I am almost 85 years old, and I went to a Catholic elementary school, but because we lived too far away from the Catholic high school, I attended a public school. My father believed in education and sacrificed so that I could attend a Catholic college. My husband and I could have home-schooled our six children, but we sent them to the parish Catholic school, where they were taught by priests and nuns from 1957 to 1978. I regret that I did not keep a close tab on their religious teaching, because only one of the six stayed with the Faith after they started college. They did not get the basic religion that we received. It is heartbreaking.
I know many home-schooling families and think they are to be admired in the way they welcome their children and they work together to give them a good education. They are the backbone of the Church. The parents really devote themselves to doing their best to see that their children receive a good basic Catholic education and give them the example at the same time. They are the future of the Church.
— Mary Anne Brown, via email
Re: Msgr. M. Francis Mannion’s response to a question about frequency of confession (Pastoral Answers, June 19).
Msgr. Mannion missed a great opportunity to educate those who are unfamiliar with the temporal punishment we owe God for sins against him. This temporal punishment can be eradicated through obtaining a plenary indulgence. One of the dispositions to obtain this plenary indulgence is confession, within 20 days before or after those acts that bestow this indulgence. Those acts include spending a half-hour before the Blessed Sacrament; reading the Bible for a half-hour; praying the Stations of the Cross; saying a full Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament and saying a Rosary with another person, as in a family Rosary.
— Joseph Liss, Columbus, Ga.
Only God makes saints
I am a longtime subscriber to Our Sunday Visitor. Over the years I have really enjoyed the What Every Catholic Needs to Know articles. “We’ve got friends in high places” (In Focus, June 19), regarding saints, was particularly interesting. But I was not happy with the section titled “How many saints are there?”
Everyone in heaven is a saint. God makes people saints, not the Church. I know the Church may recognize the virtuous life of a particular person, a life we may want to emulate, but only God decides who gets into heaven. I get frustrated of reading in Catholic publications that the Church is “making” so and so a saint.
— Carl Connor, via email
Poor word choice
Your June 26 cover headline uses the term “gay priests.” To quote Cardinal George Pell in the May 2011 issue of Catholic World Report, “I avoid the word ‘gay’ because it has been colonized by one group and because homosexuals on the whole are as miserable as the rest of us.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”
— Arthur E. Lavis, Montvale, N.J.
Holiness and climate
Re: “Do harsher or milder climates generate more saints?” (Openers, May 29).
When teaching Church history, with tongue in cheek, I would tell the class that for centuries after 1492, the Western world could be divided into the northern tier of countries and the southern. The north was the brooding zone, the south the breeding zone. Think of the British Isles, the Scandinavian countries, North Germany, Switzerland, Russia. With short springs and summers, cold and dreary autumns and worse winters, gloom over all. Men brood over the human condition only to give us Protestantism, communism, socialism and other isms that found their way to the New World.
But now consider Italy, southern France, Spain, Portugal, the Latin American countries and Cuba. Blue skies, sunshine, flowers, joy, large families, the breeding zone, the climate meant for union with a good and loving God.
Yes, we are to follow Christ in taking up our cross be it made up of illness, unemployment, disappointments or the monotony of daily routines, but a delightful climate would surely help.
— Robert L. Conway, C.PP.S., Ph.D.via email
Earning our keep
Re: “Non-negotiable” (Editorial, June 12).
I agree that “the Church cannot neglect the service of charity.” I am sure in this world there are those who are poor through no fault of their own. But in the United States, I see something much different. We have created this situation with surplus food distributions, food stamps, rent assistance, long-term unemployment compensation, free schooling, Medicaid, etc., etc.
Now you state, “one of the priorities of Catholic aid agencies is to ‘be ruthless’ in awakening ordinary Catholics to the plight of the poor.” Well, if you’d see the amount of mail we receive almost daily from Catholic organizations expounding on the crisis of the poor, you’d know I’m well aware of the “plight of the poor.”
Every person should be responsible for himself and those in his charge. Somewhere in the Bible I read that “a man shall earn his bread by the sweat of his brow!” WHAT HAPPENED?
— Robert Marcotte, Paragould, Ark.