Moving forward after a divisive election

Re: “Post-election 2016, a call to action for Catholics” (Editorial, Nov. 27, 2016).

This past election has been one of the most morally draining on the Catholics of this country — and on all citizens of good will. How did things deteriorate to this situation? How is it that our choice is between a woman whose policies are absolutely morally abhorrent and a man who, while his policies are more agreeable to a Catholic conscience, has lived certain aspects of his private life in a way that flies in the face of the Catholic lifestyle?

Pope Leo XIII forewarned of this situation in his encyclical Immortale Dei, in which he noted how, in a completely secular society, man is turned against himself — the spiritual pitted against the temporal — as he is forced into a situation where he is free to adhere to his faith in private but in public must retain a neutral attitude toward, or even disown, the Faith. This has made voting in accordance with your conscience much more difficult for Catholics. To be sure, there are secular ways to demonstrate the veracity of some of the Church’s social and moral claims. But, secular ways of thinking can also be used to justify objectively immoral and disordered acts, as recent events have shown.

The result is the creation of a general sense of confusion, described accurately in Gaudium et Spes. We can see this in the rise of infamous pseudo-Catholics running to hold office. Further, in a purely secular society, we are faced with a situation where one inevitably comes to think: What other option is there than that which is put immediately in front of us?

Cole DeSantis, West Warwick, Rhode Island

Secular culture

Re: “All I want for Christmas” (Eye on Culture, Dec. 18).

As Teresa Tomeo says, written laws do not always allow or restrict what people say or do. Laws can go ignored and unenforced depending on the opinions or biases of the public or the elites. By elites, I mean the people who make the news — celebrities, corporate icons, sports and media figures, etc. — and set the so-called norm.

As Pope St. John Paul II always emphasized, culture precedes laws and customs. Both might and consensus make right in society. Thus not baking a cake for a gay wedding is awful bigotry, but not designing a dress for Mrs. Trump is to be praised. Jesus told us these things would happen. Many times he warned us not to place our faith in the fairness or consistency of secular powers as their laws.

Matt Terranova, Hackensack, New Jersey

Worthy of Communion

Re: “All I want for Christmas is you (to come to Mass)” (Faith, Dec. 25).

I’ll tell you, some of my children get uncomfortable when the Communion line starts.

They’ve missed Sundays, and their last confession might be a year or more past, and they know it wouldn’t be right to join the line in that condition. But it is uncomfortable for them. I can always talk them into attending Midnight Mass at the diocese’s cathedral. I’m considering “sitting it out” for the Communion line this time around to be in the pew with them.

I will attend morning Mass at my parish a few hours later.

It’s uncomfortable for them. And it should be. But no one likes discomfort these days. It’s something to think about.

Stephan Peters, via online comment

Church decor

Re: Holy reminders (God Lives, Dec. 25).

Thank you for championing the meaning behind decor. As head of decor at my church, it has always been important to me to make it meaningful and liturgically based. The beauty of the Catholic faith is its implicit evangelization. I have eliminated red from the Christmas decor, though, as I try to bring red in at Pentecost and confirmation services. I have gone completely over to gold and white at Christmas. Now you are making me rethink that decision.

Amy Parent, via online comment
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