May 1998

Yes, a Mighty Fortress

I was deeply moved by Fr. James Schmitmeyer’s article “Lenten Wood, Easter Fire” (March), for I’ve been struggling with my pastor regarding the recent use of so-called inclusive language in our parish, especially the obscuring and weakening of the masculine identity of Jesus. Fr. Schmitmeyer’s article, in contrast, gloried unabashedly in the masculinity of Jesus. I virtually held my breath as I moved through the text, in anticipation of some patronizing comment about women feeling left out. But I was not let down. I was not insulted or demeaned. I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to be unmolested by political correctness, to be left alone to soak in the essay’s varied metaphors and images.

The paschal mystery is sheer terror and guts — and triumph. Thank you, Fr. Schmitmeyer, for illustrating that peace is not always quiet or restful, for I miss hearing about the combustion of our mighty God — the God I see in the strong shoulders of our fathers and brothers, and in the ladle-wielding mothers and sisters who whack their husbands and sons off their couches on Sunday to attend Mass.

Janice Smith
Scotts Valley, California




Secret Hope

In response to Lyman Parrigin’s letter titled “Starbucks Catholicism” (Feb.) wherein he tells of how he brings the NOR to the attention of nonsubscribers, and then invites NOR readers to tell of other ways they’ve been spreading the NOR: I write “FREE” on the front of my NOR with a magic marker, peel off my address label, and then place my NOR in my church’s book rack. I secretly hope my pastor will pick it up and read it!

Ben Santaiti
Olney, Maryland




Rolling on the Floor

Andrea Burman’s article on the Bejesus Seminar (March) ambushed me. Total surprise! Four paragraphs into it I was saying, “What’s this?” But soon the barbs and digs had me rolling on the floor with laughter, even after reading it a fourth time.

After decades of desecration in our Church, I’ve felt abandoned by many of our bishops as they’ve surrendered to the forces of desecration. Thus Burman’s satirical piece came as literary balm, soothing relief. What a splendid way to convey just how tawdry and pathetic those forces really are!

I will cherish my March issue. Every time I feel discouraged or abandoned, I’ll bring forth that issue and reread the tale of the Bejesus Seminar. It’s worth every hard-sweated nickel I’ve laid out for my NOR subscription over the years.

William McGuffin
Corpus Christi, Texas






When I received the March NOR I was mourning for all the beauty that has disappeared from our Church over the last few decades. Then I read Burman on the Bejesus Seminar, and was able to dry my tears and channel my imploding frustration into healthy laughter. Burman, the satirist, clearly shows where the quotidian doses of inanity and insanity are leading us. I’m still laughing!

Donna Shackeford
West Hill, California




Give Donohue a Medal

Kenneth Whitehead’s article, “The Nothing Sacred Affair…” (Feb.), was a masterpiece. He clearly highlighted the courageous and tenacious efforts of William Donohue, head of the Catholic League, against ABC/Disney’s Nothing Sacred television show.

I had never heard of the Catholic League before the Nothing Sacred affair. But I was so moved by the aggressive campaign launched by Donohue and company against “Father Ray” et al., that I wrote several of the show’s sponsors, a few of which count me as a shareholder, and I joined the Catholic League.

The peddlers of anti-Catholicism haunt the land. Their agenda, abetted by many unwitting Christians, seeks to demean and discredit the Church. The culture war rages, and Catholics — indeed, all orthodox Christians — are under attack. We need more William Donohues to give notice to those who war against faith, family, and human life that the battle will be joined. Donohue is a pit bull terrier in the service of the Faith while many of his Catholic accusers are mere lap dogs of the Faith’s opponents.

Joseph A. Esposito
Springfield, Virginia



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