From our Readers – April 9, 2015

| April 9, 2015 | 0 Comments

More to marriage numbers

From the view point of a concerned Catholic, I wanted to address Nate Madden’s article in regarding the low numbers in Catholic marriages (“Despite low Catholic marriage numbers, some see trend turning around,” March 26).

First of all, I am a born and raised Catholic. I believe fully in the Catholic Church and am a practicing Catholic.

I am also a young adult who is planning on being married this year. My fiance is not Catholic, though he was baptized Catholic but has converted to the Lutheran Church. I wanted a Catholic wedding, but when we approached the Church we received a less than hospitable welcome. We were treated by the Catholic Church with reserve and disrespect. Thus, needless to say, we have chosen to be married in a Lutheran church, but “in the Church” nonetheless.

“The Church just isn’t seen as important”  was one reason listed in the article that people are not marrying in the church. My question to that is: Why isn’t the Church actively trying to keep young adults in the Catholic Church? It is not just a cultural change, it is my opinion that people have lost trust and faith in the Church.

I found the article to be naive and blind to the events going on around the Church. The low numbers in marriages may be due to a number of reasons, but it is just that. Looking solely at the numbers is not where you will find your answers.

The Catholic Church must be more open and welcoming to marriages where one may not necessarily be a practicing Catholic but the other is. In light of all the mistrust and recent legal issues the Church is under, shouldn’t we be welcoming all and allowing them to truly see the beauty of the Catholic Church? And shouldn’t we be concerned with the low numbers and actively doing something about it rather than just viewing “some see trend turning around” and being passive? The numbers in Catholic marriages are decreasing. This should be of concern, in that decreased marriages in the Church is a decrease in church activity, membership and young families raising their children not in the Church.

I am not stating the Church should change with the “culture.”  No, the Church can stay true but cannot take this matter lightly. The Catholic Church needs to rebuild a sense of trust with the outside community and with its members. It is not “culture” that is going to bring couples back, it has to be the Catholic Church to do that.

Sara Gorski
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Hastings

Let’s not scare the Jews during Easter week

I went to the funeral at a beautiful Catholic Church in St. Paul for a friend’s mother during Easter week. My friend, who was raised Catholic, was there with his Jewish wife and family, many of whom practice Judaism. It was lovely to be together in the space where my friend’s elderly mom had practiced her faith for generations — until the Gospel and sermon!

The reading was from the Gospel of John. In it, the Jews are mentioned twice as dangerous and anti-Christ. First the Jews are reported to ask that the legs of those crucified be broken, to facilitate the celebration of the Sabbath. Secondly, Joseph of Arimethea was said to have offered his grave for Jesus in secret, “for fear of the Jews.”

I watched the Jewish parents look at each other in silent horror and fear, and I watched their children watching them. I resolved that I had to do something.

After Mass I asked the kindly priest for assistance. I asked if he could in the future use his skills as a homilist to offset the “fear of the Jews,” and the request for violence by the Jews found in the Gospel. I told him of the fear I saw on the faces of the Jewish parents, in front of their watching children. He agreed to do that. I later let those parents know that as a practicing Catholic I was sorry for the anti-Semitism, and that I had spoken to the priest about addressing those issues from the pulpit.

The Gospels are an ancient Scripture that have been through a variety of translations. When one reading is taken out of the common context that Catholics have, the liberation context that lifts up all humans, we risk spreading fear and confusion. I am concerned about the fear of those Jewish children and their parents. I am concerned, too, that Catholic children will likely hear Scripture literally, and blame Jews for the death of Jesus, their hero.

Priests, the laity ask you to use your power and eloquence to place the words of our ancient texts in the context of a welcoming and universal church! Please remind people that Jesus was Jewish, that the crowds were incited and divided by the Roman forces that occupied the land.

“It’s a contradiction that a Christian is anti-Semitic: His roots are Jewish,” Pope Francis said in 2013. “A Christian cannot be anti-Semitic! Let anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and life of every man and every woman!” He added that the Catholic Church “firmly condemns hatred, persecution and all manifestations of anti-Semitism.”

Including scaring Jews in church by not addressing ancient prejudices.

Mary Gallagher
St. Peter Claver, St. Paul

Looking for more fanfare

Posted online in response to “Saint’s relic with miraculous tendencies does it again for Pope Francis,” March 23:

Eighteen hundred years old and his blood liquefied — why isn’t this a top media story? Why doesn’t the Church promote this “ordinary” event? Is this miracle so common that it is just taken for granted? In my opinion, there is a wonderful message that God has given to us.

Tom Schraad

Where to write

Material printed in the commentary and letters page does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the archdiocese or The Catholic Spirit. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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