To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY The Editors
Having enjoyed the wonderful book Why Catholics Can’t Sing
by Thomas Day (head of the music department at Salve Regina College in Rhode
Island), I am usually sympathetic to Webster Young’s arguments. But when he
claims the song “Keep in Mind’ is one of the “high points in new Catholic
music” (“Some Good Catholic Music,” Jan. 27), Young is encouraging liturgical
I assume Young means the memorial acclamation when he writes
“Gospel acclamation.” This very song was addressed in a question-and-answer
column in another publication recently, and the responding priest wrote that
deviating from the canonical acclamations is liturgical abuse.
In this case, the song departs from the canon of the Mass
(Christ has died; Christ is risen ...) to say “Keep in mind that Jesus Christ
has died for us and is risen from the dead ...” The Lord knows there is enough
ad-libbing going on in most Masses already. Please don’t advocate for more.
Regardless of your opinion of Webster Young’s opinions, I
highly recommend Thomas Day’s lively discussion of why we were the way we were
before Vatican II; what we have become since then; and where we may go from
Editor’s Note: Singing the refrain of Keep in Mind as a
memorial acclamation is an abuse. The song is actually much longer, and is intended for other points in the Mass.
Bravo, Father Dwight!
I think that Father Dwight Longenecker is right on in his
article, “The Tale of 2 Churches” (Feb. 10).
Leviticus 19:2 says, “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am
holy.” It does not say, “Be happy for I am happy.” The article really gives me
a clear understanding why my children (and so many other people) have walked
away from their faith — they are only seeking happiness.
Love requires suffering, and happiness does not, so the love
of God is too tough for these “live-for-today” young folks. I’d say our big
task as evangelizers is to create a hunger for holiness in our near-pagan
friends and children. I hope Father Longenecker has some ideas for that!
Work Harder, Suffer More
Regarding “Tale of 2 Churches” (Feb. 10):
I agree with Father Dwight Longenecker in large part. “The
two opposing views can be called ‘Happy Here” and ‘Happy Hereafter.’” But I
disagree with him that “the two groups are distinguished not so much by what
they do.” Mine is a small disagreement but worth stating.
Whenever I visit another church for Mass, there are telltale
signs in the liturgy. One such telling example is if the congregation does not
kneel during the consecration. The two opposing views differ most in humble
reverence before God and in the seeking of and reliance upon grace. Those
adhering to one view cannot humble themselves to be fools for Christ. They can
only bring themselves to do what makes sense — as measured by their human
judgment and with an inflated sense of dignity.
Having said this, I agree then with Father Longenecker that
for this other view (for whom the pursuit of earthly happiness becomes the
driving force), “religion becomes utilitarian … the priest ceases to be an
agent of God’s supernatural grace … the pulpit becomes a platform for pious
platitudes,” and that “the confessional ends up empty.”
I would add that the Holy Eucharist does not transcend being
merely a celebration or common meal. And that the sacraments are truncated of
much of their meaning.
We should all work harder for God (as this other view
admirably seeks to do) but we all should also humbly pray, worship and suffer
more for God.
Terry L. Classen
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Parents as Teachers
Regarding “The Cluelessness Crisis” (Jan. 27), as usual,
Melinda Selmys’ analysis is insightful and hard-hitting. Her discussion of the
contemporary education system is eye-opening and her enumeration of its
essential flaws is dead on.
However, I am disappointed that she seems to have overlooked
the most fundamental cause of the education crisis: the lack of parental
involvement in the education of children.
Parents are supposed to be the primary teachers of their
children, but this is rarely the case in modern America. I think the great
amount of money we as a society are willing to pour into our school systems is
indicative of the great responsibility we expect those schools to shoulder for
us. Schools are often all but entrusted with the very rearing of our children.
I worked for a year in my parish’s religious education
program and was very disheartened to learn just how common it is for parents to
expect one or two hours per week to suffice for their child’s religious
education, as if the religious experience and a strong moral development could
be facilitated on Wednesday evenings and/or Sunday mornings alone.
One priest who spoke to the religious education teachers described
how one’s religion really has to be like a marinade in which one’s whole
up-bringing is saturated. Then it sinks in. Then it lasts.
Sadly, in our society religion is often treated more as an
exotic dipping sauce than a rich marinade. As long as our children are exposed
to it, we’re covered. Our overwrought reliance on formal education for the
rearing of our children seems to stem from the same minimalist attitude.
We want the best for our children, yes, and we’re willing to
pay for it, but we’re not always willing to provide it ourselves, and that’s
where the root of our problem lies.
I was disappointed to see your page-one article, “Ron Paul
Draws Passionate Support” (Jan. 27). The article virtually endorsed Paul for
president. Yet, his views clearly contradict the Catholic Church in a number of
For one thing, any law that allows directly willed abortion
for any reason is an unjust law. Catholics are obligated to oppose any unjust law.
The Bible says, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Ron Paul clearly supports the right of states to allow
abortion if they choose to do so. Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution clearly
does not allow states to allow abortion.
When he ran for president in 2000 as the candidate of the
Constitution Party, Howard Phillips pointed out that the 14th Amendment to the
Constitution clearly forbids states to allow abortion, since it states that no
one shall be deprived by the states “of life, liberty or property without due
process of law.” It also declares that states may not deny anyone within their
“jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
To allow the murder of the unborn and at the same time ban
the murder of others deprives the unborn of equal protection under the law. It
should be added that the Constitution is based on the Declaration of
Independence. The Declaration of Independence clearly states that there is a
right to “life.”
Ron Paul advocates laissez-faire economic policies. These
are condemned in the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum (On Capital and Labor)
issued in 1891 by Pope Leo XIII and many other papal documents.
I hope that Catholics will evaluate these points before
Joseph V. Simon
Richland Center, Wisconsin
Congratulations, guys, for your Dec. 2 story, “Teachers vs.
Priests.” My letter to the editor may be a little late, but I still must let
you know how much I was pleased with Wayne Laugesen’s article.
I think every Catholic newspaper and magazine should be
running a story and revealing the facts which your story has done.
Many of us have known for quite some time how the news media
will slander and defame the Catholic Church while being silent about the
enormous vice that is to be found elsewhere.
But there are many, many more who need to be aware of this.
I read your story to the members of my council of the
Knights of Columbus, and I would recommend others disseminate the information
contained in your article.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Editor’s Note: We offer the article free for all online at
NCRegister.com. Type Teachers vs. Priests in the search field.
I was surprised to see that you bothered to print the letter
“Population and Nature” (Dec. 23) that was repeating 50-year-old false
“Population Bomb” scare tactics.
With Europe and Russia facing social and financial collapse
due to their birth rate that, at 1.3 per woman, will cause them to lose
one-third of their population every generation, to worry about overpopulation
Who will support all the old folks till they die is the
America is on the edge. Minorities have largely helped to
increase the rate to 2.1 children per woman, when 2.2 is needed to break even.
Muslims, with their strong religious beliefs, are at 5.6 but falling. Japan’s
economy is in a permanent decline due to its low birthrate (especially as they
abort 17% more girls than boys). China’s forced one-child policy will end its
great rise in one generation.
What was even more surprising to me that his letter was
followed by an editor’s note, not pointing out the above statistics that are
now common knowledge, but saying that all those people could fit in Alaska.
Roland de Marcellus
Piedmont Triad, North Carolina