Letters – June 9, 2016

| June 9, 2016 | 1 Comment

Feeling the ‘Bern’

While the rest of the country focuses on the upcoming presidential election with all of its trepidation, malice and character assassinations, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis celebrates the appointment of Archbishop Bernard Hebda as our new ordinary — and the faithful in Minnesota are definitely feeling the “Bern”!

His excellency’s pastoral approach hearkens the gentle loving spirit of Pope Francis, while his adherence to local and universal tradition reflects the faith of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and the hope he represents to a diocese which is suffering is a reminder of the great hope St. John Paul II brought the world during a time of political turmoil. I am not positing that Archbishop Hebda is a living saint, nor do I think he would appreciate such a statement, but as someone who has had the pleasure of observing him the past many months, it is difficult not to link his presence with the theological virtues of faith, hope and love.

We are truly blessed that such an approachable, humble man was sent to us in a time of need, and I hope that all the faithful feel the “Bern” of the Holy Spirit present to us in our new ordinary. It is also my desire that his excellency knows of our collective support and prayers and may he burn with great zeal as he leads this local Church into a bright new chapter.

Zachary Morgan
Cathedral of St. Paul, St. Paul

Pray for election

In this time of confusion and rancor about the upcoming presidential election I would hope that all faithful Catholics would pray that God will put in the White House that person who will point this country back to him. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Faithful Catholics, do we realize the power we have? All pastors, from the pulpit, are invited to encourage their congregations to pray for this country and the presidential election. If we don’t humbly turn to God and ask him to give us a godly president, who will?

Eugene Ochocki
St. Peter Claver, St. Paul

No place for labyrinths

We like to read The Catholic Spirit online when it comes out, but we were a little disturbed by the article on the labyrinths (“Retreat director: Labyrinth prayer ‘a calming, healing process’”). It is so much a part of the New Age movement that it would appear not to belong in a solid Catholic newspaper.

Bob and Bridget Kluesner
Divine Mercy, Faribault

St. Rita deserved more

As a founding member of St. Rita, I really was disappointed in the coverage of our 50th anniversary celebration. A picture and a small caption (“In Pictures,” April 28) did not express the wonderment of a parish started in a small home, then renting the high school for Masses, until a building to house the congregation of St. Rita’s. The special part of this day was the founding pastor, Father John Brandes, was present to celebrate this special day and enjoy the progress St. Rita’s has made in the past 50 years.

With the many difficulties our archdiocese is facing, to me it is a bright light that the Holy Spirit is so present to keep our community strong here at St. Rita’s.

Jackie Vander Heyden
St. Rita, Cottage Grove

Altar about-face

In “Milestone” (April 28), it was stated that St. George in Long Lake built a new church in the 1960s and that it was the first church in the archdiocese to have an altar facing the congregation. Let me remind you that Nativity parish in St. Paul built a new church in 1938 with the altar in the lower church facing the congregation. It was customary throughout the 1940s for the entire student body of the parish school to attend Sunday Mass monthly at that altar. I’m sure that Father Paul Bussard, a weekend associate at the parish and an advocate for liturgical renewal, was instrumental in bringing that about.

Father William Kenney
Retired, St. Paul

BLM has wrong focus

Today I read “Minneapolis Catholic Workers back Black Lives Matter”. The last sentence of the article you published online states: “‘As a Christian person, this is exactly what Jesus is calling me to do,’ Kruse said. ‘This is the Gospel message lived out, what BLM is doing. . . . It felt for me like the fulfillment of a religious and spiritual obligation.’”

I would like to share with you an excerpt from a different article: “Exposing Black Lives Matter,” an article written by Rev. Eric M. Wallace, PhD, co-founder and president of Freedom’s Journal Institute, and organizer of the Black Conservative Summit. Here is what he writes: “BLM has created a false image. The BLM movement is interested in promoting a ‘progressive’ social and political agenda — not in truly protecting black lives. They affirm homosexual activity and relationships, illegal immigration and black liberation. Stories of the indisputably tragic deaths of black people at the hands of white cops are continually propagated while the tragic and senseless loss of pre-born black babies’ lives and the lives of blacks gunned down in gang violence receive relatively little public attention. Unfortunately, instead of uniting voices in an urgent call for righteousness and right relations between people, in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, BLM encouraged civil disobedience that became violent. How does that square with what Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-44: ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.’”

I understand that one of the main principles of Catholic Workers, and particularly Dorothy Day, was “non-violence.” BLM does not look like a non-violent movement. BLM is not the Gospel message lived out, and this is the reason why Catholics do not (or should not) join this movement. As a Catholic (or anybody), if you are concerned about inequality, racism and other very important social issues, the best way to make our lives truly matter is to live Church teaching to the fullest, without exceptions and compromises.

Andrzej Noyszewski, PhD
St. Agnes, St. Paul

How sad to see The Catholic Spirit article promoting the couple who are part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Is this embrace of left-wing ideals the direction The Catholic Spirit is heading?

The reporter states that a black man was shot by police. The connotation being that he was a victim of police aggression. A balanced article would have stated the police were responding to a call due to this man beating a woman so badly she needed medical attention. Do not all lives matter? What about the life of the woman who was beaten? Then, when the police arrived at the scene the same man grabbed their weapon. The police shot the man in order to protect their own lives. Do not police lives matter? These are not minor details.

The couple acknowledges the disruptive tactics of the BLM movement but nowhere do they apologize for their actions or the fact their actions have negative impacts on those who need to travel somewhere. The purposeful stopping of traffic caused people to be late. Late for work, late to see their family, perhaps some missed flights to see loved ones. Did these two people celebrated by The Catholic Spirit have any feelings of remorse? The article closes with encouragement to Catholics to accept this leftist version of social teaching and social justice. Maybe the editor of this paper has embraced this concept but please keep in mind many readers continue to follow traditional Catholic teaching instead of progressive left-wing propaganda.

Jim Koepke
Nativity of Mary, Bloomington

I am shocked and embarrassed by your article about the Catholic Workers and Black Lives Matter. I understand about people wanting to help minorities and I am for that — just not this organization. They have taken a cause for a person that made some really bad choices and paid for it with his life. To even compare this group with freedom riders is beyond belief. The Catholic Worker Movement has failed to look at the evidence that was presented on March 30 showing that Mr. Clark made a series of bad choices, one of them having his hand on [a] police officer’s gun.

For you and the Catholic Worker Movement, I would look at things to do that would be more helpful, like drug-use among the minorities, domestic violence, respect for each other and education to allow them to find and keep jobs. They could and should follow paths that help all lives coexist on the planet as Jesus Christ has taught us. Move far away from supporting criminals that have made terrible choices that cannot be undone. They, with this article, make it harder for law enforcement to provide a safe place for people to live. I would love to see the same energy that BLM’s have put out to try to stop black-on-black shootings.

To sum this up I have really lost a lot of respect for the The Catholic Spirit for running this type of garbage in this publication that is a voice for the Catholic community.

Steve White
St. Patrick, Shieldsville

From the editor: In The Catholic Spirit’s April 28 issue, we published a story about the Minneapolis Catholic Workers’ support of Black Lives Matter after a group of 70 — 70! — Catholic Workers from across the Midwest joined Black Lives Matter activists in an effort to disrupt the Minnesota Twins home opener. The number involved was newsworthy, and we were curious why local Catholic Workers were backing the Black Lives Matter cause. So we asked them, and they shared their perspective.

We certainly expected it to be a perspective with which some of our readers would disagree. Criticism of the movement is well documented, and important questions remain about whether or not it’s a movement with which Catholics — and specifically, Catholic Workers, who espouse non-violence — should align.

As expected, we received a lot of reader feedback disagreeing with the Minneapolis Catholic Workers’ involvement with Black Lives Matter. We were surprised, however, by those suggesting that by running the story, The Catholic Spirit is “promoting” this perspective.

For our readers: We’re not. Reporting is not the same as promoting. Everything in the story was factual or quotations and not intended to persuade — or dissuade — a reader’s participation. That’s for individuals to decide. The Church has no official stance on Black Lives Matter or its methods. It does, however, have a body of Catholic social teaching that should inform and influence Catholics as they discern how to engage in activism. It should be of no surprise that Catholics may disagree on the means to the same end.

What is clear is that the Catholic Church has long stood against racism. It’s apparent today that the issue is not resolved, and the Church is obligated to be part of the conversation and the solution.

With every story, it is our intention to bring information and perspective to our readers. Our mission statement states that The Catholic Spirit “seeks to inform, educate, evangelize and foster a spirit of community within the Catholic Church by disseminating news in a professional manner and serving as a forum for discussion of contemporary issues.” We’re earnestly trying to do that.

Share your perspective by emailing CatholicSpirit@archspm.org. The Commentary page does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Catholic Spirit. Letters may be edited for length or clarity.

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Category: From Readers

  • Chia Chilli Lor

    “What is clear is that the Catholic Church has long stood against racism. It’s apparent today that the issue is not resolved, and the Church is obligated to be part of the conversation and the solution.” Thank you very much Catholic Spirit for informing about the Minneapolis Catholic Workers’ work. Personally, I think this social justice issue of racism still needs further discourse and works within our Catholic community.