Life issues, religious freedom should be key in upcoming election

Re: “Election 2016: The Catholic factor” (In Focus, Jan. 3).

The bishops should take great care, because not all issues carry the same weight. Abortion, euthanasia, marriage, embryonic stem-cell research and religious freedom are non-negotiable, while other issues, such as gun control, the death penalty, immigration, health insurance and economic policy are issues were there is a lot of leeway. They shouldn’t give cover to the “seamless garment” brigade who ignore the Church on non-negotiable issues like abortion, euthanasia and marriage as long as they are “pro-life” on lesser issues like capital punishment, gun control or welfare spending. As the poll shows, the number of religious is declining, and Catholics might be the only ones able to save the United States from succumbing to the culture of death.

John du Toit, via online comment

Orthodox politics

Re: “Pope meets patriarch: Understanding the event” (News Analysis, Feb. 21).

In the 1960s, two-thirds of all Russian Orthodox parishes were in Ukraine, one-third in the west of Ukraine, many of the latter being churches confiscated from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

If the Orthodox churches in Ukraine were to unite (Kyivan Patriarchate, Moscow Patriarchate), then in terms of active believers, Moscow would no longer be heading the world’s largest Orthodox Church. The mythology of Moscow as the third Rome would collapse. Moscow could find itself playing second-fiddle to Kiev. This is because less than 10 percent of Russia’s population attend church regularly.

Hence, Moscow is desperate to hang onto Ukraine, both politically and ecclesiastical — the latter in Putin’s book is a useful tool for accomplishing the former. Paradoxically, however, he has united Ukraine against Moscow in a way it never was before, and thus has put the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in an invidious position.

All Ukrainian Orthodox may sunder links with Moscow and return to Constantinople’s jurisdiction — as Kiev was up to 1686 when the Tsar bribed the Turkish sultan to pressure the patriarch of Constantinople to cede control of Kiev to Moscow.

Bernard O’Callaghan, via online comment

Religious freedom

Re: “What’s next?” (Editorial, Jan. 24).

Good article. The dilemma [regarding the mounting legal cases against ministries within the Church] is aptly described by the phrase, “One who insists they are right and the Church is wrong.”

A church has the right to enforce its precepts, especially when it comes to restricting the behaviors of its adherents. You really can’t mess with that under the first amendment.

I wish the mania would stop already.

Ann Smith, via online comment

Understanding the Mass

Re: “The Mass” (In Focus, Feb. 7).

Your In Focus on the Mass was very good and informative.

Would you consider writing a similar article explaining the extraordinary form of the Mass?

There are many Catholics who are not familiar with, nor have been exposed to, the richness, reverence and beauty of the Mass of the Missal of 1962. Perhaps similar articles can be written on the other rites of the Catholic Church.

Frank J. Petraglia, Marietta, Georgia

When are they going to do away with receiving the holy Eucharist in the unconsecrated hand of the laymen? That should never have been implemented in the first place. There was a time when only the priest touched it with two fingers, and a server held a paten under your chin so in case the host accidentally dropped, it wouldn’t land on the floor. Why can’t the Vatican do something to change this and bring more reverence back? This is a Protestant way of doing things. Their thinking on this has backfired.

Patricia Schy, via online comment
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