The ripple effect of gender imbalances

Msgr. M. Francis Mannion notes “that the regulations of the Orthodox Churches do not allow Catholics ... to receive the sacraments in their Churches” (“Intercommunion rules,” July 24). This is certainly the case with regard to indiscriminate sacramental sharing; however, this rule may be legitimately suspended on a case-by-case basis at the Orthodox priest’s discretion. Thus, any number of Orthodox clergy can and do licitly (by their own reckoning) administer the sacraments of penance, anointing (of the sick) and the holy Eucharist when a non-Orthodox believer has genuine need, is appropriately disposed and has limited access to his or her own priest. Orthodox Christians may likewise receive these sacraments from non-Orthodox clergy under similar circumstances. It should be noted that the respective non-Orthodox recipients or ministers must originate in churches possessing a valid priesthood and sacraments — as recognized by the Orthodox. 

Such exceptions are based on the Orthodox principle of economia, which allows pastors to set aside certain canonical prohibitions when the greater spiritual good of a Christian may require it.  

John Frazier York, Butler, Pa.

Keep an open mind

I really appreciate Our Sunday Visitor’s effort to give examples of opposing views on political issues. One letter in the July 31 issue was a perfect example of how polarized and closed-minded people can become. I think this arises from the fact that people tend to associate exclusively with one political party to the exclusion of any and all sources of opposing views. 

It’s natural that information distributed by political parties or political activists is deliberately slanted to encourage voters to distrust and even demonize the opposing political party and, therefore, should always be consumed with the proverbial grain of salt. 

The letter writer said that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (“Social teaching and the federal budget: a Catholic politician’s views,” July 17) wanted to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid. He obviously had not honestly considered the congressman’s program with an open mind, or he would have seen that quite the opposite was true. Ryan’s program is designed to preserve these programs, which otherwise will become bankrupt and necessitate rationing of care or exorbitant tax increases on the future generation of workers. This letter writer seems to have fallen for the current political canard of intense hatred of the “rich.” Many of the so-called rich acquired their wealth by hard work and financial discipline and are the primary sources of jobs. 

Another example of “greed” is when a person is “poor” due to his own sloth or irresponsibility and covets the wealth earned by a person who worked harder and more diligently. Charity, of course, is another matter. 

We have a moral obligation to search for truth, which includes the requirement that, at the very least, we give open-minded consideration to all sides of political issues. 

— A.L. Kirtz, San Clemente, Calif.

Promoting the Eucharist

Most Catholic children have never seen a nun in her 20s. I cannot imagine a better project for any diocese than to establish a 40-hour Eucharistic devotion in every parish and to invite young sisters from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Mich., or some similar religious order, to meet with the children in the parish to teach them about Jesus in the Eucharist and to lead them in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  

What a positive experience for Catholic school and CCD students, youth groups and homeschool children to have these young women to teach them about the Blessed Sacrament. Children will begin a lifelong commitment to Jesus in the Eucharist, vocations to sisters will increase and the Good News will spread. 

Patrick Hirzel, Battle Creek, Mich.

Detachment from sin

In a July 10 letter to the editor, Joseph Liss chides Msgr. M. Francis Mannion for not mentioning plenary indulgences for the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin (Pastoral Answers, June 19). In Liss’ list of requirements, he left out the hardest one of all: “It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent.”  

I think most of us would have a hard time meeting that one. 

James W. Anderson, Hollis, N.H.