Offering up prayers in this time of darkness

In regard to Greg Erlandson’s article, “ Our heart of darkness” (Spectator, March 28) , I suppose that before the dust of this scandal that invades our newspapers and the media is allowed to settle, it will have infected the Church in every land on every continent. To abuse children sexually is a crime worthy of the fires of hell. 

The Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI and all the faithful are sickened by these random acts of abuse that have not only affected the victims, but their families as well. Only those who have children can truly witness to the pain that dwells inside those who love their little ones. 

I can only imagine the pain in Our Blessed Mother’ s heart as she witnessed the passions of her son; it’s like that for the victims of this scandal and their moms and dads. But somewhere, someone must remain “the Rock.” Pope Benedict XVI, serving in faith and, as history will record, by the grace of God, occupies the Chair of Peter. 

In England, protesters are calling for his resignation. In Minnesota, a lawyer is on a 27-year crusade to confront the Vatican and question the pontiff “under oath.” It’s time to take things seriously and do what we should as responsible Catholics. 

It has been my experience that prayer works, so I offer up this prayer: that Pope Benedict be given the courage, the strength, the faith and the eternal focus on Jesus to endure this time of darkness and for God to grant him the wisdom to impart to the victims, their families and to the faithful, the truth, a contrite sincerity and a loving cure to all those who have been infected by those grievous sins against our Father in heaven.  

— Les Johnson, Akron, Ohio

Poor Catholic singing

“I was never exposed to such [Anglican] music as a cradle Catholic,” someone was quoted in the article titled “100 U.S. Anglican parishes becoming Catholic” (News Analysis, March 28). I, too, am a cradle Catholic, and it wasn’t until I attended Ohio Northern University (Ada, Ohio), a Methodist-affiliated college, that I heard good church music for the first time. Attendance at chapel was mandatory, and I recall hearing the old hymn “This Is My Father’s World” for the first time and thinking, “I’ve NEVER heard music this good.” 

Apparently this is endemic in Catholic churches wherever they are — even St. Peter’s in Rome. “As things stand in St. Peter’s, quality [of music] remains elusive. By general consent the Sistine Chapel Choir sings with an unbalanced, raucous lack of finesse ... and the organ is undistinguished,” according to a March 28 article in The New York Times. Still don’t believe it? Then read “Why Catholics Can’t Sing,” by Thomas Day, a former Catholic organist. 

As an experiment, I would suggest going to a hymn website ( is one) and playing these hymns: “This is My Father’s World”; “Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned”; “O For A Thousand Tongues”; “Sing to the Lord, Sing His Praise.” I promise you’ll be surprised as well as saddened. 

This is what we’ve been missing as Catholics. 

— Jack Wolock Columbus, Ohio

'A grave offense' 

In “Catholic Marriage” (In Focus, April 11), there is a sidebar titled “Is Divorce a Sin?” that answers the question in the negative. However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is very clear that (with the exception of what is stipulated in No. 2383) divorce is a “grave offense against the natural law.” 

“It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: The remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery” (No. 2384). 

— Carson Weber Sacramento, Calif.

Worthy of admiration 

Father Robert Barron’s column titled “In defense of intelligent adoration” (Living Word, March 28) was one of the best I have read on the topic of Eucharistic adoration. He makes short shrift of Father Richard McBrien’s views by highlighting the practice and teaching of intellectual giants like Jacques Maritain, St. Edith Stein and Pope John Paul II in regard to Eucharistic adoration.  

Father Barron has a genius for expressing the truths of Catholic teaching and tradition in ways that speak to people today. Great article. 

— Sister Madge Karecki, SSJ-TOSF Chicago, Ill.

Israeli territory 

Re “Path to Peace” (Editorial, March 28). 

You accuse Israel of denigrating the peace effort by building housing in “Arab East Jerusalem.” I don’t accept that East Jerusalem “belongs” to the Arabs. In fact, Israel was attacked many times by the Arabs, each time Israel being the winner. Any winner of wars has the right to seize property from the losers. And thus, it is Israeli territory. 

The Israelis say they will never give up East Jerusalem, as that city is their capital. It is Israeli territory. And if the Arabs, even if Israeli citizens, don’t like it, they can revoke their citizenship and flee to an Arab country, just as the multiple thousands of Jews did by leaving Arab countries to come to Israel. 

— Daniel Barton Fayetteville, N.C.