Surveys and statistics don't tell the entire story 

Re “More evidence of the browning of America” (Openers, Sept. 12): 

I belong to a very large, vibrant and pastoral parish in the Midwest. Although Caucasians make up the majority of parishioners, we also are blessed with small groups of African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders. We all work together as Roman Catholics, and not as representatives of various percentages. I read OSV regularly and respect your journalistic talents. I also understand that your goal is to publish up-to-date information, and keep the readership apprised of international happenings. This is what makes OSV superior to many diocesan papers. However, many people are getting fed up with the statistical results of so-called surveys that often state the obvious with a sense of surprise discovery. 

My objection to this latest “discovery” is the danger it presents in profiling our fellow Catholics to the point of embarrassment. Although I do not identify as being part of one of the smaller groups, one can’t help but realize how this type of article makes them feel. As Catholics, we are interested in building community, and not being self-conscious concerning our heritages. I might add, that with regard to the percentages concerning Hispanics, I have traveled extensively in Latin America. Although as many as 90 percent of the people will purport to be Catholic, so very few ever attend Church. As you know, this is also very evident in many so-called Catholic European countries. The root cause for this can certainly be traced to the devastating lack of proper catechesis and faith formation. This problem is growing alarmingly in the United States as well. 

You may have heard the old saying, “Percentages make liars and liars make percentages.” It doesn’t require a Phi Beta Kappa to realize this. 

— Brad Buddy Kansas City, Mo.

Predictable ending 

Regarding the letter and response about end-times revelations in Msgr. M. Francis Mannion’s column (“Disturbing revelations,” Sept. 12), I have two thoughts.

First, it’s a complete waste of time to concern yourself with any such prediction. 

Sure, theoretically your life might end tomorrow because the world comes to an end. But if your life ends tomorrow, it’s more likely because of something like a car crash or heart attack. Whatever the reason, you must be right with God or suffer long-term consequences. 

Second, those promoting end times are lazy. We are called to help make this world a better place as well as lead people to Christ. There is much work to be done.  

But if the world is coming to an end, we don’t have to be so concerned with those issues. All we have to do is shout, “Repent! The world is coming to an end!” Then go home for a beer. 

— Steve Charles Cave Creek, Ariz.

Very sad twilight 

Cardinal Godfried Danneels is neither a “ hero or a zero.” It was a mistake to caption him as such, parroting the words of the secular press (“On abuse, is Belgian cardinal a ‘hero’ or a ‘zero’?” Sept. 26). He was rather the innocent victim of a sting, a very sad twilight to “his years of humble service to the Church.” 

— Joan Floegel Maitland, Fla.

Fatherly union 

Thank you for your recent In Focus on the spiritual life (“The Catholic way to spiritual growth,” Sept. 12). I would just like to make one note on the spiritual life that seems significant and is overlooked. Basically, it is that the purpose of all in the spiritual life is to find union with the Father in heaven. We must not forget the Father, for Jesus has come to lead us to him. If we are drawing closer to Jesus, we are certainly drawing closer to the Father, but if we are not drawing closer to the Father, we are not really drawing closer to Jesus. 

— James Kurt Jersey City, N.J.

Editors, be more alert 

Re the In Focus on Father Benedict Groeschel’s way to spiritual growth (Sept. 12). 

On Page 10, the second and fifth columns contain the word “mediation.” I think what was intended is the word “meditation.” Father Groeschel is too re-spected a spiritual director to have his words misconstrued. 

— Edna M. Lavecka Signal Mountain, Tenn.

Writer’s source? 

I write in response to LaVerne Sober’s Sept. 19 letter regarding women’s ordination. 

Sober states that the exclusive ordination of men to the priesthood has been “infallible from the beginning.” She then refers to the “essentials of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.” Finally, she notes that efforts to change “this” “have been declared heretical and outside the Church.” 

Infallibility is only claimed for the pronouncements of dogma. What is essential to holy orders that requires the recipient to be male? Those who would favor the ordination of women are to be considered heretical and outside the Church? 

These are strong statements, and one would question Sober’s sources. 

— Antoinette Brennan Williamsburg, Va.

Editor’s note: In 1995, the Vatican said the teaching on women’s ordination “has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium. ”