Looking forward to a more reverent liturgy

As a post-Second Vatican Council Catholic, I certainly appreciate the changes in the Mass since then. However, I’m still looking forward to the revised Roman Missal (“A spirited controversy,” March 27). I do think that much of the sacredness of the Mass has been lost since I was young (I’m 49). At most parishes I attend, extraordinary ministers are used when there is absolutely no need, some parishes have no kneelers and the Sacrament of Reconciliation is almost dead, not to mention the belief in the Real Presence. 

I am far from a perfect Catholic (in fact, for many years I only attended Mass on Christmas and Easter, because I felt unworthy, being gay). However, although I still struggle with my sexuality, I have returned to weekly Mass at a parish that combines the best of the old and the new, and occasionally attend an approved Latin Mass in Philadelphia. I hope that all Catholics will do their best to adapt to the changes. 

— Tim Donovan, Folsom, Pa.

Excessive devotion 

Re “Lessons from the allegations against Father John Corapi” (Openers, April 3). 

I agree there is a danger when parishioners show excessive devotion to priests. John Norton correctly points out “priests should be respected, loved, supported, yes, but not idolized.”  

Norton’s point about why parishioners may show such fierce loyalty, that “it is easier to live holiness vicariously through those we perceive as such rather than to do the hard work of self-reform; and so we choose to be blind to any possible unholiness on their part” is profound. 

As a lifelong Catholic, I was taught to put the clergy on a pedestal. For many Catholics, priests are still seen as “angels,” super-humans, on par even with God himself, as it pertains to clerical abilities. 

It is conditioning that caused loyalty to an image, at any cost. It did not happen in a vacuum. Priests are not billed as average men. They are seen as a cut above. 

Perhaps when our Church focuses on New Testament letters, especially those letters written by St. Paul, teaching truths verse by verse, in an expository fashion, Catholics will have a clearer and more accurate view of the priest, and of our own role as Christians.

— Ronna Devincenzi,Palo Alto, Calif.

Catholic apathy 

Having read rather extensively about the Civil War era, I concur with Msgr. Owen F. Campion that there is limited evidence that Catholics were active in the anti-slavery movement (“Catholic history lesson,” April 10). Providing another example, the Underground Railroad was a means by which Southern slaves, who had escaped from their owners, made their way to northern cities and Canada. This effort was often accomplished with the assistance of a number of religious denominations. Unfortunately, virtually no assistance or sanctuary was provided by Catholics or Catholic organizations. 

At the end of his article, Msgr. Campion concluded that there was a lesson to be drawn from the Civil War and its aftermath by stating, “Catholics are too willing to fall into line with the majority in the country and with the culture.” I believe many Catholics today are following this same path in the case of two current major moral issues: abortion and same-sex marriage. 

— A.E. Zanoni, Brookfield, Wis. 

Where is the remorse? 

In “Contraception and confession” (Essay, April 10) Russell Shaw has touched on what I consider one of the major problems we have in the Church today — confession, and those who don’t go. 

In my parish, at Mass on Sunday, almost the entire congregation goes to holy Communion, but on Saturday only a handful show up for confession, which leads me to believe that I live in a parish of saints, or one in extreme denial. 

How can we call ourselves Catholics if we are ashamed to admit to ourselves and to Jesus —who already knows — our sins? Are we so numbed by the world that we no longer have remorse for what we do to him? 

— Paul Dupraw, Vancouver, Wash.

No-fault effects 

Re “Divorced from reality” (Editorial, April 10). 

No-fault divorce laws, together with mandatory counseling, were promoted by the mental health profession as a way to lower the incidence of divorce. The legislature in California debated whether or not to throw out the old laws, and invited the archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission Report, which had caused the British to do so, to be read (please note that other religions were not consulted).  

An attorney for whom I worked told me that the no-fault divorce laws need only be repealed for the historically developed fault laws to regain standing.  

Other 1960s-era laws, such as those eliminating “alienation of affection” as a cause of action, should also be repealed, so that the aggrieved spouse can sue the person or persons who took his or her partner or interfered in their marital relationship. 

—Rosemarie Dickson Cook, Everett, Wash.

Clarification 

“Oxford’s Catholic martyrs finally getting their due” (News Analysis, April 10) indicated that a plaque dedicated to Blessed George Napier last fall was the first to commemorate his martyrdom in his hometown. However, an earlier plaque dedicated at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin also recognized Blessed Napier, along with several other Catholic and Protestant martyrs.