Where was mention of military conflicts?

It is incredible that your editorial board could produce “The tasks ahead” (Editorial, Nov. 21), which contains no reference to Iraq or Afghanistan, where our soldiers are being killed or wounded in wars which have doubtful prospects of success. 

Ending these wars and their costs, and using the money saved to repair and maintain our infrastructure would contribute to solutions of unemployment and growing national debt. 

— Francis J. Thomas, St. Louis, Mo.

Translation is flawed 

Re “Faithful Translation” (In Focus, Nov. 28). 

In her attempt to defend the terminally flawed new translation of the Roman Missal, Emily Stimpson mentions that it will be “more poetic, more reverent, more faithful,” etc. Is she reading the same thing that the rest of us have? The new translation is more grammatically awkward, more robotic and less faithful to the Scripture than what we have now. 

The new translation is based on the false premise that 500-year-old Latin texts have a credibility and authority that surpasses that given to Scripture itself! The words and true meaning of Scripture, the 1,500 years of pre-Tridentine liturgy, the spirit of the Second Vatican Council are put aside in favor of a slavish (and often incorrect) translation of tired ecclesiastical Latin texts. 

There has not been, and apparently will not be, any attempt to consult and receive intelligent comment and criticism about the translation from pastors and the faithful before the Grand Imposition in Advent of 2011. 

This new attempt at a translation is a disaster and, sadly, will be ignored or flatly rejected by tens of thousands of pastors, linguists, theologians and parishioners throughout the English-speaking world. 

— Father R.G. Tamminga, Tucson, Ariz.

Get ready for change 

Calling all lukewarm Catholics! Listen up! 

Beginning the first Sunday of Advent 2011, you will have a fresh opportunity to pay attention during Mass (“Parishes prep for missal changes to ensure smooth transition in 2011,” Nov. 28).There are going to be changes in your responses during Mass. You’re not going to be able to simply recite stuff from rote while thinking about what you’re having for dinner next week. 

You’re going to have to put everything else out of your mind and concentrate on what you’re saying. But I know you can do it! I know you have it in you! The Church knows you have it in you! Open yourself up to the beauty that is the heart and soul of the Mass and join your heart and soul to it! 

— Michelle Kroupa, Howell, Mich.

Explaining the pope 

“A pope has never pointed out the obvious before: that it’s better for a male prostitute with AIDS to use a condom than not” (“Pope drops bombshell on AIDS and condoms. Or does he?” Dec. 5). 

Thanks for this well-constructed one-liner to have ready when responding to people who think the Catholic Church has flipped! 

— Suzann Corral, Tampa, Fla.

No exceptions 

“Condom use might be OK on a case-by-case basis” (Openers, Dec. 5)? Kind of like when the Church of England said, in 1930, that contraception is all right for married couples who use it responsibly. We see where that has gotten us. 

Why would AIDS or another sexually transmitted disease make for a special circumstance? What about when pregnancy would be unwise for a woman undergoing cancer treatments? What about a couple who has suffered multiple miscarriages and feel that to face yet another loss would be an emotional hardship that could scarcely be endured?  

What about when a husband is about to be deployed for a year and they don’t want the wife having the baby without him? Is it “less evil” to prevent contraception in the first place, rather than have an abortion when a couple cannot afford another child? 

Singling out AIDS as a reason to use a condom is to entirely misunderstand Church teaching on the gift of human sexuality. Because of all I have learned over the years, I would be as shocked to hear teachings change on this as I would be to hear that the Church was changing positions on abortion or euthanasia. If I had a disease which could harm my husband by sexual relations, it naturally follows that our marriage would change as assuredly as if I’d been in a disfiguring accident that prevented the marital embrace.  

To rephrase G.K. Chesterton’s quote about the Christian ideal, I’d say that Church teaching on human sexuality has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried. 

— Colleen Sollinger, via email

Editor’s note: Be sure to read Page 5 this week. It addresses your concerns.

Free access to webinar 

We wish to thank you for “Coping with devastation of poor prenatal diagnosis” (News Analysis, Dec. 5). This is a crucial issue, and we welcome your attention. 

You mentioned the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD)’s Oct. 5 webinar, “Prenatal Diagnosis of Lethal or Non-lethal Conditions and Disability.” Please let your readers know they can view the entire webinar free of charge on our website: www.ncpd.org

— Barbara Ann Dolan, development associate,National Catholic Partnership on Disability, Washington, D.C.