Faithful must build up — not tear down — our priests

John Norton’s Openers column (“Lessons from the allegations against Father John Corapi,” April 3) should raise an awareness in all Catholics of the devil’s attack on the priesthood of the Catholic Church. The devil well understands that bringing down the reverence and respect Catholics have for their priests is the way in which he can destroy the Church, for without our priests, we are also without the Eucharist and the sacraments. Next to the Eucharist, priests are at the very heart of the Church and a necessity for all of us to attain our salvation. 

It is a known fact that only a very small percentage (less than 2 percent) of priests have succumbed to temptation, whereas the overblown media coverage has given the impression that all priests have fallen. The devil and those who perform his work for him have succeeded in bringing down the reputation of every one who wears a Roman collar exactly as he has planned. It is the duty and responsibility of every Catholic to come to the support and defense of our priests and to pray for them at every opportunity. Priests are those chosen by God to do his work. Without our prayers and support, their vocation to serve us becomes even more difficult. 

Priests are no more or less human than all in this world, but they have an inordinate amount of the devil’s concentration leveled at them. We need to care for them even more than they care for us. 

R.J. Houck, Roseville, Minn.

Taking responsibility 

Re “Shelter keeps family together as mother searches for work” (In Focus, March 20). 

According to my math, Alesa Thurman had her first child at age 18. Further, in just more than 10 years, three more children followed. She admits the children are all from different fathers; Thurman remarked that neither she nor the respective fathers could/can afford to support the children. 

It would seem that Thurman and the four fathers are directly responsible for her current predicament. 

It is implied that Thurman only has a high school diploma. Did a single mother of four, with a high school education, honestly believe she could raise a family? 

Call me a curmudgeon, but why should any monies that I donate to Catholic Charities be given to assist her? She created her own problems. 

By the way, even if she does figure out how to have the time and finances to earn an associate’s degree, that won’t feed a family of four very well, either. 

— Joe Negrich,Toledo, Ohio

Thoughtful review 

I must commend the review of Eric Sammons on the second volume of Pope Benedict XVI’s series on Jesus (“The Pope’s Opus,” March 20). 

Most reviews leave me either confused or unsure of what the reviewer intends or is attempting to reveal to the reader. Although Sammons’ review was a relatively long one, he held my attention, and without using words that required my getting out the dictionary. 

By the time I had finished his review, I had a deep desire to quickly order “Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance in Jerusalem to the Resurrection.” Well done. 

— Guy De Gagne, Pismo Beach, Calif.

Good preaching subject 

Msgr. Owen F. Campion’s volume on cohabitation is terrific and timely (“Cohabitation’s curse,” March 20).  

Pope Benedict XVI is urging priests to preach on “uncomfortable topics.” He called on priests not to preach a Gospel according to their own tastes and preferred theological ideas, but to announce the entire will of God, even when uncomfortable. The people of God are in great need of this type of preaching.  

— Mary McManus Burke,Smithtown, N.Y.

Engaged in debate 

Re “Incorrect information” (Letters to the editor, March 6). 

We have explained to Richard Giovanoni previously that his attack on our book "Catholicism for Dummies" is unmerited. Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein of Indianapolis granted the imprimatur on this book, and he was chairman of the U.S. bishops’ catechetical committee at the time. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states: 

“The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus as a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility: ‘That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit,’ said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancée (No. 497) (emphasis added). 

Matthew 1:18 is where the Virgin Mary is described as μνηστευθείσης (mnesteutheises in Greek and desponsata in Latin = espoused) to St. Joseph. 

Mr. Giovanoni wants to equivocate betrothal to marriage. They are not synonyms. Betrothal, engagement and espousal are synonyms. Marriage is the fulfillment and final consequence of those terms. Since the Catechism itself does not refer to Mary as the wife of Joseph at the time of the Annunciation and Incarnation, rather, uses the term fiancée, then the citations in our book are accurate and orthodox.  

Father John Trigilio Jr. and Father Ken Brighenti, authors,
 “Catholicism for Dummies” via email