Letters 11.07.21

Readers respond to Register articles.

Letters to the editor offer a variety of opinions.
Letters to the editor offer a variety of opinions. (photo: NCRegister.com / NCRegister.com)

Called to Do More

Relative to “Hurricane Recovery, in Post-Ida Louisiana” (Nation, Sept. 26 issue): Reading through the flood of news highlighting Hurricane Ida’s devastation, I found myself overwhelmed by an unexpected emotion — anger. 

Over the past year, I have worked to embrace Christ’s calling to a “righteous anger.” My anger in response to the loss of life, home and hope that resulted from Hurricane Ida is, I believe, such an anger. 

As you are likely aware, we were in the “Season of Creation” in the Church, celebrated Sept. 2 through Oct. 4. This year’s theme was “A Home for All? Renewing the Oikos of God.” It highlights our calling as Christians to care for our common home and serves as a reminder that climate change is an imminent threat to the homes of countless people and species, particularly the most vulnerable.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, the threat climate change poses to our God-given home is clear. As your article mentions, we are only 16 years post-Katrina. We may be better at responding to catastrophic weather events, but I fear we have begun to accept this as “good enough,” when, as Christians, we are called to do more.

As Pope Francis states in Laudato Si (Care for Our Common Home), “our goal is to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus discovering what each of us can do about it” (19). 

If you had a home that consistently experienced major flooding, would you be satisfied with a slightly improved response each time? Or would you want to find out why your home was flooding and address the root problem? This is what we are called to: Demand more, make the suffering of our world and of our brothers and sisters personal, and fight for them. 

Part of getting to the root of the problem involves engaging in civic participation. I encourage you and your readers to advocate for stronger government action on climate change. 

As Congress pours through the budget reconciliation, we have an opportunity to ensure that the communities and environments most impacted by climate change are not left behind. We need more investment in technology and research to develop renewable energy that is accessible to all, capture carbon more effectively, and ensure access to clean water. 

As a Catholic who is tired of reading about homes, churches, communities and lives being destroyed, I urge you to consider how to “become painfully aware.”

 Katie Glenn

 Washington, D.C.


Inexact Account

Your report “Traditiones Custodes and the ‘Reform of the Reform’” (front page, Aug. 15 issue) gives the impression that this proposed reform would consist mainly in putting an end to widespread abuses in celebrating the revised Roman Rite of Mass promulgated by Pope St. Paul VI and in promoting a greater use of the traditional options it still allows. 

Jesuit liturgist Father Tony Lusvardi is reported as “point[ing] out” that Pope Francis “is explicit in his agreement with Benedict’s critique of the implementation of the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms.” 

I find this account inexact, even misleading. At a 1995 Eucharistic Conference, Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio and I pioneered the idea of “reforming the reform”; and when I spoke personally with then-Cardinal Ratzinger about this in January 1996, he expressed substantial agreement. But our core proposal was not just to correct abuses in celebrating the post-conciliar liturgy (though, of course, we saw that as important and necessary), but, rather, in the interests of restoring unity, to bring that officially promulgated liturgy itself back into greater conformity with what the Council Fathers prescribed in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

We “Reform of the Reformers” have constantly emphasized that the changes chiefly responsible for alienating so many tradition-loving Catholics from even reverent and abuse-free celebrations of the Novus Ordo are novelties that Vatican II never called for: Mass entirely in the vernacular and facing the people; the near disappearance of Gregorian chant and polyphony; the elimination of many gestures of reverence and “sacrifice-expressing” offertory prayers; Communion received standing and in the hand; marginalizing the Roman Canon — the very centerpiece of the historic Latin Rite liturgy — by adding new Eucharistic Prayers; drastically reducing sacred silence by requiring all Eucharistic Prayers to be recited out loud; and allowing lay Eucharistic ministers and female altar servers.

While it is true, as your report points out, that not all the above cancellations and innovations are required in the modern Roman Rite, it is equally true that if the liturgical reform had limited itself to what Vatican II actually called for, none of them would even have been permitted. Thus, a key premise of Pope Francis’ motu proprio is historically false, namely, that the Missal “promulgated by St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II [is] in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II” (Traditionis Custodes, 1). 

Tragically, its non-conformity with those decrees will probably thwart the Holy Father’s plan to use it as the instrument for restoring Catholic unity.

 Father Brian W. Harrison, O.S.

 St. Louis, Missouri


The Editor responds: Thank you for your insights. Your impression that our coverage of Traditiones Custodes was misleading surprises us. Most of our coverage characterized the decree as heavy-handed in its approach and unlikely to achieve unity. We couldn’t agree with you more regarding your statement that “changes chiefly responsible for alienating so many tradition-loving Catholics from even reverent and abuse-free celebrations of the Novus Ordo are novelties that Vatican II never called for.” We hope our other coverage was clearer in pointing out the problematic elements.



Solid Contributor

I am always behind in reading my subscriptions, and only now am I catching up on your Sept. 12-25 issue. I’m engrossed in it actually, studying now your college guide.

I often look up to the head of an article to see who wrote it, and this time around, your new writer, Virginia Aabram, kept showing up. 

I enjoyed her piece on the new president of the University of Dallas, really enjoyed her piece on the new president of Magdalen College (“College Should Be Like Rivendell”) and was so impressed with her “3 Reasons Why the Latin Mass Is So Attractive to Young People” that I just forwarded a link to it to a couple of close friends. 

My wife and I attended just such a Mass in Littleton, Colorado, a couple months ago, and everything Ms. Aabram wrote about the traditional Mass rhymed perfectly with our experience. We look forward to visiting there again occasionally. And we’re not even young. I’d say we’re old. 

One of the surprises at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Littleton was how young and family-filled their Mass was. 

Ms. Aabram nailed it.

 Robert Sweeney

 Estes Park, Colorado


Choose Life

Relevant to “Abortion Advocates Wage War Against Threats to Roe” (page one, Oct. 10 issue):

The article describes how abortion advocates are rallying against a Texas pro-life law that bars abortion when an infant’s heartbeat is detected. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the Texas law “a vigilante bounty system that will have a chilling effect on the provisions of any health-care services.” President Joe Biden called the Texas Heartbeat Act an “unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade.”

The article indicates the Texas law caused “a little bit of earth shaking” with the Democratic Party. To protect the “statutory right to abortion” and expand access, the House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act. 

This legislation would preemptively invalidate all current and future state-level legislation that protects the unborn. 

All pro-life laws (federal, state and local) requiring ultrasounds, waiting periods before abortions and parental notification for minors would be invalidated. Doctors would be forced to perform abortions against their deeply held convictions. Helen Alvaré, a legal scholar at George Mason University’s Scalia Law School, called the Women’s Health Protection Act a “huge power grab of every aspect of abortion law.” 

This “protection” bill would also repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions. It would force all American Catholics to support abortions here and abroad with their tax dollars and pay for something against our deeply held beliefs. 

This legislation would conflict with our freedom of religious conscience guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. This deceptive “protection” bill not only eliminates rights — it destroys human life. 

When abortion was legalized in 1973, government not only created a constitutional crisis, it instigated a national tragedy that has now led to the deaths of more than 62 million babies. 

It’s time for all Catholics to choose life and reverse this egregious and unrighteous precedent decision. It is the No. 1 cause of death in America. With God’s help, his truth will help all Catholic Americans recognize that so-called “choices” miraculously develop into children.

 Ken Sims

 Moorhead, Minnesota