Do not speak ill of the dead

Re: “JFK: 50 years later” (In Focus, Nov. 17)

There is a paragraph in Russell Shaw’s article on President John F. Kennedy that I find objectionable. Just consider the junior high and high school students involved with reading it! The sign of scandal should certainly figure here — unnecessary revealing the signs of another. “De mortuis nil nisi bonum: Concerning the dead (speak) nothing but good!” I fault Mr. Shaw for writing the paragraph, and Our Sunday Visitor for publishing it. I refer, of course, to President Kennedy’s failing his marriage vows! Such an item belongs in a learned study or a biography of a person, if anywhere!

— Father John Vincent, OSC, Onamia, Minn.

Lawful separation

Re: “Teaching the truth” (Letters to the Editor, Nov. 17).

In her letter, Bai Macfarlane states that, “Divorce is a grave offence against nature, it is immoral, and one can’t file for divorce without the bishop’s permission (see Canons 104, 1151, 1692, 915).”

I think Macfarlane is confused between divorce and lawful marital separation. First, there is no such thing as Catholic divorce, therefore, the bishop cannot give his permission. One of the canons cited above uses the phrase lawful separation, not divorce.

“Divorce a toro et mensa (lat., from bed and board). The name [divorce] given in canon law to what in civil law is a judicial separation.” To avoid confusion it is better to call it a separation.

A couple can obtain permission from the bishop for a lawful marital separation, either temporary or permanent. In the case of a permanent separation, a civil divorce may also be permitted.

This lawful separation does not permit remarriage until the death of one of the parties. Moreover, it is granted by the Church on account of adultery, loss of faith, or for other grave reasons. With this lawful separation, cohabitation ceases, but the marriage bond remains.

— Father Joseph C. Lewandowski, Little Rock, Ark.

No escaping

Re: “Divine escape route” (Letters to the Editor, Nov. 10).

John Bosco uses language that seems strange in our contemporary Catholic context. Should we be looking at faith in Jesus as some kind of “escape route”? Escape from what? From engagement with the world that he acknowledges is increasingly dominated by godlessness? Apparently Bosco believes Pope Francis hit the right note when he described the concern of traditional Catholics with abortion, true marriage and conception issues — both contra and artificial — as “obsessions.” But would our pope describe these matters as mere “details of Christianity” or even “minutia”?

One wonders what St. Paul would have thought about believers who dismiss the importance of family-related morality. Some in our society, including some Catholics, seem unable to put the radical redefinition of family issues in the 2,000-year perspective of the Church, and thus are willing to simply “escape” from the social breakdown these trends are leading to. It seems like they want to concentrate instead on what might be called an “escapist” route to eternal life.

Does Jesus mean for us to escape from the signs of the times, or deal with them prayerfully and constructively?

Frederick J. Kurtz, Bronx, N.Y.

Ills of the military

“The price and a prayer” (Faith, Nov. 10).

How can a newspaper that writes on behalf and for the Catholic community be giving praise to these soldiers, the true emissaries of an evil and destructive organization that prides on its warmongering deeds throughout the world? How can someone who claims to follow a religion of peace and love be supporting such individuals that have their hands stained with the blood of innocent victims in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan?

This is all utterly shameful and contrary to what Pope Francis is preaching day after day. He strongly advocates in the name of Our Lord Jesus for a world with peace and love among our human brethren, and has swiftly criticized all the militaristic organizations, like the U.S. military, that contribute on a daily basis to the suffering and calamity of poor people all over this earth.

You should clearly be ashamed of yourselves for these remarks and calling yourselves Christians.

Javier Villela, Los Angeles, Calif.

Bring back Baltimore

Re: “Let’s return to old favorite for catechesis” (Letters to the Editor, Nov. 24).

I applaud Marion Smyth’s calling for a return to the Baltimore Catechism. It seem so many of us Catholics now have a blasé attitude about many of our core teachings.

Bud Koselke, via email

One-sided questionnaire

Re: “Questionnaire seeks to assess knowledge of doctrine” (News Analysis, Nov. 24).

What one-sided survey! Are the Catholic Church higher-ups only looking for the answers that will keep the status quo?

The Catholic Church is not a family or a community of believers to me anymore. It is a picture of divisions in almost all areas.

Annette O’Brien, via email