Needed and Necessary

Thank the Lord for Bishop Donald W. Trautman (Signs of the Times, 1/29). That’s the first voice of reason I’ve heard on the subject of the new liturgy translations.

I am all for making things better, but the new translations only sound confusing. Yes, the translations may be more theologically correct, but I think we are splitting hairs here. In some parishes you can’t get people to participate; these changes won’t help. I agree with Bishop Trautman. The changes may be the last straw that send some people out the door.

If changes are needed and necessary, I would hope for lots of dialogue between the laity and the clergy before those changes take effect. The laity needs to know why the liturgy has to change. Involving the laity in the changes also makes the changes more palatable.

Let the laity know how liturgy changes, why it changes and if lay people have any say in those changes. I would love to hear a sermon or talk about how liturgy got to be the way it is, and how liturgy changes.

Pat Lovejoy
Boynton Beach, Fla.

We Still Lack

It’s interesting that in the same issue of America (2/12) that examines Just War (Of Many Things), The Word column by Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., is on love of enemies.

Just war theory is a product of our moral reasoning and, in essence, tells us the conditions necessary before we can morally inflict harm and death on our enemies.

But beyond our moral reasoning, the Gospel calls us to love our enemies. Isn’t it about time that we admit we still lack the courage and faith to follow him whose last words to Peter were, Put down the sword.

Michael Pennett
Naperville, Ill.

To Forgive

The observation by Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., in his review of Bishop N. T. Wright’s book (2/5), that South Africa under the inspiration of Archbishop Tutu illustrated the teaching of Jesus on the necessity of forgiveness was well taken. But for an example that is even closer to home, I could not help but think of the powerfuland humblingexample given all of us only last October by the bereaved Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., whose only response to the killing of five of their daughters was to forgive the murderer and set up a fund for his wife and three children.

Thomas L. Sheridan, S.J.
Jersey City, N.J.

Pre-Council

Congratulations on the Feb. 5 issue: John W. Donohue, S.J., on Edith Stein; the review of Bishop N. T. Wright’s book by Daniel J. Harrington, S.J.; Ladislas Orsy, S.J., on pluralism; Richard A. Blake, S.J., on Children of Men; and above all Patricia Schnapp, R.S.M., on Francis Thompson, of whom G. K. Chesterton said that the best definition of the Victorian Age of English literature is that Thompson was not part of it.

It is so pre-council for Sister Schnapp to celebrate his wonderful Catholic imagination with his Hound of Heaven and Ode to the Setting Sun. Yet the keepers of our heritage are sadly deficient if they dismiss his romanticism or, worse, are unaware of him. I wonder how many graduates of Catholic colleges and universities in the last 20 years have read either of these poems.

(Rev.) Andrew Greeley
Chicago, Ill.

Never on Sunday

The happy reminder by James Martin, S.J., to take down those Christmas lights before Ash Wednesday this year (Of Many Things, 2/19), reminded me of a curious Lenten experience some 10 years ago, when I landed in Milan on Ash Wednesday for a meeting with Professor Enrico Manfrini, the pope’s own sculptor for 30 years. Manfrini’s bronzes do much to enhance the beauty of St. Mary’s Cathedral here in San Francisco. He had offered to design the commemorative medal for our 1997 U.S.A. Salesian centennial.

After spending a full day in his studio at Villa Clerici in Milan, the great artist invited me to join him for supper at home. A superb cook, he surprised me with a luscious fillet mignon that Ash Wednesday evening.

I had quietly decided to feign forgetfulness and not embarrass my gracious host, when he gently answered what he must have felt was my unspoken question: In Milan, Father Larry, we follow the Ambrosian Rite. Our Lent begins next Monday, five days after yours, and it lasts 40 continuous days, including Sundays, like Jesus in the desert, who fasted 40 days and 40 nights without skipping Sundays. You begin yours five days earlier, making up for the four Sundays of Lent and Palm Sunday.

So in Milan, 10 years ago, I resigned myself to observe Ash Wednesday in the Ambrosian Rite and the rest of Lent in the Latin Rite.

Larry N. Lorenzoni, S.D.B.
San Francisco, Calif.

At the Forefront

I want to thank and commend you for the feature A Time to Ponder, by Ladislas Orsy, S.J. (2/5). Indeed, we need to reflect on the spiritual mystery of the ecumenical movement! Having been a part of the movement as both pastor and writer for more than four decades, Father Orsy is right on target. I trust his words will find their way into the hands of many Protestants and Orthodox. He brings us a realistic optimism and a chance to celebrate what the Holy Spirit has already accomplished among us. My experience in all these years is that the Roman Catholic Church is continually at the forefront and, in my opinion, rightfully so.

(Rev.) Donald Charles Lacy
Muncie, Ind.

Error Corrected

Many thanks for the generous review of my new book, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion (2/12).

I have one complaint. The reviewer, David Pinault, points out that the uncorrected galley proofs on which he apparently based his review include an error as to the identity of the assassin of Imam Ali. That error was corrected on page 7 of the published book, which notes that Ali was assassinated in 661 by an extremist Muslim. I wish Prof. Pinault had checked the published book before accusing me of making such a fundamental error. In any event, I’d like you to publish this short note in your print magazine.

Again, I am very grateful for your interest in my book and for Professor Pinault’s excellent review.

Paul M. Barrett
New York, N.Y.

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