Bring back that ‘old-time religion’

Russell Shaw asks “What if Second Vatican Council never occurred?” (News Analysis, Dec. 30). The simple answer to this 90-year-old is that our “old-time religion” of sacrifice, penance and traditional practices of praise and adoration would still be around. 

With so much time and ink being used to discuss the liturgical changes, it seems to me, homilies have ignored the sinfulness of today’s society and its threat to our Catholic youngsters and the future of Catholicism. 

I would guess this oversight is the result of so many of our priests and bishops being under the age of 60, and therefore they have no idea what a joy “our old-time religion” provided for the oldsters of the Greatest Generation. 

I don’t think Christ would approve of the accommodating Catholicism of today’s generation. 

Bill Bandle, Manchester, Mo.

Should you say ‘always’?

Re: “God is with us” (Editorial, Dec. 30). 

At the risk of being misunderstood and coming out looking like the Grinch, I must question a quote in your editorial in which you said: “God is always on the side of the suffering.” It would be safer to say “God is always with us” — he is omnipresent after all — but to say God always sides with the suffering may be stretching it a bit.  

Adolf Hitler suffered defeat and an ignominious end in a Berlin bunker at the end of World War II, and while God was with Hitler, as he is everywhere, I doubt that God sided with Hitler. I have heard progressives make the case that radical gay activists suffer for their cause, therefore they should be equated with the martyrs and saints — but again, that is stretching the truth, isn’t it?  

It might be wise for you to not overstate your position. Yes, God is with us but he is not always on the side of the suffering if folks suffer while opposing his will. 

Frank Johnson, Winter Park, Fla. 

In defense of Israel

“Seeking the star of peace” (Editorial, Dec. 16) seemed to decry the disproportionate number of Palestinians killed when Israel retaliated against the continuous rockets and suicide bombings that Israel has endured in its attempt to defend the tiny strip of land that the United Nations defined as an independent nation. 

By the same logic we would have stopped short of winning World War II when we had killed an equivalent number of Germans and Japanese. 

Alvin Kirtz, San Clemente, Calif.

Learning about ACLU

“Biased viewpoint” (Catholic Journal, Dec. 30) is an excellent article by Robert Lockwood. 

What has been puzzling to me for many years is why conservative media has not revealed more about the American Civil Liberties Union. Where are they located? Who are the officers? Members of the board? And most important, who supports them? We all know their agenda, but who are they? 

Donald Barton, Jacksonville, Fla. 

Receiving worthily

Re: “Limited Communion” (Pastoral Answers, Dec. 30). 

I was pleased to hear that the priest at the letter writer’s parish actually addresses the issue at funerals; in my experience, it is almost never done. It is very disturbing to see not only non-Catholics but people who were baptized Catholics and have either rarely been back or haven’t been to church in a long time blithely receiving Communion without a word from the presiding priest.  

Please let me beg priests to develop the habit of giving at least a brief teaching on who should and should not receive Communion, particularly at funerals and weddings and on days such as Christmas and Easter. Should priests not be guardians of this sacrament? Is it not obvious to them how it is being abused (especially at these times)?  

I really find it hard to comprehend how a problem so obvious is so completely ignored.  

Please, it can certainly be said in a kind and understanding way and serve as something for which people will even be very grateful. Don’t be afraid. 

Name and city withheld 

Fear of the Lord

Re: “Praying to the same God?” (Pastoral Answers, Dec. 23). 

God is a three-letter word that has about 7 billion meanings for 7 billion people on earth. While it may be beneficial to ponder who will be saved, only God knows. The rest of us pray and hope and try to do the best we can according to God’s gifts and our free-will choices. 

But one thing is certain: “Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:35). 

As sinners (except for Jesus and Mary) we are all subject to fearing God and his righteous acts of judgment, and loving the One who made us and sustains us according to his powerful Word (see Heb 1:3 and 11:3). 

Therefore, salvation is a descendent of the fear of the Lord, faith and doing what’s right. Those who do this have no reason to fear God or the false gods that abound. Jesus is Lord. 

Daniel Najvar. Quitman, Texas 

Correction 

Cardinal Keith O’Brien should have been idenitified as the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, in “Catholics of 2012” (In Focus, Dec. 30).