How we can identify as ‘Catholic first’
I have several ideas on how to make sure we are “Catholic first” (“The challenge for Americans to identify as ‘Catholic first,’” Nov. 6):
◗ Awaken thankfully knowing that you serve the Lord in love at all times and in many varied ways throughout your days.
◗ Don’t skip important things you should do or say to those you encounter to help keep them (and you) on “the path.”
◗ God always provides strength and inspiration for us to answer challenges to our faith when we ask.
◗ Put on the armor of God by receiving the sacraments often.
◗ Read lives of saints frequently, so that they might inspire us to share new ideas for attaining greater holiness and peace with family and friends.
◗ Read the Bible, pray the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and /or other devotions daily or as often as possible, even if you can manage only one decade at a time.
◗ Contribute money, goods, food, time, expertise or whatever you have to those in need.
◗ Seek out constant inspiration from different venues of Catholic media, EWTN, websites, blogs, books and tapes to learn from and to share.
◗ Always check ratings and reviews on movies that you and or your family want to watch.
— Ann M. Harrod, Harlingen, Texas
Re: “Belief in Real Presence” (Pastoral Answers, Nov. 13).
I took note of the subtitle used to introduce Msgr. M. Francis Mannion’s column: “Most faithful believe Christ is present in bread and wine; Church must better inform those who don’t.” The Church has never taught that Christ is present in bread and wine but rather, as Msgr. Mannion observes, “Christ is really present under the forms of bread and wine.”
Msgr. Mannion writes that a Catholic who no longer believes in the Real Presence remains a Catholic because “once a baptized Catholic, always a Catholic.” Yet, while it isn’t possible for one to “erase” the indelible character that is imprinted on the soul at the time of the reception of the Sacrament of Baptism, a Catholic who knowingly, willingly and obstinately rejects the Church’s definitive belief in the Real Presence has embraced a heretical teaching. Thus, he has clearly distanced himself from the Church’s faith.
— Msgr. Charles M. Mangan, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Defending tea party
First, let me say that I am an avid reader and supporter of Our Sunday Visitor.
With regard to “Populism and Politics” (Editorial, Oct. 30), your comments about the tea party are false and offensive. Your charge that there was “spitting on lawmakers and chanting racist slogans” is false. With regard to those alleged incidents by a few in Congress and the media, the leaders of the tea party put out a reward for anyone who had any proof, but no one could produce such proof. Could there be rude and racist people at the rallies? Of course. However, this kind of behavior is condemned by those in the movement. To compare them to the extremists in New York and Rome is unconscionable and shameful.
The members of the movement that I know locally and around the country are respectful, hardworking, God-centered Americans who are calling for fiscal responsibility and traditional family values. They are protesting government overspending and waste and abuse, as well as threats to religious freedom and the Constitution.
You need to get the facts about the tea party. You owe all involved in this important citizen movement an apology for your false accusations.
— Stephanie Haynes, New Orleans, La.
Love God and neighbor
“A Call to Reform” (Editorial, Nov. 6) needs clarification, or it could do great harm. “An ethic of solidarity” is not enough — by itself it is flawed. Common good is not good enough. Common good must be built on the foundation of the Two Great Commandments — loving God, first and foremost, and loving neighbor. No efforts of economic peace can occur outside of this foundation.
— Michael D. Warner, Farmington, Mich.
Teach the basics
Re: “Catholic Lethargy in Public Square” (Essay, Oct. 30).
Russell Shaw called it right. Nothing is going to change with the young and even some of the old if they depend upon the secular media for information on the Catholic Church. Our priests have got to start preaching on the basics of the Church from the pulpit. What better place to teach and preach than a captive audience.
— Margaret Johnson, Louisville, Ky.
Take the gloves off
Enough of decrying the Department of Health and Human Services’ decisions (“Anti-Catholicism alleged in HHS grant denial,” Nov. 20). It’s time to tackle Kathleen Sebelius head on. Not only does she embrace evil, she fosters it by appointing like-minded minions to critical HHS positions. The Catholic press, bishops and priests need to speak out against her personally; take the gloves off !
— Larry Downs, via email