Letters to the Editor

An important aspect of the porn catastrophe

The cover story in the April 7 issue of Angelus by Elise Italiano Ureneck, “God Can Redeem the Broken Stuff,” touches on many important points. The author captures both the devastation to self and relationships, as well as the hope there is to heal, both greatly misunderstood within and outside of the Catholic Church. The porn industry years ago realized they were missing out by only producing content to appeal to men, so it shifted gears. Taking advantage of one of our most blessed human gifts, our curiosity for what God has made, porn hijacks and turns curiosity toxic. In an age of falling birth rates, easy divorce, and gender confusion, we are witnessing the unprecedented toll of 24/7 hardcore porn on relationships and marriages. According to 2022 search analytics from the world’s most popular porn provider, the most popular search by women is lesbian content. Where do we expect that to take us? Porn is now the go-to place for not only men but also women to learn about sex. Tragically, it normalizes going outside of marriage in search of what appears to be missing. It is time to raise the alarm and create informed spaces for healing. As Annie Heyen pointed out in the article, “Satan loves darkness and isolation.” — Patrick Erlandson of Rancho Palos Verdes is the founder of “Father-Con” and the “See It End It Film & Arts Festival and Global Platform” for the prevention of human trafficking.

Conscience and conversion

I’m concerned that two of the three “main elements of Catholic teaching” cited by Father Robert V. Caro, SJ, (March 24 issue) in his defense of Cardinal Robert McElroy’s “radical inclusion” proposal could be wrongly interpreted: “priority of conscience” and “the Eucharist as a profound grace in our conversion to discipleship.” For Catholics, following our conscience is not merely a matter of “every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes.” (Deut. 12:8; Prov. 12:15.) As the Catechism teaches, conscience “must be informed,” “assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit,” and “guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.” Wrongful acts based on errors of conscience are excusable only if one’s ignorance is “invincible” or if he “is not responsible for his erroneous judgment.” (CCC 1783, 1785, 1793.) The Catechism teaches that the Eucharist is a “source and nourishment” for conversion from daily faults. But, more broadly, “conversion entails both God's forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church” through the sacrament of reconciliation. “The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins — that is proper to the sacrament of reconciliation. The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church.” (CCC 1436, 1440, 1395.) And as we know, “Whoever … eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 11:27; CCC 1385.) — Steve Serra, St. Nicholas Church, Laguna Woods

Thank you, Bishop Dave

I highly commend Angelus for the March 24 tribute issue on Bishop David O’Connell. It is outstanding on your comprehensive coverage of Bishop Dave’s life as a humble Irishman and bishop in Los Angeles, covering his witty, human, family-friendly ministry and God- and Mary-centered life. O’Connell’s spirit, humanity, and Godliness continues to live among us. — Sister Mary Sean Hodges, OP, Partnership for Re-Entry Program (PREP)

Tackling Cardinal McElroy’s ‘radical’ proposal

Charles Camosy’s “Deciding Who’s In” in the March 10 issue seems to imply that Cardinal Robert McElroy’s recent statements on “radical inclusion” extends a welcome to some people seen as engaging in sinful behavior. McElroy’s point, however, is to propose a reconsideration of how we think of sinful behavior, perhaps especially of the belief that every sexual sin is a mortal sin. As a moral theologian, Camosy should engage with the three main elements of Catholic teaching that ground McElroy’s argument: (1) everyone is wounded by sin and in need of God’s grace and healing; (2) priority of conscience; and (3) the Eucharist as a profound grace in our conversion to discipleship. Unlike Camosy’s proposed “via media,” which does not really resolve the pastoral/doctrinal controversy, McElroy looks for resolution in the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the coming sessions of the synodal process. — Robert V. Caro, SJ, Loyola Marymount University

The Bishop O’Connell that I knew

My heart is still in mourning for Bishop Dave. I knew him when I was the director of Faith Formation at St. Andrew Church in Pasadena, and my family has many wonderful memories of him.  What I will always remember is Bishop Dave’s great respect for all those who serve in our ministries. He always made a point to thank us, and cheer us up with a joke when we were weary or discouraged. He inspired our discipline, gave us hope, and appreciated the work we do.  I will also miss seeing Bishop Dave smiling and spending time with our children, especially teens. He always reminded them of the immense love that Mary has for them, and how much Jesus wants to be present in their lives. He would share personal stories of overcoming challenges, and how, through prayer, one can truly experience the healing power and peace of Jesus.  We still pray the prayer he taught us: “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I adore you. Jesus, come into my heart,” on our way to school every morning!  — Isabel Spillane, Eagle, ID

‘Never get over your grief’

I found Grazie Christie’s column, “A time to mourn,” in the Feb. 10 issue to be beautifully written.  There is no set formula for grief to our soul! When you love deeply, you grieve deeply! You will eventually get through it at your own unique timing, but never get over your grief — that love is a part of you forever.  God knows your pain, and wipes every tear as a Father who gave his only son for us. He wants us to draw near to him in our time of mourning.  — Cyndie Noteboom


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