Easy way to make confession more available

Re: “Confession’s back” (Spectator, Jan. 20). 

I applaud Father James Shafer’s approach to revitalizing the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But as mentioned by Greg Erlandson, “the priest shortage makes this kind of blanket coverage extremely difficult.” A tactic we use at a small parish in Phoenix City, Ala., is to have the pastor make himself available for confession 20 minutes before each daily Mass. It has been four years now, and Father considers it one of the greatest pleasures of his priesthood. 

Recently, he expressed to his bishop and fellow priests that a “Confraternity of Confessors” be formed. There are no dues, and the only rule is that they agree to hear confession for 20 minutes before daily Mass, as well as on Saturdays. This approach could be initiated in every parish in the country under the direction of their bishops. 

Joseph Liss, M.D., Columbus, Ga.

It’s about control

“Catholics weigh in on gun control regulations” (News Analysis, Jan. 27). 

Gun control is not about guns, it’s about control. One of the first things Hitler, Stalin and Mao did as soon as they could was ban guns “for the safety of the children.” How many children died under their reigns? How many parents? How many of these deaths might have been prevented had the people been able to defend themselves?  

Gun regulation as proposed by Washington, D.C., will not remove guns from the hands of criminals. It will only leave law-abiding citizens defenseless. 

Our Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting or sport, as some gun control advocates would have you believe. It has to do with our being able to protect ourselves from an individual or a government that has become tyrannical. That was the intent of our Founding Fathers. They were already dealing with such a government. And like it or not, we are going down that road.  

We need to get back to the idea of individual worth (abortion?) and responsibility for one’s actions. More importantly, we must get back to God. Controlling ourselves, not controlling guns, is what we need today.  

Barbara l. Maness, Vevay, Ind. 

Change of heart needed

Looking to the NRA or our government for solutions to stop the killing of children through gun control laws is similar to trying to stop the killing of children through abortion control laws. 

The tragedies and atrocities that continually occur and have for years are a matter for heart control, not gun control or abortion control. It all rests historically and scripturally in a short, simple command from someone that is systematically being separated out of our society, Jesus Christ! “Love others as he loved us!” If we could obey this one command, the culture of violence wouldn’t have a chance. Of course, I’m being either naïve or illogical to some for hoping our Savior is the real solution for heart control. 

We must deal with a real desire to stop destroying each other and use heart control to restore the dignity of all human life. Only with a loving Father in heaven is that a hopeful possibility. 

Les Johnson, Akron, Ohio 

Right to self-defense

“Renewing a culture of life” (Editorial, Jan. 27). 

While the bishops’ desire to build a “culture of life” is laudable, an increase in gun control regulations is misguided and dangerous. In 2000’s “Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed that “handguns should be eliminated from our society” even though the same document recognized that the “intent to protect one’s loved ones is ... honorable.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that individuals have the right to defend themselves (see No. 2264).  

Guns are also essential to preserving liberty. The Founders enshrined the Second Amendment in the Constitution to serve as a check against government power, to ensure that the people would have the means to defend themselves and, if necessary, fight against a tyrannical or encroaching government to re-establish their natural rights. By tightening gun regulations, the government only increases its own power by making it more difficult for the people to act as a check against it. Our other freedoms are useless unless we possess the means to ensure them. 

Nathan Stone, Cosby, Mo.  

Poor choice of art, head

“Dismissal renews women’s ordination controversy” (News Analysis, Jan. 6). 

I was disconcerted, then disappointed by the photograph on Page 5. I also felt that the headline was inappropriate. There is no “women’s ordination controversy” except in the eyes of those who put their own relative opinions and desires before those of the magisterium. The use of the photograph seems to dignify the actions of the participants.  

The facts in the article clearly put the issue in context, but the headline and the photograph only beg additional controversy. 

William R. Ponton Jr., Fruitland, Md. 

Waning Catholic media

Re: “A fading voice” (God Lives, Jan. 13). 

Thank you for your very wise and timely article. Just about everything the media reports on is twisted in some shape, manner and form. 

Is it any wonder, then, that Catholics do not know where to stand morally on many Catholic issues today? 

A. Gola, Newtown Square, Pa.