Lay witness of marriage?

Re: “The search for unity” (In Focus, May 25).

Thank you for the wonderful, faith-filled section on Catholic-Orthodox relations. We certainly pray that unity comes soon.

Regarding marriage in the Latin Rite, some fellow readers were confused about the mention that a lay person could witness a marriage instead of a priest or deacon. At the risk of appearing legalistic, I wish you would have expanded your explanation.

In the Code of Canon Law, Canon No. 1108.1 states: “Only those marriages are valid which are contracted before the local ordinary, pastor, or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them ...” Canon No. 1112.1 states: “Where there is a lack of priests and deacons, the diocesan bishop can delegate lay persons to assist at marriages, with the previous favorable vote of the conference of bishops and after he has obtained the permission of the Holy See.”

Thanks again for the special section and OSV every week.

Deacon Bill Jamieson, Grosse Pointe, Michigan

Improving responses

Re: “How to defend the Faith” (Faith, June 8).

I suggest the following method: Respond, review, adapt, respond. When someone says anything critical of the Catholic Church, try to respond. Your response may not be perfect. Later, think about how you responded (review) and about how you could do it better (adapt). Then the next time respond using what you have learned from your previous response. The worst thing to do is to sit silently because you think you might not respond perfectly.

Mike Ryan, via online comments

Sensing the sacred

Re: “Expressing gratitude” (Catholic Journal, June 1).

I would like to express my gratitude for the insightful, funny, often poignant way in which Bob Lockwood communicates his view of life. When I read his column, I can see the domestic scenes as he describes them; I can hear the voices of the children and older folks. I can see the inside of a church, hear the music and smell the incense. All of it draws the reader closer to the sacred. Thank you for sharing his little corner of God’s world with us. I know I am joined by many readers as we pray for healing and strength.

Jan Rack, Wilmington, North Carolina

Own research needed

Re: “Climate change” (Letters to the Editor, May 18).

I agree with the recent letter by Karen Nelon, who wrote that burning corn for fuel as ethanol is actually more harmful to the environment than burning regular gasoline. These are matters for legitimate discussion.

However, I think the argument goes off the rails when the writer compares the climate change movement with the gay rights movement. The two issues have absolutely nothing in common with one another.

There is now overwhelming evidence that global warming is real, human caused and an imminent danger. I invite the writer to do her own research on the climate issue and not blindly follow the opinions of the extreme right.

Philip Kerler, Eagan, Minnesota

Christian friendship

Re: “Are gay friends OK?” (Pastoral Answers, June 1).

Msgr. Charles Pope expressed the Christian viewpoint toward “gay friends” perfectly. If someone is a friend, a gay person should be able to handle criticism when somebody is trying to help them get to heaven. It is refreshing to read that “non-gay Christians” need to evangelize to gays even at the risk of losing friendships.

Craig Galik, Duquesne, Pennsylvania


Re: “Catholic colleges take online learning to new level” (News Analysis, June 1).

Catholic Distance University, based in Hamilton, Va., should have been identified as a Catholic institution of higher learning that uses distance learning to educate students around the world in theology, the liberal arts and faith development. We regret the error.

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