Attracted to teaching

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

One of the reasons I converted to Catholicism was because of the Church’s teaching on purgatory. I was relieved to know there was a place where my soul could be purified before I stood in the presence of God.

Carole, via online comment

Who goes to purgatory?

As to my view, purgatory is prepared for the less pious and dishonest Catholic Christians and for those who neither have the grace to directly enter into heaven nor are worthy (of the) damnation of hell. But for those who have already purified their sins while they are living, they need no punishment of purgatory but they just pass through it into heaven. So, the Scripture says, “Everyone will be salted with fire” (Mk 9:49).

Phiency Roy, via online comment

Death penalty teaching

Re: “Death penalty opposition” (This Week, Sept. 15).

The recent statement by Archbishop Timothy M. Broglio falls far short of what the Church teaches regarding capital punishment.

His statement contradicts Scripture, Tradition and the moral law. I think it would have been helpful if before writing the article one would have read what The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches on the subject in Nos. 2263-2266.

The pivotal phrase in his statement is “unjustified killing.” Capital punishment does not fall under the same classification as unjustified killing. On the contrary, capital punishment is classified as justified killing, Moreover, the very reference to unjustified killing implies that there is such a thing as justified killing, such as killing in self-defense and in times of war.

The Church has never taught that it was immoral for the state to inflict the death penalty for serious crimes such as murder. It would be, in fact, uncivilized to let such crimes go without just punishment. Too often today we hear of compassion for the condemned criminal, but what about the widow and the orphan or the bereaved family left without a father or mother, brother or sister who have become victims of the murderer?

St. Thomas Aquinas defends capital punishment on the grounds of the common good. The state, he reasons, is like a body composed of many members, and as a surgeon may cut off one corrupt limb to save the others, so the civil authority may lawfully put a criminal to death and thus provide for the common good.

As the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen said:

“America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance. It is not. It is suffering from tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so much overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded [libertine] . . . In the face of this broad mindedness [permissiveness], what the world needs is intolerance.”

Father John C. Lewandowski, Mountain View, Ark.

Too many distractions

Re: “Dropout Catholics” (God Lives, Sept. 22).

In addition to Msgr. Owen F. Campion’s article on causes for the “staggering” number of Catholics dropping out of the Church, it might be added that too often, we have become timid in proclaiming the uniqueness and grandeur of our particular faith. Consequently more than a few leave to go to a church that is “easier.”

But maybe the biggest reason for dropping out in our time is the unbridled use and pervasive nature of modern technology, including the huge entertainment industry, which seems to cause an untold number of Catholics to inadvertently get side-tracked and lose sight of the importance of their precious religion.

Name withheld, Wanatah, Ind.