Readers respond to Register articles.
In an interview following the election, the president-elect stated that the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision allowing the redefinition of marriage was “settled” law.
With truly breathtaking speed, the culture and politics of marriage has changed in America.
It was just in 2004 when President George W. Bush endorsed an amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman because the preservation of marriage rose to the “level of national importance,” in his words.
In his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), Pope St. John Paul II wrote that “the future of the world and of the Church passes through the family.”
The United States is not exempt from this.
Just because most political figures have to one degree or another accepted the redefinition of marriage, it must not be so for Catholics in the United States.
Marriage should be defended because it is best for children, for men and women and for the social order.
But, more importantly, marriage between a man and a woman must be defended, and not redefined, because it is the truth.
Marriage, elevated to a sacrament by Christ, has to be defended by Catholics, in and out of season.
For if Catholics won’t defend marriage, who will?
Relative to “Feasting With True Thanksgiving” (Culture of Life, Nov. 13 issue):
I really enjoyed Emily Stimpson Chapman’s article.
In particular, I found inspiration in her comment, “We have to enter into the day with a Eucharistic frame of mind, which, in Greek, means essentially the same thing.”
As I pondered these words, I found myself wondering, “How do we live a Eucharistic life, a life filled with divine thanksgiving?”
Instantly, my mind was drawn back to the Judean wilderness of eastern Israel, where David spent his time before becoming king.
“O Lord, you put gladness into my heart, more than when grain and wine abound” (Psalms 4:8).
A shepherd boy, mighty warrior, musician, psalmist, king, sinner and saint: Although each of these words describe David, he is most often remembered as a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22).
Therefore, in David, we find a great example of the “Eucharistic” life.
David did not view intimacy with God as something to be grasped at, for, in his experience, God was tangible and very much connected to earthly life.
“Only in God be at rest, my soul, for from him comes my hope” (Psalms 62:6-7).
David had a strong desire for closeness with God, for there he found holiness, loving kindness, a refuge and the waters of life.
“How precious is your loving kindness, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
“They have their fill of the prime gifts of your house; from your delightful stream you give them to drink” (Psalms 36:8-9).
With the eyes of faith, he continuously found himself within the very presence of God, as he gazed upon God’s glory and power with thanksgiving.
During Mass, we, too, gaze upon the power and glory of God; however, not in solitude, but in “communion.”
Therefore, only through united acts of self-sacrifice, love, kindness and charity can we hope to participate in Christ’s eternal Sacrifice and become partakers in the eternal banquet of thanksgiving.
Therefore, let us strive to not only welcome others into our hearts and homes, but also into the eternal house of God!
“50 Biblical Indications That Purgatory Is Real” (NCRegister.com, Oct. 24) and “4 Biblical Principles That Show the Reality of Purgatory” (NCRegister.com, Sept. 7) discuss purgatory.
Under the Old Covenant, purgatory would have been premature.
Christ had not yet redeemed mankind.
Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden with pure souls.
They could not sin or do wrong because they had no knowledge of evil.
However, tempted by Satan, Eve ate the forbidden fruit and gave it to Adam.
They gained a “knowledge of good and evil.”
Evil spilled sin and corruption into the world — enabling Cain to kill his brother Abel — and enabling every sin that has since been committed by mankind.
A “knowledge” of good and evil resides in the intellect and is evidently passed down by parents to children — like a trait or characteristic; meaning every child gets a name, sex, race, soul — and knowledge of good and evil at conception, making possible even a toddler’s “No!” of free will disobedience well before first Communion.
Sinful mankind could not share heaven with God, for heaven is a place where sin doesn’t exist.
God had to find a way to redeem man and woman, whom he had created.
He spent centuries — the entire Old Testament — teaching the Jews his commandments and precepts so they could provide a holy and proper place for God’s Savior to be born so mankind could be redeemed.
Christ was born, died on the cross for our redemption, and left us his Church and his sacraments.
We are expected to keep our souls free from sin during our lives, because after death it is too late.
I have no desire to contradict Church teaching regarding purgatory — but wish to bring into the light something forgotten that needs an answer.
Hopefully, our sins are forgiven when we die, if we are faithful to the Church and Christ’s sacraments.
However, when we die, the “knowledge of evil,” which allowed us to sin during our lives, remains in our intellect — our memory, understanding and will — vital to the life of the soul.
That “knowledge of evil” that enables sin will not be allowed into heaven or into God’s presence.
Purgatory is the one place between earth and heaven where it can be purged.
Persecution and Hope
Thank you for your continuing coverage of the plight of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.
Your in-depth articles, like “Nigerian Bishop Doeme Combats Boko Haram With ‘Rosary Battle Plan’” (In Person, Oct. 30 issue), inspire us!
Hopefully millions of Catholics will join Bishop Doeme’s “Rosary battle plan” and, in doing so, help bring about the end of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.
We also want to share that as Christians (mainly Protestants and evangelicals) around the world marked the 20th International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on Sunday, Nov. 6, Father John Mary Foster of the Mission of Divine Mercy at Canyon Lake, Texas, preached an inspiring homily entitled, “Persecution and Hope.”
We wish every persecuted Christian and all people of goodwill who pray against violence and persecution could hear this homily.
It is worth listening to any day of the year.
Thank you, and may God bless you for all you do for Christ and his Church.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!
The Schardon Family
New Braunfels, Texas
- letters to the editor