Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 24, 2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
No end to demand for apologies
Re: “Pope should apologize to Ukrainians” (WCR, July 16).
I am writing in response to a letter written by Richard Eliuk who said that the pope should have apologized to Ukrainians for the offences committed against them in the Middle Ages by the rulers of Poland.
This is as absurd as the citizens of Warsaw demanding an apology from Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei for the construction of a massive Orthodox Church in the heart of the overwhelmingly Catholic city in the 1800s.
The building of this church was to symbolize the triumph of Orthodox Russia over Catholic Poland. Although this church was dismantled shortly after Poland regained independence in 1918, the resentment could remain, right?
Stating that Ukrainians were victimized by Poles throughout their history is only a half-truth. Failing to mention the atrocities committed by Kozaks allied with the Ottoman Empire against southern Poland (1600s) and later ones committed by Ukrainians against Poles in and around the city of Lwow (now Lviv) following the First World War and during the Second World War presents a distorted image of the relations between these peoples.
My objective, however, is not to point fingers, but rather to highlight the fact that every nation has its dark moments.
If each of these demanded an apology for every offence committed against it, there would never be peace.
And claiming that the pope has “forfeited his greatest chance ever to unite Christians” is indeed a false accusation. All great changes, as the re-unification of Christians would undoubtedly be, must begin at the grassroots and work their way to the top.
But these constant apologies required by certain individuals directly conflict with the truly Christian fundamental of forgiving and forgetting.
Why talking in church in sinful
Sometimes we are so focused on the love of God that we lose the sense of the awe of God and the reverence and respect for his presence and his house.
He is present in the tabernacle and we should never enter his presence in the Blessed Sacrament without genuflecting. We should also respect the house of prayer and those who are praying.
The following is an excerpt from EWTN’s web site and is a good point for us to ponder:
Assuming that what is being said is not itself sinful, it is morally neutral to talk. However, Catholic moral teaching tells us that “circumstances” change the moral character of actions.
Talking in Church when not demanded by necessity is at least venially sinful for the following reasons:
These are basic principles of Catholic moral theology and we need no other authority than that.
- It is the Lord’s House, which Jesus taught was “a house of prayer” (Mt 21:13) and thus should be used according to its purpose. This is a violation of justice against God, for whom we should have reverence.
- It is a violation of justice against actual neighbours who are trying to pray. Again, necessity permits talking, just as it permits practising the music before Mass and so on.
However, most conversations are trivial and could go on elsewhere at another time. This makes them unnecessary.
The truth of this is shown by the strict guard for silence maintained in the chapels of the Roman basilicas where people are praying. Even in the areas where the tourists are viewing the architecture and art, talking above a whisper is not permitted.
This is an accurate reflection of the Catholic respect for the church and for others.
- Finally, it is a violation of charity, since as Christians we should go “out of ourselves” to look after others first. If a person crassly and knowingly disregarded others trying to pray, or worst of all did so with malice or contempt, it could even be a mortal sin against charity.
Much of EWTN already available on Internet
I would like to let the readers of the WCR that may be interested in EWTN know that they needn’t wait for the local cable companies to add access to the station.
For anyone with Internet access, EWTN provides one of the most exhaustive Catholic sites on the net, at www.EWTN.com.
The site provides over 4,400 archived audio programs, each from 30 to 60 minutes in length, a library of over 5,700 documents, a comprehensive Catholic image gallery, an on-line religious articles catalogue, EWTN TV Live streaming video, EWTN Radio, which includes Catholic World Today - a daily, 30-minute Catholic news broadcast — and Catholic Jukebox, a collection of both contemporary and traditional Catholic music.
The site is so extensive in fact, that it is impossible to itemize everything it offers here, and it has some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve seen on the web. It also offers its services in Spanish.