Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor Week of Dec. 10, 2022

Giving Thanks for Father Lauder 

Dear Editor: I had occasion to be in Brooklyn during the Thanksgiving holiday to have dinner with my brothers, sisters and extended family. 

I attended St. Ephrem’s Church with some of them, picked up a copy of the Nov. 19 issue of The Tablet, and was particularly struck by Father Robert Lauder’s column wherein he wrote of fear of God and God’s self-gift of love to each of us. 

It was a very insightful and balanced presentation, personal and theologically sound, and suitable for ongoing meditation. Father Lauder presents Christian and human concepts in a clear manner, understandable to all, and references philosophers and theologically astute thinkers. 

He places a positive spin on suffering and communicates a positive attitude towards life. Thanks to him, especially at this time of the year. 

M. Joseph Dougherty, Ph.D., LCSW 

Westbrook, CT 

Thank You Father Lauder 

Dear Editor: Thank you Father Lauder for writing “Fear of God and the Anatomy of Love” from your article “Faith and Thought,” The Tablet, Nov, 19. You make us understand that our fear of death is just being human. I haven’t read anything about it. But, by sharing what you read from Father Ron Rolheiser’s “Wrestling with God: Finding Hope and Meaning in Our Daily Struggles to Be Human,” I feel I’m not alone in thinking about death. 

We know that we are all going to die. Yet, how can we overcome the fear of death and the afterlife? As we get older, we get sick, and death is just around the corner. We become weak, vulnerable, and anxious. Even Jesus got overwhelmed by the feeling of terrible death. How did Jesus overcome His fear? Well, He accepted the inevitable and He placed His trust in His Father, knowing God’s unending love. 

I have experienced the feeling of sadness in losing family members, relatives, close friends, and even strangers. My only consolation is constant prayers. God created us, and life is a gift. Only God can take it back. God loves us, and He knows what is best for us. I will always remember one of the homilies of Father Jovito Carongay, Jr., our Community’s Spiritual Director at Our Lady of the Angelus Church here in Rego Park, Queens. 

He is the pastor of Saint Nicholas Tolentine in Jamaica, Queens. In his homily, he said that “we should not fear death. It’s in dying that we get eternal life. Therefore, we need to die first to experience eternal life.” 

Isn’t it that when someone dies, we pray for his/her eternal rest and everlasting peace? It only shows that death is a way to be with God in heaven, as long as we are in a state of grace. 

Carmen C. Rodriguez 

Rego Park

Response to George Weigel 

Dear Editor: George Weigel’s astonishingly ironic use of the word “ultramontanism” as a condemnation (“The Catholic Difference: 11/19) is, I suppose, a perfect example of projection. Polemicists, especially those affecting theological justification for their arguments, often employ this technique, tarring their adversaries with the very offense which they are the most noted for themselves. 

Recall, if you will, Mr. Weigel’s own description of Abp. Vigano’s stance on Ukraine, with which I heartily agree: 

“For years now, the archbishop has been issuing ‘deliberations’ increasingly conspiratorial in their analysis of matters ecclesiastical and political…)” (The Tablet, 3/19/22, p. 24) 

Despite his present eloquence on the “synodal process,” I fail to recall a single instance of Mr. Weigel’s criticizing the total absence of collegiality during the reigns of either John Paul II or Benedict XVI, which, of course, he now denounces Pope Francis for insufficiently refusing to replicate. 

Apparently, ultramontanism as a thing to criticize depends on whether the accuser likes or dislikes particular popes. 

Edward R. Dorney 

Park Slope 

The Consecration 

Dear Editor: I am kind of obsessed with the consecration of the Mass and the real presence. I know what I was taught, and I know what I see now, and they don’t match up. Given, I was taught pre Vatican II, and that, plus Covid in recent years, made for many changes. But I remember that the priest had to breathe on the host and the chalice as he said the words of consecration. 

From my current observations, some read the words from the book on the altar, others look at the congregation, holding out the host, while some concentrate on the host and the chalice as the words are being said. 

My question is, shouldn’t there be a universal way in which the bread and wine are transformed? We are concerned about the lack of understanding of the real presence; does this not contribute to it? This is the most sacred moment of the Eucharist, the most powerful. Why send mixed signals? Or if we do, explain them. 

Maria F. Mastromarino 

Manalapan, N.J.