Strong dads are vital component to promoting chastity

The interview with Father Larry Richards (“Wanted: A few good, spiritually strong men,” Jan. 10) explains why our society has no conscience about cohabiting outside of marriage, no qualms about not getting married at all. 

Several decades ago, we feared what our dad would say or do about this matter because the father was the voice of conscience. He didn’t even have to talk about chastity; he conveyed this value. Perhaps because of women’s financial contribution to the home, moms typically call the shots, and, despite good intentions, children respond better to the male as an authority figure.

Even in homes with two lifelong churchgoing parents, godly Catholic/Christian homes, affluent and wealthy homes, the message of chastity is not being transmitted to children because of dads’ waning influence. We are failing to convey moral teaching on this matter, yet dutifully cart children to activities, worry about the best grades and what college and career path our kids will take.

We can fight the abortion issue forever, but the crux of that problem is chastity and a rejection of authority. As I see youth I care about moving from one sexual relationship to another, the notion of chastity is nonexistent in their minds.

Strong families build vibrant communities and create a foundation of stability in which to raise children. The values of theology of the body have been about protecting children and respecting your body. We need dads more than ever as protector and role model. We need more men’s conferences, and more fiction with strong father figures, as well as better depictions of males in film.

— Colette Leskovyansky, Dennison, Ohio 

Out of tune

Msgr. M. Francis Mannion’s article on singing during the liturgy (“Singing celebrants,” Feb. 21) prompts me to express a serious problem I have with singing during Communion. 

We live in a hectic, fast-paced world, which makes it difficult to find time to meditate, reflect on our lives and commune with God. 

The reception of the Eucharist is probably the most ideal and intimate time we can spend in communication with our Savior. But this is made impossible by the forced singing during the entire time of distribution of the sacred Hosts — sometimes with up to three songs. 

To what purpose? Is it to prevent an awkward silence for the several minutes it takes to distribute the Hosts? This could be remedied by the organist playing quiet instrumental background music that would not distract the parishioners from their silent conversation with God. 

Singing can be important, but it is not essential. It should not fight with our special time with Our Lord.  

— David Tomko, Butler, Pa.

Laity shouldn't minister 

I was very disappointed to see a whole article devoted to an interview with Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester, N.Y. (“Bishop pushes for greater lay leadership in Church,” Feb. 28). It is not the business of the laity to minister. The notion of lay ministry undercuts the priesthood. I will most certainly not be renewing my subscription to your newspaper because of this article! 

— Paul A. Trouve, Montague, N.J.

Biblical evidence 

In regard to a letter by Suzana Megles (“A modest proposal to the pontiff — and everyone else,” Jan. 31) in which she points to Genesis 1:29-30, where God gave every seed-bearing plant as food for man, as telling her to be a vegetarian. While it is nice that she is reading her Bible, let’s hope she doesn’t stop with the first chapter.  

Whatever we are searching for can be found in the Bible, even though we may all seek something different. Genesis 9:3, right after the great flood, further explains God’s plan for how his people should eat: “Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat: I give them all to you as I did the green plants.” In Acts 10:11-16, Peter has a vision where God tells him what he is to eat. There are many other references throughout the Bible concerning our diet.  

Meat deserves to be recognized as a nutritious source of protein, as well as minerals and vitamins, for a healthy diet. We must understand that animals were created for man to use and not abuse.  

— Jim Lowman, Fairfield, N.D. 

Irksome interpretation

Mary Eberstadt’s interpretation of anger was spiced with political innuendoes (“Why do we blow our tops about the wrong things?” Feb. 28).  

I disagree with her statement that there is no “righteous anger” in Washington, D.C. It may be drowned out by the din of political expediency. Increasing polarization and media spin create the “perfect storm” of anger, confusion and helplessness.  

Government-run health care becomes “socialism.” Protection of the environment becomes “obstructionism.” Perpetuating war, even torture, becomes “patriotic.” Abortion becomes “pro-choice,” and on and on. 

Eberstadt faults Barack Obama for “exploiting ... the populace” over the financial crisis and war. If it is exploitation to address the unsustainability of war and the lawlessness of our financial institutions, may we all then “exploit” these aberrations. 

— Mary Ann Dorsett, Des Moines, Iowa