Letters • January 13, 2020


Let truth bring us together in Christ

I would like to give thanks to the parishioners who called out the Pachamama and to others who have written over the years, exposing the sometimes hidden political agenda of the left which seems to be infiltrating every aspect of our society, even our Church.

The Catholic Virginian’s transparent and unbiased willingness to provide information and opinion from both sides of the many issues we face has done more to reinforce my faith than most anything else I have encountered in recent years.

I am thankful to know that in the midst of a barrage of secularism, there are many in our community that still hold traditional Catholic values close and are willing to speak of them aloud.

May the truth, regardless of our personal opinions, bring us together in Christ. – Pete Nardone, Keswick

Help meet need for affordable housing

I applaud Catholic Charities and the work it does in Richmond to help the needy and suffering. There is one area, however, where I would like to see more involvement by our diocese: development of affordable housing.

Every day, my parish receives requests for rental assistance, and as Richmond moves to develop Navy Hill and redevelop public housing, many more of our poorest neighbors may be left behind.

The Church can help prevent future homelessness, especially by people making less than 40% of area median income, in two important ways. First, the diocese can develop some of its existing unused or under-used properties into truly affordable housing units.

Secondly, it should apply to develop additional properties available through the Richmond Land Bank. Catholic Charities is already doing similar work in other cities, such as New York and Denver.

The Gospels tell me that we in Richmond cannot continue to “step over Lazarus” as we go about our daily business. Housing is not affordable when it eats up 40-80% or more of household income. Vouchers are useless when no law requires landlords take them and a majority of them refuse to do so.

We Catholics provide charity through food pantries, hosting CARITAS, collecting gifts for low-income families, tutoring ESL and more, which is all very good. But I pray we will also become a diocese that provides people with the dignity of having decent, sustainable homes.

Certainly, the Church does not have to do all, but it has the doctrine, authority and resources to be part of the solution. – Nancy Kunkel, Richmond

Catholics cannot vote ‘pro-choice’

Re: “Church tells us how to vote, not for whom” (Catholic Virginian, Dec. 2) and “For Catholic voters, politics challenging” (Catholic Virginian, Dec. 16):

Abortion is a grave sin contrary to God’s moral law, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church states excommunication is warranted for anyone who “formally cooperates with an abortion” (Nos. 2272, 2322). It further dictates the State must forbid or oppose abortion, because the intentional killing of the unborn is a serious sin and a grave offense against God (No. 2273). Furthermore, the Church confirms that abortion is, in practice, murder, and such killing is therefore a direct violation of the fifth commandment (No. 2274).

When members of a political party formally encourage abortions by publicly supporting and funding them, they are, in a sense, excommunicating themselves from the Church. Neither gun control nor immigration policies warrant this canonical penalty.

Because abortion is clearly forbidden under pain of excommunication, Catholics are morally obligated to vote against a party that believes such heinous crimes can be committed without remorse. One cannot authentically live the faith while ignoring the Church’s authoritative and immutable teachings. When a candidate is consistent with a party platform that promotes direct violations of the moral law, such as abortion and other similar acts condemned by the Church, a Catholic cannot vote for that candidate.

This is not a matter of preference. It is the only choice a person in full communion with the Catholic Church can make. – Seth Bauer, Chesapeake

Grateful for priest’s compassion

The letter “Don’t equate abortion with the death penalty” (Catholic Virginian, Dec. 30) from Dave Tezza reminds me to thank Father John David Ramsey of St. Benedict Parish, Richmond. Tezza insists that babies who die without baptism are “excluded from the beatific vision” and “deprived of union with God forever.” Father Ramsey, on the other hand, is well aware that the Church does not definitely teach that unbaptized babies are lost forever, and bereaved parents may have hope in the great mercy of God regarding the possible salvation of their children.

To emphasize this hope, Father Ramsey celebrated a Mass for miscarried children at St. Benedict on Nov. 7, 2019. I was there to pray for the two babies that we never got to meet. I am deeply grateful to Father Ramsey for his compassion and remembrance of those who were gone too soon. – Mary Jo Anger, Chester

Kwanzaa not a Catholic, Christmas tradition

What is the rationale for the inclusion of Kwanzaa in the article “… and the festivities continue” (Catholic Virginian, Dec. 30)?

The article opens with statements about “the Catholic culture” and “universal Church.” A description of the Hispanic traditions of Three Kings Day followed, which was interesting and entirely appropriate.

But Kwanzaa is not a Catholic tradition. It is not Christmas tradition. Kwanzaa was created in California in the late 1960s as an alternative to Christmas. It was initially designed to pull people away from Christmas. And The Catholic Virginian is associating Kwanzaa with Catholic cultural Christmas traditions?

There are so many Catholic cultural Christmas traditions that could have been the included in the article, e.g., Polish Wiligi, Italian La befana or the Puerto Rican parrandas.

The article attempts to justify linking Kwanzaa with Catholic Christmas traditions by stating “they emphasize the importance of unity in community.”

By this logic, we should be seeing an article describing the rituals of the Winter Solstice by Wiccans in an upcoming issue of The Catholic Virginian. Witches have “unity in community,” too. And don’t forget about Festivas!

Nearly every Christmas (or “holiday”) TV program emphasizes the importance of “unity in community.” These programs also stress the importance of giving, family and friendship as well. But what is missing in these Christmas/holiday specials, as well as during Kwanzaa, is the real reason for the season – the birth of Jesus.

There is nothing wrong with the celebration of Kwanzaa, but to associate it with Catholic culture is ridiculous and irresponsible. – Jay Smigielski, Virginia Beach

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