Dear Editor: I have personally known five convicted murderers and interviewed hundreds of other criminals, but I do not believe I have ever encountered more appalling and shallow reasoning than the letter advising that we abandon humility and no longer identify ourselves as sinners while praying the Hail Mary.
This is an intercession prayer to Our Holy Mother who had to avert her eyes from the crowd when appearing to Bernadette at Lourdes because she was so offended by their many sins.
The letter writer believes to acknowledge his sins “rubs him the wrong way,” but it remains a truth that our sins continuously hammer the nails into Our Lord’s hands and feet and should be of our infinitely greater concern than any affront to our fragile egos.
It’s not surprising that the arrogance of wanting to change The Lord’s Prayer would inspire even more vanity.
There has certainly been some horrible catechetics in what passes for Catholic education over the past half century, but it doesn’t require exceptional saintly wisdom to recognize that episodes of moral cowardice within the Church, which have contributed to diminished ethical grounding in contemporary civilizations, have not exactly been due the Church serving its God-given mission to give witness, rather from compromising its God-given mission.
There is only one elemental purpose for the Church’s existence. The Church is not a social club. It exists to save souls. We are a fallen creation, and the purpose of life is not self-worship, which happens to be the definition of sin.
There has hardly been an overemphasis on sin. Rather, it is hardly mentioned. Catholics have mostly consented to the secular, self-glorifying culture that insists sin doesn’t exist anymore, as though it could have magically stopped.
Devaluing humility, we’ve now produced the most hysterically accusatory and gossipy culture in history. Despite the popularity of claiming non-judgmentalism, allegations of malice flow like droplets in a monsoon. The more we do evil, the more we deny we do evil, while not hesitating to identify evil in others. But we generate psychobabble excuses for our own with impunity.
Even when we deny we are sinners, we commit the sin of pride.
Conceiving of God as withholding His wrath and being so idiotic that He should desire to endorse our conceits, with all the profound evil, all the abetting of systematic murder, lies, hate, theft, lust, gluttony, sloth and pride that flows from our individual and organized arrogance is not something we would be better off trying.
There are plenty of pseudo-religions in the world that offer that. God loves us, but He doesn’t love the lies we would prefer to live with.
Editor’s Note: Caputo is an NYPD Retired Lieutenant.
Dear Editor: Last year, the pope made a proclamation that the English translation of Our Lord’s Prayer was in error, and nothing was ever heard about it again.
I thought about it a lot, then read it in Spanish, and French, and I believe that he is absolutely right. In Spanish it reads, “And let us not “Fall” into temptation; in French it reads, “And let us not submit to temptation;”; instead of “Lead” us not into temptation. Think about it! How could a loving, merciful, benevolent God “lead us into temptation?”
It doesn’t make any sense!
So, I’m wondering why haven’t our bishops done anything about it? I have begun saying: “And let us not “Fall” into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Not long ago many prayers, rituals were changed. This is Our Lord’s prayer, the most important one in our faith, the one given to us by Jesus. It’s time our bishops make this change, and the faithful must pray for it.
Dear Editor: There was a phrase which some of us used during my days as Legislative Director and activist with the NYS K. of C. in the ‘60s through the ‘90s which went “the only person who likes change is a baby.”
So too for some, when faced with Pope Francis’ “remake” of the Our Father also known as The Lord’s Prayer, as noted in Josephine Harkay’s comments, “translated from Jesus’ Aramaic language” (Readers’ Forum, Dec. 23, 2017).
This was but one of the translations as with the Gospels, each of which added changes to the original message.
Jerry Kuzniewski’s comment (also Dec. 23) muddies the water by suggesting that our Holy Father make changes to the Hail Mary by eliminating the words “…and pray for us sinners.” What’s next, the Sign of the Cross?
I believe that the only persons who were without sin were Jesus and Mary! Even some of our greatest saints and, I believe, the Apostles were sinners, some serious. So why should we get a free ride?
Truly, we are children of God and as such are called to holiness and must always strive to be saints. But part of our earthly test is struggle with our humanness and wrestle with a freedom, which I believe, that God has blessed us, called “free will,” the use of which we sinners can prove our spiritual and temporal fidelity to God our loving Father and Creator.
We are all sinners to some degree, even children, and any who might think otherwise, are in my opinion, in serious danger of falling into Satan’s earthly snare.
The wording in the Hail Mary, which rubs writer Jerry Kuzniewski the wrong way, would in effect, actually guide us lovingly, by our Blessed Mother’s intervention, away from man’s secular way of sinfulness to God’s eternal salvation.
Dear Editor: Most of us don’t recognize our sinfulness. St. Augustine used to say that there was no sin that he was not capable of committing, and if he had not done so, it was by the mercy of God.
To pretend that we can suggest a correction to a centuries-old prayer, unless we were placed in a Church-teaching position, smells of pride. The saints suffer from their sinfulness.
On another subject, have your readers noticed that this year it has become ‘kosher’ TO SAY “MERRY CHRISTMAS.”
Dear Editor: Jerry Kuzniewski‘s letter (Dec. 23) suggests substituting positive phrases like “… and watch over our children,” in the Hail Mary rather than “pray for us sinners.” A beautiful thought worthy of consideration.
In contrast, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen speaking at the 27th annual National Prayer Breakfast in 1979 began by saying, “Mr. President, Mrs. Carter, my fellow sinners.”
In his speech, he said most people don’t talk much about sin anymore. “The rabbis and priests and ministers stopped talking about sin, and the psychiatrists converted it into a complex. The result is that no one is a sinner.”
To acknowledge being a sinner (mea culpa) is humbling, honest and admirable. The course of Archbishop Sheen’s canonization as a saint was officially opened in 2002 and in 2012 after a “medical miracle” prayer to him, he was declared “Venerable” – a major step towards beatification.
BROTHER ED KENT, O.S.F.