Letters • May 18, 2020


Bishops’ response ‘laudable but weak’

The sentiments of Bishops Knestout and Burbidge in response to Gov. Northam’s signing virulent, anti-life legislation, reversing hard-fought gains in the fight to protect women and the most vulnerable among us, the pre-born and the just-born, were laudable but weak (Catholic Virginian, April 20). They were evocative of similar sentiments expressed by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan when New York Gov. Cuomo led the way for Northam some months ago.

Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen taught, “Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote.Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.”

Like Cardinal Dolan, our Virginia bishops missed the opportunity to remind the faithful that anyone who participates or lends consent to abortion incurs the penalty of excommunication. I also regret that your consigning this story to the last, rather than the first, page of the newspaper sends its own message of relative importance.

– Robert R. Kaplan, Midlothian

Appreciates antiphons during bishop’s Mass

I want to express my appreciation for the content of our diocesan livestream Masses celebrated by Bishop Knestout with the assistance of our wonderful cathedral musicians, but especially the choice to utilize sung antiphons during the Mass.The content within these antiphons complements the readings at each Mass.

The Church has officially set these antiphons to Gregorian Chant in the “Graduale Romanum” and “Graduale Simplex,” the two official songbooks of the Roman Rite. However, there exist many approved vernacular settings of these Antiphons in chant, metrical, even praise and worship settings.

My parish, All Saints in Floyd, chants the antiphons in addition to hymns during our Masses. We have seen a huge benefit to the liturgical life of our parish from the introduction of this venerable tradition.

In its document “Sing to the Lord” the USCCB praises the practice of singing the antiphons: “Proper antiphons from the liturgical books are to be esteemed and used especially because they are the very voice of God speaking to us in the Scriptures.”

I encourage more parishes to consider incorporating this ancient practice into our liturgies. These songs have occupied a place within our heritage for ages but unfortunately in the past half century we have seen them all but abandoned. Following the lead of the Second Vatican Council we should aim to recover our sacred musical heritage, giving “pride of place” to these beautiful songs.

– William Yearout, Willis

Suffering, death are part of life

In the May 4 Catholic Virginian, a reader implicitly asks Father Doyle if it was necessary for Jesus to suffer and die for our salvation, and if so, why.

Jesus pleaded with God the Father just before his crucifixion if it was possible to avoid it, so it definitely was necessary. We might never know the fullness and depth of this mystery, but it is central to our faith, as Jesus emphasizes in John chapter 6.

Suffering and physical death are part of life. Parents show love by suffering and giving their lives for their children. Students suffer in obtaining knowledge and skills. Athletes and artists willingly suffer to perform well. At Fatima an angel told Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta to offer their sufferings for souls in purgatory.

Suffering becomes evil only when separated from our life in God. To make it possible that we remain in God beyond physical death, Jesus had to die, both to show the way to the Father and to permit us to unite our death to his.

Many people have unjustly died shameful deaths involving great suffering, so Jesus had to suffer the same. Therefore, at Mass when the priest receives the gifts of bread and wine, we offer not only our gifts and works, but also our sufferings, shortcomings and even sins that we have confessed.

As St. Paul says, in our bodies we complete Jesus’ suffering. God thereby takes what we might regard as evil and unjust and transforms it into his unbounded love through us.

Thanks be to God.

– Joe Rudmin, Harrisonburg

Work for solidarity in the new normal

COVID-19 is the constant subject of conversations, news reports and internet searches.No surprise as everyone has been affected in at least one aspect of daily life.The ways we learn, socialize, shop, work and eat are not what they were two months ago. Lately the hot topic is what the “new normal” will look like after these upheavals to our status quo.

Pope Francis addressed this topic in his homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, saying, “The present pandemic, however, reminds us that there are no differences or borders between those who suffer. We are all frail, all equal, all precious. May we be profoundly shaken by what is happening all around us: the time has come to eliminate inequalities, to heal the injustice that is undermining the health of the entire human family.”

There are so many injustices (racial, economic, environmental, etc.) that have been spotlighted by this pandemic. As Catholics we are called to work for solidarity. St. John Paul II laid this out in “Sollicitudo rei Socialis”: “[Solidarity] is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.”

As we start forming the new normal let us think of our brothers and sisters first and work to create a just community both locally and globally.

– Anna Cave, Henrico

Scroll to Top