Letters • August 8, 2022


Real Presence cause for entering the Church

Reflecting on Robert Mosby’s letter regarding the Real Presence (Catholic Virginian, July 25), I was encouraged to pen my understanding of the Church’s teachings on the Eucharist and the Real Presence. As a Protestant examining Scripture, it was that understanding (actually epiphany) of the Real Presence that caused me to enter the Catholic Church.

What does Scripture say?

First are Christ’s words: “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day’” (Jn 6:53-54).

Second is Christ’s initiation of the Eucharist at the Last Supper: “… this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19).

Third is St Paul’s Lord’s Supper discourse: “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgement upon himself” (1 Cor 11:29).

The Church understood and taught the Real Presence from the beginning as she is compelled to do, and this former Protestant was compelled to enter fully into that institution which faithfully taught and practiced that Real Presence.

Mosby’s letter is timely considering a 2019 Pew poll which found that 69% of self-professed Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence. Whether those Catholics are culpable or, as Mosby opines, poor Catechesis is the culprit, let us pray for those 69% to come to understand the substance of the Eucharist. – Sack Johannesmeyer, Charlottesville

‘School choice’ must be accessible, transparent

The recent Supreme Court decision allowing private religious schools in Maine to receive public money will undoubtedly energize the push by Catholic school advocates for vouchers and other “school choice” structures.

As a product of Catholic schools and a career public school educator, I have no problem with this concept, with some caveats:

  • Catholic or other private schools benefitting from public funds must be required to have open or lottery-based enrollment or serve a student population that is at least 20% economically disadvantaged based on eligibility for the federal school meals program. Further, economically disadvantaged students must receive no-cost meals, books, transportation and uniforms.
  • Catholic or other private schools benefitting from public funds must not exclude students based on intellectual or physical disabilities. These special children of God in particular deserve a faith-based Catholic education if their families so desire.
  • Catholic or other private schools benefitting from public funds must be required to administer all mandated state tests, with the results reported to the public by school and broken down by race and socioeconomic level.

Catholic schools have a recognized legacy of excellence, and public funding for them should not require any change in curriculum, instructional methods or emphasis on religious teaching. However, public funding does necessitate expanded access, due process and public accountability.

Publicly-funded “school choice” must be accessible and transparent. Otherwise, it is simply taxpayer-supported exclusion. – Dr. Frank E. Morgan, Glen Allen

Make positions consistent with Church teaching

In his letter (Catholic Virginian, July 25), Rick Kurek argues that political advocacy divides the Church and hinders the spread of the Gospel. However, he erroneously concludes that the Church ought to cease teaching on politically controversial topics.

Christ obliged the Church to teach “all nations… to observe all the commandments which I have given you.” These commandments include the principles of divine and natural law as well as derived conclusions.

If the Virginia Catholic Conference (VCC) advocates for following divine and natural law regarding legislation on gun control, then the VCC’s political advocacy is a necessary consequence of the Church’s teaching office.

A better critique considers whether the VCC advocates for positions consistent with the entirety of Catholic teaching. Does the VCC’s advocacy on guns articulate the objective truth of Catholic teaching or reflect the subjective views of the VCC’s staff?

St. Thomas Aquinas writes in the Summa “that it is natural to everything to keep itself in ‘being,’ as far as possible.” Consequently, there is a God-given natural law right to proportionate self-defense that is curiously unarticulated by the VCC.

If there locally exist criminals with firearms, then justice requires availability of sufficiently countering firearms. Eliminating firearms from society requires eliminating the problem of criminals with guns first.

Where does this place Kurek? He and others hear partial Catholic teaching from the VCC on one issue satisfying the ears of only one side of the political aisle. This partiality damages the trust given to the VCC to advocate for Catholicism applied to Virginia legislative advocacy. Neglect of any part of Church teaching divides the Church and hinders the spread of the Gospel. – Timothy Olmsted, Farmville

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