October 1999

“Ratzinger Lackeys”

I am a 25-year-old Catholic woman. Upon my graduation I received a gift subscription to U.S. Catholic. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t remember where I first saw an ad for the NOR, but when I did I subscribed — in order to read the thoughts of Ratzinger lackeys. Now, two years later, it brings tears to my eyes knowing that God has led me to Him through “Ratzinger lackeys”! Your style of writing, your common sense, and your references to Scripture and Tradition have brought me joys I’ve never known before — but also fear over the state of the Church in the U.S.

I have given copies of the NOR to priests, but I doubt they have been read. It breaks my heart to know that there are priests who have taken the job of tending the flock but instead, not only refuse to do their job, but work tirelessly to push Catholics into a state of irreverence and individualism. I pray daily that priests will stop being concerned about whom they “offend” and will be concerned about working to ensure that Catholics know the difference between sin and the rationalization of sin, which is now called “tolerance.”

The Church has become the dumping ground for “victims.” Women are still “offended” by the language of the Mass. If these women would focus on Christ’s Real Presence, they would realize that the Mass is not about them, but about thanking Christ for His love. They would grow strong in their love for others, and mere words wouldn’t send them into severe “psychological distress.” With such delicate emotional conditions, imagine what they would do if confronted with the prospect of being tortured for being Catholic! Well, I’m not renewing my subscription to U.S. Catholic, as I find that it is only about placating whining “victims.”

The Church is making a big mistake by using pop music and introducing bits of “inclusive” language in the Mass in order to attract young people. Trust me! In a world where our families aren’t stable and our parents aren’t able to teach us right from wrong, we young people will be drawn to a place where we are shown stability, strength, faith, and the difference between right and wrong. We want to learn that none of us is the center of the universe.

It may take time, but with the help of publications such as the NOR and priests who aren’t afraid to take a stand against the world and be ridiculed as Jesus was, we young Catholics may finally be led to the Truth.

Britanie Botton
Tiffin, Ohio




A Dancing Lewis?

It’s a long way from Berkeley to Lincolnshire, and the May issue of the NOR containing J. A. Gray’s article “C.S. Lewis: His True Stature in Dispute” reached us only recently. As an enthusiastic reader of the NOR and a hearty admirer of C.S. Lewis, I was disturbed to see Mr. Gray go astray in the matter of Lewis’s relation to dances and banquets. I defy him to show me an imaginative work by Lewis in which dancing and banqueting don’t feature. In Lewis’s stories dryads, dwarfs, fauns, Eldila, and even elephants dance. The subtitle of Gray’s article asks, “Lewis in Leotards?” Not likely, but I wouldn’t rule out his participation in the Great Dance.

As for conferences on Lewis — the thought of which seemed to annoy Gray — I had the pleasure of attending, ten years ago, the first such conference at Oxford. I shall never forget the exhilaration of two weeks spent with people who had read many of the same books. I remember excellent conversations over pints in smoke-filled pubs, and running through the rain to lectures in which I heard for the first time of the work of Peter Kreeft and Thomas Howard. There was classical music in the Sheldonian, a Stratford production of Shakespeare’s Tempest, country dancing (fie, for shame!) in an old village hall, and discussions that lasted until after the pubs had closed — with the consequence that we had to climb over the college walls to get back to our dormitories. It was like spending two weeks inside a Dorothy Sayers novel!

Helped in part by the works of Lewis and Kreeft and Howard, my husband recently converted to Catholicism. He is Head of English in a Roman Catholic high school, and we have five children whom we home-school (we are currently expecting a sixth). I have not yet been able to attend another Lewis conference, being always too pregnant or too busy nurturing small children, but I shall always be grateful for that experience and I hope I shall continue to bear the fruit.

Martha Milne
Martin, England




Do It Right the First Time

Nancy Smith’s review of two books on annulments (June) made me wonder whether easy annulments are going to last. If not, one might be wise to do it right the first time. A method for this comes from Berkeley.

My parents met at a singles group run by the First Congregational Church in Berkeley called Young Business and Professional People’s Group, YBPG. As it was a singles group, couples had to leave once they married. These couples formed a second group, X-YBPG. This group still meets, fifty years later.

The proud claim of the thirty-plus couples that were active in X-YBPG for any length of time is that none divorced. A very impressive record for liberal Protestants from Berkeley in the second half of the 20th century!

I have spoken to people involved with similar Catholic groups and they also claim great records in avoiding divorce.

Richard Bruce
Davis, California



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