Charity and the budget

Stephen Schneck listed a lot of good things that can be done with the money government takes away from me (“A Catholic Democrat’s take on social teaching, budget and taxes,” July 24). There is no end to that list. He doesn’t mention that a lot of us give money voluntarily to good causes. Which category will God give us credit for, what the government takes away from us or what we give voluntarily? I believe the latter, because that is true charity.

While he said we must address the national debt, he only had some general suggestions. What Schneck didn’t say is what will happen to the people when all the good things he wants disappear when there is no money for them.

— Paul J. Driscoll, Fort Pierce, Fla.

On the road to God

Eric Sammons wrote a beautiful article about the Mass (“Liturgical attitude adjustment,” July 10). My criticism is not about what he said, but about what he failed to say. He let slip an opportunity to explain where the Mass fits in the bigger picture — that is, God’s plan for our salvation. Unless we understand the place of the Mass in the bigger picture, there is no compelling reason to go to Mass.

Why go to Mass? I go to Mass because the Mass is one of the landmarks on the road that takes me home to happiness with our Father. Passing through it tells me I am heading in the right direction. I have faith that the Catholic road reaches its destination and would rather not experiment with another road that may take me to a dead end.

— John Bosco, New York, N.Y.

Plainspoken savior

Re: “Liturgical attitude adjustment.”

“Solemn, Mysterious, Reverent, Majestic.”

Not one of those words can be applied to Jesus as described in the Gospels, except, perhaps, at the Transfiguration. Hebrew was the religious language of the day, yet every untranslated quote from him was in the common Aramaic. He spoke in parables of common happenings of the day. He walked among the people. He did not use scripted texts to get his point across.

I think that those longing for a Harry Potter-type of Mass, with incantations and mysterious words, should read the Gospels and not just the few snippets the Church gives in its three-year cycle.

Paul said that he became all things to all people that he might reach them with the Gospel. The Church seems to think that all people must become like them to receive the Gospel.

— Ken Dolph, Lancaster, N.Y.

Disappearing nation

Instead of “Same-Sex Marriage: Is the Battle Lost?” a more appropriate question for the July 17 cover might have been: “Is the Nation Lost?” Both In Focus (“Fighting to prevent same-sex marriage”) and Robert P. Lockwood’s column (“Fraying the knot”) properly dealt with the moral aspects of the topic. One wonders why political and religious leaders are not shouting: What will happen to the United States?

We already murder in the womb future citizens before they can become creators, workers, taxpayers and defenders. Same-sex “marriages” can produce no future generation. The combination of both is a one-way road to a disappearing nation.

— Edward A. Rohde, St. Louis, Mo.

Morality of transplants

How is it that the people of God have not been receiving instruction on the gravity of vital organ transplants from our Church pulpits and papers (“Debate continues on whether brain death signifies end of life,” June 12)?

Such organs must be living and thus must be removed from a living body whether days or minutes from the last breath — days or minutes in which miracles can and do happen to the one dying. Doctors and nurses with significant experience, of which I am one, have seen these miracles occur before the era of our culture of death.

At a minimum, the Catechism of the Catholic Church should be quoted whenever transplants are mentioned. “It is not morally admissible directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons” (No. 2296).

— Madeleine Harper, SFO, Kissimmee, Fla.

Thank you for publishing the excellent article of Congressman Paul Ryan (“Social teaching and the federal budget: a Catholic politician’s view,” July 17). I want to express my thoughts on one of the points he makes. We must stop denigrating the “other party” and focus more on the “issue” under scrutiny — applying the faith and morals “test” to them and voting accordingly — regardless of the party we “officially” subscribe to. I facilitate a very small class studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I would dare to wager that most Catholics around the country have never read the Catechism. From the perspective of faith and morals, this is truly lamentable. Positive law (civil law) must be informed by the natural law — which Catholic faith and morals uphold. The culture of our country is being permeated with false, immoral premises that are forming the basis of new positive laws totally contrary to the natural law and the Ten Commandments. We reap what we sow; and when “we the people” act as if God does not exist, we should not expect to endure for long as a nation. We need our pastors to frequently encourage the members of their parishes to study the Catechism, whether in group or individually.

— Pamela T. Haines, MTS, RHIA, St. Petersburg, Fla.