Amid time of persecution, we must show mercy

Re: “Fear and mercy” (Spectator, Jan. 3).

In the year 2000, I stood upon the black cobblestones of St. Peter’s Square, along with many others, awaiting a frail Pope John Paul II. I had passed through the Holy Doors earlier that day with other pilgrims. I remember his words, “Be not afraid!”

Greg Erlandson’s account of his adventures at the Vatican bring back wonderful memories for me, and his words remind me, too, of another time in history when fear and dread was ever present in stark reality to those standing in an arena facing their human demise before the lions of the Roman Colosseum. Now, here in 2016, once again we face an enemy wanting only the death of us all — everyone — for no other reason than hate. They prowl around us like lions waiting to devour even our faith so nothing is left.

And once again, the great Doors of St. Peter’s are open, and our weapons have been chosen by our Holy Father Francis: A Year of Mercy and love to combat evil. Do we have the courage to stand against the lions of this arena? Can we love enough to show mercy? Only if we truly believe!

Les Johnson, Akron, Ohio

Lutheran dialogue

Re: “Text affirms Catholic-Lutheran common ground” (News Analysis, Dec. 27).

This article should serve to disabuse much of the thinking that Catholic-Lutheran differences are relatively minor and can be resolved by sincere dialogue among both parties. As the Catholic son of a Missouri Synod Lutheran, I can say the matter goes far deeper. The Church looks at the process as a matter of Lutherans coming home to Rome, whereas the Lutherans view the process as acceptance by Catholics of Lutheranism as an equally valid church. The various disciplines of the Lutheran Church have changed so much over the past 50 years that unification within that denomination is seen as almost impossible, and with Rome as simply a bridge too far.

Donald Link, Louisville, Kentucky

Election 2016

Re: “I wish for a presidential candidate who ...” (Openers, Jan. 3).

Your wish list could easily be converted into a platform for a write-in candidate for any election. For example, the first wish becomes: “I consider life a treasure and ...” and so on.

My home state of Kentucky has an official process for write-in candidates, and I assume every state does, too. What if there was a grass-roots effort to field write-in candidates who ran on that platform? Rephrasing your sentence from the last paragraph, “No doubt this effort will be classified as incredibly naive.” Especially if the goal was to actually win the election. But, what if that effort was to provide a means to record the conclusions of all of us who formed our consciences and came to the conclusion that none of the candidates are in complete agreement with Roman Catholic Church teaching? It could be seen as a nationwide poll. Realistically, it would take years of word-of-mouth advertising to begin to compensate for the mass advertising of the other candidates, but the effort could yield all sorts of positive results.

Charlie Hamlet, Louisville, Kentucky

The problem with Gretchen Crowe’s wish list is that she presents them as if each wish or consideration is equally weighted. The well-catechized Catholic knows that some of these “wishes” merit more consideration than others. On numerous occasions, popes from Pope Paul VI through Pope Francis have stated that the right to life from conception to natural death is fundamental and all other considerations must rest on this foundation. The danger of Ms. Crowe’s approach is that because no candidate completely matches her list, she can justify supporting a pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, pro-gay “marriage,” anti-religious liberty candidate because he or she has the “right” view on climate change. I am disappointed that OSV would present such a simplistic viewpoint.

Denise J. Hunnell, Fairfax Station, Virginia
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