After a week when you had an article, “Debating Life and Death in Vermont” (March 25) about Vermont’s nearly inevitable enactment of physician-assisted suicide, I was disappointed to find no mention of what actually happened here in the following issues!
I understood that you could not announce what had happened here on March 21 because of your publishing deadline.
However, I see no reason to avoid celebrating the overturning of Vermont House Bill 44, by a vote of 82 to 63 in this issue! Much credit to its defeat is due to Bishop Salvatore Matano. I especially valued his call for the diocese to pray the Rosary in the week of the vote to defeat the bill.
To everyone in the other 48 states that do not have physician-assisted suicide laws, I urge you to rejoice with us in Vermont for this miraculous victory! Vermont is not the next domino to fall farther into the culture of death, and we are all safer for that!
Mass and Music
Reading “A Choice: Art Music, Bad Music or None” (March 25) made me think of a little child who does not understand how adults think. It is easy for us to categorize those who like the music of today as lacking. Yet for some it is the music they relate to.
Whatever music we use at Mass should inspire worship of God. Please do not denigrate me who, at 67, loves country music and dislikes classical. I am a faithful Catholic who attends daily Mass. Loud organ music and high-pitched voices is a distraction to me. I know that I am not alone because others have expressed the same no matter what age. Vatican II’s changes in the Mass were supposed to help people become more involved in the Mass.
It is hard for those of us without trained voices to participate in much of the traditional music. I want to participate fully. I can be silent in my heart, behind closed doors or walking in the woods. Mass is a communal gathering. Please accept me as I am, just as Jesus did, folk music and all.
Silence Over Bad Music
Regarding “A Choice: Art Music, Bad Music or None” (March 25): Webster Young is right. Let us have silence rather than “bad music.” It doesn’t belong at Mass.
Sheila A. Kaugmann
Denville, New Jersey
Responding to ‘BCE’
Regarding the April 8 letter “‘Common’ Mistakes”:
The first time I heard the term “Before the Common Era” was from a rabbi. Years ago, I called a synagogue to ask a question. I can’t remember what the subject was about, but his answer included “BCE.” I asked what that meant and he stiltedly replied “Before the Common Era.” It shocked me to hear that phrase, but I did not question further.
Later, I wondered how I would respond to that designation if it were presented to me again. Only one way, reply: You mean, “B.C., Before Christ”?
A Tip of the Hat
I would like to thank you for two things in my recent Register editions. First, I am very grateful for the interview and write up about Dean Koontz, “Chatting with Koontz About Faith” (March 11). I never heard of him and have since really enjoyed reading his works.
Also you ran, “The Possibility of Finding God — on Film” (Feb. 18) about Into Great Silence, a movie about French Monks (pictured above) that was playing in New York. I live in New Jersey, and after reading that I went to the city to see the movie, and it was excellent! Both of these things are great cultural experiences that I was very happy to be made aware of from your newspaper.
Father Joseph Jakub
Jackson, New Jersey
Divine Mercy and the Pope
Thank you for a splendid editorial, “Pope Benedict on Divine Mercy” (April 15).
I would point out that the feast of Divine Mercy applies more to receiving the body and blood of Our Lord and asking him to pour out his mercy, with confession before or within the octave of the feast. The 3 p.m. chaplet is still very laudable, but I think one will find that Our Lord was referring to holy Communion as a source of his mercy on this day of mercy according to Sister Faustina.
It is amazing to see firsthand Pope Benedict “the professor.” His writings on God’s love and the Eucharist are very profound, yet at the same time comprehensible. I can’t help but believe that what John Paul the Great did was to set the stage for the world to now sit and listen to what Pope Benedict has to say to all of us about the infinite love that God has for us.
At the time of John Paul’s death the whole world was watching. He got everyone’s attention. That was just the opening act for some truly remarkable transformations for the world to experience in the coming years. What a blessing for us now to live through all of this.
Science vs. Politics
Relevant to “Judge Forces Homosexuality in the Classroom” (March 18):
Saying that opposition to homosexuality is “homophobia” is like saying opposition to cancer is “cancerphobia.”
Homosexuality can be cured. It can also be prevented. Only people who care about the homosexuals oppose it.
Homosexual persons have more depression, more suicides, do more drugs and are unhappier with themselves twice as much as heterosexual people. They live an average of 33 years less than heterosexuals. Would you want to condemn someone you cared about to that lifestyle?
Homosexual “marriage” is an oxymoron; self-contradictory. One essential purpose of marriage is to have and raise children.
In the Netherlands, where it has been legalized for more than 12 years, it hasn’t worked at all. They only stay together for an average of 1½ years, and they have affairs with 12 other homosexuals during that year and a half.
Groups that work with homosexuals, such as Courage and Exodus, find that it often occurs in families that had an absent father (physically, emotionally or spiritually) in the child’s early life, roughly between the ages of 2 and 4 years. They also report a successful cure rate of 90%. It usually takes about a year.
The American Psychiatric Association used to classify homosexuality scientifically as mentally disordered behavior. What changed? Politics. They didn’t change their definition for scientific reasons, but for political reasons.
‘Cleaning the Slate’
In a recent editorial, you highlighted the need for more emphasis on the sacrament of reconciliation, “7 Ways to Promote Confession” (March 18).
How true! May I suggest something that could help.
When my father passed away 25 years ago two monsignors, natives of Ireland, spoke and then recited the Rosary together, providing meditations on each mystery.
Afterwards, Msgr. Reilly gave a short homily on confession reminding us that it was surely at times like this that we are more mindful of our own death and judgment.
For that reason, he said he would be back in the funeral directors’ office hearing confessions after the service. My wife and I went to confession that evening along with 25 others. As he said, it was called “cleaning the slate” in Ireland. Would that more of our priests would use this opportunity to clean the slate in America.