Film fails to shine light on abuse in other institutions

Re: “The Church weeps” (Spectator, Jan. 31).

A big problem with the movie “Spotlight” and The Boston Globe report on abusers, sealed court documents and transfers of offenders in regards to the Catholic Church, is that they neglect to tell the whole story. 

The Catholic bishops were handling the situation exactly as others, which included Protestant churches, youth groups and especially the public school system. Public school administrators even came up with the phrase “passing the trash,” meaning letting someone go to become another’s problem! So if all other offenders are not exposed and held to account, what proof is there that it is not a continuing problem within their ranks? To quote from Greg Erlandson’s article regarding the movie, “it asks no questions about the larger epidemic of child abuse in our country.”

There is much more to this than just having the Catholic Church make amends to those who were abused. One could come to believe it is tied into just more of the great American never-ending pastime of Catholic-bashing.

K. White, Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Sanctity of marriage

Re: “Faith in marriage” (Letters to the editor, Jan. 24).

There is no getting around the fact that Catholics who remarry after a divorce objectively put their own needs before their children’s (of that first marriage).

When they then expect to serve in ministries in a parish where they can talk to others about the correctness and health of divorce for all involved, they contribute to the idea many people have that, really, it’s OK with God that the first marriage can be regarded as a sort of trial one.

In this Year of Mercy, the stated intent, in many instances, is to encourage Catholics to show mercy for the divorced and remarried who want to return to the Church. My question is not to reserve blame here but merely to pose the appropriateness of the term “mercy.”

Nicholas Cisar, Lake Station, Indiana

Mass photos

Re: “The Mass” (In Focus, Feb. 7).

In an otherwise basic tutorial on the parts of the post-Vatican II liturgy, it is unfortunate the editors accompanied the piece with photos that resembled Masses from the 1970s. Where was this church, and was it even Catholic?

One picture captured the congregation with their hands in the air. Another showed concelebrants at a bare wooden altar with no candles, crucifix or linens on it. Another featured a priest delivering a homily away from the ambo, mixed in with the congregation as if he were giving a stump speech. Another showed a church with no kneelers, which revealed congregants uncomfortably trying to give reverence to God in a church not designed for it. Another picture had a laywoman at the pulpit doing who knows what. The final photograph showed the distribution of Communion at this church, with no priests or deacons to be found, just two laywomen giving Communion in the hand to standing communicants in the middle of an aisle.

It’s almost as if the photo desk was attempting to present a mockery or stereotype of the most liberal version of the Roman rite possible. If images like these — which, honestly, could have been taken at a charismatic Protestant church — are an indication of what the average ordinary form of the Mass looks like, is it any wonder an increasing number of young people have been opting for the traditional Latin Mass?

Kenneth J. Wolfe, Alexandria, Virginia

Editor’s note: Thank you for your questions and observations. Those photographs were taken at St. Timothy Church in Liguna Nigel, California, by a photographer who had intentionally taken photos of all of the parts of the Mass. The editors had no agenda in their selection; rather, the photos simply were used to illustrate the text, which we hope is helpful in breaking down each part of the Mass. 

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