The importance of Sunday Mass cannot be overstated

Re: “Live Mercy” (In Focus, Dec. 6).

Your article was well written with one glaring exception. Under the subheading “Go to confession,” the author provides a list of what she apparently considers to be venial sins: “yelled at their spouse, gossiped about a neighbor, skipped Mass on Sunday or wasted time at work.” Deliberately skipping Mass on Sunday is a mortal sin that could result in the eternal loss of a soul. Please publish an article indicating why the Church has consistently taught this truth.

As a Catholic school teacher, I am deeply saddened by the loss of the awareness among the faithful of the infinite value of the Holy Mass. Here is an example I give my students: If you bought a lottery ticket and won $52 million that had to be claimed within a certain hour, but you said, “Oh no, I have soccer practice at that time,” or, “I am just too tired to go claim it,” you would be acting less foolishly than you are if you skip attending Sunday Mass. Each time you deliberately miss Sunday Mass, you are foregoing an infinite irreplaceable treasure that God had prepared just for you. No one can claim it in your place.

Sister Mary Rose Reddy, Rochester, New Hampshire

Indulgences

Re: “Live Mercy” (In Focus, Dec. 6).

Several years ago, I studied indulgences for my catechesis class. In Emily Stimpson’s sidebar, she states that by saying the Rosary under the appropriate dispositions you can obtain a plenary indulgence. I believe this is incorrect.

One must say that Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament. The second point is that she states you must make “a good confession that day or on a proximate day.” I feel this is also is incorrect. If I am not mistaken, confession can be made two weeks before or two weeks after the event. It is most difficult, if not impossible (at least in all the Churches in my area), to effect a same-day confession or proximate, thus denying gaining a plenary indulgence.

The third point that should be made is that you can use the plenary indulgence for yourself or the Holy Souls in purgatory.

Joseph Liss, Columbus, Georgia

Editor’s note: Mr. Liss is correct in that the Rosary should be prayed in a church or, if not, within a family or community setting in order for the faithful to receive a plenary indulgence. The amount of time to go to confession is left slightly open-ended in the norms, but one can go “several days” either before or after performing the work attached to the indulgence. Also, according to the norms, one confession suffices for more than one indulgence.

Parish involvement

Re: “Church involvement” (By the numbers, Nov. 29).

Parameters used in Pew studies aren’t as precise as they could be, so take the results with a grain of salt.

It would’ve helped if your “By the numbers” section indicated that the Pew Research Center’s Catholic sample included nearly 60 percent that fall into the category of nonpracticing (attending services monthly/yearly or seldom/never). So naturally, that 60 percent segment will not be “highly involved” in their local churches.

Those 60 percent skewed all the results for the Catholic segment throughout that study. Pew should have tracked only practicing Catholics if the researchers wanted to reflect how the Catholic religion impacts the culture and the people who actually practice the Faith.

And oddly, in the Pew report I read, there was no question asking participants how “highly involved” they were with their parish; the closest question to that one was one that asked if they “regularly read Scripture, participate in prayer or study groups, share faith with others.” There are other parish activities that would qualify one as being highly involved, but they weren’t included in the question.

The parameters identifying “highly involved” should have been included with that article. As the item was presented, it’s rather misleading, and therefore unhelpful.

Brenda Lea, Portland, Oregon
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