Letters – August 21


Stop digital discrimination
I want to thank Mr. Brett Salkeld for his commentary “To connect, consider disconnecting.” It is nice to know there is at least one other person who feels the same as I do about smartphones and technology addiction. I miss talking to others while waiting for an appointment or just walking past someone on the street. All I see are heads down scrolling on a phone, and it is not only the younger generations but the “boomers” as well. Businesses and governments are pushing everything “digital” – even churches are doing away with physical bulletins and posting their information online. This digital discrimination is shutting myself and others out who don’t want to be plugged in 24/7 or cannot afford to be plugged in. I hope that Mr. Salkeld’s commentary will help others consider disconnecting more often and start to enjoy society face-to-face. – Jeanette Gibas, Newport News


Not everyone has time for ‘personal interests’
In “Fixing the working-class problem in the Catholic Church” in the July 24 issue, Father Briscoe makes some interesting and accurate points regarding trends of working-class families no longer attending Mass or participating in the life of the parish. He posits that “many working-class individuals find themselves caught in the whirlwind of long hours, multiple jobs, and unpredictable schedules.”

He goes on to say: “With Sundays becoming an increasingly rare respite from the demands of work, working-class individuals may prioritize family time or pursuing personal interests over attending Sunday Mass.”

May I suggest that people “caught in the whirlwind” of which he speaks are spending the precious little time off from work doing laundry, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, home repairs, grocery shopping, overseeing children’s homework, preparing meals, paying bills, then helping their elderly parents with all the same tasks, and just maybe, getting a little extra sleep?

Is this what Father Briscoe means by “pursuing personal interests”? Marie Williams, Richmond


Get working class in pews and Catholic schools
One reason not addressed in the article “Fixing the working-class problem in the Catholic Church” is the lack of a good Catholic education for lower income students. Prior to the 1960s, nuns were more plentiful, and the Catholic schools offered a Catholic education to all for a free or minimal charge. The schools were opened to reach those who might not have opportunities to a good education.  A decline in religious sisters has led to Catholic schools having to hire educators at a much higher cost, and thus, our Catholic schools have become for the upper income families. Though all of them offer scholarships and “slots” for lower-income families, the majority of the classrooms are filled with upper-income students who are the only ones who can afford it. Because this generation of working-class parents didn’t get the Catholic education, they are not passing it on to their children. Their children are getting less of the Catholic education than they did. This problem will continue until we can find a way to reach all again. – Kathleen Deforge, Matthews


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