Letters 01.29.12

Active Latin

I read with interest your piece “Latin Makes a Comeback” (Jan. 1 issue). I am especially happy to see that Catholics are interested once again in the active use of “our” language.

I have been teaching and publishing in Latin on philosophy for the last 10 years. I’ve taught 10 courses and lectured in Latin in seven universities or colleges in five countries. I’ve also published 11 philosophy articles in Latin in journals (and a book) in six countries.

I’ve developed courses on Deus et logica, Logica recens ac translaticia, De perspicientiis philosophicis (an introduction to philosophy) and written textbooks in Latin for this material.

I had thought myself a “one-person crusade” for restoring the academic use of Latin in the Church. I am glad that I am no longer alone.

Gualterius (Walter) Redmond

Austinopoli in Texia

(Austin, Texas)

Vietnam’s Vocations

Having been a lay student at Holy Apostles College and a student of Dr. Donald DeMarco, I was unaware of his connection to Vietnam through his collection of long-forgotten Indochina stamps.

Although I do not dwell on this, I spent many months in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969 in the Marine Corps. As a longtime student at Holy Apostles, I have seen a long line of Vietnamese students come and go. Many have been ordained and sent to various dioceses around the U.S.

A couple of years ago, a new phenomenon began. Vietnamese seminarians began attending Holy Apostles from the Diocese of Hanoi. These seminarians would be returning to Vietnam upon ordination. That was a new twist. Most recently, as indicated in the DeMarco article (“A Victory for Technology Over Political Suppression,” Jan. 1), a large contingent of Vietnamese nuns now take courses at Holy Apostles. New housing arrangements had to be made to accommodate the new students at Holy Apostles.

It is almost surreal for me to see such large numbers of Vietnamese in the U.S. in a Catholic setting. I do believe in the holy, catholic and apostolic [and universal] Church in a new way!

Joseph P. Nolan

Waterbury, Connecticut

Communion’s Gesture

Father Dino Vanin suggests (“Letters to the Editor,” Jan. 1) that the reason people kneel for holy Communion is pride. I would say that when it comes to receiving the amazing gift of Our Lord’s body and blood, any thought of others in the congregation is tertiary to giving our King a worthy reception.

Perhaps a tip of the head is enough humility for one to show God as he is about to come into his body and soul? Perhaps others would prefer to genuflect or kneel, as is the right of all the Catholic faithful and custom of the universal Church.

The norm states that one may receive while standing or kneeling (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 160, 2011 edition). As one, holy Catholic Church, we are called to be of one heart — believing that the Eucharist is truly the Son of God and being free from mortal sin.

It is a superficial understanding to think that being of “one accord” means standing in line order, with hands out.

What is wrong with reverencing the sacred? Our Holy Father himself has repeatedly encouraged his priests and the faithful to receive Our Lord’s body and blood while kneeling.

The insinuation that Satan encourages reception of the holy Eucharist while kneeling is appalling and discourages others from showing Our Lord such a simple gesture of love and humility.

Emily Johansen

Earling, Iowa


I would like to respond to Father Dino Vanin’s letter, “To Kneel or to Stand?” in the Jan. 1 issue. His problems with kneeling to receive seem to fall under two categories: pride and disobedience. I have been accused of both in the process of kneeling to receive, so I would like to offer my thoughts.


First, pride. It is certainly true that we all need to check the motives for our actions. However, we should also assume the best about others and not assume that they are acting from pride unless we have evidence to the contrary. I personally have checked my reasons for kneeling to receive even before being accused of pride, and I believe they are pure.

As I approach to receive Communion, I am not thinking, I hope others notice my piety, but, rather, I am thinking of the prologue of St. John’s Gospel and Who I am receiving, “without him was not anything made that was made.”

I would kneel even if no one noticed I was kneeling and would in fact prefer they didn’t notice. Furthermore, the accusation of pride could be applied to many other spiritual activities: serving as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, serving as a lay reader or even attending daily Mass. I also think the accusation of pride serves to make people with good intentions feel bad.

Second, disobedience. Father Vanin is concerned that people who kneel are being disobedient to their pastors. However, the truth is that the pastors are being disobedient to the Church if they pressure or direct people not to kneel. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 160, is clear that the faithful have the right to kneel to receive Communion at their discretion.

Lastly, Father Vanin asks why one would insist on receiving holy Communion kneeling. I can’t answer for others, but as for myself, I kneel because of who Jesus is.

When I approach to receive holy Communion, I am approaching the One who holds all creation together, who holds my every breath in his hands. The Church has given me the option to kneel or stand as I feel inspired, and I feel inspired to kneel before my Lord, my God and my Maker ... Deus Meus et Omnia (my God and my all).


Tonawanda, New York


With regard to Father Dino Vanin’s letter to the editor on whether to kneel or stand at holy Communion, I must agree that we must all be on guard against pride in our actions at Mass (and anywhere else).


My parents required all of us to do many things at Mass that made us stand out from the crowd, with everything from veils for the girls to genuflecting for the priest’s blessing and refusing to receive holy Communion from a layperson. When I was in my 20s, I declared my independence by telling my mother that I didn’t want people always looking at me at Mass because I did things differently.

It seemed to me the humbler thing would be to join meekly with the rest of the congregation even if we preferred to do other things (provided there was no sin involved).

This background makes me especially sensitive to those who do things — perhaps with the best of intentions — that get them noticed during Mass.

At one local parish, some of the more devout members keep the kneelers up and kneel directly on the ground, which is a nice penance if it weren’t such a public thing to do at Mass.

A word needs to be added too about how we dress for Sunday Mass: Dignified, modest clothing befitting an audience with the King of Kings should be our goal. Before you leave your home, ask yourself if you’re dressing to bring attention to yourself or to please Our Lord.

In conclusion, when it comes to our behavior, appearance and actions while attending Mass, all our focus and attention should be directed towards the priest and his celebration of holy Mass.

Celine McCoy

Birmingham, Alabama

Tebow’s Faith

Thanks for the “Fact of Life” on Tim Tebow (“Faith Lived,” Jan. 1).

As a University of Florida follower, I have been influenced by his authentic demonstration of his belief in Jesus Christ. I am a permanent deacon with a ministry of more than 30 years to the inmates in Volusia and Brevard County Jails in Florida.

We have a Catholic service that culminates in a Eucharistic service. For years, the inmates, after receiving the body of Christ, have gone to a quiet place to meditate. On the Thursday before Christmas, the inmates — after receiving the body of Christ — knelt down, Tebow-fashion, and meditated.

The discussion that followed was super, and they commented on his not being afraid to publicly demonstrate his love relationship with Jesus. Testimonies that are given always remain confidential with me. As an old soldier for Christ, I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat that evening.

Go Gators, or should I say: Go Tebow.

Deacon Richard J. Basso

Cocoa, Florida