Spare me the bureaucracy, please (“At Long Last, Young Adults Get Serious Attention,” Nov. 10-16). I'm a married young adult Catholic approaching my mid-30s and have yet to wake up weeping because the Church isn't paying me enough attention. To be blunt about it, I assert that the problem with many of our young adults is that they want the Church to stroke their egos and provide them some kind of play room, BYOB.
Somewhere in Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth says something along the line of giving your youth to the Lord. With so much work to be done in the Church, I can't fathom that anybody is feeling left out. After 16 years of participating in or leading some parish or Church-related non-profit ministry, I'm taking early semi-retirement. I've very often found myself among the youngest ones working side by side with wonderful people who are old enough to be my parents or grandparents. And along with them, I've always wondered where all the other young folks are.
The Church has plenty of places for young adults. For example, I'm one of the younger members of the international Lay Missionaries of Charity. We need more young people. And something very impressive is the extraordinary degree of commitment and sacrifice that my lay peers in institutes like Opus Dei and Focolare make on a daily basis.
If subduing the earth and filling it permits you extra time to share and your parish can't keep you busy, don't go looking for a pizza party—call me. I know plenty of people who need you—to work and pray with them. Just give of yourself. You'll be surprised how many of your own needs will be met without you even asking. What's more, Jesus wears the most unexpected faces.
Forest Park, Illinois
In reference to your story on the Pope's thoughts on evolution (“Pope's Nod to Evolution Deals Creationism Setback,” Nov. 3-9), I'd like to make a couple of points: I believe Gabriel Meyer is biased in favor of evolution; and the Pope has most probably been fed pseudo-science propaganda from the pro-evolution camp.
Meyer's article includes in its title the words “Evolution” and “Creationism.” This is biased reporting. I believed in evolution all through my youth and college years, right up to about 40 years of age when I was shown some of the scientific evidence for creation and the concept of a relatively young universe. Since, I have researched and read many articles on this subject. One thing I've learned is when an author on this subject starts with the words “evolution” and “creationism,” you can bet you're in for a pro-evolution biased report. The author makes the judgment that evolution is science and therefore calls it evolution, not “evolutionism” but he calls creation “creationism” because he believes it to be non-scientific.
The Pope is quoted as saying that “[t]oday … new knowledge leads to the recognition that the theory of evolution is more than a hypothesis. There was evidence in the fact that several scientific disciplines had come up with evidence of evolution independent of one another.” The Pope's charism of infallibility does not extend to matters of secular science, however, and just what are these new evidences or knowledge and in what disciplines do they occur? Nothing is said about this.
I'd like to quote another Pope, Pius XII, from his encyclical Humani Generis: “Some imprudently and indiscreetly hold that evolution—which has not been fully proved even in the domain of natural sciences— explains the origin of all things.” His statement was true back in 1950 and is even more true in 1996. Advances in science are increasingly showing that the universe and life were created by intelligent design and not by the randomness of evolution. My challenge to the Register is to come up with some concrete evidence of evolution. All that has been done in Meyer's article was to give evolutionism an air of respectability while avoiding any attempt at searching for truth.
Redwood Falls, Minnesota
Humani Generis, while warning of the conflict between philosophical materialism inherent in a certain approach to evolution and Christian faith, the encyclical does not rule out the possibility of some form of evolution. Pope John Paul II merely reiterates this point of view, while, in also noting that there is more than one theory of evolution. The Church can abide with any theory, says the Pope, which, while explaining some of the mechanics of the development of the species, does not contradict Christian belief in “the ontological leap” between lower forms of life and men and women created in God's image. In short, there is no need to be alarmed.
Mary's Role in Redemption
I would like to second the concern of Al Radison (“Mary As Co-Redeemer?” in Letters, Nov. 17-23) about the possibility of a new Marian doctrine. I find the “co” term to be problematic. I also don't feel the Vatican II term “people of God” should be used since it was the Council itself that necessitated this proposed doctrine. Vatican II did not give Mary her proper due. I would favor a doctrine that addressed Mary as “Maternal Intercessor and Mediatrix of all graces.” The rationale for the doctrine is that there is one Redeemer and one Mediator—Jesus Christ. This is the teaching of the Catholic Church. Perhaps there is a bit more to this teaching, an enrichment if you will, that cannot be found in a very literal interpretation of Scripture.
Mary is not a co-Redeemer or a co-Mediator; she does not stand beside her Son in the work of redemption. Mary stands off to the side in humility as one who needed redemption as we all do. But the graces of Christ are reflected through her as a prism and they take on a softer light (blue and white). In the same sense, prayers to Christ always go through Mary and take on a mother's plea. The doctrine itself can be inferred from Scripture just as the doctrine of the Trinity is inferred from Scripture and not directly taught.
Paul Trouve Montague, New Jersey