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August 17, 2015 | Volume 90 Number 21

LETTERS

Home mission grant collection successful

Thanks to all who contributed to the collection in June for the Home Missions. The generosity of the people of this Diocese is truly amazing and such a blessing.

The funds collected through July are approximately $71,000. There will be more collected as the parishes continue to send in the proceeds from the local collection.

These funds are used to make grants to our smaller parishes to help them maintain and improve their facilities. To date we have made grants to 14 parishes totaling $71,411. May God continue to bless the people and parishes of our Diocese.

 

Pope’s remarks on capitalism need further study

A letter writer in our August 3 edition claims that “Pope Francis is calling capitalism a failed system.”

She also asks what capitalism he is referring to — “government instigated crony capitalism or free market capitalism?”

Extolling the latter, she asks “What would Pope Francis replace it with?”

First, Pope Francis, according to a Catholic News Service (CNS) story on July 9 by Cindy Wooden, “… acknowledged that he did not have a ‘recipe’ for a perfect economic-social-political system.”

Second, the Pope has focused on the global economic system which results in denial of the rights of the poor and of the earth. This is a system that he says stenches of “the dung of the devil, an unfettered pursuit of money,” according to the CNS story.

His words seem to speak to an unbridled (my emphasis) economic system. Such a system has spawned what professor of Public Policy Robert Reich calls “self-dealing on a monumental scale, starting with the junk-bond takeovers of the 1980s, followed by the Savings and Loan crisis, the corporate scandals of the early 2000s (Enron, Adelphia, Global Crossing, Tyco, Worldcom), and culminating in the near meltdown of Wall Street in 2008 and the taxpayer-financed bailout.”

It is also the system that seeks to commoditize everything, even human life. Take, for example, the recent controversy about a Planned Parenthood video concerning preservation of body parts from abortions.

I believe that Pope Francis is not saying “No” to capitalism. As he put it in his book, The Joy of the Gospel, he is saying “No to an Economy of Exclusion,” “No to the New Idolatry of Money,” “No to a Financial System which Rules Rather Than Serves.”

American Catholics need to discern his writing with as much fervor as they do that of Adam Smith or Ayn Rand!

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Catholic Virginian welcome letters in response to content or faith and moral issues. Letters should be typed or neatly written or in e-mail form. Please include the writer’s full name, address and phone number. We request they not exceed 300 words, focus on one topic, and not make a personal attack on individuals or institutions. Letters may be edited for style, size or content. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The Catholic Virginian or the Diocese of Richmond.

Letters maybe faxed to: 804-359-5689, mailed to 7800 Carousel Lane, Richmond, VA 23294, or e-mailed to steveneill@catholicvirginian.org.

 

Court ruling against Little Sisters no surprise

No one should be surprised at the court ruling against the Little Sisters of the Poor, highlighted in the July 20 CV. Erosion of traditional Christian values continues at an accelerated rate.

Personally, I hold fellow Catholics responsible in no small measure, more specifically those liberal Catholics who consistently support and vote for elected officials who control and shape the national agenda.

Currently 26 Senators and 163 Congressional Representatives in Washington claim Catholicism as their religious affiliation. One would think traditional Catholic values would be reasonably well represented based on the numbers. Not so.

The recent Supreme Court decision favoring gay marriage was 5 to 4. Six of the nine Justices identify themselves as Catholic. Two voted in favor of gay marriage.

During the earlier oral arguments in that case, an Administration official admitted that churches that refuse to marry gays may be in jeopardy of losing their tax-exempt status.

The next President will likely have the opportunity to make new appointments to the Supreme Court. The Little Sisters’ outcome won't be the worst of it by far.

The Little Sister article referenced here did not appear in the web edition of The Catholic Virginian.

 

Greater security said needed in church

Church is not the safe place we grew up in. The FBI reports that between 1999 and 2012 there were 617 “Deadly Force Incidents” in U.S. churches.

The men of the church, particularly those of us that are ushers, need to step up and take a serious look at church security and how we can play an active role in keeping our church safer.

Taking a fatalistic view of “there’s nothing we can really do about it” is not acceptable with my family in the congregation.

Ushers should be constantly on a visual patrol of the people coming into the church. Looking closely at those with a mean look on their face, sloppily dressed and pointing them out with an eye glance/nod, to other ushers.

Ushers should be at each exit and ready to run and tackle someone acting aggressive before they can get to the priest, or if they are armed. The day has come when all future ushers should only be considered if they have a military, law enforcement or security backgrounds.

Now the 800-pound gorilla in the church is firearms. There are over 100,000 Virginia residents with concealed carry permits and plenty of them are Catholic like me.

I don’t carry in church but I would not bet my home that other parishioners don’t. My Baptist friends who are ushers admit to me that they are armed in church.

I challenge all ushers to get together and meet over breakfast one Saturday and discuss what you can do to improve security in your church. Remember our founding fathers said, “The only thing for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Be a good Catholic man and get involved because our families and fellow parishioners’ lives may hang in the balance.

 

Care of the environment

Hooray to the CV and, especially Barbara Hughes, for her article, “Caring for the Earth” which was published in the Aug. 3 issue.

I thought the article, which flowed from the pope’s encyclical about the environment, is well-written as well as enlightening.

I am hoping that the CV will be carrying more articles about our environment in the future. Pope Francis, the leader of our church, is emphasizing the moral responsibility we have to live in a manner that takes the Earth’s well-being into account.

He urges us as Christians to engage in serious dialogue so that the problem of climate change and Earth abuse will be alleviated.

Our CV as a Catholic publication can play a major role by informing and educating its readers with regard to the state of our Earth and the critical importance of taking drastic steps to correct it.

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