Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 18, 2002
WCR Letters to the Editor
A hand up could save souls
Re: "Don't waste money on Confession" (Sally Bardick, WCR, Feb. 4)
To this dear lady, and anyone else who thinks that giving handouts is better than giving someone a "hand up," I would ask you to consider another perspective.
Imagine, if you will, a young person who has decided to attend WYD out of curiosity, or one who is just "going along with the gang," but who may not have felt particularly close to God before. In short, imagine a person who is searching for something more than the world can offer.
That person is ripe for receiving the grace of faith - as so many do at events like WYD. Most often, upon receiving that grace, the person will then feel called to be reconciled with the Father.
By virtue of the sacrament of Reconciliation, that person becomes new again, with a new perspective on life. That is a "hand up" of the most important kind, the kind that saves souls.
In my opinion, providing the opportunity for Confession is so much more worthwhile than providing handouts - in the form of meals for a month or so for a few thousand poor people, or by purchasing "affordable housing" for a few hundred families.
It's the youth who turn to Jesus Christ, and are reconciled with God the Father, who will make a real difference in the world - a lasting difference as they hand down their faith from generation to generation.
The effects will be measured not in days (as for the distributed food), nor in years (as for those cheaply built houses), but likely in centuries.
As a knight, I believe that it is right to assist those who are seeking the Lord, while there is still time to do so. In Matthew 26:11 our Lord says, "For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me." And in Luke 9:25, "For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?"
Vocations embraces heavenly marriage
"There is creativity released by sex" (Fr. Ron Rolheiser, WCR, Feb. 4).
I was both shocked and saddened at some of the statements made by Father Ron regarding the "sterility" of his vocation as a celibate priest.
The enemies of the Catholic Church have fooled many priests, laymen/women, regularly spouting statements about what the Church teaches on human sexuality. They claim that she is "down on sex" and "What does a celibate pope know about sex anyways?"
These deceived individuals would prefer to whine about the Church rather than investigate for themselves what the truth is.
"The mystery of the one-flesh union" is described by our pope as the "sign and the foreshadowing of the marriage of the Lamb." Sacred Scripture is a nuptial feast from Genesis to Revelation. Christ is the eternal bridegroom and we, the Church, are his bride. Celibacy is for the kingdom and is not a rejection of our sexuality, nor is it a devaluation of our sexual desires for union.
Rather, it is a participation in the "ultimate nuptial meaning of the body," bearing fruit if lived rightly (Theology of the Body, Pope John Paul).
The celibate vocation has embraced the "heavenly marriage" now, becoming the icon the bridegroom: "This is my Body, given for you." Would that all priests espouse the people under their care with such ardour, truly following Christ in this "language of the body."
Mary and Joseph's celibate marriage was fruitful in the highest possible way, not "sterile or limited," as Father Ron asserts. The "new life" she brought forth was the Son of the living God himself. To claim that her life's question has anything to do with "sleeping with the whole world" is both vulgar and blasphemous.
I do know there is an answer to Father Ron's question: "How can I be creative without sex?"
The answer to the deepest longings of his and everyone's heart will not be found by just "living morally," nor by "grieving" over something he thinks he has given up.
The answer lies in the truth about his male sexuality, and how he can choose to live the nuptial meaning of his body for the sake of the kingdom, giving up his body for his bride, the Church, just as Christ did.
Saying sorry to God turns caterpillar into a butterfly
Sally Bardick (Letters, WCR. Feb. 4) is right, that the Knights of Columbus could have donated one million dollars to the poor, instead of giving it for the construction of confessionals at World Youth Day. That would also be a worthy way to spend money.
However, the sacrament of Reconciliation should not be underestimated. It is where we say "sorry" to God and this most loving God comes to meet us and forgive us, as in the story of the prodigal son.
It is where we change from a caterpillar to a butterfly; we are transformed and made whole.
It can even be the beginning of a new way of life for a person, especially when that person is at a special time and place of reflection, such as at WYD.
Remember the "alabaster jar of very expensive ointment" the repentant woman poured lavishly over Jesus' head (Matthew 26:8-13)?
"When they saw this, the disciples said indignantly, 'Why this waste?
'This could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor?'
But Jesus noticed this and said, 'Why are you upsetting the woman? What she has done for me is indeed a good work!'
I still remember what the priest said during a Reconciliation over 11 years ago - there is something very powerful about experiencing this sacrament during a retreat or pilgrimage, especially when it is in a foreign place - as Canada will be for the many WYD participants.
Applause for Knights' donation for Reconciliation
Re: "Don't waste money on Confession" (WCR, Feb. 4,).
While it is true that there are many poor and hungry people in dire need, and that we all share the responsibility to help them, one must not exclude the responsibility of addressing the spiritual poverty and hunger in our lives and in the world.
In that light, I applaud the Knights of Columbus' donation to pay for the cost of Reconciliation facilities at World Youth Day. Thanks to them, the youth will have the opportunity to receive the richness of the grace accompanying the sacrament of Reconciliation, and to respond to God's mercy and love.
It will help them in their struggle to lead a Christian life.
Serving at the altar blesses girls' spiritual growth, life
Regarding the article "Priests are not obliged to use altar girls" (WCR, Jan. 14) by John Norton, Catholic News Service. I found that article a wee bit upsetting.
Obviously, boys would and should be encouraged to serve as altar boys. This has been tradition forever that these young people could be a potential source of priestly vocations.
But, I also feel the encouragement of the spiritual growth of young girls is important, perhaps resulting in vocations, or at least deepening their own relationship with Our Lord.
As well, to improve their understanding of the Church. To have a palpable feeling of the "presence" of God.
As well, laity, trained and involved in service to the Church in a multitude of roles, are role models for those who live their faith.
In sum, I believe the use of resources, as approved by the bishop and pastors, contribute to the coming alive of the Church community. It also encourages our apostolic mission.
Protecting faithful vital job of press
I would like to commend Glen Argan for his editorial in the Jan. 28 WCR.
In refuting Father Richard McBrien's contention that the ordination of Juan Diego, Josemaria Escriva and Padre Pio is inappropriate. He is fulfilling one of the Catholic press's most important functions, that is, the protection of the faithful from ideas that may pose harmful to their faith.