Letters • April 5, 2021


We are already blessed — with or without the Church

I’ll never forget hearing Pope Francis saying eight years ago, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” That moment was monumental for me and led me back to the Church.

A few years ago, friends guided me and my fiancé to St. Michael Parish, Glen Allen. That’s when, for the first time in our lives, we found a welcoming, loving and inclusive parish to call home. St. Michael’s has brought us so much joy and happiness after decades of alienation, disappointment and heartache from the Catholic Church.

This rekindled faith in Catholicism led us to creating a beautiful image in our head that we would one day baptize our children and attend Church as a family. We also planned to ask a priest to bless our marriage and, if we could, enroll in pre-Cana.

That beautiful stained glass image we recreated was shattered by the Vatican and Pope Francis’ March 15 declaration that priests cannot bless samesex unions and that such blessings are not valid. This reaffirms that the Church hasn’t made any progress towards welcoming and including the LGBTQ+ community. Perhaps it never will.

However, we do know from Scripture that all people are created in the likeness of Jesus, and we all have equal human dignity in his eyes. That’s more important to us than what any person on earth thinks.

This fall, I’m marrying the man of my dreams, surrounded by the love and support of our family and friends. When we picture that day, we know we’re already blessed — with or without the Catholic Church. – Aaron Jay Ledesma, Richmond

Clarification about girls in Scouting

In a letter (Catholic Virginian, March 22) pertaining to girls now participating in Scouting, the author voiced a concern of “integration of women into a traditionally male group.” Clarification is in order.

First of all, there are three “aims” of Scouting: to promote citizenship, improve physical fitness and develop personal character/leadership. These are human elements — neither male nor female. To allow girls to participate in Scouting does not negatively affect anyone’s achievement or pursuit of these purposes.

Second, it must be understood that Scouting is not suddenly co-ed with boys and girls intermingled like they are in English class. Scout troops are chartered and organized by male and female groups. Females will have their own activities, meetings, camping trips and gatherings separately from all-male troops. In short, “integration” is not the goal.

As a parent of two male Eagle Scouts and scoutmaster of a troop, I can personally attest to the value of the Scouting program. I have witnessed female Scouts who have attended summer camp, participated in fundraisers and represented the very best of what Scouting can offer. Their example has been completely impressive.

Female Scouts I have met did not choose Scouting in pursuit of recognition or publicity, but have pursued the aims of Scouting, the Scout Oath and Scout Law for their own value and merit. These girls are striving to become the best “version of themselves,” which God calls us each to pursue with tenacity and vigor. – Stephen Feher, Scoutmaster, Troop 1893B, Midlothian

‘Eucharistic coherence’ is modern ‘clergyspeak’

Archbishop Gomez’s term “eucharistic coherence” (Catholic Virginian, March 8) seems to have been inspired by George Orwell’s novel “1984.” Like “newspeak” and “doublespeak,” this term can be applied anywhere and to anything desired.

One such application is the catchphrase “Catholic president” to Joe Biden. According to most moral, political and social criteria, Joe Biden is an apostate Catholic, not a Catholic Christian president. His promotion of “abortion on demand” and the repeal of the Hyde Amendment would indicate this.

The Declaration of Independence has the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Have the Catholic bishops not noticed that there is no liberty, no pursuit of happiness and no need of various social/political deliverances for the baby if it is murdered in the womb or at birth?

Catholic bishops use the blanket term “systemic racism” to generate social-political leverage on — and artificial guilt in — the white-skinned laity. Political and social profit then comes from appearing to be sincere and compassionate.

“Eucharistic coherence” joins “systematic racism” as modern “clergyspeak” put forth to ignore Biden’s “abortion on demand” policies so that politically correct, progressive Democrat speaking points can be parroted and advocated.

The Bible would deny such foolishness. Its message is: “Be for Christ or against Christ; be lukewarm and you will be vomited out.”

Be a pro-life Christian or be an indifferent-to-life Democrat. However, we cannot be both. Not this time. Not anymore. – Robert J. Mack, Hampton

Directives hamper parish’s meal ministry

For nine years, my family has cooked meals for the homeless families staying at our parish with Family Promise. When the pandemic hit, we were glad that organization found ways to serve those families in our area. We deliver home-cooked meals to coolers outside their doors.

The same cannot be said of a similar ministry I am involved in at my parish due to diocesan directives. We are not allowed to deliver home-cooked meals to our sick brothers and sisters in Christ and can only mail gift cards to them. This impersonal approach takes away from our call to enter into one another’s crosses in charity and serve one another.

When there is so much isolation, loneliness, fear and strife, why do we seem to lack supernatural faith? Why so much emphasis on liability over and above our call to love and serve others?

Why can we pick up a burger at a restaurant, but not deliver a home-cooked meal that offers a personal touch to someone undergoing a major affliction? Are we not the Body of Christ who is called not to fear, but to trust in our crucified and glorified Savior who has conquered sin and death — the very same Savior who ministered to the sick and afflicted above all else and who calls us to do the same?

People are starving for bold, supernatural faith during these dark days. Now is the time to be a light to the world. How can we be that light if we cannot even cook a nice meal for someone in need and drop it off on their porch? – Constance T. Hull, Roanoke

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