Thank you, Greg Erlandson, for a thoughtful essay. You bring up moral considerations that we never hear in the media shouting match. I favor the strongest possible gun control — like Australia instituted after a massacre there. I try not to contemplate the strong possibility that it’s impossible here. I watched the public reaction after the Newtown shooting, and I saw that Americans are willing to accept the massacre of innocents. If it’s OK to murder little children — and by their failure to respond significantly except by buying more guns, Americans indicate that they think it is — then there’s nothing stopping our society from devolving into ever-greater violence.
Re: “Reclaiming a Catholic subculture” (Essay,Nov. 1).
I agree with Russell Shaw’s overall thesis that we need to reclaim a Catholic subculture. My one worry is how Shaw addresses the notion by a Catholic woman that one need not be religious to be a good person. He answers, “Certainly that’s true — although being religious does help.” I am more inclined to believe that being faithful to our true religion is not only helpful but essential to being a morally good person.
The Bible points out that without faith, we cannot please God (Heb 11:6). Religion is the practice of one’s faith. Moreover, Jesus spoke of the necessity of the Eucharist: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you do not have life within you” (Jn 6:53). The Church has always taught that going to Mass on Sunday and holy days of obligation is essential.
In other words, faithfulness to the Eucharist is central to a moral life. Hence, the attitude that one can be a good, moral person even if he or she is not “religious” may not be so “certainly” true as the author would have it. What role has that attitude played in the growth of godlessness in society, which Shaw decries? Is he advocating a return to a Catholic subculture as the answer to the very secularism that his attitude is promoting?
— Father Eric Rapaglia, via online comment
Catholics can not depend anymore upon bishops and the Church hierarchy, most of whom are involved with politics. Small, faithful parishes supported by traditional Catholics create community. We hold onto our faith and trust God to strengthen us to do what we must do for handing down the Faith to our children and grandchildren.
— Catherine Masak, via online comment
Celebrating the papacy
Re: “Soul, Mind, and Heart” (Faith, Nov. 1).
So great, and the last three popes are all leaders of the Church meant to save our soul, mind and heart.
— Elijah Timba, via online comment
Sanctity of marriage
Re: “Bishops divided on pastoral response to family” (News Analysis, Nov. 1).
Justice is for God to determine — not men, whether those men are priests or the pope. If you are divorced and remarried, it is up to a tribunal to determine whether a Christian marriage existed in first place. That should be maintained. Changing the law of the Catholic Church after 2,000 years to the modern idea of acceptability is not mercy. It is becoming a Protestant. Is not that what Luther did?
— Candella Wilson, via online comment
Catholic health care
Re: “Service vs. belief” (Editorial, Nov. 1).
I contend that requiring Catholic and other religious and secular hospitals to perform abortions would not only violate their religious liberty and moral principles but it would have serious adverse health consequences for millions of American men, women and children in need of crucial, critical health care.
How sad if our bishops don’t unite as our shepherds and work against such unimaginable — yet possible — consequences.
— Tim Donovan, via online comment
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