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February 29, 2016 | Volume 91 Number 9

LETTERS

Remembering Claudia Trznadel

Claudia Trznadel, the Eastern Hispanic Regional Coordinator for the past three years, was born in Honduras. Before joining the Diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry, she was ministering at Holy Trinity Parish in Norfolk for many years together with her loving husband, Vance Trznadel.

The Hispanic community thanks both of them for their dedicated service in our Diocese. Claudia died this past February 11th, the day of Our Blessed Mother of Lourdes after fighting for thirteen months against an unexpected cancer.

During a very crucial moment in the State of Virginia’s growing population of the Hispanic people, Claudia was very responsible and organized about her ministry with the Hispanic community. She used to tell me, “Sister Inma, I always keep our community and our office in my prayers.”

Claudia was known for being very loving, and kind with each person she encountered and very faithful to the mission of the Church and her family.

During her time of illness, she showed us how to be a good faithful servant to our Lord and a living testimony of God’s mercy through her time of trial.

Now in the embrace of our loving God, Claudia will always remain in our memory as a faith filled, loving disciple of Jesus and Mary.

 

Forgiveness praying for God’s grace

I was dismayed at the response of Father Kenneth Doyle in a recent column in The Catholic Virginian when he was asked how he could ever forgive ISIS.

Father Doyle’s response was “he didn’t have to because forgiveness (in my mind) presumes remorse on the part of the perpetrator and a pledge of changed behavior, both of which are noticeably lacking in the ISIS terrorists.”

I do not believe that his response is appropriate or true.

One of the greatest gifts I’ve received as a Christian is being able to forgive someone without the expectation of remorse from the offender. I’ve learned that forgiveness is about my mental, physical and spiritual well-being and my relationship with God.

Forgiveness removes the anger in my heart which was displayed in my actions. What forgiveness means is that, with God’s grace and living His Word, I can even let go of anger and the desire for revenge.

What forgiveness does not always result in is reconciliation with the offender; however, it does result in me having a more intimate relationship with God.

For me, forgiving requires a lot of praying for God’s grace.

This Holy Year of Mercy is an excellent time to publish articles about forgiveness.

A beautiful, inspiring and courageous example of Christian forgiveness was shown to the world by the family members of the victims of the June 17, 2015 attack on the Bible study group at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

As a Catholic who returned to the Church in 2009 after being away all of my adult life, I know that if I had not learned about forgiveness in a twelve-step program and then later sought Biblical applications of Christian principles to grow in practicing forgiveness, I would have headed for the Church’s “exit door” after reading Father Doyle’s comment.

Father Doyle’s column does not appear in the web edition of The Catholic Virginian.

 

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.

Sharia law not pertinent to U.S.

In response to the letter concerning Sharia law (Feb. 15 issue), the United States is a nation of laws, Sharia is not one of them.

Sharia law does exist in many countries, i.e., Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran and Iraq. However, depending on the culture and education of the people of these countries, radical Sharia is not always strictly adhered to, such as stoning.

Sharia law will not be the law of the United States so there is no need to write inflammatory rhetoric about Muslims who have lived in peace in our country. Muslims who come to the United States do so out of fear and to practice their faith.

Christ said “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and when He said this He did not say “except Muslims.”

Don’t Google it! Just read your Catholic Bible.

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Fr. Doyle faulted for flawed reasoning

With each edition of The Catholic Virginian, I look forward to Fr. Kenneth Doyle’s column.

However, I would like to point out a flaw in reasoning in his recent discussion of forgiveness.

Fr. Doyle states that we do not have to forgive (in this instance he is speaking of forgiving ISIS) because forgiveness presumes remorse on the part of the perpetrator and a pledge of changed behavior.

I agree that we are not always compelled to forgive, but I do not agree that forgiveness presumes anything on the part of the perpetrator. Fr. Doyle’s first statement is true, but not for the reason given.

Miriam-Webster defines forgiveness as the act of giving up resentment or anger against an offender. Anger is a powerful emotion, and God has given us anger as a powerful tool.

Jesus displayed His anger in clearing the temple of the money changers. Anger motivates and empowers us to right the wrongs we see in the world, and certainly ISIS is one such wrong.

So clearly we are not always compelled to forgive; there are certainly situations in which we should act on our anger to further God’s will.

However, anger can also be destructive to the bearer, and resentment can eat at our soul. Forgiveness is often a necessary step in healing an emotional trauma.

To require that forgiveness presumes repentance leaves many victims without hope of this healing. What about the raped woman who has no knowledge of her attacker?

What of the families of victims of a suicide sniper’s final rampage?

What of the families of those exterminated by the Nazis? These victims cannot hope for their perpetrator’s pledge of changed behavior.

We cannot deny these victims their chance to forgive the unrepentant and thus to heal.

As much as we would like to rely on simple formulas to guide our actions, the real world is not so simple. I think Solomon said it pretty well in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

The tough job for us is to discern when is the time for righteous anger, and when is the time for forgiveness.

Father Doyle’s column does not appear in the web edition of The Catholic Virginian.

 

Climate change view should allow skeptics

I applaud Dr. Anthony Russo’s letter in the February 1 edition of the CV in regard to climate change, “Laudato Si,” and Bishop Sanchez Sorondo.

Of note was the fact that no scientific evidence was presented or footnoted in this long letter. To say that “many good studies” support their position is non-critical and must be peer reviewed and proven first. Church committee meetings, etc., were extensively documented, however.

The impact of Bishop Sorondo on the recent climate change summit by excluding skeptics from attending was most bothersome. I wonder what Mr. Morroni, whose letter followed Dr. Russo’s in the February 1st CV, would say about this in light of his call for “open exchange” of ideas.

The earth has been going through cycles of warming and cooling for millennia — this has been well accepted. The real issue here is not “global warming,” it is the human impact on global warming, if present.

The human impact (carbon production) of industry on the environment is not settled truth yet and should not be used as a tool for political ends. What is needed are well designed studies that correctly compare the impact of industrial development on environmental change. Only then can we reason from a basis of truth. Merely making self-serving statements in public is disingenuous at best.

The Vatican is not a scientific organization. Galileo showed that.

Just as we need studies to evaluate new drugs, treatments, surgeries, etc., so too do we need science first, then the application.

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