Exercising wisdom in the 'culture wars'

I will give John Norton the benefit of the doubt on what it means to be Catholic in a troubled world (“One Catholic’s primer for navigating the ‘culture wars,’” June 26); after all, he said he had been thinking.

 I don’t think it was intentional to imply that “wisdom” is synonymous with “cowardice.” In “navigating the culture wars,” it occurred to me that because the world considers taking action as superior to reflection, Catholics may also be inclined to believe exercising wisdom is not really a virtue, depending on the circumstances. 

In regards to the opinion, “there is no simple answer to being ‘in the world but not of the world,’” I disagree. We can ask God for more wisdom — one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. “She” (the authors of the Wisdom books referred to wisdom as a person) can help us. Perhaps we need to reacquaint ourselves with the pearls in the Wisdom books (Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Sirach). 

To consider the proper approach to sin, keep thinking and exercise wisdom. Then we Catholics will be well-armed to avoid the extremes of self-righteousness or anger. 

— Kasandra Barker, Hot Springs, Ariz. 

Another widowhood? 

I read your article “Losing a Spouse” (In Focus, June 26), and I am familiar with James 1:27 and the strong obligation the Church has to support widows. 

Where does the Church support those of us who are in reality “widows” because our husbands chose to divorce us? I am one of those persons.  

I have experienced being rejected, deprived of financial support, responsible for children, etc., not once, but twice. Neither of these divorces were initiated by me and both times my husbands did not live up to the marriage vows (or Christian standards). My husband who divorced me in 2009 and left me without even health insurance was a cantor in a local Catholic church! 

Of course, I am pleased that I am “allowed” full communion. I do have a burdened heart about where I “fit in.” How many people are in my situation and feel this confusion/abandonment? 

Thank you for letting me raise my question. I am not angry or bitter, as my current church is supportive of me as an individual. However, my isolation/stigma is obvious. 

— Viola Handwerk, Fort Myers, Fla.

Fanning the flames 

I was saddened and disturbed by the wording of the bold headline “Are gay priests to blame for abuse?” on the June 26 cover of Our Sunday Visitor. 

That the John Jay Study was examined in your paper is not the problem (“Critics decry John Jay’s findings on homosexuality,” June 26). In fact, that article was a good example of how we in the Church need to talk with one another about and try to examine all sides of important issues in the effort to discern what God is calling us to be and do. 

However, too many Catholics simply saw what I believe was a negatively worded headline as they passed by their parish pamphlet racks, without picking up an OSV and reading the article inside.  

If they walked out of church with that headline in mind (even subconsciously), did they not have even more fuel for an already too-big fire of fear and hatred of our brothers and sisters who are homosexual? 

— Maureen E. O’Reilly, Dearborn, Mich.

Discriminatory view 

Thank you for including the sidebar, “An Issue of Power,” with the article about the John Jay study on the sexual abuse crisis in the Church (“Critics decry John Jay’s findings on homosexuality,” June 26). This sidebar illuminates the issue far more clearly and accurately than the article itself, and I encourage your readers to cut out the sidebar, post it on their refrigerators, and take it to heart.  

I further encourage your readers to ignore, or at least read with a prayerfully discerning eye, the statements in the article that were made by William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, who is trying to use the tragedy of sexual abuse by clergy to justify a discriminatory attitude toward homosexual people that, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 2358), cannot be justified; an attitude that impinges upon the religious and civil rights that Donohue’s organization claims to defend. 

— Mary Dodson, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Easy-to-explain reason 

It seems to me that your June 26 editorial “Marriage Matters” bestows an unnecessary mantle of complexity upon the steep decline in Catholic marriages.  

Isn’t lowest-common-denominator Catholicism the fruit of 50-plus years of post-Second Vatican Council? By that I mean barren liturgy, poor music, worse hymns, deplorable catechesis and overemphasis on “I am” instead of on “I AM WHO AM.”  

To those, add the de rigueur Holy Mass dress code of shorts, blue jeans, T-shirts, tank tops, flip-flops and tennis shoes and the inconvenience of going to Mass when there are sports to be watched and played. Still more, add children’s liturgies that are like nursery school plays instead of elevating teaching. 

After such a diet in childhood, youth and young adulthood, why be surprised at a perfectly logical, but not less deplorable, outcome when marriage time rolls around? 

— Edward A. Rohde, St. Louis, Mo.