Live by Ten Commandments, not U.S. culture

Re: “Shaw assesses the danger of assimilation for American Catholics” (Faith, June 30).

Russell Shaw’s book,  “American Church,”  is sobering, informative and, sadly, “right on” and Matthew Bunson’s interview with Shaw is the same. By all means, the need to educate in order to rebuild a Catholic subculture in the United States is enormous and critical. Statistics tell us that less than 35 percent of Catholics attend Sunday Mass on a weekly basis. Also, within the Church, while the Ten Commandments are taught to our children in CCD classes in our parishes and Catholic schools, at least in some places not much is being said, neither at Mass nor in our schools, about morals and virtues.   

It is not for nothing that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called for the Year of Faith.  Neither is it for nothing that Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis have all called for the “New Evangelization.” In sum, knowing Jesus Christ and the mysteries of faith is paramount, but “love God and do what you will” does not rule out knowing and endeavoring to live according to the Ten Commandments. No doubt about it, we will not learn anything about any of this from our “American culture!”   

Pam Haines, St. Petersburg, Fla.

No compromising

Re: “True Freedom” (Opening the Word, June 30).

I want to say how good a job Carl Olson does with his column. I am going to save a copy of the June 30 column to refer to later.

I thought it was interesting that on the next page, Russell Shaw referred to how American Catholics have allowed themselves to be absorbed into secular ways and thinking — in some cases very “evil” ways such as abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality (“Shaw assesses the danger of assimilation for American Catholics” (Faith, June 30)). Correlate that with Olson’s quote of Father Hans Urs von Balthasar, “It is impossible to be free to do contradictory things simultaneously ...”  

We can’t be an authentic Catholic and compromise on these issues. Truth is truth — read the Bible! As Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said in the forward of Shaw’s “American Church,” “We need to have the courage to speak the TRUTH even in the face of contempt.”

There is no other way to find true happiness. After all, our “real” life is heaven, which far outweighs anything we have here.

Rita Misero, via email

Catholic media growth

As I was reading the local newspaper a few days ago, I started thinking about how the media has essentially hidden three major scandals: Benghazi, Libya, IRS targeting conservative groups and the Department of Justice subpoenaing reporters.

Then I read “Alarming apathy” (Eye on Culture, June 23) by Teresa Tomeo, who also is worried about the same thing, except she gave another reason: apathy on the part of the average American. Then I read “Anybody out there?” (Spectator, June 23) by Greg Erlandson, who brought up another media problem, the lack of readership in the Catholic media and the question, “does the Catholic press still have a place?”

The Holy Father understood the need for Catholics to enter the media on all levels to provide sound doctrine. Because Christians suffered so much in the 20th century, seeds were sown for phenomenal growth, both in numbers and in sanctity, in the Catholic Church of the 21st century.

I have confidence that the Holy Father is correct when I read about the growth in vocations and how active many of our young adults and youth are involved with World Youth Day and the Fellowship Of Catholic University Students, etc.

Yes, I very much believe a strong Catholic media in print, film, TV, Internet, etc. is critical to ensure the Holy Father’s prediction of phenomenal growth in the 21st-century Church.

John Gishpert, Denver, Colo.

Commandment thoughts

Re: “Which Commandment? (Letters to the Editor, June 23). We should all “start loving God and neighbor.” But as Mark Shea points out (“We are called to give up earthly loves to follow God’s will,” June 23) we are called “to do really hard things like forgive and even love our enemies” — including the foreigners “sneaking across our borders,” as the letter writer says.

I too read “Avoiding high taxes” (Pastoral Answers, June 9) and the letter that ranked the gravity of the commandments. First, the Fourth Commandment “extends to the duties of … citizens to their country, and to those who administer or govern it” (Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 2199). “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes” (No. 2240).

As to gravity, “sin is an offense against God. ... Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter. ... Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments. ... The gravity of sins is more or less grave” (Nos. 1850-58). However, the Ten Commandments form “a coherent whole. Each [commandment] refers to each of the others and to all of them …To transgress one commandment is to infringe all the others ” (No. 2069). “If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, [mortal sin] causes exclusion from Christ’s Kingdom and the eternal death of hell ...” (No. 1861). Once in hell does it really matter which sin is worse?

Philip K. LeMasurier, Amarillo, Texas