Letters: On the Rite (1)
Fr Crothers raises the question of the Third Rite of Reconciliation (CW 23/12/01).
Jesus complained that the religious leaders of his day used laws that placed heavy burdens on the people and did not lift a finger to help. We would not want the same said of us.
What I find difficult to understand is that while Our Lord instituted the sacrament he did not establish the forms and he was always gentle with sinners. An example is the good thief.
Often when forgiving sin, accompanied by a miracle, Our Lord did so on the Sabbath, putting himself at odds with the religious leaders.
In limiting the manner of forgiving sin, it seems to me, at least, that we are acting contrary to the prayers we say at Mass, for example.
As a first step, surely we could have a communal celebration Third Rite for other than mortal sin; it becomes the responsibility of the clergy to teach clearly what grave sin is.
J M Davis
ON THE RITE (2)
Fr John Crothers (CW 23/12) laments the passing of the Third Rite. I don’t know that it is completely dead.
In Christmas week I ran a wedding practice in a Sydney church. The parish priest asked us to be finished half an hour ahead of the parish’s reconciliation session.
The church was a quarter filled 30 minutes before the start of confessions. As we were leaving, people were coming from everywhere. I suspect it was the Third Rite.
The bride’s father told me: “They will be in the foyer and down the steps in a minute. Not everyone will get inside.”
I estimated 20 confessors would be needed to celebrate a Second Rite for that community as the ceremony envisages.
I motored back to my parish to absolve the three penitents at our First Rite, consoled by the thought that there is either no sin in Seven Hills or I am too generous with the availability of reconciliation times.
Fr John Boyle PP
HOPE AND PRAYER
What are we to make of the report of the president of Pax Christi linking the events of September 11 with the disparities between the rich and the poor?
By all accounts, the attacks of a wealthy terrorist group on a wealthy nation were caused by the strange beliefs of a fanatical Islamic sect and exacerbated by callous US foreign policy.
Let us do everything in our power to overcome the injustices in the world, but first we should get our thinking clear.
There is no real hope for combating either injustice or terrorism until sufficient numbers of Christians turn to prayer, sacrifice and commitment to the genuine will of God.
Your report Woman dies after chalice sip at Mass in Texas (CW 13/1) is misleading.
It implies a causal connection between drinking from the communion cup and her contracting meningitis.
The item itself makes no connection – its import being that a woman who had contracted meningitis drank from the chalice and health officials wish to warn others who communicated from the same chalice that they may be at risk.
Many people are reluctant to drink from the chalice; your headline may change this to a fear of doing so.
Fr Tony Corcoran SM PP
THANKS, FR RAY
I would like to record a heartfelt thanks to Fr Ray Gatt for those wonderful explanations and insights into the Sunday Readings.
They were, quite literally, a Godsend. I have kept them (although I have probably missed some over the time).
We aren’t left completely bereft, though. I welcome Fr Ferguson. Thank you.
Mrs Madeline Martin
I was quite dismayed by the choice of the painting of the nativity in the Christmas issue (CW 23/12).
It is an accomplished piece of art, but it is so unrelated to the reality of the birth of Jesus and the real message of the gospel that I was appalled that its was chosen for a modern Catholic newspaper.
Let me be really up front. Mary and Jesus looked like they had just eaten something bitter. Joseph appeared to be asleep and to have one foot (or even two) in the grave.
The wise men were, dare I say, hedonistic. Where is the beauty in that?
Just because the artist knew how to paint brocade, silk and lace, or because he could set up a clever composition of people and space, does not mean he captured the meaning or spirit of the Nativity!
I only hope that next year a painting will be chosen which can truly inspire us, and convey to us the wonder, simplicity and humanity of the family chosen by God to be our model in life.
Mrs Julianne Naggar
POLICY ON DRUGS
The president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, Archbishop Lozano Barragan, said at the release last month of the council’s 200-page manual on drugs: “Drug addiction is not defeated with drugs.”
In 1999 the Vatican supported the Palermo Declaration opposing “any strategies or policies which encourage or enable continuous drug use” and, last year, the head of the Vatican delegation to a UN meeting on drugs in Vienna said drug injecting rooms were ethically unacceptable.
There is an urgent need for a uniform Catholic ethical position on drug policy, drug use, injecting rooms and a proposed heroin trial to be put to governments and the community generally.
The Church has done, and is doing, a marvellous job in explaining its position on abortion and euthanasia.
Many thousands believe it’s well past time it did the same in the drugs context.
As a former director in the drugs policy area of Commonwealth Health, I am one.