National Catholic Register


Letters 12.02.2007

BY The Editors

December 2-8, 2007 Issue | Posted 11/27/07 at 6:41 PM


Latin Mass Lover

Thank you for your article, “Archbishop Decries Narrow Reading of Motu Proprio” (Nov. 18). As a 24-year-old Catholic, I had never been to a Mass in the extraordinary form until recently. I had thought about going, but never got around to it until I heard about Pope Benedict’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

I am slowly falling in love with the Latin Mass. I have gone three times over the last few months, and each time it becomes easier to follow the missal. In fact, this last time I used my aunt’s old St. Joseph Missal from 1959. I am now considering changing parishes and going to this Mass weekly.

The Latin Mass is beautiful, holy and prayerful. The people are reverent and well-dressed. The smell of incense lifts the soul to God. I can’t describe how much more beautiful it is to me to reverently sing the prayers, such as the “Gloria,” in Latin than to sing them in English to a contemporary tune that isn’t very prayerful. I also find it powerful that only the priest gives Communion, and that we receive it on the tongue. These actions proclaim the great holiness of the Blessed Sacrament.

I have read comments suggesting that Summorum Pontificum was meant mainly as a concession to schismatic groups. I hope Pope Benedict intended it as much more than that.

I pray that it will attract many more Catholics, as it did for me, to the riches in this amazing extraordinary form of the Mass.


Buffalo, New York

Good Music Endures

The Oct. 28 issue of the Register featured an article titled “A Renaissance in Church Music?” I just have a few comments in reaction to it.

At all times through history, there has been good music and trite music. To say, as Father George Rutler did, that our culture “is an aesthetic low ebb” shows a lack of historical perspective. Contemporary musical gems do exist, and they will reveal themselves over time in the same way that pieces of other eras did — by enduring from generation to generation.

The split between traditional and contemporary music, or high church vs. more popular styles, is often portrayed as an either/or, but there is room for both. The Holy Spirit continues to inspire writers in both idioms. Who are we to impose our own musical tastes on the entire population?

Pope Benedict XVI asks us to “combine the legacy of the past with the worthwhile novelties of the present.” Like almost every directive the Church issues, his comment is phrased in broad terms, to allow different interpretations depending on the pastoral need of the community. This is because the Church serves such a wide variety of people. Trying to force a single style on the entire population of the Church will not serve the body of Christ.

Kathleen Basi,

Columbia, Missouri

Keep the Print Copy

Regarding “Postal Hike” (Oct. 28):

I know from the last issue that you are considering going on Internet only. However, I would hate for that to happen. Over the past several years, I look forward to receiving my National Catholic Register in the mail. My Saturday morning routine is to get my cup of tea and open the Register and see what is happening in our world around us from the Catholic perspective.

The National Catholic Register is the only newspaper that I receive since I know it is showing me the truth rather than the bias that the secular newspapers try to drill into our minds.

I spend all day sitting in front of the computer at work; I really do not enjoy coming home and sitting in front of my computer to read my newspaper online. If the National Catholic Register was only online, I know it would be weeks before I would just take the time to sit in front of the computer to read it and then before you know it, not read it at all.

With having an actual copy of the Register in the house, my kids will walk by and see it sitting on the coffee table and begin reading it because something caught their eye. If it were online, this wouldn’t happen.

Gail Rowan

Mount Vernon, Washington

Thanksgiving Timeline

Regarding “Our Times” (Nov. 11):

Gary Werth stated that the Pilgrims “held the first Thanksgiving in the New World.” This is incorrect information. There were two Thanksgiving services held prior to the pilgrims, one was in 1541 and the other was in 1565. 

Here’s a timeline:

• 1541 — Spanish explorer, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, a Catholic, led a Thanksgiving Communion celebration at the Palo Duro Canyon, west Texas.

• 1565 — Pedro Menendez de Aviles, another Catholic, and 800 settlers, gathered for a Thanksgiving meal with the Timucuan Indians in the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, Fla.


• 1621 — Pilgrims (Puritans from England) and American Indians celebrated a harvest feast in Plymouth, Mass. This harvest feast was never repeated. Oddly enough, most devoutly religious pilgrims observed a day of thanksgiving with prayer and fasting, not feasting.

• 1630 — Settlers observed the first Thanksgiving of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England on July 8, 1630.

• 1777 — George Washington and his army on the way to Valley Forge stopped in open fields to observe the first Thanksgiving of the United States of America.

• 1789 — President Washington declared Nov. 26, 1789, as a national day of “thanksgiving and prayer.”

• 1818 — The annual presidential Thanksgiving proclamations cease.

• 1863 — President Abraham Lincoln resumed the tradition of Thanksgiving proclamations, which have since been observed annually in the United States.

Mark Corcoran,

Fallbrook, California

Bravo, Bella

Thanks for the recent article “Bella Bolstered by Catholic Connections” on the movie, Bella (Nov. 11). I haven’t had a chance to see the movie yet (although I’m glad to find that it has just opened in my area), but it is good to learn how profoundly the filmmakers were influenced by their Catholic faith.

This helps to offset the impression given by Roger Ebert’s recent review of the film; while Ebert (himself a fallen-away Catholic) is generally favorable toward the film, he makes the following statement about it:

“The movie is not profound, but it’s not stupid. It’s about lovable people having important conversations and is not pro-choice or pro-life but simply in favor of his feelings — and hers, if she felt free to feel them.”

I can’t understand why he says it is “not pro-life”; one character convinces an unwed mother not to abort her child — how is that not pro-life? I guess Ebert didn’t want to appear to be endorsing a politically incorrect ideology. Thanks for setting the record straight about the filmmakers’ intentions.

Lisa Nicholas

Newburgh, Indiana

Lack of Support?

I was surprised and very disappointed to see absolutely no coverage of the recent National Catholic Youth Conference, held Nov. 8-10 in Columbus, Ohio.

This gathering of 18,000 energetic, enthusiastic and faith-filled young people was one of the most important preparations in the United States for World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, next year. You have been covering WYD/SYD regularly for a year, yet you completely bypassed this huge event!

Shame on you for not supporting our American youth in this important endeavor.

Sara Carey

Crossville, Tennessee


Editor’s note: We covered it very thoroughly on our online edition, and with a story in the paper, as well.

Komen-PP Connection


Thank you so much for the article “Fully Aware” (Oct 28).

I just e-mailed this article to my niece and her mom (my sister). I hope it will help them to more fully understand the connection between the Susan Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood.

My niece, who is a college student, participated recently in a “Race for the Cure.” She was soliciting donations from the family, but I explained to her that I could not support her effort because of the link between the Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood, but I would make a donation to the Gabriel Project at our parish.

Her mom (my sister) contacted the local Komen Foundation for clarification as to Komen’s affiliation with Planned Parenthood. Of course, they greatly emphasized their involvement with breast cancer research, etc. Then, in a very short paragraph towards the end of the letter, they mentioned that they have given grants to Planned Parenthood to provide services (mammograms, pap tests, etc.) to underserviced (I take this to mean poor) women. (Of course, Planned Parenthood would take this opportunity to provide contraception, abortions, etc.)

So, thanks again for this article. I will keep it and refer to it in the future.

Janet Salter

Hampstead, Maryland

Credit Due

The photo of professor William Mahrt, president of the Church Music Association of America (“Gregorian Champ,” Nov. 18), was shot by the author of the interview, Roseanne Therese Sullivan. The chant illumination was rendered by artist Susan Altstatt and the photo of the sheet music was contributed by the St. Ann Choir.