Why should your reader be confused by Pope Benedict XVI’s “musings” in his recently published condom usage remark (“Pope’s judgment in question after condom remark,” Dec. 26)? What seems questionable is the judgment of those who infer from the pope’s remarks what is not there. The pope neither said nor implied that fornication (or adultery, homosexual acts or contraception) is any less sinful if a condom is used to prevent the spread of the HIV virus.
What is said is that a person committing an immoral act, to prevent infecting a partner engaged in a presumably equally immoral act, “might” be displaying, by consideration for the welfare of another, some stirring of right moral conscience. Nothing implied any lessening of sinfulness in the act in which the condom is used. If a just man falls seven times a day (Prv 24:16), why should not unjust or evil individuals show signs of incipient goodness?
— Edward A. Rohde, St. Louis, Mo.
I was extremely disappointed about the “death” of the DREAM Act (“DREAM Act would align policy with legal culture,” Dec. 19), but what dismayed me even more are the letters to OSV on the subject of immigrants.
The hostility, and lack of compassion, toward those immigrants ( labeled as “illegals” ) is absolutely shocking to me. I am embarrassed by this attitude of my Christian brothers and sisters. What if Jesus’ parents would have had to wait for an immigration visa when they had to flee to Egypt? How can we judge those who came to this country as “illegals” when we do not know their circumstances?
As the bishops have rightly recognized for a long time, our immigration system is seriously inadequate almost to the point of ridiculous. Not only are the quotas much, much too low, but it is also a very costly process which is simply not affordable to many. I fear many of OSV’s readers are woefully ignorant about how broken our system really is, and how badly it needs fixing.
— Irmi Casteel, Richmond Hill, Ga.
Why I parish shopped
I have to take some issue with Msgr. Owen F. Campion’s comments in “Catholic conundrum” (God Lives, Dec. 26). Some of us have had to shop for another parish because the liturgies are not in keeping with Catholic belief. Some examples: totally contemporary music, especially during Communion, which do not express belief in the Real Presence; drop-down screens with the words to songs flashed on them; no hymnals or missalettes (the former are “too limiting” and the latter, “we don’t want pages rattling”). I could go on and on. In my new parish, which is a bit farther away, I come out knowing that I have been to Mass and not a show.
Be assured that many of us who have transferred to other parishes are still practicing Catholics and have no intention of leaving the Church.
I sincerely hope the revised Mass that will take effect next Advent will help restore the musical treasures of the Church. The reception of Anglicans into the Church will also bring dignity and beauty to the Mass, as the Anglican Church has a rich history of beautiful music.
— Name and city withheld
Denounce all abuse
Thank you for the refreshing exposure of sexual abuse beyond the “priest scandal” (“New report of abuse cover-up, enabling ... in public schools,” Jan. 2).
I think you are right on. The sexual abuse of children by priests and the “cover-up” by the bishops is a terrible, terrible evil. It has also been a “golden opportunity” for those who hate the Church to publicly criticize the Church. If the press is truly concerned about children, then they should be truthful about the child abuse in other sectors of society.
— Mike Stack, via email
Defending cable news
Re “New Year resolutions” (Editorial, Jan. 2).
I hope to practice all of your resolutions except No. 6, which was stop watching cable television news.
I don’t know where you get your news, but for me, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are the only reliable and balanced sources for the daily news. I am very curious to know how you reached the conclusion, “The talking heads seem engaged in an anger and anxiety arms race, playing on ignorance and fears to get the best ratings.” Please tell me what you think are “more rational and less incendiary ways to [be informed].”
— Dave Maxwell, Adrian, Mich.
God’s justice and mercy
Re Msgr. M. Francis Mannion’s “Sin and Damnation” (Pastoral Answers, Oct. 24), I note that the pre-Second Vatican Council period and the post-Vatican II period have made the same mistake. Each overemphasized one side of the coin of God’s justice and his mercy.
The former stressed God’s punishment of sin. Fear may have obscured God’s love, but it also reduced sin among the flock. Those of us who remember that period are aware of the numbers who remained in the pews at Communion rather than commit a sacrilege by taking God’s body and blood in mortal sin. The latter covered man’s sin with a mantle of love, obscuring the punishment that sin brings. Consequently, Catholics lost the fear of God. All surveys reveal a lack of fidelity to the magisterium and a broad acceptance of secular beliefs such as same-sex marriage and abortion.
— Chuck Steer, Clearwater, Fla.