A few things to keep in mind about Medjugorje

Re: “Celebrating unity” (Editorial, July 1). 

The Catholic Health Association’s revised position, which took months to prepare, provides President Barack Obama’s administration with just a slightly broader exemption, which ONLY adds Catholic hospitals to the exemption. If accepted by the administration, the CHA will be able to champion the president while stabbing the Church in the back again. Your editorial is just playing into the hands of the culture of death. 

James W. Anderson, Hollis, N.H.

Tax-free status

The present threat to loss if religious freedom may only be the first step in loss of tax-free status, which would make Pope Benedict XVI a prophet. In the last chapter of “Salt of the Earth,” when asked his vision of the future Church, he predicted the faithful gathered around monasteries! 

For, if the government is free to define religion as a very narrow entity, all else would be taxable! 

Harry Zell, San Gabriel, Calif.

Vibrant parishes needed

Re: “Do you drive by your local parish on your way to Mass?” (Openers, June 24). 

We also drive by our local parish and have found that the college community offers a vibrant liturgy with excellent music and homilies that are well developed and offer a message for Christian living and are given in “American English” that is understandable. Too often the clergy mean well, but are not well prepared and then they ramble on and on regardless of their ability to speak well. This can cause anger and frustration and leads to a “bad experience” at Sunday Mass. I do invite my extended family and friends who have given up on Mass because of “poor liturgies” and some have found a new home where liturgy is alive, meaningful and inspiring.  

If people are made to feel welcomed and if the Mass is vibrant and alive, lapsed and former Catholics wouldn’t be the second-largest religious group in the United States. 

Michael A. Tedesco, via email

Not a new trend

The fact that people pick the parish they want to attend should surprise nobody. The fact that the Church still persists in the long obsolete (by a century or more) canonical norm that a parish is a geographical entity and only a geographical entity is what really should surprise you. 

Go read Robert Zecker’s book, “Streetcar Parishes,” about the settlement of Philadelphia by Slovak Catholics in the early 1900s. While we perhaps think of immigrants as isolated in their urban ethnic “ghettoes,” Zecker shows this was not really the case: Even poor immigrants a century ago used the trams and streetcars of the City of Brotherly Love to attend the parish they wanted to, among the people with whom they felt the closest. 

That is why ethnic parishes always made sense, and why the bishops a century ago “didn’t get it” when they gave such grudging consent to them. That is why they still make sense, despite the attitudes of the current generation of “lock and leave” bishops who are carrying out, through parish closures and mergers, an ethnic cleansing campaign the likes of which John Ireland, et al., would not have attempted a century ago. THAT should be the story OSV is carrying. 

Dr. John Grondelski, Perth Amboy, N.J.

Not so faithful

I am a longtime reader of your great newsweekly, and I appreciate all the work you do. Your newsweekly has been a great help for me in learning our Catholic faith. That said, I was a little concerned to see advertisements for Voice of the Faithful (Catholic Events section, July 1). I know your publication to be orthodox and faithful to Church teaching. This group is definitely not. A quick search regarding this group will show that it is at odds with the Holy Father, magisterium and core teachings of the Church. There are definitely better, more faithful events for Catholics to attend. Keep up the good work and God bless your staff! 

Michael DeCocq, Pittsford, N.Y.