I think it is ironic that in the same issue, articles about catechetical reform and Dr. Janet Smith (“Saving Matrimony Before It Starts,” March 1-7) would appear. I have spent this year teaching 12thgrade religious education (CCD), and have found the curriculum materials available “lukewarm” at best. I have found the students' response to these curricula to be likewise. However, when I substituted discussions on abortion and contraception from Dr. Smith, apologetics from Tim Staples and Scott Hahn, and Bible study from Jeff Cavins, the fires were stoked, the discussions were lively, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Orthodoxy is in vogue, it seems, even among the teen set. I submit a vote of approval for catechetical renewal based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Magisterium, and tradition, and have seen the shining faces of 22 young Catholic adults that second that vote.
Larry Boggeln MD Temecula, California
I enjoyed your article on the consecrated virgins (“Consecrated Virgins Serve God in the Secular World,” March 1-7), however, the correct title should be secular institutes. There are 21 organizations devoted to this form of religious life, listed in A Guide to Religious Ministries for Catholic Men and Women.
Granted they are not nuns or brothers, but they are required to take the same vows as religious, such as: poverty, chastity, and obedience. They don't wear habits or clerical garb, but how long has it been since you've seen a religious wear a habit?
Thomas O'Brien Casper, Wyoming
Editor's note: Mr. O'Brien's letter contains interesting information about secular institutes. The referenced article, however, was about celibate women who are consecrated through the action of their local bishops and are not part of secular institutes.
The Church in China
The notion that there is papal support for “healing the division in China between those who belong to the government sponsored group and the “underground Church” is proved to be fiction by the recent elevation to cardinal of a Taiwanese archbishop who is the principal repudiator of the reformationist, separationist theology of the Jesuit leader of the Patriotic Church, Jin Lukian.
Cardinal Shan Kuo-hsi has reprinted instructions of Jin Lukian in which the Patriotic Church bishop rejects the primacy of all popes including Peter the Apostle. For Jin Lukian, the Conference of Bishops is the basis for authority in the Catholic Church. So Jin says in an address of his, mailed to us by Cardinal Shan.
Beijing is furious that a bishop from Taiwan has been made a cardinal, especially one whose rejection of its Patriotic Church has been so pronounced. Cardinal Shan's elevation proves the Vatican does not in any way desire relations with Beijing and will not engage in any appeasement to curry favor with that regime.
For 40 years our missionaries have backed the Holy See in its rejection of the Patriotic Church.
You say some Patriotic Association bishops have secretly professed their allegiance to Pope John Paul II. This is meaningless because the criterion of Christianity is willingness to suffer for your faith.
The certain sign of the true Church, i.e. the mark of genuine Christianity, is that that Church accepts suffering to preserve its faith. The Patriotic Church makes nothing but compromises with the Chinese government in order to avoid suffering, while the “Underground” Church passes the test of having genuine faith by its suffering.
Father Philip Coneally SJ Los Angeles, California
Editor's note: See Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi's comments on the situation of the Church in China in this issue's Inperson interview, beginning on page one.
Truly Catholic Paper
May I express my appreciation and joy in what your newspaper has become—and is becoming since I sincerely hope it continues to improve.
Jesuit Father Thomas Rausch's recent critical review in the Los Angeles Archdiocese newspaper, the Tidings of various “Catholic” newspapers and magazines characterized the Register as a formerly moderate paper that has moved to the “right.” This assessment validated my view that the paper was moving to become a truly “Catholic” newspaper. The paper has not moved to “the right” but to “the correct” point of view for a Catholic newspaper; a newspaper which gives faithful assent to the leadership of the Pope and the guidance of the Magisterium.
Your paper treats the Holy Father with proper respect and with love, unlike others which Father Rausch rates very highly-largely because of their disrespect and dissent.
Until recently I had gotten my copy of your paper from the rack at the back of our church. I am no longer able to find it there and so began a subscription a few weeks ago.
Letters sections are one of my favorite parts of good newspapers and magazines. Please keep publishing them. Also I appreciate your editorial comments to letters obviously in need of clarification regarding Catholic teaching.
Ken Brinkman Rancho Palos Verdes, California
John Prizer's March 1 article on religiously-themed television argues that series like Touched by an Angel are “lukewarm and watered down.” True and perhaps they should be.
If there is to be more religious TV it must be successful. A successful prime time network series needs roughly one-sixth of the TV audience for 5 years, or about 130 hours for an hour long drama.
As only about a third of the population is Catholic, a successful series almost has to be ecumenical, which frequently means religiously shallow.
Protestants do not want to watch 130 hours of Catholicism. A movie, sure, even a mini-series, but not a series.
But not to worry, less than 10% of our media time is spent on prime-time broadcast network comedy and drama series.
Other media, particularly magazines, books, cable TV, radio, and the Internet, address narrow audiences and are therefore more appropriate for deeper, more Catholic presentations.
I would encourage the networks to produce series that support “mere Christianity” or perhaps mere monotheism and leave the heavier messages to other media. Use the right tool for the job and the right media for the message.
Richard Bruce Davis, California
The telephone numbers published in the March 1-7 issue for Catholics United For The Faith, “Groups Toll-Free Number on Faith Facts Grows in Usage” (CUFF) and the Millennium Evangelization Project were incorrect. The correct numbers are, Catholics United For The Faith: 1-800-693-2484, and Millennium Evangelization Project: 1-972-721-4063.
- March 22-28, 1998