lives of daily prayer, reading the Scriptures and upon reading learn to live them out.

— Ron Whitaker, Jackson, Mich.

Promoting war?

I am very resentful of the Air Force Chaplain Corps’ ad shown on Page 2 of the July 25 issue.

We should all remember that the Catholic Church was adamantly opposed to any invasion of Iraq. Hence, the emphasis should not be on sending chaplains into these countries, but on pulling our troops out of these countries. Bring them home.

— Bob Barattini, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Brigid or Bridget?

Your July 18 issue’s “Saint of the Week” features “St. Brigid of Sweden.” There is a St. Brigid of Ireland, but your reference should be to St. Bridget of Sweden. I am blessed to have been in the first graduating class of St. Bridget of Sweden School in Van Nuys, Calif., staffed by the Irish Sisters of Charity. We were taught not to confuse the two saints.

— Rex Olliff, Mission Hills, Calif.

Editor’s note: According to Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints, the Swedish saint is known as Brigid, Bridget, Birgitta and Brigitta.