Letters • September 21, 2020


Jesus is the only protection we need

My great joy is that our blessed Lord Jesus not only taught us the way to true peace, he also provided a profound example: He submitted to a humiliating, excruciatingly painful, and violent death for the salvation of our sins. His action was the ultimate act of love.

Without being judgmental, isn’t this what Christianity is about? That is why I struggle with letters in a Catholic newspaper that advocate gun ownership. Jesus was the perfect example of non-violence, and trust in him is the only protection that any of us should ever need.  – Ted DeLaney, Lexington

Catholics should help right wrongs against blacks

After WWII, the GI Bill enabled returning soldiers to borrow money for a house and get a free education. It was a federal program, but it was administered by the states.

For example, in New Jersey, 67,000 white soldiers got a mortgage insured by the GI Bill; “fewer than 100” black soldiers were able to, even though many thousands applied. Now, three generations later, unable to build wealth in their homes, average black net worth is $11,200. The average white net worth? $144,200. (See “When Affirmative Action Was White” by Ira Katznelson.)

We all know there is a direct link between higher education and higher income. Returning soldiers who applied to state universities in the South were denied admission because they were black. Now, three generations later, without the incremental benefit of generational education, the average black income is $40,258. The average white’s? $68,145. (See https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/06/27/1-demographic-trends-and-economic-well-being/.)

I would ask my fellow Catholics to give our black brothers and sisters some grace, first in listening to them as they point out these failures of the system and, more importantly, that we help to right those wrongs as we can. – Christopher Murray, Charlottesville

Wonders how Catholics can support BLM goals

If you believe in the BLM movement, then by association, you also believe in one of the following Black Lives Matter.com stated goals:

“We disrupt the Western- prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.”

Children, according to BLM, are better cared for in a village, not in a home with a father and a mother. I do not support the BLM goals and find it incomprehensible that any practicing Catholic can. – Chester H. Holtyn, Powhatan

Claiming BLM is communist distracts from real question

Some recent letters have tried to discredit Black Lives Matter by calling its leaders communist. Such slanders have a long history: Martin Luther King was accused of being a communist, in spite of his many sermons on the danger communism poses to Christianity.

It is no surprise that the fact-checking site Snopes has found the allegations against BLM false. In any case, such charges are a distraction from the real question: are there excessive black deaths from police actions?

Anyone who watched the horrific strangulation of George Floyd, or read about the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Aura Rosser, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Philando Castille, Alton Sterling, Michelle Cusseaux, Freddie Gray, Janisha Fonville, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Gabriella Nevarez and 12-year-old Tamir Rice – to name only a few – cannot doubt that action is required to change current police procedures and training.

A constructive, just plan that protects all lives could possibly require even more funding for the police and social agencies so they could intervene more effectively in cases involving complex issues such as mental illness. – John Dugger, Portsmouth

Come back to church

Regarding the cartoon on the letters page (Catholic Virginian, Aug. 10), I get the cartoonist’s point about the hypocrisy of the mask-wearing couple. So while we’re looking for hypocrisy, how about further looking at our Church of Richmond?

We could draw cartoons of a couple traveling to the grocery store, the post office, the bank, a restaurant, the gas station and nine other places. But on the last cartoon frame, the couple refuses to attend Mass.

Does that picture look familiar? The reasons I’ve heard for not attending usually pertain to the safety aspect inside of the church building, but that doesn’t fly when you’re going to a doctor’s office and all these other places.

2020 will be known as the year the Church left the building and didn’t come back. To the laity: Are you so afraid that you have lost your belief? If you want to preserve your life, you will lose it.

Can a mask ward off Satan or help you gain eternal life? Fear what kills the soul, not what kills the body. If we turn our backs on God, God will do the same to us.

Please come back to Mass. To the diocesan leadership: Is the Eucharist the “Source and Summit” or not? Is it nourishment to our spirits or not? Stop telling us to stay home and please open up the Church.

The longer the Catholic Church stays away, the harder it will be to come back. The harder it becomes to come back, the more we lose our Catholic faith. Please come back. – Paul Garrity, Chesapeake

Editor’s note: Parishes throughout the diocese have had public celebrations of Sunday Mass since July 12.

Suggestions for financial reforms

Re: “Report urges reforms to forestall Church financial crisis” (Catholic Virginian, July 27). Try the following before proceeding with the article’s reforms:

First, bishops and archbishops should be paid $1 less than the lowest paid priest in their dioceses/ archdioceses. Likewise, cardinals should be paid $1 less than the lowest paid priest in their country of origin, and the pope should be paid $1 less than the lowest paid cardinal. This remuneration structure addresses the deadly sin of avarice — and perhaps gluttony in its many forms.

Second, marks of office decrease as levels of responsibility increase. Symbols of office should become simpler and less distinguishing as rank rises. We follow a penniless carpenter who “had no place to lay his head.” Thus, residences should also decrease in size and appointments.

McCarrick beach houses and Bransfield opulence seem sadly out of place when many parish members struggle to make a monthly rent or mortgage payment, and the needs of the poor and persecuted cry out for massive additional aid. This set of reductions to dubious and often egocentric expenditures helps to redress the deadly sins of pride, envy and perhaps certain aspects of sloth.

Third, all Church financial transactions from the parish level to the Vatican are opened to the public. Any monies devoted to cover-ups, as well as all assets, will be accounted for.

Prospectively, impose published annual and surprise audits by rotating outside accounting firms on all Church entities. This begins to address the integrity issue. Most of those who donate to the Church would like to know: How exactly is my contribution allocated? – John Hanes, Chesapeake

Editor’s note: The Diocese of Richmond publishes an annual financial report. To view the current and archived financial reports, visit https://richmonddiocese.org/office/office-of-finance/.

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