In response to “Pope-Inspired Productions” by Susan Klemond (Arts, Nov. 2 issue):
This was an excellent article and highlighted several groups who are working diligently to provide good Christian theater for the general public. I would like to bring to the author’s attention another excellent theater group that deserves mention. The group is called the Fellowship for Performing Arts and is headed by Max McLean, founder and artistic director.
They have to date brought two of C.S. Lewis’ great works to the stage with great success. I have seen both Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce and recommended both productions to all my family and friends. They may be contacted at 1674 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
They also produce a newsletter, “Fellowship Circle,” which provides current dates and places of upcoming performances.
Thank you for all the excellent articles and work of the Register.
It would seem the Church is faced with a question: Is Paul’s warning regarding reception of the Eucharist — “Anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the Body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Corinthians 11:29) — still relevant? Is it still a primary duty of the ordained ministry of the Church to guard the Blessed Sacrament from profanation (and souls from condemnation by such profanation)? Or have such concerns been outgrown somehow?
Has there been a development of doctrine that says the body and blood of the Lord may be given freely to all?
If so, it should be made clear by a gifted theologian how this development has come about. If not, the Church should begin to take seriously its historical responsibility to guard the sacrament and its reception.
The fact is that, at least here in the United States, if all the statistics are accurate (or even if one of them is), the Eucharist is being profaned on a regular basis and on a large scale with nary a word of correction from bishops, priests or anyone else whose duty it is to guard against this eventuality.
If half (or more) of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence, as taught by the Church (if they, therefore, do not discern the body of the Lord) or if 50%-plus support abortion and same-sex “marriage” or 80% or 90% support contraception (or half of men are addicted to pornography, etc.) — and if at every Mass virtually everyone in the pews goes up to receive Communion — then there is certainly a crisis of profanation.
And if nothing is said about any of this, then why should there be a problem regarding the divorced and remarried joining the ranks?
I have known of only one priest who noted before Communion time, in a kind and loving manner, that if one is not Catholic or is not in a state of grace, he should not receive the Eucharist. Bishops and priests throughout the Church should adopt — if Paul’s warning still holds — this practice at every Mass throughout the country. And in every bulletin there should be a list of the matters that might cause one not to be in a state of grace and therefore in need of sacramental confession — again, if the teaching still holds and if there is any pastoral concern for souls. (I note that if the announcement were made standard, it would relieve priests of the pressure of having to “break the ice.”)
Food for Thought
The subject of “Shut Up, and Be Grateful for Your Life” by Rebecca Taylor (In Depth, Dec. 14 issue) could be contemplated for a lifetime.
Reality today is harsh. Since 1973, this nation no longer gives loyalty to its future citizens — no protection or guarantee of birth. Loyalty not given is loyalty not owed.
Like sodomy and same-sex “marriage,” contraception and abortion scorn procreation. A woman’s body is her own; but she does not own another human life — evolving in the womb or outside it. Because the female egg is nothing without male sperm, this nation needs to question the total control women were given over the birth or death of all human life: the existence or nonexistence of the human race.
Human life is not chattel. There are no “rights” to children. We do not own our children or any human life. Each human is unique, an individual and a part of all humanity. Only the man and woman whose union conceives a child are the natural and legal parents. It was the union of the father’s sperm with the mother’s egg that gave the child life.
Sperm banks and artificial insemination could be called a legal rape of men — using their sperm while denying them their equal role in procreation and parenthood — while dividing genders, producing single mothers, poverty, fatherless children and destroying the family. Children conceived by artificial insemination could conceivably marry family members.
Considering feminist dictates, the lofty name “surrogate mother” is ugly sexism treating women as just wombs, baby-making machines. The glorified name and money paid are implements used to prostitute women, impregnating their bodies because someone wants the babies that will be nurtured in their wombs for nine months; there is no love, just sexual servitude.
They’re just wombs to serve someone’s want for a baby, as prostitutes are used to serve someone’s want for sexual gratification. But every pregnancy is different, every child unique. No woman can presume to birth the “same” child that another woman would birth. It’s a legalized system to exploit women and to buy and sell babies.
Judges and politicians who advocate those things should not hold government office. Human life that is killed before birth or never conceived does not require governing.
Disturbing IVF Case
Regarding “IVF Lawsuit to Cost Diocese $2 Million” (page one, Jan. 11 issue): This case is disturbing on several levels. I am no legal expert, but, in my opinion, the true legal issue is not sex discrimination or religious liberty, but whether or not Mrs. Herx knowingly violated a contract that she signed with the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, Ind., as a condition of employment.
If we remove from the equation that Mrs. Herx’s employer is a religious institution, after she was informed of the violation, by continuing with the offending medical procedure, she committed insubordination, which is grounds for termination. An employer, whether religious or not, has the civil right to terminate an employee who is found guilty of contract violations.
Once we consider that Mrs. Herx’s employer is the Catholic Church, of which she is a family member, it’s appalling that she would think to sue the Church for “emotional and physical damages,” in addition to demanding medical expenses for a procedure that is against the Church’s teaching.
It’s not as if she filed a lawsuit against a large corporation based in a foreign country, and she didn’t personally know the owner; she belongs to the Catholic Church, her spiritual mother; and her superiors are priests, her spiritual fathers.
In essence, Herx’s lawsuit and monetary award is comparable to my daughter demanding that my husband and I pay her more allowance and buy her a new smartphone to make her feel better after we had withheld allowance for her ignoring our warning that she was not to use her smartphone while in the bathtub; and she not only disobeyed us, but dropped the device in the water, damaging it beyond repair, and was “distraught” that she no longer had use of it.
Although I agree with Patrick Reilly — that the case should never have gone to trial — I am annoyed by his statement that the Catholic Church’s past “failure to teach the truth about human sexuality and marriage” has created a “substantial threat to Catholic schools’ religious liberty.”
While it’s true that the faith formation of some clergy, religious and catechists is lacking, it seems to me as though many Catholics enjoy blaming the Church for what they themselves do not know and about which they do not bother to find out.
I was raised by Catholic parents in the post-conciliar Church and formed in the faith by lay teachers. I attended public elementary and high schools and received a bachelor’s degree from a liberal arts university. I have no theological training, and yet I found out that in vitro fertilization was against Church teaching while I was inquiring of a priest about a contraception issue a few years ago.
This priest, who is humble enough to tell me when he doesn’t have the answers to my questions, has referred me to reading material, websites and other priests. Many Catholics know much about sports statistics, the latest social-media fads and iPhone apps and can sing the lyrics of Beyoncé or Taylor Swift videos.
If they truly want to know how God wants them to live, the Catholic Church will help them, through Scripture, the Catechism, papal encyclicals and the writings of the saints.
Julia A. Brandimarte
Mastic Beach, New York
A story (“War and Peace in the 21st Century”) in the Feb. 8 print edition of the Register incorrectly referred to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) as the “Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church.” The mistake was caught after the print edition went to press and was swiftly corrected in its online edition. The Register regrets the error.