A caution about ‘shepherd stealing’

Re: “Inching toward the cliff” (Spectator, Aug. 4)

Greg Erlandson’s column is “spot on.” The need to encourage vocations to Church service, especially in the priesthood, should be obvious to any informed Catholic. Although my brother deacons fill in important gaps of service both inside and outside our parishes, we are not “mini-priests.”

One proposed solution, though, raises some important questions. Erlandson observes that “many dioceses will be filling their ranks with foreign-born priests.” Diversity is certainly a healthy witness to our one body of Christ. Conversely, I’ve read the concern raised that America may be “shepherd stealing” from mission countries whose priest-laity ratio is far worse than ours. I sincerely hope that this will not be the case.

Deacon Marv Robertson, Diocese of Lansing, Mich.

Teaching effectively

Re: “Ireland’s yes to abortion” (God Lives, July 28).

Msgr. Owen F. Campion provided a good analysis of the situation in Ireland on the question of abortion. Though the Catholic Church and pro-life organizations in Ireland resisted passing the law allowing for abortion in limited cases, Msgr. Campion states “that the pro-abortion side was stronger.” He says the question arises as to how bishops and priests should handle such politicians.

An answer to that problem is that bishops and priests be more attentive to performing their primary function, which is “the teaching office.” They need to identify the Church’s teaching on abortion, provide the rationale for the teaching and expose the falsities involved in the opponents’ arguments. They must do this clearly, consistently and continually (the “3Cs”). The opponents are using the 3Cs to get their false message out to the people. If the people hear these falsities enough times, and do not hear the truth, they begin to believe the untruths.

Marion Smyth, Finksburg, Md.

Invaluable columnist

Re: “The marriage mess” (Catholic Journal, July 28).

Once again, Robert Lockwood had a straightforward, well-written article in the July 28 issue. Lockwood gets to the point and, like many of us, occasionally feels frustrated and down about the state of affairs in America these days. Almost always, Lockwood is upbeat, positive and yet realistic.

I look forward to more of his interesting articles. His column is one reason that I continue to subscribe to Our Sunday Visitor.

Patricia Grohs, via email

Sins of the flesh

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

Msgr. Charles Pope states, “It is a very delicate matter for a priest to speak in great detail about women’s fashions.”

A priest does not have to speak in great detail about this. However, I certainly believe that modesty for both sexes needs to be addressed.

Our Lady at Fatima in 1917 said that styles would be introduced that would offend her Son very much. She also said that more souls were going to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason.

If our spiritual leaders are not addressing this, I believe they are lacking in their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them.

Sister Thomas Ann Ford, O.P., St. Catharine, Ky.

How about some charity?

Re: “Archbishop misguided on immigration question” (Letters to the Editor, July 28).

It was a bit disturbing for me to read the letter written by Effie Parsons regarding Archbishop Gomez’s book, “Immigration and the Next America.”

I hope that I am wrong in my assessment, but Parsons’ letter struck me as condescending and disrespectful toward the leader of the U.S. largest Catholic archdiocese. In actual fact, the letter is much more revealing about its author than it is about Archbishop Gomez himself. It reveals a person obviously lacking in basic Christian charity as well as in the knowledge of the Church’s moral precepts and of its social doctrine.

Just a reminder that Archbishop Gomez was highly regarded by Blessed John Paul II, who named him an auxiliary bishop of Denver archdiocese and in 2004 assigned him as archbishop of San Antonio. I am sure that he enjoyed considerable respect of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who entrusted him with the leadership of the Los Angeles archdiocese.

I am also certain that he enjoys full trust and confidence of Pope Francis.

There is no doubt in my mind that he rose to this level of ecclesial ministry due to his deep faith, his deep love for the Church and all its people (both “legal” and “illegal”), his sharp intellect, his fair and balanced approach to current political and social issues, his high leadership skills and his impeccable moral and ethical credentials.

So, my strong recommendation to Parsons and her like-minded soul mates is to read his book slowly and carefully. And before they passed final judgment on it, I ask them to go and spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament and pray for an increase of faith, hope and charity. Especially charity.

Father Daniel Mmarevic, Grand Forks, N.D.

Amen to that!

To Effie Parsons’ letter, I say — Amen! Amen! Amen!!

Rita Mendez, Washington, D.C.