Missed opportunity with Mickey Mantle

Re: “Close encounters” (Catholic Journal, Oct. 6).

Robert Lockwood’s article on celebrities was funny and on target. Who hasn’t been stupefied in the company of the famous?

In April 1951, three of us bagged school to see the Yankees play in Philadelphia. We read about that person — Mickey Mantle — making his major league debut. The game was rained out.

Not to worry. Bobby knew where the Yanks were staying. While they were packing I ran to the hotel, autograph book in hand. I reached the Warwick and was opening the door while Mickey was leaving. I blurted “autograph Mick?” He threw open the door with such force I was almost pancaked.

He turned and walked down a rain-soaked Walnut Street. I might have gotten his first major-league autograph. We went inside and three Yankee players graciously signed my book. Like baseball and life — you win some and you lose some.

Joe Scalisi, Kennett Square, Pa.

Withholding blessings

Re: “Communion blessings” (Pastoral Answers, Oct. 13).

Msgr. Charles Pope’s answer to the question about giving a blessing to a resident of a nursing home during a Communion service was disturbing to me. I am an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, and I also bring Jesus to residents in a home that specializes in dementia. The residents are gathered into a room, and I have a Communion service. At times I have four or five who are aware enough to receive, two or three who are beyond that stage and two or three who are not Catholic.

Does Msgr. Pope feel that Jesus would not give these unfortunate children, for that is what they have now become, a blessing? Did Jesus not say “Let the little children come to me”?

Are they not all God’s children? Would Jesus refuse to bless those who are not Catholic?

Jeannine Aucoin, Henniker, N.H.

Blindsided by blasphemy

Re: “A burger, shutdown realities and a prayer life plan” (Openers, Oct. 20).

Being a person of limited Internet and television usage, I knew nothing about the recent burger menu scandal at a Chicago restaurant until I opened your Oct. 20 issue. I unsuspectingly turned to Gretchen R. Crowe’s “Openers” and was blindsided by blasphemy. I could barely make it through the first three paragraphs.

Weeping, my horrified heart went into its default mode: prayer. What heart of darkness conjured up such an idea? Regardless of religious affiliation, how could any person of good faith not be offended, including atheists?

I may not live in Chicago, but I will pray wherever I am. Please join me.

Annette Bednar Martin, Avon Lake, Ohio

Government handouts

Re: “Shutdown affects millions using social services” (News Analysis, Oct. 20).

Your article about the recent government shutdown has me utterly bewildered.

Really? Government equals salvation for our poor? Please show me where in Church teaching we turned over our responsibility to the poor over to the government.

Let me begin by saying I know a bit of what I speak here. I have worked with our local St. Vincent de Paul group for more than 20 years. For that same time, I have been involved in a crisis pregnancy office, first as a volunteer and for the last five years as director.

In both cases, we serve mostly the very poor. We take no government funds. I wonder, does your editorial board, or, for that matter, almost anyone of late who speaks “for the Church,” bother to study the issues in these matters? Our government is perilously heading “over a cliff” with ever-mounting debt and the Church can only say “we need more”?

My question is this: Why is the Church depending on a government of which those at the very top levels are out destroy it? That is a fool’s errand that I will never understand. Further, why is OSV publishing articles without studying the issue thoroughly?

Denise J. Smith,  St. Louis, Mo.

Why indulgences?

Re: “What’s an indulgence?” (In Focus, Sept. 29).

While the article is certainly concise, complete and informative, I can’t help wondering, “Why does the Church bother with such as this?”

When you put a “price tag” on acts of piety — or “earn” time off in purgatory — it seems mercenary in a way. Priests told me it is a way of encouraging acts of piety, etc. However, it sounds scandalous to some. After 86 years as a Catholic, I’m still wondering.

Luella Smith, Brawley, Calif.

Don’t pick and choose

Re: “Forget about purgatory” (Letters to the Editor, Oct. 13).

Dave Haas seems to think he can dismiss the Church’s teaching on purgatory. He claims the Church has “no credibility” on this issue and, at the same time, claims to be a “typical practicing Catholic.”

Might I suggest that he might be a typical cafeteria Catholic, of which the Catholic Church has many.

Rene Desany, Jericho, Vt.