Letters to the Editor

An anniversary worth celebrating

I was delighted to read Angelus’ coverage of the 30th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic...
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A call to less arms

I often disagree with Father Ron Rolheiser’s columns, but I thought “Disarmed and Dangerous,” in the Sept. 9 issue, was...
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Vin tribute hits the mark

It is a challenge to do justice in a memoriam to the best among us, yet Tom Hoffarth’s appreciation of...
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An anniversary worth celebrating

I was delighted to read Angelus’ coverage of the 30th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)in the Sept. 23 issue. 

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles enjoys an important connection to the CCC: the future Cardinal William Levada served on the commission that St. Pope John Paul II established to compile the text. Levada was first a priest and later an auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles. 

I am not so sure about the claim that the CCC risks becoming some kind of a “sacred relic.” But I do wonder how many Catholic religious leaders and instructors are very familiar with its contents. People often look for answers without realizing that they may be found in the CCC. 

Archbishop José H. Gomez stated rightly in his article that “the catechism is a great witness to our hope in Jesus Christ.” Therefore, I echo the voice heard by St. Augustine: “Pick up and read.”

— Msgr. Laurence J. Spiteri, Vatican City

Even Giants fans can appreciate Vin’s faith

I appreciated the wonderful cover story on the life and Catholic faith of Vin Scully in the Aug. 26 issue. 

I live with about 70 other Jesuits from around the western U.S. at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California, in the Bay Area. Obviously, many of us are San Francisco Giants fans (there are some Dodgers fans, too). Tom Hoffarth’s article was truly magnificent and brought him to life. We truly enjoyed it. Bravo on a job very well done, and many blessings to you and your work. 

— Carlos A. Sevilla, S.J., bishop emeritus of Yakima, Los Gatos

A call to less arms

I often disagree with Father Ron Rolheiser’s columns, but I thought “Disarmed and Dangerous,” in the Sept. 9 issue, was exceptionally good. I feel strongly that it isn’t compatible with Christianity to carry weapons. I’m not even sure that it’s suitable for Christians to fight in wars, even with “just war” theory. I realize this is a difficult problem, and there is no perfect answer.

I am horrified that a couple of my friends own guns. I’m more horrified at the number of self-righteous people stocking assault weapons, with the intent of taking over the government. The worst are those who still insist that the “right to bear arms” means that every nutcase, every emotionally volatile teenager who wants to own a deadly weapon has the right to do so. It’s not very likely the Founding Fathers of this country would have foreseen such madness.

— Marilyn Boussaid, St. James Church, Redondo Beach

Vin tribute hits the mark

It is a challenge to do justice in a memoriam to the best among us, yet Tom Hoffarth’s appreciation of Vin Scully in the Aug. 26 issue was easily the closest piece of writing I have read in a long time that portrayed a person as appropriately as possible.  

It was 40 years ago when I first met Vin. He was working for the Dodgers and already a Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster; I was starting on my journey with the Chicago Cubs. It wasn’t until November 2005 that I began working closely with Vin for most of the next 16 years. I made a career from making decisions regarding who could play for baseball teams I worked for: who could be a leader, who could provide an example for those players, and who I could count on no matter the circumstances.

My scouting report on Vin: Besides my parents, the best person I have ever known. A gentleman. Kind. Class. Sharing a perspective on life few others could offer.

Hoffarth’s story was to that point. I have read many well-written stories about Vin through the years and many more in the days around his passing. The stories were all nice to read but, candidly, only Hoffarth’s taught me more about Vin than I had already known. When you have spent 40 years in one vocation and you have known someone for the same amount of time, it is not easy to learn even more. But I did, thanks to Hoffarth’s understanding of Vin and the depth and story-telling style of his writing.

— Ned Colletti, Los Angeles. Colletti is the former general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Can solutions-based journalism save Catholic media?

I appreciated Greg Erlandson’s column “Is Catholic journalism yesterday’s news?” in the Aug, 12 issue. 

I wrote full time for a diocesan Catholic paper from 1988 to 2006, and have freelanced (including for Angelus) for other publications since. For one, I believe Church leadership underestimated how much of a negative impact the abuse scandals had on the Church’s image. How many people want to trust their youngsters to an institution that ignored their abuse? There are now literally millions of people who will never take the Church’s pronouncements on ANY issue seriously because of what happened.

I also think the Church wasted ample opportunities to build bridges with progressives over too many issues. The fact that certain Catholic hospitals, for example, have stymied labor organizing has done a tremendous damage to the Church, and I have repeatedly found people are shocked to know Catholicism actually preaches that workers have a right to organize to collectively bargain. St. Pope John Paul II was positively radical compared to even a lot of liberal Catholics on this issue, but you’d never know it by reading how some people perceive his pontificate. 

I agree that a solutions-based journalism is the way to go. When I was writing full time, I’d try to outline a problem, say the plight of migrant workers, note what the Church’s official teaching was, and then outline how church folks were practically addressing it. This approach seemed to garner the most positive response from readers and also let “conservative” and “liberal” Catholics know they had more in common than they realized.

— Rob Cullivan, Portland, Oregon 

Thoughts from a fellow ‘malade’

It was quite moving to read Jenny Gorman Patton’s article about her recent trip to Lourdes in the July 29 issue. I was also a “malade” (one who is sick) on that trip, and saw a little bit of what she went through at the time and knew something of her history of being a chronic sufferer. Seeing the pictures brought so much back.

I remember well Jenny talking about how she felt unworthy to go to Lourdes as a malade when she was first issued the invitation, but she ultimately went. Unlike Jenny, I don’t have a disease that is chronic; it has been short and sharp. But I really admire her strength in withstanding suffering — and it’s suffering whatever form it takes — for such a long period. She is someone to emulate.

The Order of Malta does so much good in bringing malades to Lourdes. The pilgrimage there helps us in so many ways, even unexpected ways. We don’t always get better in health, but the trip aids us in other things such as our spiritual lives. At the very least, we can meet other malades and see what they are going through, which, somewhat surprisingly, can be very strengthening. Seeing what others deal with stops us from dwelling on ourselves, no matter how sick we are. We learn a new, deeper meaning of humility.

I am so glad to hear that Jenny is doing better. She really brings home St. Bernadette’s great saying: “My work is to be sick.”

— Lori Seyer, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Montecito

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