Thanks for the Reminder

I loved Mark Shea’s article, “Why I Love My Country” (Aug. 5), also his article on “Patriotism as a Sacramental” (Aug. 12). I am making a copy and forwarding to my friends.

Thank you for pointing out things that we forget if we are not reminded, and tying the love of our country to our patroness, Mary. I loved the hymn at the end.

Judy Novotny

Roseville, Minnesota

New Reality in Christ

Regarding “Patriotism as a Sacramental” (Aug. 12):

Mark misses a fundamental point about what has happened in Christ that cannot make patriotism ever a “sacramental.” Because we have been baptized into Christ, their is neither Greek nor Jew, Scythian or barbarian; together we are God’s new people, a holy nation and royal priesthood and together we form one body in Christ (see Galatians 3:28, 1 Peter 2:9-10, Romans 5:12).

The Church is in Christ like a sacrament, a sign and means of intimate union with God and the unity of the whole human race (Lumen Gentium No. 1).

That is, it is the sacrament that subverts patriotism and reveals the nation as human division that has to be overcome in Christ. The nation is not the same as human culture, which is perfected in Christ.

People should respect what is good in their culture and nation and contribute to its flourishing. But keep an eye on the new reality in Christ.

So I must strongly disagree with Mark Shea on this point about patriotism.

Anthony Gooley

Brisbane, Australia

Montana’s Battle

Thank you very much for the article “Faith Fight in the Pharmacy” (July 1) about Snyder’s Pharmacy in Great Falls, Mont. Their-faith based decision to not dispense birth control has caused quite a controversy. Please help keep us informed on the legislation to force pharmacies to sell birth control.

This is such an important topic now, given the way the mainstream media twist the truth. How can birth control be considered health care especially in light of the recent Mayo Clinic study showing a 44% increase in risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer in women who took the pill for four years prior to the birth of their first child.

It seems that more pharmacists should refuse to dispense such a dangerous drug.

Kathy McGuire

Helena, Montana

Delighted Donor

As a new subscriber, I just wanted to let you know I am delighted with my first two issues. I was especially happy to read about Opus Bono Sacerdotii in the article, “Helping Accused Priests Is His Calling” (July 15); the only information missing was how to contribute.

But I found the information on the Internet and will be making a contribution soon.

I am also grateful for the informative article on Voice of the Faithful, which confirmed my suspicions.

Keep up the good work!

Alexis L. Mazzocco,

Oak Hill, Virginia

Defiant Priest

I am very interested in finding out if the organization “America needs Fatima” is a cult. I have been sending money each month as a child of Mary but I have recently read information on the Internet that says it is a cult.

Also, what about Father Gruner, who has been asking people to fill out forms asking the Pope to release the rest of the third secret of Fatima and also that the consecration of Russia has not taken place. I am quite upset about this as I have great devotion to the Holy Mother and I don’t know if I should be a part of this. Could you clarify this for me? God bless you! 

Carmel Paulsen

San Antonio, Texas

Editor’s note: Father Nicolas Gruner has been suspended as a priest and operates in defiance of his bishop and the Holy See, spreading misinformation about Pope John Paul II. Unfortunately, the materials he disseminates are deceptive and misleading, often making it difficult to tell that they are from him. The Register regrets to inform readers that we carried one of his advertisements, titled “America Needs Fatima” in our June 24 issue.

The Vatican publicly confirmed in 2001 that Father Gruner has been suspended as a priest. The Congregation for Clergy on Sept. 12 said the suspension of Gruner, head of the Fatima Center in Fort Erie, Ontario, and of The Fatima Crusader Magazine, was “confirmed by a definitive sentence of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature.” The Canadian priest was suspended by the Diocese of Avellino, Italy, where he was ordained in 1976.

In light of Father Gruner’s suspension, the congregation said, “The activities of the Rev. Gruner, including the above-mentioned conference, do not enjoy the approval of the legitimate ecclesiastical authorities.”

Father Gruner insists that the Holy Father never performed the consecration of Russia that was requested by Our Lady of Fatima. Pope John Paul II, Vatican officials and Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos, the last surviving Fatima visionary, all affirmed that the consecration was performed March 25, 1984.

What Was, Still Is

Regarding “What the Church Is” (July 22):

Father Raymond de Souza gave an excellent summation of the recent Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document. The effect of the document was immediate. Blog sites were rife with discussion and chat rooms filled with excited and sometimes rancorous dialogue.

A pitcher of cold water would be ineffective to cool such heated debate.

Atheists and agnostics were filled with fervent concern for the sensibilities of non-Catholic believers. An enormous energy was being expanded over that in which they do not believe!

The document quoted Paul VI in the promulgation of Lumen Gentium in 1964: “What Christ willed, we also will. What was, still is. What the Church has taught down through the centuries, we also teach. In simple terms that which was assumed, is now explicit; that which was uncertain, is now clarified; that which was meditated upon, discussed and sometimes argued over, is now put together in one clear formulation.”

So these questions and answers are not new. Even the clarifications have a history. It is time to revisit the clear language of Dominus Iesus. The latest Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document has also generated comment of the “wringing of hands” variety. However, once the temperature of concerned feverish brows has gone down a new era of reasoned discourse will emerge.

It is important for catechetical, ecumenical and evangelization efforts that the Catholic Church does not lie or be deceptive. What we believe we must say, what we say we must act upon. The average believer, Catholic or non-Catholic, has more common sense than the bloggers, chat roomers, fretting theologians and dissenters.

Believers will engage in a new partnership to make the world a better place in which to live. Years from now, the others suddenly will discover this hopeful trend that we will have begun.

For the future, those of us who see great hope in the document will have become compassionate and patient with those who have anxieties. This future belongs to that Church that was established by Jesus Christ and has Peter as its foundation.

Deacon John P. Coffey

Brooklyn, New York

John XXIII’s Truth

Regarding “New Hopes for the Old Mass” (July 22):

Summorum Pontificum instructs a parish priest to accept the requests of a “stable group of faithful” to celebrate the 1962 Missal. However, it does not say that a pastor must wait until this happens.

Many young people do not attend Mass. If the Mass of John XXIII were celebrated, perhaps some would come out of curiosity. Once the experience its richness and beauty, they might come again and again.

Joel Fago

Sierra Vista, Arizona

Hijacked Representative

Tom McFeeley’s article, “Stupak’s Struggle,” (Aug. 26) contained an error that may upset some of your readers.

His sentence, “‘We’re back in the majority,’ said Rep. Bart Stupak of Wisconsin, the Democratic co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus,” is unfortunate because Mr. Stupak represents the first district of Michigan, its Upper Peninsula. A map will show you that there are strong geographical reasons for upper Michigan and Wisconsin to be seen as a unit, but historically and politically the “UP” is part of Michigan.

Yoopers resent being seen as poor relations, or no-relations by the much more affluent Lower Peninsula. They smart at national weather maps that show Michigan as the “mitten” without its other peninsula. They bristle at the suggestion that they are not “really” a part of Michigan.

And now we have our Representative hijacked! I don’t know how you will ever explain this, but am keen to see it.

I enjoyed your article.

David R. King

Calumet, Michigan

Editor’s note: The article also located Rep. Mike McIntyre in the wrong state. He is from North Carolina. We regret the errors, and fixed them in the online version of the story.

Defending Webster Young

Could it be that all the letters the Register received regarding Webster Young’s commentary “On Vatican II and the Music of the People” (Aug. 12), and other columns by Webster Young on the sad state of music at Mass, were critical?

I find that hard to believe. Aside from opinions on what makes music “good” or “bad,” music we hear and sing at Mass is a part of the liturgy and, as such, its purpose is to help form us in prayer. Man is not meant to form the liturgy according to his likes. We are meant to form ourselves to God’s likes.

The Mass is supposed to be as close as we can get to heaven on earth.

While I wouldn’t be surprised if the angels are at this moment singing Gregorian chant or Panis Angelicus to God in heaven, I’m quite certain they’re not singing “On Eagle’s Wings.”

John Mann

Lovettsville, Virginia

Whose Snobberry Is It?

Contrary to Mark Jameson’s opinion (“No More Snobbery, Please,” Letters, Aug. 26), it is not Webster Young’s snobbery that is the problem but rather the snobbery of those music directors who feel the Mass is their personal concert.

In one parish I attended in New Jersey, the musical prelude to the Sanctus routinely drowned out the priest’s final three lines in the preface of the Eucharistic Prayer. Our current parish’s music director seems to believe the organ is beautiful decoration rather than an instrument.

Don’t assume that we churchgoing masses are incapable of singing, much less appreciating, anything beyond a folk guitar strumming 4/4 time.

Don’t assert that somehow inspiration from the Holy Spirit endows musical directors with ecclesiastic infallibility.

The truth of the matter is that too often music directors are the ones incapable of appreciating anything other than what they enjoy on the radio and they hold their opinion as if it were founded in canon law. Besides, it would take a very capable individual to make pop music sound reverential, something that is lacking all too often in Mass.

William C. Reitemeyer

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas