Don’t lump tea party with Occupy Wall Street

Re: “Populism and politics” (Editorial, Oct. 30). 

I’m sure our esteemed editorial board was trying to be even-handed when writing about the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but I must point out that although there have been accusations about tea party members cursing at and spitting on representatives, there is not one shred of evidence that it happened — despite all the phones and cameras which are at these events.  

I have been to two tea party rallies. There were respectful people waving flags, making speeches about how to improve our government with lower taxes and less intrusion and regulation in our lives, and when they left, the place was clean. I’m here to tell you, there is NO comparison between these demonstrations.  

— Phyllis Ross, Fountain Valley, Calif.

Where’s the joy?

Re: “Mass appreciation lesson” (In Focus, Oct. 30). 

My problem lies not with the changes in words of the Mass as much as with the dreadful changes our parish is experiencing with those changes. 

The music for the new Gloria is horrible! Where before we sang with joy, the new arrangement is stilted and awkward. 

Add to this that our newest priest is so focused on his rubrics that he seems largely unaware of the congregation. There is no sense of joy, of celebration! 

Are we returning to the days of the laity praying their Rosary and reading from private prayer books during Mass and attending to the Mass only when the Consecration bells are rung? 

Name withheld, Madison, Wis.

Correcting mistakes

I was very pleased to see the various articles on the Mass in the Oct. 30 issue. It appears there were two errors in the text, though. 

1. Mass officially begins, not with the Sign of the Cross, but with the Entrance Chant, whose purpose is “to open the celebration,” as seen in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (No. 47). 

2. The penitential act is not a Trinitarian formula. It is an affirmation of the saving power of Christ the Lord in taking away our sins. A look at the sample petitions in the Roman Missal affirms this Christological basis. 

— Gary D. Penkala, Charles Town, W.Va.

What the heck?

Re: “10: A back-to-the-basics look at what Catholics should know” (In Focus, Oct. 23). 

Emily Stimpson’s article has serious flaws, and, the most glaring is that of “Hell, sadly, exists.” Her conclusion that when we have no remorse or sadness regarding our choices in life we are doomed to eternal hell completely and blindly overlooks many of the pre- and developmental forces through a child’s environment that manifest in adulthood — that is, parental evil, abusiveness and the powerful influence they have over their children’s personality formation. 

When a child’s mind is stripped of the ability to decide right from wrong and distorts their view of life, who is responsible? Is God going to judge them on the mentality imposed on them? 

Art Costa, Jacksonville, Fla.

Laity’s recourse?

Excellent article by Mark Shea (“Will the ‘real’ Catholics please stand up?” Oct. 16). The last paragraph of “Wisdom of St. Paul and Uncle Screwtape” made me wonder: Where do the laity go if it is a bishop(s) or a priest(s) who may “need to be shown the door”? 

Ann Zech, Wallingford, Pa.

Imitating Christ

Re: “New tensions between bishops, White House” (News Analysis, Oct. 23) and “Falsely accused” (Editorial, Oct. 23). I believe the bishops’ letter to the president is necessary for morality’s sake, but, unfortunately, because of the stigma attached to many clergy, accurately or falsely accused of sexual abuse, our commander-in-chief no longer regards a few bishops’ concerns as relevant to America’s most serious issues. 

The economy, recession and the cost of living are ever present on people’s agenda. Food and child care dig deeply into too many citizens’ budgets and for too many people — perhaps because of growing divorce numbers, single-parent families and even same-sex partnerships — marriage or sacramental marriage seem to be a distant concern. 

I can offer this simple solution. Maybe rebuilding a more Christ-like image, a deeper focus on imitating our Lord, could unite more strongly both clergy and the faithful and replenish the bishops’ depleted status at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Christianity is not united, and without a united front, the Church’s voice grows weaker and more distant. 

We all must believe that Jesus Christ is the answer. 

Les Johnson, Akron, Ohio

Great memories

Re: “Some Catholic parents say ‘boo’ to Halloween” (News Analysis, Oct. 30). 

This article brought up my memories of second or third grade when the nuns had us make or bring costumes of our patron saints to school. My patron saint is Leo the Great, so my grandmother made a bishop’s costume for me. The interesting part was my miter, it was a witch’s hat covered in cloth! 

This “assignment” did help me, because before that I never gave any thought to who my patron saint was. 

Douglas Nentwig, Jefferson City, Mo.