Don’t give up on catechizing special-needs kids

Re: “Special blessings for special-needs children” (In Focus, March 16).

As a parent with an autistic child, I struggled to get my child his sacraments at an early age. When he was 5 or 6, I enrolled him in religious education classes. But after a few months, I was told he was too disruptive in class. I stopped going to church because of it. When my second child was old enough to enter religious education I went back and asked them if they would teach my children. Again they refused, this time because I wasn’t attending Mass regularly. But, fortunately, I didn’t give up hope.

When my children were teenagers, I tried again, but this time at a different church. They offered RCIA for teens. My son was older and could understand the material better. My husband and I both knew we would need to set an example for our kids. In 2010, our kids received their sacraments at the Easter Vigil. Our youngest child received first Communion and later was confirmed. We all regularly attend Mass.

God never gives up showering his grace and mercy on us. If religious education is not an option when they’re young, RCIA is a wonderful avenue for special-needs kids when they’re older. 

Name and location withheld

Remarried Catholics

Re: “Pope seeks compassion for remarried in synod” (News Analysis, March 23).

Giving holy Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics who are or were not, in the Church’s eyes, free to remarry is not compassion, it is compromising the clear teaching of Our Lord in Luke 16:18: “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

True compassion would be to look at what it will take to set remarried Catholics on the road to repentance and conversion. Giving them holy Communion because we feel sorry for them is not the answer.

Supporting them in their journey toward being in a state of grace and communion is the answer. 

Jackie Stutmann, Rome, N.Y.

In certain situations, I think divorced and remarried Catholics deserve a little more mercy from the Church. I know several couples who, out of ignorance of the Faith, did not pursue an annulment before getting remarried.

Some of these couples have started families and have a strong desire to raise their children in the Faith. To tell them they are excommunicated with no chance of ever being able to receive Communion seems a bit harsh.

What if they were offered the chance to either go to confession or go through a modified annulment process?

Dianna Staab, via online comment

Priest shortage

Re: “Surviving the bombs” (Spectator, March 16).

If we are to have more priests, we have to get to the root of the problem, and that is to have only boys serve during the Mass.

No girls allowed. Boys need to be next to the priest to know what he does and why. It’s basic training like any job.

There are many jobs that girls can do like the altar society of those past years. There may be a temporary shortage of priests, but there is not a shortage of boys who can become a priest if we can get them on the altar and learn the ropes.

Frank Roberts, Salem, Ore.

Beware of scandal

Re: “Correcting Cohabiters” (Pastoral Answers, March 16).

Msgr. Pope says, “Fornicators not only sin against God’s gifts of marriage and sexuality, but also sin against justice by engaging in behavior that harms society and children.”

I’m reminded of a 1960s slogan: “If it feels good do it.” I once knew a very holy man who said, “What the world has lost sight of is the fact of causing scandal and it’s repercussions.”

I think we are now reaping the harvest of the 1960s.

Winifred Young, Port Monmouth, N.J.