Useful prayer to stop gossip

Re: “Did you hear?: Gossip builds walls between us and others” (In Focus, Sept. 8).

Your article on gossip was excellent. My New Year’s resolution for 2013 was not to talk unkindly about others. Every morning I say, “Father in heaven, I give you today all that I think, do, and say and I unite it with all that was done by Jesus Christ.”

Sometimes it’s really tempting to break the resolution, but I say to myself, “Would I really give to my Father in heaven what I just planned to say about that person?” and that stops me quickly in my tracks.

I feel so good since I made this promise and strive every day to keep it.

Curé of Ars Church parishioner, Leawood, Kan.

Purgatory memories

Re: “9 truths about purgatory” (In Focus, Sept. 29).

I so enjoyed the pages on purgatory, which reconfirmed my beliefs and cleared up some thoughts I had from youth religious classes with the good nuns decades and decades ago.

I am glad you chose to print these nine truths about purgatory. Do you remember when we would say prayers after Mass for the “poor souls in purgatory?” I so believed then as a child and was grateful to learn prayers would be there for me.

What happened to this Catholic custom? I never realized this until these pages brought back memories.

Rita Schroeder, Eddyville, Ky.

Indulgence details

In regard to your In Focus on purgatory, the sidebar “What’s an Indulgence” is very, very disappointing. It begins with the statement “An indulgence is a remission from either part or all of the temporal punishment a soul must undergo because of sin.” I think it would be more accurate to say that it is a remission from either part or all of the temporal punishment due for sins that have already been forgiven.

Then the author should have stated that there are two kinds of indulgences, plenary and partial. A plenary indulgence remits all temporal punishment; a partial indulgence remits part of the punishment. Instead the article mentions “plenary indulgence” ONLY in one sentence and does not even mention partial indulgence at all! Then there should have been a further elaboration about temporal punishment as follows.

When a person commits a sin, he incurs two types of punishment, eternal and temporal. Then, when he repents, goes to confession and receives absolution, this satisfies the eternal punishment. But he still needs to satisfy the temporal punishment. This can be illustrated by an analogy. Suppose a person visits the castle of a king. He becomes angry and breaks an expensive glass window. Later he repents and tells the king he is sorry. The king forgives him, but he still has to pay for the broken window! So after the sin is forgiven, one must still satisfy the temporal punishment for that sin. This can be done by gaining an indulgence, and the article states numerous ways to do this. But if a person dies without satisfying all temporal punishment due for his sins during his lifetime, he will have to satisfy it in purgatory.

Also, the article states “general conditions for gaining an indulgence include” I would guess that this is referring to a PLENARY indulgence. But the reader should not have to guess. The author should have specified “plenary indulgence.”

Ralph A. Marson, Center Line, Mich.

More indulgence details

Thanks for your In Focus on purgatory; however, the information on indulgences required clarification. As for the acts: they would be: reading Scripture for a half-hour and adoration for a half-hour, and praying the Rosary with family, in a prayer group or before the Blessed Sacrament. Confession and holy Communion should be received within several days of the act, although it would be appropriate to seek the sacraments the same day.

Also, regarding having no attachment to sin, an act of Faith like, “Lord, let me be free of all sin and attachment to sin,” would suffice.

James Kurt, Sarasota, Fla.

‘Right’ kind of college

Re: “Havens of holiness” (Catholic college and university special section, Sept. 22).

This note is intended as a brief, but sincere, comment on your project.

As a reader of the OSV, a Catholic grade school, high school and college graduate, as well as parent of five Catholic college graduates, I am critical of the clear tenor of that article. Either we stay united as Catholics or we are in even deeper trouble. The concept of “the right kind” of Catholic university, as was clear in your article, divides the church at a time we are under attack.

No school, newspaper, parish, priest or nun is perfect. To create and focus on divisive issues harms, not helps, the Church.

Please use your influence in a positive fashion, not a divisive GOOD (right kind of) CATHOLIC university vs. the “not really Catholic” school.

William J. Brady, via email


Re: “Angelic helpers” (In Focus, Oct. 13).

Regarding the Gabriel Network of Maryland and Washington, D.C., both the Angel Friends we have, and the volunteers that assist them, are all volunteers. The difference is their personal level of involvement.

Jim Sharbaugh, director of volunteer programs for Gabriel Network