Boost religious identity of institutions

Re: “A Renewed Mission” (In Focus, July 21)

Russell Shaw and Gerard Bradley did a thorough set up of the plight of Catholic institutions today, and I was somewhat compelled by their prescription until I read that “the mega-ministries should be allowed to go their own way, with good wishes from the Church.”

What does this mean exactly, and what does that look like? Would the institution be declared a non-Catholic entity? With all their problems, poor millions depend on Catholic hospitals. I don’t think we can say goodbye to them. 

By the last paragraph in the piece, I believe Shaw and Bradley hit the nail on the head. The real issue in these institutions, and our culture for that matter, is for “a religious alternative to the idolatrous cultures of our times.” In other words, we need a real, palpable religious identity that ministers to suffering people. Let’s keep the institutions and pray for vocations.

Kasandra Barker, Hot Springs, Ark.

True Good Samaritan

Re: “Who is my neighbor?” (Editorial, July 28).

The lesson to be learned from the parable of the Good Samaritan seems obvious.

While the parable is clear about our obligation to care for a person beaten by bandits, it says nothing about our duty toward the bandits. There is nothing to suggest that we should feel sympathy for them, much less fabricate a scenario in which they are portrayed as innocents and their victim is painted as the aggressor.

And yet, that is what your five-person editorial board did. Did not one of you understand what really happened? George Zimmerman was a Good Samaritan, a guy volunteering to protect his neighborhood from bandits. But he was also the traveler on the road, the victim of a bandit attack. Had he not been armed, he would be dead. All the people who came to his defense and stood up for the truth are also Good Samaritans.

Why didn’t your editorial board “go and do likewise”?

F.R. Duplantier, Bridgeton, Mo.

Follow God’s law

Re: “One man’s mission to renew America’s soul” (News Analysis, July 14).

Thank you for providing the insights of Archbishop José Gomez on immigration.

Regarding illegality, the American Revolution was “illegal,” according to the British laws in place at that time. The Founding Fathers faced capital punishment if they were captured.

In Colossians 3:11, St. Paul says: “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.” Many of these immigrants are our brothers and sisters in Christ, members of the body of Christ, sharing with us a deep devotion to our Blessed Mother. Our 2,000-year-old shared faith should mean much more to us than immigration regulations passed in the last few decades.

Jesus warned us that God’s commandments are more important than human law or custom (See Mk 7:5-13). He will judge us on our adherence to God’s law. Local laws and politics will not excuse us for failure to help those in need. In Matthew 25:31-46, there are no footnotes or exceptions for local laws and customs.

Herbert de Launay, Natchitoches, La.

Immigration solution

You can put a sweet picture of a child with a U.S. flag and a “Si, se puede” headline every week in OSV, and I’m still not following the bishops on “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Either we are a nation of laws or we aren’t. The reported 11 million people in the country illegally either crossed the border without permission or had temporary permission to be in the United States and chose not to leave. If the immigration system is broken, then they are the ones who broke it.

A path to citizenship exists for every one of these illegal immigrants. And those paths originate in the various countries from which they came. If the Church truly wants to reunify families, then it should provide assistance to people to return to their home countries.

Craig Niehaus, Glendale, Mo.

Not the same God

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s quote that “You love God, we love God and he is the same God,” made when visiting an Islamic Cultural Center, is not correct (This Week, July 7). Catholics and other Christians believe in and worship the triune God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Muslims do not believe that Jesus was God. Muslims also do not believe in the Holy Spirit. We can be respectful of other religious beliefs without compromising the truth for political correctness or for a misguided sense of ecumenism.

Mary F. Connelly, via email

Slacks can be modest

Re: “Modesty at Mass” (Pastoral Answers, July 28)

Msgr. Charles Pope did a sensitive job with a delicate subject. I agree that culture is involved more than a lack of reverence. But I would ask that he consider slacks for women. Nice slacks can be part of more formal attire. At age 82, I am less self-conscious and less distracted at Mass when wearing a modest top and slacks that cover my swollen ankles and do not draw attention to my orthopedic shoes.

Mary Behr, Murrieta, Calif.