Readers respond to Register articles.
Faith in Iceland
It has been interesting to read in the Register of the contrasts with regard to faith and life in Iceland. While the Norse gods seem to be experiencing a renaissance among many there (Oct. 31, “The Rise of the Neo-Pagans”), the Catholic Church is also flourishing among young people (Feb. 10, “Faith Up North: Iceland’s Church Grows Amid God’s Creation”).
What has not been mentioned yet is that Iceland’s Catholic influence is increasingly being felt in other parts of the globe in equally significant ways. In Germany, for instance, a celebration is planned to mark the 75th anniversary of the death of Jesuit Father Jon Sveinsson, the first Jesuit priest to rise from Iceland and renowned children’s book author. His “Nonni” stories are a chronicle of his life in Iceland and beyond and are written in a tone infused with his faith, such that every tale becomes a reflection of the love of God he brought everywhere he went.
In the United States, the Mission of St. Thorlak is an online apostolate dedicated to the teachings and spirituality of Iceland’s native saint. The mission has several resources available regarding the ways of St. Thorlak and their applications to contemporary living.
The interesting twist here is that the mission is founded by an autistic Catholic psychologist who has researched and written a biography of St. Thorlak and feels his way of living offers a pattern that is particularly helpful for people affected by autism. The response to this mission has been consistently favorable, and many are adopting St. Thorlak as their personal patron for autism spectrum and related needs. Thank you for highlighting Iceland as a rising light in the Catholic world! Let us continue to pray for all who shine God’s light in Iceland and abroad.
Aimee O’Connell, T.O.Carm.
Rochester, New York
No Saginaw Sagacity
Regarding “Priest Removed for Traditional ‘Style of Worship,’” (Nation, Feb. 17 issue): Evidently Bishop Walter Hurley never watches EWTN. If he had, he would appreciate the fact that using Latin occasionally, along with bells and smells, happens quite often, and people all over the world are used to it. Our priests use occasional Latin, plus bells and smells, depending on the occasion. No one objects, and it’s nice to have some tradition thrown in. The people of Saginaw probably enjoy it; it’s the bishop who is out of step. If tradition and a few Latin prayers bring young people, or anyone, back to the Church, I would think the bishop would be happy. If he wants to send Father Dwyer over to us, we could use another priest in our cluster. It must be nice to have so many priests that you can remove one.
After 10 years of counseling in our local pro-life center, I offer a comment on your recent article “Supporting Life” (Culture of Life, Feb. 17 issue). I am reminded of Psalm 85:10: “Kindness and truth shall meet.”
After we have cared for the woman’s material and medical needs and assured her we are with her before, during and after the birth of her baby, if the woman is unmarried it is true kindness to help her address the issue of chastity. We need to help build her self-respect, so she will value herself enough to wait for marriage before she resumes sexual activity. This practice is modeled by the agency in your article, Minnesota’s Marriage Material, as well as by others you researched. If we neglect this most important task, we should not be surprised if our client reappears in our offices in a year or two, once again pregnant.
Our pregnancy center, Aid to Women Center in Tempe, Arizona, helps to address this by providing formation in the theology of the body, as well as an excellent male counselor who meets with the single fathers of the babies if they are willing to come to sessions. Many of our clients, male and female, never had strong role models who could show them God’s plan for sexuality. It is our privilege to help fill this gap. It is an essential part of pro-life work.
Jenelle Van Brunt
Thank you for Msgr. Charles Pope’s commentary “Why the Summit Fell Flat and What Might Happen Next” (In Depth, March 17 issue): This was beautifully, truthfully and prayerfully written. The two of us are very grateful for this article, and we are sure that many of our friends would agree.
We truly hope the voices of the laity (men and women) and the ordained who agree will be loud and clear — like Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix has been, exhorting men to leap “Into the Breach!”
Thank you, and bless you!
Larry and Rhonda Jones