We must be accountable to God

Regarding the news analysis on chastity ("Effectiveness of abstinence education questioned," March 1).

Is it possible abstinence education for teenagers (some adults also) is not as effective as desired because educating individuals to have a true relationship with God must come first, and, perhaps, in many cases evangelization is lacking?

If one has a true relationship with our loving God, they'll be less apt to disappoint him.

A virginity pledge should make them more accountable to God, family and friends.

-- Judith A. Vermurlen, Grand Haven, Mo.

Wake-up call

Valerie Schmalz's compelling insights about the revelations of the "erroneous" data that was used by politicians and groups such as Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good are yet another wake-up call ("Claim that social problems reduce abortions in doubt," March 8).

In the practical order, I am reminded of C.S. Lewis' warning to be alert to "smudge and blur." In this age, when "truth stumbles in the public square" and when we tend to share views and opinions (rather than seeking to know and proclaim the truth), we should be grateful to OSV for providing the public with clarity.

In those pre-election weeks, members of the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good fogged the meaning of the Church's actual teaching about the "common good," which springs from a foundational acknowledgement of the good that is the "right to life." It is surely time now to more thoroughly examine President Obama's "social program" policies. The article provided each of us with a firm foundation for further public scrutiny and debate.

-- Sister J. Sheila Galligan, IHMImmaculata, Pa.

Left out

As a divorced Catholic who lives alone, I am for all practical purposes a single Catholic, except, obviously, I am not looking for a spouse. Therefore, I must take exception to a statement made by Anthony Buono regarding parish responsibility toward single Catholics ("Perseverance needed among singles," March 8). He says that it is not the parishes' job to do a better job of ministering to Catholic singles, and we shouldn't expect the "poor parish priest" to figure things out for us, since they are already overtaxed.

Catholic parish life, and Catholic life in general, seems to be arranged for the benefit of married couples and families, from holiday celebrations to parish picnics and other parish activities. I often get a feeling of being left out, as if my needs are not important.

I am very much aware that parish priests are often overworked and overtaxed. However, it is still their job and that of the parish to minister to all Catholics, whether single, divorced, widowed or married. You can't just leave a whole segment of your parish membership to fend for themselves. After all, we are all one Church, aren't we?

-- Carrie Bowler, Springfield, Mass.

Full of sinners

Shall good Catholics participate in crucifying Christ, living in the movement and charism of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi ("Revelation of order founder's double life," Feb. 22)?

Why God chose to use an "unclean vessel" to raise up such a beautiful and holy spirituality is a mystery to all of us. We know throughout our salvation history God has used sinners to do his work. Even the papacy had its legacy in scandal, with a pope fathering a child. No person on earth can boast that he or she is above committing the worst of sins were it not for the grace of God. We condemn and abhor the sin, not the sinner.

The Church is holy because Jesus is holy. The Church is full of sinners because we are human and have a fallen nature. The Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement is a part of the Church and is holy because Jesus is holy. The movement's founder and its members are sinners because we are human and have a fallen nature.

-- Janet Hafernik, via e-mail

New Age threats

In an essay by Mary DeTurris Poust about her experience of making time for a retreat ("Time away puts writer farther along spiritual path," Feb. 22), I was concerned to read the location of her first retreat: Pyramid Life Center. I've never heard of it before, but an alarm went off inside me. I thought I'd do research on the Internet. According to its website, some of what is offered here is: Dream interpretation, reiki, sweat lodges, tapping into your powerful spiritual being and explorations of earth, air, wind and fire. These are all New Age practices.

I do not want to read about such practices in OSV. I know you would never intentionally lead readers toward anything that goes against our faith.

-- Ann T. Gray, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Mary DeTurris Poust responds: The Catholic contemplative retreat I attended at Pryamid Life Center was sponsored by the International Merton Society and focused on the writings of Thomas Merton as they apply to Franciscan spirituality. Pyramid Life Center, which is owned by the Diocese of Albany, N.Y., offers retreat and family camping experiences on 750 acres of wilderness in the Adirondack Mountains. Dedicated to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Pyramid Life offers everything from parish and youth leadership retreats, men's and women's retreats, and contemplative retreats to retreats that link spirituality with writing, painting, nature and other subjects. In addition, the center rents space to non-Catholic retreat groups and to families seeking a peaceful natural setting for vacation.

Catholic identity

If Boston College is Catholic, why shouldn't we expect to see the college "increasing the presence of Catholic religious symbols" ("This Week in Quotes," March 1)? Aren't Catholic colleges allowed to set guidelines keeping in sync with the Church? Isn't the purpose of Catholic colleges to follow in Jesus Christ's footsteps?

Oh, yes, and football!

-- Agnes White, via e-mail