Letters • September 5, 2022


Appreciates article on common culture collapse

Congratulations for publishing Bill Donohue’s article, “Why our common culture has collapsed,” (Catholic Virginian, Aug. 8). He hit the problem right on. Allow me to give you some personal examples of this discussion.

My 16-year-old grandson was operating a farm tractor along our winding mountain road when a woman from New York City was operating her car right behind him, honking repetitively. When they both came to the local gas station, she went to my grandson using very bad language saying, “You damn farmers, keep off the highways.”

He was quite upset, so some local folks gave him a hug saying, “We love you farmers. Don’t pay any attention to the likes of her.”

A couple from northern Virginia moved into our area and asked when the garbage pickup was. She was told, “We don’t have a pickup; you bring the garbage to our local refuse station because we save taxes that way.”

One day, a farmer was spreading manure when a new adjacent homeowner came out with his gun, cussing at the farmer and threatening him for creating odors. The sheriff came and reminded the newcomer that farmers have a right to farm and suggested that if he didn’t like it to move back where he came from.

We operate a sheep farm and textile mill, and we give guided tours of our operation so as to educate the public. What a great reaction we get. – Francis Chester, Augusta Springs

We get the government we deserve

I write as a 78-year-old cradle Catholic and retired surgeon regarding the Aug. 22 story about our Church welcoming immigrants. I always have been proud to defend my Church in our great country where religion is so often under assault as “secular humanism.”

I am also, given the campaign platforms of the two major parties, a reliable Republican voter.

Elections have consequences. I believe, contrary to the general perception of conservative policy, that had Republicans campaigned on “a path to citizenship” for genuine refugees who were oppressed by the drug cartels, it would have made a difference. Addicts, often young and irreligious in our otherwise prosperous society, are the main support of these destructive cartels.

Unfortunately, we get the government we deserve. It’s hard to be “a smidgin” moral. – Martin Thiel, Williamsburg

Jesus’ miraculous methods are ‘essence of God’

Barbara Hughes’ Aug. 22 column observes that not our “talent or gift,” but God’s guiding light and might allow the seemingly unqualified “to do the seemingly impossible.” But her skepticism that Jonah spent three days in the belly of “a great fish” (not specifically a whale with a “gag reflex”) throws doubt on God’s Mysteries.

To question the storyline as “improvised” based on common/scientific knowledge implies that God is less able than humans to “do the seemingly impossible.”

It’s like theorizing that those fed with two loaves and five fishes brought their own lunch to spread a great picnic, thus doubting the miracles of Jesus. Yes, he really raised Lazarus. Yes, he troubled the waters and touched the sick to cure leprosy, blindness and a host of ailments. Yes, he did die and rose again, and yes, he is in our midst.

Hughes comments, “We have more than a prophet; we have Jesus.” OT prophets, not to mention St. John in that pesky Book of Revelation, sometimes let their human frailty show. But seeming inconsistencies that cannot be explained by civilized advances (such as monogamy) are best taken on faith, awaiting a day when we will be in the crowd at the feet of our teacher.

When the author claims the Jonah myth “is not the point,” it isn’t the only point. The call that Jesus makes is paramount, and it’s a blessing to recognize his call (which “is never just about us”), including volunteerism in the Church and community. But he must disagree that his miraculous methods are worthy only to be scoffed at, or as attention- grabbing fables.

Aren’t they the essence of our God? – Pernie Forehand, Vinton

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