By OSV readers - OSV Newsweekly, 5/20/2012
Underscoring critical need for Catholic prison ministry
Thank you for your wonderful coverage on how “Chaplains play crucial role in lives of the incarcerated” (April 22). As a prison chaplain for over 12 years in multiple facilities to incarcerated men, women, and boys, I have experienced the full gamut of incidents described in your column — most notably, the successful proselytizing of Roman Catholics, for a variety of reasons. Not least is the lack of authentic witness from the “outside” community.
Prisons who have a core of faithful Catholic volunteers not only assist the incarcerated in their faith journey while in prison, but also help them continue to carry it forward upon release. The incarcerated desire to experience Christ through the love and action we show them from the outside, be it through remembering them in our prayers, offering to be a “pen pal,” setting up a one-on-one visit with them, or going all the way and coming “inside” to serve as a volunteer.
There is a great shortage of Catholic chaplains in the prison system, and of a laity open to answer the call of Christ to visit those in prison. I urge my fellow Catholics to contact your diocese and see where you can make a difference in the life of one less fortunate than us.
— Deacon Ralph A. DeCecco, Prison chaplain director, Diocese of Erie
Re: “Where are the voters?” (April 22).
“Many Catholic politicians in Europe, too, ignore Church teaching. But how did they get in office?” Msgr. Owen Campion laments that Catholic voters put them in office. Unfortunately, many of these Catholic voters had poor catechesis.
But I say Catholic bishops are often a big part of the problem. In particular, it baffles me to no end when bishops give holy Communion to Catholic politicians who have frequently, publicly legislated abortion and same-sex marriage. These Catholic politicians have, in effect, stated publicly that they are not in communion with the Church. Yet, some bishops turn around and give them Communion as if they are still in communion with the Church. It’s confusing to the people in the pew.
Are bishops committed to “re-evangelizing” or to “dis-evangelizing”?
If Catholic politicians publicly legislate for abortion and same-sex marriages, why don’t the bishops at least publicly deny them Communion? Better yet, why don’t the bishops publicly excommunicate them? This would be a ”teaching moment” for lay Catholics.
— Virgil Mesker, Bloomington, Ill.
Get some help
I am writing in response to Msgr. M. Francis Mannion’s Pastoral Answers column of April 22, in which he responds to the question of how to break the habit of Internet pornography. He suggests that one makes the Sign of the Cross over their computer before using it, or attaching a crucifix or holy card to the monitor.
This advice seems insufficient. Certainly it is a spiritual battle, but a person struggling with Internet pornography also needs professional help. Simply relying on praying harder and willpower, while keeping the problem secret, will only make it worse.
Here are some sites where a person can get help:
On the spiritual battlefront:
I hope that these may be of additional help to someone.
— Maria Colonna, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Editor’s note: Many readers responded by email or left comments to the online version of our April 29 In Focus on contemporary Catholic composers, songwriters and musicians, with suggestions for others names that deserve consideration. Here is a sampling:
Don’t forget www.davidcaspermusic.com. He does the Catholic pick-up line song.
Donna Cori Gibson has a wonderful collection of prayer based, contemporary CDs, and her latest CD of music for each Station of the Cross was a great blessing through Lent and on all Fridays of the year.
Joia Farmer, wrote the theme song Christ Reigns for the National Catholic Youth Conference 2009. One of the few Catholic women that can bring the rock!
Marilla Ness has very many great, wonderful and very uplifting music CDs along with her ‘spoken word’ CDs: The Rosary and the Divine Mercy.
We keep Dana’s “Lady of Knock” in the car. It it the best cure for road rage ever! Makes every trip a peaceful event. Our 11 year old granddaughter is the one who tunes in the most. She says, “It just makes me feel good inside.”
I would also like to mention Danielle Rose. Wonderful Catholic music.
Why isn’t Steve Angrisano on your list? :)
Eric Genuis’ “Winds Have Changed” album will lift you up any day; Dolores Park is probably the only musician anywhere who sings about Padre Pio; and Martin Doman’s his latest album contains the best song rendition of St. Augustine’s “Confessions,” hands-down.
Correction: In the same article, Dion DiMucci should have been identified as from the Bronx, not Brooklyn.
Please note: Comments left online may be considered for publication in the Letters to the Editor section of OSV Newsweekly.
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