Regarding the letters from Robert Fastiggi (Feb.) and from Gerald Gawronski and David Hudgins (March) defending the orthodoxy of Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit: We know a man who was booted out of that seminary for being too orthodox and had to flee to the Diocese of Arlington in order to finish up his seminary training and be ordained.
Mr. & Mrs. Edward Polakowski
Clinton Township, Michigan
Grave Damage To the Liturgy
Stephen Hand, in his review entitled Cardinal Ratzinger vs. St. Bozos Parish (Jan.), tells us that the Cardinal, in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy, does not reject the Novus Ordo rite of the Mass.
However, the Cardinal has indicated in his autobiography that although he accepts the Novus Ordo rite as legitimate, he does so without enthusiasm: I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today results in large part from the collapse of the liturgy. The liturgical reform has produced extremely grave damage for the Church. This is not surprising, for the group headed by Archbishop Bugnini that was entrusted with the task of fulfilling the requests of the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium went far beyond what the Council had asked for, and produced a new liturgical rite that was truly revolutionary, something unheard of in the history of the Church before 1969.
To assert, as Hand does, that the liturgy has been preserved from substantial damage is to fly in the face of what is so evident and what the Cardinal says about the extremely grave damage it has caused. While the new Mass is of course valid, it serves very poorly as a means of expressing the tremendous truth that the Mass is the sacramental renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross, as St. Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 11:26.
Nor can there be much doubt that the Novus Ordo in the vernacular has opened the door to the aberrations described by Eric J. Scheske in his article in the same issue of the NOR.
G.H. Duggan, S.M.
Silverstream New Zealand Darkbloat Responds
As was the case for Eugene Hoyas (The Bileworm Memorandum, Feb.), I found a memo in my e-mail, but could not trace its source or destination. The memo Hoyas found in his e-mail was from Bileworm to Darkbloat. The one I found was from Darkbloat to Bileworm, dated March 2, 2001 C.E., so presumably it was a response to the one Hoyas found. It reads as follows:
Your draft of our proposed business plan appears reasonably comprehensive, however, there are a few points which should have been incorporated, to remind His Satanic Majesty of our efforts in accordance with his strategic guidance.
As to Strategy #4, Infiltration, you forgot to give credit to our leaders dictum that He who controls the present controls the past; he who controls the past controls the future. Surely you recall that is why we made such an effort to infiltrate the Catholic Theological Society, and why our effort there has yielded such a high return.
More importantly, you squishy fool, you left out a key strategy, currently one of the most successful, namely, Corruption. Again, credit our leader and the maxim that The corruption of the best, is the worst! Thats been a tactic since His Satanic Majesty won his initial victory in the Garden. Weve been able to neutralize, or even turn to our interests, a pope here, a few bishops there, over the ages. Now we are succeeding en masse with the clergy and religious thanks to the gay liberation movement. No longer do many priests repress or control their homosexual desires when we incite them to this mortal sin; instead, they band together and threaten to out their bishop. Isnt that delicious?
Many priests not only demand freedom for their lustful desires; they also acquiesce in the rest of their (our) agenda, such as the abolition of sin and judgmentalism. By the way, make a note to step up recruitment efforts, as we have lost too many of these lovely priests to AIDS.
Bileworm, send me a new draft with the above changes.
The Catechism: The Flag Of Catholic Scoundrels
Your diatribe, Fetch Your Pooper-Scooper (New Oxford Notes, Jan.) was quite crappy!
Msgr. M. Francis Mannion, whom you criticized, is in distinguished company when he contemplates the sense of motherly love that Jesus Christ has for every individual in creation. St. John Chrysostom received this inspiration in communion with and from Christ: I am a friend, an associate and head, and a brother and sister, and a mother; I am everything, and all I want is an intimate friendship with you . Christ as mother produces no sexual confusion or mental cramps, as you put it, for me.
St. Faustina Kowalska, the Apostle of Divine Mercy who was canonized by Pope John Paul II in April 2000, only 62 years after her death, received this divine revelation from Christ: How painful it is to Me that souls so seldom unite themselves to Me in Holy Communion . In order that you may know at least some of My pain, imagine the most tender of mothers who has great love for her children, while those children spurn her love. Consider her pain. No one is in a position to console her. This is but a feeble image and likeness of My love.
I am sorry that the macho editors at the NOR get their underwear tied in a knot when their concept of a physically masculine Christ is challenged by Christs inconceivable maternal tenderness. You seem to be riveted to some fundamentalist power and glory stereotype of a Christ chomping at the bit to judge people as you would have them judged.
For you to declare that Jesus as mother signifies nothing well, nothing worthwhile or wholesome is sarcastic, offensive, superficial and defiant of the revelations provided by saints. Not only are you disrespectful of the testimony of the cloud of witnesses in communion with Jesus, but you impugn their testimony with your vulgar and neurotic preoccupation with sex.
The haughty intellectual is deaf to the effusions of saints, has an impoverished heart and an arid soul.
I phoned your Editor, Dale Vree, to rebuke him for saying Christ-as-mother is p.c. gender-bending, the root of which is homosexual perversity. He yielded to my point that inclusive language in the liturgy has more to do with the feminist movement and has nothing at all to do with homosexual issues or gay people. And when I asked him if he was implying that St. Anselm was homosexual or St. Hildegard of Bingen a lesbian, he temporized like a schoolboy in flagrante. He came up with incomplete sentences about no such thing, or no clear distinction about homosexuality in those days.
When I pressed him as to why he injected that thoughtless and erroneous calumny against gay people, the coward made excuses. And when I suggested that a retraction might be warranted, he wrapped himself in the flag of Catholic scoundrels: I take as my bottom line the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Pray, where does the Catechism mandate gay-bashing?
Vree is stuck in a nasty bigotry that delights in shouting Pervert! The amusing irony is that when he points a finger, he has three pointing back at himself.
So there you are, everyone. If you displease the self-anointed Inquisitor at the NOR, you are perverse, and the NOR has the Catechisms misguided paragraph 2357 to root you out.
But keep to your positions, everyone. You have the heart-teaching of Christ Himself: I am a friend, an associate and head, and a brother and sister, and a mother.
DALE VREE REPLIES:
Msgr. Mannion did more than refer to the motherly love of Jesus. He said its fine to call Jesus mother. You too say its fine to call Jesus mother, citing an inspiration received by St. John Chrysostom. Sorry, but when the Church canonizes someone, she does not guarantee that everything he said is authentically Catholic.
If you had read that New Oxford Note attentively, you should have known that I would have no problem with St. Faustinas words, imagine the most tender of mothers , for I approvingly quoted Our Lords scriptural words in that Note: O Jerusalem . How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks . As I said in the Note, thats a simile. And what St. Faustina said is akin to a simile (a feeble image, as she reports Christ told her). But Christ never said in Scripture, I am a hen or I am a mother both of which would be metaphors, and a metaphor is very different theologically from a simile. As I said in the Note: Is it impossible for a male to be tender and devoted [in a motherly manner]? Of course not. But lets say your father was being particularly tender and devoted toward you: Would you suddenly call him mother? You wouldnt .
As for our phone conversation: I was, as is my usual manner when listening to an angry complaint, trying to understand what you were saying, hear you out, and avoid engaging in a shouting match (even at the risk of being labeled a coward). I agreed with you that, in terms of origins, the root of p.c. gender-bending is feminism. However, gender-bending has lots to do with homosexuality too a topic I didnt care to get into with you at the time. Proponents of both feminism and homosexuality argue that male and female are not complementary, but identical and interchangeable, and they seek to deconstruct masculinity and femininity. Jesus as mother would be an outright falsification of history, otherwise an androgynous Jesus. My dictionary defines androgynous as being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine, as in dress, appearance, or behavior. Do you believe that such a Jesus would appeal only to feminists and not to homosexual activists?
The words in the Note that annoyed you were: Poetics must aptly signify. Jesus as mother [metaphor] signifies nothing well, nothing worthwhile or wholesome . The only thing it signifies in this day and age is p.c. gender-bending, the root of which is homosexual perversity. Now, the word root has several meanings. It can mean the origin of something. In that sense, I agreed with you. But thats not the way I was using the word root in the Note. Rather, I was using it to mean the basic core, and my dictionary gives an example of such usage: I finally got to the root of the problem. In terms of wholesomeness, the root of the problem with gender-bending for a Catholic is not feminism, but homosexuality. One can debate whether feminism in one or another of its varieties is wholesome, whereas homosexual perversity (i.e., homosexual activity) is always unwholesome, to say the least.
Of course, you apparently disagree, given that you say that number 2357 of the Catechism is misguided. Number 2357 says homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity (depravity and perversity being synonyms), are intrinsically disordered, violate sexual complementarity (which is one way in which homosexual depravity relates to gender-bending), and under no circumstances can they [homosexual acts] be approved.
As for St. Anselm and St. Hildegard, I did not temporize. What I said to you was that in their day and age speaking of Jesus as a mother would likely not have had any homosexual associations, contrary to our day and age.
You suggest that I engaged in gay-bashing in the Note. You are of course referring to my words, homosexual perversity, for that is the only reference to homosexuality I made in the entire Note. Well, if that constitutes gay-bashing, then the Catechism is a gay-bashing book, for it says the same thing. And, sorry, Christ did not teach that He is a mother that was Chrysostoms inspiration, as you call it, and is not part of revealed truth.
It is always wise for Catholics to be guarded about so-called private revelations (such as Chrysostoms) and to check such mystical utterances against public revelation, as interpreted by the Magisterium. As the Catechism teaches (no. 968 & no. 654), Mary is our mother (in the order of grace) and Jesus is our brother (by adoption). Since you think Jesus is our mother, and since a priest acts in persona Christi, then why shouldnt we have priestesses? And if the Catechism is wrong about homosexuality ? You are swimming in dangerous currents, even in your appeal to mysticism, for as Fr. Alexander Schmemann warned, mysticism all too often begins in mist and ends in schism.
The Rooster May Crow
It seems that these days the Church is blessed with an army of women who believe their calling in life can only be fulfilled if they are ordained. Ive read their arguments about inequality and discrimination with a certain amount of incredulity because, fool that I am, I feel completely fulfilled as a Catholic woman without being offered the priesthood option. I figure that if being wife and mother was good enough for the greatest woman who ever lived, I should sit down and take note. I certainly have no desire to wear the title Father or redefine God in terms of my own gender. I guess I must have a screw loose at least in their eyes.
Or perhaps I remember a secret theyve forgotten. If we womenfolk abdicate our God-given role of motherhood, there will be virtually no Catholics left in a hundred years, and probably no priests, at least in the Western world. Historically, large families produce an abundance of vocations.
We womenfolk may not be priests, but God put us in charge of making them.
Whats more, it just might be that the reason God gave the priesthood His redemptive activity to men is that He gave motherhood His creative activity to women. That seems fair indeed, more than fair. As the piece of needlework hanging in my kitchen says, The rooster may crow, but the hen delivers the goods.
Munroe Falls, Ohio
Slouching Toward Bethlehem?
Why dont Catholics dress better when they go to Mass on Sunday? Almost everyone wears blue jeans, sweatshirts, or other everyday clothes, even shorts.
If President Bush invited these people to dinner at the White House, would they dress this way? I dont think so. Yet we have Someone greater than any president in our churches.
Protestants dress better than Catholics when they go to church, but they dont have Christ physically present in their churches as we do. How sad that most Catholics dont show greater respect for our Lord.
(What Im saying here refers only to Catholics who attend the Novus Ordo Mass, not to those who go to the Traditional Latin Mass.)
Woe to Sodomites & Those Who Condone Sodomy
In his article Homosexuality & Catholic Doctrine (March), Bishop Bruskewitz cited Romans 1, but did not quote from it. Allow me to do so: God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And in like manner the men also. Leaving the natural use of the woman, they have turned in their lusts towards one another, men with men doing that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error (Rom. 1:26-27). And St. Paul continues, warning that those who do such things are worthy of death; and not only they who do them, but they also who approve of them that do them (Rom. 1:32).
God has compassion only for the repentant; for the unrepentant He has only wrath. And Gods wrath is directed not only against those who practice sodomy, but also against those who condone it.
Van Nuys, California
Regarding Fr. Ralph Federicos letter (April) which repeats the claim made by Frank Kimball (article, Nov.) that Eastern Orthodoxy approves of contraception: As a member of the clergy of the Orthodox Church in Greece, I can assure your readers that none of the 78 bishops who make up our Holy Synod of Bishops would ever approve of contraception.
As for Fr. Ralph Federicos response (April) to my letter (Jan.) regarding Frank Kimballs article (Nov.): I did not write the sentence on contraception quite the way the NOR printed it (Frank Kimball is right about Orthodox deviation from Holy Tradition regarding contraception). I wrote: Frank Kimball is right about many Orthodox [sic Ed.] deviation from Holy Tradition regarding contraception. Note the difference. Many Roman Catholics dissent from Holy Tradition on such matters too, but this has nothing to do with the essence of Catholicism. So it is with Orthodoxy.
St. Davids, Pennsylvania
Privett Should Be Fired
Regarding your editorial Blitzkrieg on the Western Front (April) defending the St. Ignatius Institute (SII) and discussing the firing of the directors of the SII by Fr. Stephen Privett of the University of San Francisco: It is Fr. Privett who should be fired.
I propose that loyal Catholics file suit against any Catholic agency, organization, or university that advertises itself as authentically Catholic while doing such things as persecuting orthodox Catholics. Catholics have the right as the Pope has said to receive the authentic product. Our society calls it truth in advertising.
Reyes C. Rodriguez
Hobbs, New Mexico
Fr. Privett invokes the blood of the Jesuit martyrs over the ages to fend off charges that Jesuits of his type are not loyal to the Church. He really needs to contemplate the witness of St. Edmund Campion and other such blessed Jesuit martyrs. The writings of those martyrs were part of the curriculum of the St. Ignatius Institute, and Privett has disemboweled the Institute just as surely as King Henry VIIIs henchman disemboweled Edmund Campion.
John E. Covell
Lets Not Imitate The Loudmouths
In my guest column on vouchers (Jan.), I suggested that rich and middle class parents should pay for the religious portion of a Catholic education while vouchers should pay for the secular portion. I also suggested that either the parish or the rich parents should pay for the religious portion of the education of poor children.
In the April issue there were letters objecting to my piece. Rupert Ederer wrote that we should imitate other minority groups that demand what they consider their due. But those minority groups that are demanding their due have not done well economically or politically. We should neither imitate nor envy them.
Martin Luther King Jr. made a lot of progress in the late 1950s and early 60s by starting small a seat at the lunch counter and then building from there.
I have no great objection to more radical voucher proposals, but I am anxious to see even a small program implemented. When the public sees that the scare stories of the teachers unions are false, we can build on the success. The teachers unions seem to think vouchers will work, for they seem desperate to stop even pilot programs.
Ederer says that Catholic education evangelizes even when the subject is secular and therefore the secularist will object to my proposal. Yes, but so what? We do not need the hard-core secularists to win elections.
Voting for Pro-abortion Politicians a Sin?
In your Editors Note on page 16 of the April issue, you said youd be happy to receive letters from readers responding to the question, Should the Church say that its a sin for Catholics to vote for any pro-abortion politician?
I say yes. When one votes for a pro-choice candidate, one makes oneself a party to abortion. One may not approve of abortion, but by ones vote one condones it. One sells ones soul for, say, a thriving economy and good times which will buy one nothing in the hereafter. One will have to stand in front of God and defend ones vote.
Some Catholics would leave the Church as a result, but weve already lost them and we should be concerned about saving the rest.
To Replace the Term Homophobe, How About
In discussing the problems with the term homophobe, the Editor (in his reply [April] to the letter from John C. Morris [April]) asked readers to send in suggestions for a more accurate term, a word or neologism that would be appropriate to designate people who oppose the homosexual agenda, who have moral objections to homosexual behavior.
Here are a few neologisms to consider: orthophile, rectiphile, and heterophile.
East Setauket, New York
THE EDITOR REPLIES:
To paraphrase St. Paul, all three are legitimate, but not all are expedient (1 Cor. 6:12 KJV). Orthophile would likely connote orthodoxy, and is therefore too broad. Rectiphile is much too erudite. Recti is the plural of rectus, which our dictionary says is any of various straight muscles, as of the abdomen, eye, neck, and thigh. Unfortunately, most people would think recti is the plural of rectum, which would make rectiphile totally inexpedient. Nuff said.
But heterophile just might do it. For most people, hetero suggests heterosexuality (not heterodoxy!) indeed, the noun hetero is in our dictionary, meaning a heterosexual person. The suffix phile means having a strong affinity or preference for something. (Francophiles have a strong affinity for things French.) So wed be saying we have a strong preference for heterosexuality. But is strong preference strong enough? Probably. A problem with the term homophobe which we didnt mention is that it suggests that we fear (or dislike) anything associated with homosexuality, whereas we have admiration for homosexuals who are trying to be celibate and enormous admiration for those who succeed.
A possible problem with heterophile is that it might possibly suggest approval of everything thats heterosexual (including fornication and adultery, etc.). But orthoheterophile would be just too cumbersome. Moreover, just as no one would expect a Francophile to like absolutely everything French, from the Cathedral of Notre Dame to the degenerate writings of the Marquis de Sade, so heterophile would likely not be understood in an indiscriminate manner.
Heterophile is also winsome because it defines us by what were supporting rather than what were opposing, which is why prolife is a much more effective term than anti-abortion. Also, heterophile is linguistically and rhetorically an apt and readily understood counter to homophobe.
Should the NOR start the ball rolling and use the term heterophile? Readers, speak now or forever hold your peace!
In his letter (April), Fr. James Downey took us at the American Life League to task for saying A teenage girl [Mary] is pregnant. Shes not married (reprinted as a sidebar in the Jan. NOR, p. 19). As a result, we launched an investigation into the subject and spoke with several priests who are experts in the history and language of the Bible.
We humbly accept Fr. Downeys criticism. We have corrected our text on the subject and are printing an apology with the correction in our magazine, Celebrate Life. We also apologize to NOR readers.
We are deeply sorry for the confusion, and will never again refer to Mary, the mother of God, as an unwed mother.
American Life League
I Forgive You, But Will God?
John Thienes, in his letter Fight on, but Good-bye! (April), says he became a Catholic after being an evangelical Protestant and an Episcopalian. But he then moved to Eastern Orthodoxy because he found dancing girls, clowns, and rock bands in some Catholic churches.
But why, oh why, did he move into schism and heresy when all he had to do was move into an Eastern-rite Catholic Church, where there are no such aberrations?
He says he hopes NOR readers will forgive his departure. Well, I do, but will God forgive his renunciation of the Catholic Faith and his embrace of the errors of Eastern Orthodoxy? I should think that God looks favorably on those who remain faithful to His true Church in the face of her many travails.
Thienes also says he is not renewing his subscription to the NOR. Why? Is he afraid that continuing to read the NOR will be a constant reminder to him that he has made a frightful mistake?
Walter G. Perry
Gays Are Okay, But Freemasons Arent
I have decided not to take sides. Please cancel my subscription!
Gays have a great cross to bear, and Jesus said Judge not! Jesus hung on the cross for sinners. He forgave sinners. The NOR is too narrow on this issue.
I am definitely a pre-Vatican II Catholic, and I adore the Tridentine Latin Mass. But the traditional way is not the only way.
Unless we all quit fighting, give a little, and keep our eyes on Jesus, the Catholic Church will disintegrate. It is the Freemasons who want us to war with ourselves.
Menlo Park, California
No-fault divorce, which caused the marriage dissolution rate to explode, is slowly being recognized as the enabling monster it is recognized too late, unfortunately, to preserve hundreds of thousands of families and prevent millions of children from being fatherless.
As with any law, there is no perfect criterion for divorce. Bad as the old fault criterion was, with its mudslinging, no-fault is even worse. Fault at least permits the constitutional right of innocent parties to redress their grievances in court. Without the criterion of morality upon which to make awards of children, money, and property, there is only one other criterion need. We all know which gender is in need, dont we? Therefore, we likewise know where most of the goodies go, deserved or not. This transfer of funds (the largest form of wealth redistribution extant) serves as a virtual bribe to divorce, often with very little justification, thus explaining why women initiate over two-thirds of divorces.
Arguing against no-fault divorce when it was coming into vogue many years ago, the Mens Defense Association (www.mensdefense.org) vainly suggested creating, but not mandating, a no-fault option. This concept retains the best and eliminates the worst aspects of both criteria. Fault-options merits are now becoming recognized.
Under fault-option, either party could choose the fault option; alternatively, the no-fault option would apply. If certain reasonable criteria were met, such as non-involvement of children, no-fault dissolutions could be obtained from a Clerk of Court, much as are marriage licenses. O.K., it isnt perfect either, but its infinitely better than what we have.
Richard F. Doyle
Mens Defense Association
Forest Lake, Minnesota
In Defense of Mrs. Cheney
Im puzzled by your comments on Mrs. Dick Cheney being the first presidential or vice-presidential wife to work outside her oppressive mansion, as you put it (New Oxford Note, Put Not Your Trust in Vice Princesses, April). Mrs. Cheney is in her late 50s and has raised two children who are now in their late 30s and on their own. She has had a long, devoted, and obviously happy marriage. Had she said that all women, even those with little children, should seek work outside the home, there may have been reason for your intense dislike of her. But you anger seems inappropriate.
That Mrs. Cheney works outside her mansion, even though she is the wife of the Vice President, doesnt offend me at all. There are numerous well-known Catholic women in the public eye, with families, who enjoy high-paying professional jobs even though their husbands also have high-paying jobs. These women can well afford to stay at home, but choose not to. I dont begrudge them their decision.
As for Mrs. Al Gore, she didnt seek a paying job outside the home when Al was Vice President. But she also didnt do anything to stop homosexuals from booing and humiliating the Boy Scouts of America as they entered the hall of the Democratic Convention. Im sure that, as the wife of the Democratic presidential nominee, she had some say about the numerous homosexual groups that were invited to that convention and their mindless behavior toward the Boy Scouts. So is a woman with grown children who works outside the home more egregious than this?
Mrs. John Hofflinger
THE EDITOR REPLIES:
Since youre puzzled: Our point was that spokesmen for traditional values can strike some of the mightiest blows for the Cultural Revolution. We cited four instances where Ronald Reagan did so. Mrs. Cheney is a critic of feminism, and yet by being the first presidential or vice-presidential wife to work outside the home, she made herself a feminist pathfinder. Agreed, Mrs. Cheney did not say all women should work outside the home, but that feminist dogma seems embedded in her highly symbolic first, for, as we noted, Time magazine emphasized that if Lynne Cheney didnt work outside her home, she wouldnt have a life. The wife of the Vice President of the mightiest country in the world wouldnt have a life unless she works outside her mansion? Oh, puh-leez! But if thats so, any ordinary wife who stays at home to raise children wouldnt have a life either.
Shall we rejoice that Mrs. Cheney has a life? Well, her husband might literally lose his one day soon. Maybe if the Mrs. had more time to pay attention to her hubby and his health problems, the Vice President would have a longer life expectancy.
While were on the subject: Bob Dole is another example of a spokesman for traditional values striking a mighty blow for the Cultural Revolution. In 1995, when Dole was running for the Republican presidential nomination, he blasted Hollywood for promoting loveless sex and for mainstreaming deviancy. But Dole will be remembered in American folklore, not as a noble statesman but as a TV huckster for sundry products and services. Dole has been immortalized, as John J. Miller tells it (in National Review, April 30), as the poster boy for Viagra. Miller quotes Doles words in the commercial: You know, its a little embarrassing to talk about E.D. [erectile dysfunction], but its so important to millions of men and their partners that I decided to talk about it publicly. Miller comments: Whats this business about men and their partners? Would it be too judgmental and exclusionary simply to say wives? Of course, partner is the term of choice for enthusiasts of the Cultural Revolution who are into loveless sex and mainstreaming deviancy. More recently, Dole has been playing a dirty old man in a Pepsi commercial thats his persona, after all.
Surely Bob Dole, like Mrs. Cheney, is happily married and a decent person. But both are, willingly or not, acting like useful idiots of the Cultural Revolution.
Fasting to End Abortion
Recently a colleague who prays the Rosary at our local abortuary seemed near despair. Despite all our prayers and activism, he grieved that the Culture of Death seems to be making steady progress.
I do wonder whether we Catholics are employing all of the spiritual weapons in our arsenal against abortion. I am thinking of weekly fasting. Fasting is commended throughout sacred Scripture and in the spiritual tradition of the Church. St. Peter Chrysologus in the Office of Readings for Tuesday of the third week in Lent reminds us of this fact: There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other . Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated . Let prayer, mercy, fasting be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defense, a threefold united prayer in our favor.
Perhaps, it may be argued, that for our bishops to ask Catholics to fast each week to end abortion would be too demanding, too inconvenient just like asking us to attend Mass on Thursday to commemorate the Ascension of Our Lord. As St. Paul might say, weekly fasting like the cross of Christ may be foolishness .
Michael T. Barry
Colorado Springs, Colorado