Vatican II and the Liturgy


I am responding to Michael Rachiele and his complaints on what is going on in the Mass in parishes (Letters to the Editor, Jan. 13 issue).

I am sure Michael is a very good, faithful brother in Christ. I think, however, there is a danger in complaining about the little things that do not take away from the liturgy.

In essence, I see myself in Michael as he reviews some of his complaints.

First off, he talks about guitars and drums in the Mass. Some of these instruments can enhance the liturgy. I attended a beautiful Hawaiian Mass, and it was their culture — and it was great, although very unconventional as to what I was used to. That was in 1979.

As long as the music is liturgically correct, what is the problem? Does Michael only accept a drab organ?

The charismatic movement is approved by the Church. It is not my style of worship either, but it is legitimate.

Michael has the chance to go to a Latin Mass if he prefers, but he should not believe that everyone should do things his way.

I believe Michael and I should be very careful about committing the sin of pride with self-righteous notions about how things should be. It gets to the point of arrogance. I am guilty of it, too. Our wonderful Church allows us to worship within our culture.

The Novus Ordo reminds me of the Last Supper, where we surround Jesus in the Eucharist. The priest is acting in persona Christi (in the person of Christ).

The new Mass is more than the old Mass. The Latin Mass, to me, is nice, but more of a newer rite.

I do think that extraordinary ministers of holy Communion may be overused at times.

I see our Blessed Mother as the first extraordinary minister when she presented to the world the body of Christ.

If things are wrong, they should be corrected.

But we should not look at the perpetrators as some kind of enemies and think to ourselves, "I’m glad I’m not like you," like the Pharisees.

We must look at them as children of God, and we should approach them with love and not scorn.

And we shouldn’t just sit around and do nothing — but do something with love if there is something wrong.

Stephen Matusheski

New Cumberland, Pennsylvania


Legitimate Teachers


In the article "Stand for Catholic Identity: President vs. Faculty" (Dec. 30 issue), the law of non-contradiction comes into play.

The president of the University of San Diego, Mary Lyons, and her faculty cannot both be right because the British theologian, Tina Beattie, who is "openly at odds with some of the Catholic Church’s most fundamental moral teachings," and the Catholic bishops who hold those teachings cannot both be right.

As an observer of the situation, I have to ask myself, "Is the Holy Spirit inspiring a simple lay theologian or is the Holy Spirit inspiring Catholic bishops, who are the legitimate teaching authority of the Church and who are responsible for the correctness of those teachings?"

Where is the truth? It seems logical to me that the truth is with the Catholic bishops.

I have another question: Does academic freedom mean that Catholic universities have the right to teach error?

Catholic universities need to be careful.

Those who are responsible for teaching error are going to stand before God some day and are going to have to answer for the error that they are teaching in opposition to the Holy Spirit.

Beverly Thewes

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan


Images of Abortion


In "Eight Reasons Not to Use Graphic Abortion Images at the March for Life," (Jan. 22,, Simcha Fisher concedes that "Americans are tragically ignorant about what abortion really is," but then follows with a non sequitur that abortion photos should never be shown in public — and only "as a last resort" in private.

The mainstream pro-life movement has covered up the horror of abortion for 40 years and now wonders why the public is still not horrified by abortion. The result has been a failure to outlaw abortion — anywhere, at any point in pregnancy — and 50 million dead babies!

Had Martin Luther King displayed lynching photos only in "private" and only "as a last resort," black people would still be drinking from segregated water fountains. King, instead, commissioned the making of sickening photos and then urged their widespread publication and broadcast. The result was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The history of social reform is the history of horrifying pictures: pictures of slaves being tortured to death; pictures of American Indian women and children massacred by the U.S. Calvary; pictures of black people beaten to their knees for trying to register to vote; and pictures of little children abused in mines and factories.

These pictures traumatized children just like those Fisher seeks to shelter at the March for Life.

But the imagery also convinced the country that the victims were real people, fully entitled to rights of personhood. It additionally persuaded the electorate that the injustices depicted therein were sufficiently egregious to warrant criminalization.

Many of the children who attend the march are genuinely devout and authentically pro-life, but others are only nominally Catholic, if Catholic at all.

Some are, or soon will become, sexually active. Some are, or soon will become, pregnant. More than a few will abort. Some of them, however, will change their minds because we showed them the indescribable horror of abortion. We have testimonies to prove this.

Fisher says we should hide the horror of abortion because post-abortive women attend the march.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that nearly half of all abortions are performed on post-abortive women.

Post-abortive women are, therefore, among the women most at risk of aborting. They are, consequently, the women who most need to see the terrible truth, lest they kill again.

Many post-abortive women (and men) have told us they now realize that visualizing what they had done forced them to stop trying to rationalize it. Only then were they able to confess and repent, so they could be forgiven and healed.

Ephesians 5:11 commands us to "expose the deeds of darkness," not to show them only privately and only as a last resort.

Responsibility for the terrible longevity of history’s most horrific slaughter does not rest entirely upon our adversaries.

We will be judged for our timidity, perhaps as harshly as they will be judged for their barbarity — by history and by Providence.

Gregg Cunningham

The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform

Lake Forest, California


Comfort Amid Sorrow


I read with great sorrow the recent articles on the Newtown tragedy ("In the Face of Horror, Faith in Action," page one, Dec. 30 issue).

The main article was especially difficult to read, and I had to break it into sessions while I cried all over again. I also read Archbishop William Lori’s remarks and read with "sure and certain hope" of the "transcendent dignity of the human person."

His answers to the questions filled me with wonder — a joyful wonder amid the overwhelming grief.

The dead children and teachers are indeed holy innocents. They are in God’s tender care now, but their earthbound families will continue to suffer until they awaken to the hope that is Jesus Christ.

My thoughts and prayers are with the entire community, especially the victims and their families, the first responders, the doctors, priests and even the undertakers, who have handled this difficult and heartbreaking calamity with dignity and compassion. Christ is within their midst, no doubt. May all the people touched by Sandy Hook find the peace that only Christ can give.

Elizabeth Turner

Syracuse, New York




Daniella Oh is the correct spelling of the illustrator featured in "Lenten Reads for Little Hearts" (Feb. 10 issue); also, in our Jan. 27 issue, our coverage of coast-to-coast events incorrectly identified Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta ("Take Part in March for Life 2013 Around the Country"). In addition, this sentence in our Feb. 10 editorial has been amended online to read (changed part in italics): " ... the Church asks a restless nation to pause and consider that marriage cannot be viewed in isolation of the common good, and it cannot be redefined without wrecking immense damage." The Register regrets these errors.