In praise of U.S. Church's social justice work

I am glad I read the entire article by Russell Shaw on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and coalition memberships (“Group cries foul over USCCB’s coalition membership,” March 7) . He presented one of the better-balanced pictures of the turmoil kicked up around John Carr, head of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development. 

I have been aware of the work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and its mission since its inception. That awareness has been immeasurably enhanced now that I am a graduate of JustFaith, which is a social justice formation ministry centered in Louisville, Ky., that counts among its partners the premier Catholic social ministries in the United States: Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and CCHD. During the intense study and immersion activities lasting eight months, eight of us had an opportunity to come face-to-face with inner-city youth rescued from a potential war zone and getting back on their feet as generational leaders at Joshua House in Harrisburg, Pa. Several of the JF graduates have written Cardinal Francis George in defense of CCHD. 

There is no excuse for the blank stares one gets when asked about Catholic Charities, CRS or CCHD. No excuse, that is, if each parish was committed to social justice and the transformation of heart that is required. 

— Gerard G. Trageser, Hummelstown, Pa.

Solid Catholic causes

Re Russell Shaw’s article on the USCCB scandal. It started out as a good article, but ended with careful treading. How can he compare dealing with pro-abortion groups with the United Nations? These groups that are pro-abortion and anti-family should never receive Catholic funds. The plan should always be to support solid Catholic causes. If there is a need to help the poor and a program exists that is doing the job but violates Catholic teaching, then start a group that can get the job done and have it be Catholic-centered. 

— Deacon Thomas McFadden, Sauk Centre, Minn.

Children must be priority 

Your editorial only fortifies what I have said for a long time (“Keeping Catholic,” March 14). You clearly state that 87 percent of Catholic high schoolers are not in Catholic schools. Catholic education has become a “mark of the rich, well to do.” The average “Joe” cannot afford Catholic schools and, therefore, our religion suffers. A vast reallocation of monies must be made in order to save our youth. These children are our future, and we need to provide more for them. 

— Jim Sedlock, Raymore, Mo.

Healing prayers 

This is a comment on “Lost Sense of Sin” (God Lives, Feb. 28). I refer to the lines, “I honestly think that most diocese are trying to help victims and preventing further cases.” 

I have to agree with that statement, especially as I know that in my Diocese of Manchester, N.H., they are doing all that they can to correct this problem. 

But my concern goes much further to help the victims themselves in trying to get over this trauma. As he wrote, there are therapy groups and expressions of apology from various members of the clergy. But unless I missed something, he left out one important means of really aiding these people, and that’s an emphasis on the power of prayer. 

If these abused people are encouraged to begin a prayer program, visit a church regularly and, hard as it may seem, ask God’s help and understanding in overcoming this cross, I’m sure that it could be a great help. 

— Eugene Mercier, Nashua, N.H.

Meaty matters 

Re the letter from Carolyn Mathias (Feb. 28) and the article by Mary Eberstadt (“Gluttony — the most widespread deadly sin,” Jan. 17): If, according to them, the eating of beef is so wrong and a sin, why in the Old Testament did God give us these animals for food? Why did Aaron and his sons offer the fatted calf to God? Why in the Gospel of Matthew did Jesus tell the parable of the wedding feast in which he said, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed and everything is ready, come to the feast.” What’s good enough for God is surely good enough for us. 

Also, your idea that we torture and raise our cattle in “factory farms” is wrong. The cattle on my ranch, and the ranches of the West, receive at least two to seven acres of grassland per head. 

Concerning the health of those who eat beef, as with all food, if consumed in moderation, beef contains vitamins and nutrients that are vital for healthy bodies. 

— Tom Arnold, Fredonia, Kan.

Not for sale 

Re “How effectively does your parish’s website connect?” (News Analysis, March 14). I thought this was and is a timely and important article. I particularly appreciated the inset, “The Basics.” I would recommend this article to anyone except for the second-to-last item therein. The Catholic Church DOES NOT SELL Masses.  

Aside from that, the article should be a mandatory read for every one involved in parish communications. 

— Barbara M. Louthan, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 

Editor’s note: You are correct. Due to an editing error, the word “card” was accidentally omitted after the word “Mass” at the end of the sentence.