Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor Week of Aug. 16, 2021

Latin Mass Was a Unifying Factor

Dear Editor: Pope Francis has missed the point in stating that “unity” is the reason for restricting the celebration of the Mass in Latin.

Latin was the universal language of the Catholic church. No matter which country one visited, the Mass was a unifying factor. A worshipper did not have to speak German in Germany, Spanish in Spain, or French in France to feel at home in the Catholic Church while attending Mass celebrated in the same language as at home.

Pope Francis’ decision has further divided our Church. It will be more difficult to find a common language celebration when traveling.

John H. Mark


Editor’s note: Pope Francis is permitting Latin Mass, with conditions, at the discretion of diocesan bishops. Bishop DiMarzio issued guidelines regarding Latin Mass within the diocese in a letter to the faithful.

Tridentine Rite of Mass

Dear Editor: Despite the Pope’s best intentions regarding the celebration of the Tridentine rite of the Mass (“Pope Francis’ Decision on Latin Mass Explained,” Aug. 7), a key underlying problem has yet to be addressed. From the Church’s earliest days, we have been governed by binary reasoning, which mandates only two positions on every issue: “right” and“wrong.” This is dogma to those of us who seem unable to live without conflict.

Neither Jesus’ conclusion, “He who is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30) nor His formula for the “golden rule” (Matthew 22:37-39) prescribed liturgical or legal requirements; yet, they have been pronounced non-stop by clergy, theologians, and councils ever since. From these refinements an unwritten corollary has developed that is dearer to most Catholics than any of the Saviour’s commands: that whatever position anyone adopts, it must be “right,” because the opposing one — and there is only one — must be “wrong.”

Has anyone considered how much contention (not to mention the condemnations that necessarily follow) could simply be avoided by letting go of the binary “either/or” for the inclusive “both/and”? Perhaps the Jewish pluralistic worship model (which preserves the essential tenets of the faith) is more workable than both our “all or nothing” crusades and the Protestants’ endless atomizations, neither of which seems relevant any longer.

Edward R. Dorney


Father Augustus Tolton: From Slave to Priest

Dear Editor: Seeing “Tolton” at our parish in Portland last evening was a marvelous experience. Tolton tells the story of the rise of Father Augustus Tolton (1854-1897) from slavery to the priesthood. How could anyone, even St. Luke Productions, treat such a difficult topic so wonderfully?

It was a magnificent, warm, happy evening, with much song and good humor, yet not leaving the U.S. Catholic Church of the late 1800s guiltless.

It was both sobering and inspiring, a hymn of praise to the priesthood, a blow to racial prejudice, and good counsel for the mothers of boys. In short, we liked it. Adult education people, get this to your parish.

Lee Martin Gilbert

Milwaukie, Oregon

Editor’s note: A live production of “Tolton From Slave to Priest” was performed at Our Lady of Lourdes in Queens Village in 2018.

Bishop DiMarzio’s Support Of Scouting

Dear Editor: I was reading in The Tablet about Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio visiting Ten Mile River Scout Camp in upstate New York (“Enjoy This Time,” Aug. 14) in support of scouting.

Bishop DiMarzio was a Boy Scout himself and earned the title of Life Scout, the organization’s second-highest rank.

I praise the bishop for his support of scouting. Over 50 years ago, I was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and finally an Explorer Scout.

I learned a lot about community service, charity service, and patriotism. Today, I am Grand Knight of St. Anastasia Knights of Columbus Council # 5911 in Douglaston and am chairman of our twice-a-year blood drive. I do this with the help of Troop #153 whose assistance is immeasurable.

I implore parents to encourage their boys and girls to join the Scouts.

The Scouts teach a lot about community service, charity, values, self-reliance, and dedication to God and country. These values are so important in the problems our nation faces today. We need leaders with high values and ideas, and that is what the Scouts provide.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.


Vaccine Mandates

Dear Editor: Since 1974, Catholics have defended the rights of the unborn with Pro- Life marches on Washington. The Tablet published an article on August 14 entitled “Diocese Begins to Address Vaccine Mandates, Religious Exemptions.”

This article states that several dioceses have announced that there will be no religious exemption for Catholics whose conscience leads them to decide against vaccination and that the Vatican has determined that the COVID-19 vaccines are morally acceptable.

Since when is a vaccine that is tied to abortion-derived cell lines morally acceptable? Have the leaders of the Catholic church lost their sense of conscience? Are we making up the rules as we go along or is there still a moral compass by which we live?

Paula Starsky

Richmond Hill