Re “Bishops behaving badly, even 10 years after scandal start” (Jan. 22):
Pope, bishop, priest, deacon, layperson — we all suffer from the same flawed humanity. We are so easily scandalized by others, but I wonder how surprised we would be if we could each look at a “spiritual X-ray” of ourselves.
It is perfectly natural to be distressed by immoral actions of clerics, because of concern for the damage done. The distress should, however, be kept within reasonable bounds by our knowledge both of humanity and sacred Scripture.
On the scriptural side, we know from Matthew 23:24 that Jesus knew of this when he referred to certain Jewish spiritual leaders as “whited sepulchers.” In 23:3, Jesus cautions us to listen to leaders but not to imitate those who don’t practice what they preach.
In 23:31, Jesus points out to those who preach but do not practice that they are witnesses against themselves.
In 24:10-12, Jesus describes what could very well be our present conditions, but in verse 13 he tells us that those who endure (in doing God’s will) to the end will be saved. Moving to verses 50-51, we are told what will happen to bad servants when the Master returns.
Where to draw strength? Pray for the Church on earth every day and leave necessary corrections to God in the secure knowledge that he is the only one who gets to read everyone’s spiritual X-ray, and only he knows, and can apply, the correct remedy.
— Edward Rohde, via e-mail
No school payment
Re the news brief about Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez’ statement that the archdiocese had reached out to the mother of the children fathered by Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala:
Why should the Church pay for these children’s education? Their mother was not raped; she went into this relationship with her eyes wide open, knowing that the man she was sleeping with was a bishop of the Catholic Church. This was a two-way relationship. She is just as guilty as he is. She and he need to be responsible for these children and their education. She is no worse off than any woman who is raising her children as a single parent. These boys will simply have to work to finance their education just as thousands of students have to.
— Jeannine Aucoin, Henniker, N.H.
Concerning Pastoral Answer’s columnist Msgr. M. Francis Mannion’s discussion of hell (Jan. 15), I’ve always been taught that the ultimate punishment for deliberate grave sin and the refusal of God’s merciful love was eternal separation from God. Given St. Augustine’s great insight, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee,” and experiencing more the truth of this insight as I get older and older, I agree with my teachers. Eternal separation from God means never seeing the world from his point of view, never appreciating the unknown depths of all the people I’ve known and loved in life and, of course, never entering into the intimacy of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. What could be more painful than permanent self-delusion and isolation!
— Roland J. Mayer, Ontonagon, Mich.
I just finished reading the Jan. 15 issue with the special Respect Life section on post-abortive healing for women and men. The testimonial section on Pages 12 and 15 really disturbed me! One was about a women who had five abortions. How sad. How can that be justified? The other was a young man who told of how his girlfriend’s Catholic father made her abort her six-month-old baby — did I read that correctly? I bet things like that make our dear Lord so sad!
— Name withheld
It was painful to see Boston contingency lawyer Mitchell Garabedian given a soapbox once again in the Catholic media (“Decade after scandal, Boston Church rebuilds,” Jan. 22). He has become a millionaire by incessantly chanting, “The Church needs to end the secrecy” and it is “not doing enough on behalf of victims” for over a decade. This is Garabedian’s mantra in any venue that will have him. If Father John Geoghan was the face of abuse, and Cardinal Bernard Law the face of irresponsibility, attorney Garabedian is the face of greed.
As such, he has become a part of the problem facing the Catholic Church, and his anti-Catholic rhetoric is well known. He does not belong in the pages of OSV. Readers should Google “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” for another view of Garabedian’s role in the scandal.
— Ryan A. MacDonald, Indianapolis, Ind.
Page 5 of the Jan. 15 issue shows a photo of a Brazilian procession honoring St. Benedict, an old popular tradition of Catholic Brazilians. Your caption was incorrect. São Benedito, venerated with street processions in Brazil, is the black Italian and son of African slaves who lived 1526-1589.
St. Benedict, the founder of the Western monasticism, is called São Bento in Portuguese.
Devotion to São Bento is also very alive in Brazil, but he is not venerated popularly with street processions.
— Maria Libey, Hobart, Ind.