"Aha! Catholic Answers Controls the Church!"
Wow! Whew! You sure know how to do a hatchet job right! You treat non-Catholics with TLC compared to how your wrath and fury come down on traditional Catholics. I have come to believe that modern Catholics are more wary of traditionalists than they are of any non-Catholic group. Your article "Off the Deep End" [March 1990] certainly gives credence to that.
You see, I am a traditional Catholic who was indoctrinated by Catholic education that Vatican II was an event nearly comparable to Pentecost. The only Catholic more worthy on Earth in 1963 than John F. Kennedy was John XXIII, who was quite busy opening windows to let fresh air into the Church. And the New Mass ushered Catholic worship into the twentieth century. (Can't you just wait to see what the twenty-first century will bring?)
Like so many others, I nearly lost my faith as a result of the changes brought by Vatican II. But, unlike many you have documented that have fled to Fundamentalism and other Protestant faiths, I began to look within the Church for help as I take Christ literally when he said he would not abandon her.
The answer was there--it is called Tradition! But, alas, so was its counterpart, modernism, that smoke of Satan that Paul VI knew had filtered into the Church. What Vatican II begat was not reform but, in effect, a new religion. Clown Masses and that ilk, which I know you deplore, are not perversions of Vatican II but its obvious consequences.
The problem is that you control the Church through the hierarchy and the seminaries. That does not mean you will triumph. As well versed in Church history as you are, you are aware of other times when a few stood to defend the word of God and through perseverance, with God's help, kept the Church from falling into heresy.
We agree the rosary cannot ever replace Holy Mass, nor will the gates of hell ever prevail against the Church. However, we do not consider the Novus Ordo any more valid than an Anglican service.
Perhaps you modernists fear traditionalists because you sense that within Tradition lies truth. My sense is that the American Catholic Church is headed in the same direction as the Church of England. Perhaps within a generation the only "Roman" Catholics left in the United States will be the traditionalists.
You condemned, and in my opinion rightly, the bishop who claimed the Chair of Peter is vacant. I wonder how soon many of those you support and defend will abandon Rome to establish a national American Catholic Church.
I am writing in response to the one-sided smear column you wrote on Bishop Robert F. McKenna. You picked out at random various sentences from his July 1989 Catholics Forever paper, trying to make him look ridiculous. You chose to make this good bishop look foolish.
You are worse than the Fundamentalists you debate with. You are as Protestant as they are. Maybe you are more Protestant than they are.
I find in the many years that I have been corresponding with Fundamentalists that they are more Catholic in their beliefs than the "Catholics" of the Vatican II Church. Vatican II is the "Masterstroke of Satan." Never in the history of Holy Mother the Church has the holy Catholic faith been so put down. Vatican II has put the true faith on an equal footing with error.
As far as your little opinion of whether we are Catholic or not, I will go to the words of Christ Jesus for that answer: "By their fruits you will know them." There's not one iota of Catholicism left in the Vatican II Church. As a matter of fact, there's more Catholicism in Protestant churches.
Sugar Grove, Illinois
Is the Great Apostasy Here?
The article "Off the Deep End" by Karl Keating more accurately should have been called "Holding the Line." Some Roman Catholic priests and bishops and many lay people find themselves evicted from their Church because it has been taken over by an ecumenical new church that accommodates itself to a worldly standard which centers on humanism rather than the sacrifice of the Cross.
As long as there are priests and bishops validly consecrated such as Bishop Robert McKenna, the Mass will continue to exist. Are these priests and bishops helping to keep Christ's promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church?
Might they be preserving the seeds from which it will continue? The Scriptures do not lie when they say that the Church in latter days will be exiled into the wilderness (Rev. 12:6).
As to Keating's reference to the rosary, of course Catholics know that it can't take the place of the Mass, but it is certainly better than attending the sing-along or mere worship services at the local churches.
As my dear mother used to say, "Maybe someday the rosary is all we will have while waiting for the opportunity to attend Mass offered by underground or circuit priests." Right now there are Latin-Rite people doing just that. Could we be in the time of the great apostasy?
Leonard and Paula Frohnauer
Let's Evangelize the Pope
Your "DRAGNET" section item about Evangelicals joining the Eastern "Orthodox" Church [April 1990] was interesting, especially your question, "Why did they become Eastern Orthodox? Why not Catholic?" You answered the question without, seemingly, realizing it: They were looking for a liturgical church, resembling more that which was described by the early Fathers.
Now I ask you: Where, in what commonly passes for a Catholic church, are these poor souls going to find a liturgy? Can you seriously suggest that the circus that presently passes for the Mass could be reasonably accepted as such by these people?
Let us face the fact, my friend. The New Mass has no more resemblance to our Holy Mother Church's venerable and traditional liturgy than any other bad caricature bears to its subject. It is a scandal to Catholics and Protestants alike.
Were it not for the neo-Protestant revolution that the modernists of Vatican II created, seminaries and convents and churches would still be full, and the petty heresies of Russellism, Smithism, Iglesia-ni-Cristo-ism, Evangelicalism, and Fundamentalism would be just that--petty, at most, and not the major threat they have become. It was a sad day when the Holy Father convened a council that would be merely pastoral and not dogmatic.
Let me close by thanking you for your efforts to evangelize non- Catholics in our holy faith, and Catholics as well. We must, perhaps more importantly, start evangelizing priests, bishops, cardinals, and, yes, even the Pope, lest our separated brethren might come home and find the errors they renounced being preached from Catholic pulpits.
Meanwhile, I continue to receive my liturgy and spiritual nourishment and catechism from the holy priests of the Society of St. Pius X, the most loyal friends our Pope has, even if he does not recognize them as such!
St. Marys, Kansas
Karl Keating responds: 1. "The problem is that you control the Church through the hierarchy and the seminaries," says Mr. Fabyanic. How we wish we did! While we have episcopal friends and contacts in seminaries, to a man they've been unwilling to bow to our orders. Any suggestions?
2. Robert F. McKenna is no longer a Catholic. He can call himself that--he can call himself anything he wants--but he was illicitly consecrated, and each of his ordinations has been illicit. He abandoned the Church. The Church didn't abandon him.
3. To say, as Mr. Melechinsky does, that the New Mass is a "caricature" of the Tridentine Mass is to slander the latter. Read the official Latin: Nearly everything in the New Mass is found in the Old.
4. The priests in Archbishop Lefebvre's Society of St. Pius X are in schism. Under Canon Law, Archbishop Lefebvre automatically excommunicated himself when he consecrated bishops without Vatican permission. When the bishops who formed the Chinese Patriotic Church did likewise in the 1950s, they too excommunicated themselves.
Wisdom from Sri Lanka
All our adult students relish this publication very much, as it gives straight-forward answers to problems confronting us today. Furthermore, since all the answers are from a Christian viewpoint, their value is enhanced for us.
Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
I Like the Pope
I am a Fundamentalist. I do not think the pope is the Antichrist, all Roman Catholics are going to hell, or that the Church teaches Catholics to worship Mary and idols.
I do think that God justifies people--Protestants, Roman Catholics, whatever--on the basis of what they do concerning his Son, Jesus Christ.
Given the extent of unbelief in the world (in Roman Catholicism as well as Protestantism), we who "recite the creed and mean it" (as J. I. Packer put it) should accept each other as brethren and cooperate as much as possible.
I salute Catholic Answers for making biblical literacy a priority item among Roman Catholics. For my part, I will continue to pray that our heavenly Father will extend to John Paul II good health and long life.
Ralph E. MacKenzie
San Diego, California
Lefebvre Is No Curran
William Reichert makes a serious mistake in his "Letter to a Worried Friend" [April 1990].
He says, "It is quite unfair to allege that the Catholic Church 'allows' its clergymen and theologians to deny cardinal doctrines of the faith. The Catholic Church is patient with wayward clergy and teachers, but its moves to discipline Hans Kung, Charles Curran, Raymond Hunthausen, and Marcel Lefebvre show that the Catholic Church jealously guards the truth of the Gospels."
You and others may ask, "What is the mistake?" It is the injudicious and uncharitable inclusion of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre within the rogues' gallery of clerical dissenters from "the truth of the Gospels" as enumerated by Mr. Reichert. It is obvious this enthusiastic neophyte to Catholicism does not know what he is talking about in this matter.
While Archbishop Lefebvre has remained true to the deposit of faith handed down to him unsullied (Tradition), he has been "excommunicated." What was his "sin"?
Since Rome was evasive about the appointment of a bishop for the Society of St. Pius X, Archbishop Lefebvre went ahead with Bishop Antonio Castro de Mayer from Brazil to consecrate four bishops to insure the life of the faith.
Isn't it ironic that during this greatest emergency in the Church, Archbishop Lefebvre is "ostracized" for keeping the faith and battling the modernists, but the wolves like Kung, Curran, and Hunthausen and flimflam priests like Matthew Fox are free to prey upon the lambs?
No excommunication has been levied against them. Yet the evidence shows clearly they are candidates for excommunication. The scandal is that Rome allows this situation to continue.
Jerry C. Meng
Notable Conversions Hit Home
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your fine magazine.
As someone who has reconverted to the Church from Evangelical Protestantism, I was somewhat dismayed at not being able to find any organization that was engaged in defending the faith against Fundamentalist sects.
I was glad to see there was someone out there who felt that the disputed Catholic doctrines, such as the papacy, were the very reasons for being a Catholic.
It is edifying to hear about notable conversions such as William Reichert's. Additionally, it is a great tool in convincing Fundamentalists of the reasonableness of the faith if one of their own embraces it. Keep those conversion stories coming!
Joseph M. Pavicic
Praise for Reichert
Don’t let negative comments upset you. Bill Cosby said, "I can't give you the recipe for success, but I sure can give you the one for failure: Try to please everyone."
William Reichert's article was a blockbuster. In fact, I believe his article is one of the best pieces on apologetics I've ever seen.
Rev. Francis C. Eksterowicz
I am a student of Iruekpen grammar school. I received some of the books you do send, from a friend. These books I was chanced with very little time to read. I couldn't finish reading it because it was taken from me.
Please, I want you to send me many books because I like reading books about my Savior, most of which you can send to me. Include some of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.
You see that I am a member of an Anglican church, but please don't let this hinder you from sending what I had kindly placed my order on, for Anglican and Catholic are for the same motive.
Peter E. Onobun
Who Needs Shoes?
It’s taken me two months to find the $18 to renew, and I'm unable to buy back issues of This Rock, to my dismay. In any case, please enter my subscription for your magazine before I spend it on something frivolous, like shoes for the kids! (I have five.)
Orchard Park, New York
You have helped spawn an annual event in our parish called "The Church on Trial." It runs for two nights in January. Much of the research material used in the mock trial proceedings is yours. That is where many of the tracts I purchased have gone.
Mrs. Frank Hughes
Try a New Subtitle
I recently was sent a sample of This Rock. I am impressed enough with the literateness and the freshness of the writing and by the informativeness of much of the contents, but a couple of points still trouble me a little.
Your publication calls itself "the magazine of Catholic apologetics and evangelization," not "the magazine of the Catholic apostolate to the Evangelicals and sectarians." If you really see your function as limited to or at least as concentrated on the latter, you have certainly chosen a useful field, but I suggest you change your masthead accordingly.
If, on the contrary, you are really taking as your field all of apologetics and evangelization, then your heavy emphasis on Evangelicals and sectarians seems drastically misplaced.
In the first place, the sheep wandering around hopelessly lost in the mountains of secularism or just plain bewilderment would seem to be in a lot more trouble than those who have strayed only a few hundred yards from the flock. In the second place, there are far more of them.
I wonder if some of this orientation comes about just because it is more fun to argue with somebody who is able and willing to argue back.
Did Jesus Go Door to Door?
I enjoyed the article on the Jehovah's Witnesses ["The Witnesses: Masters of Misquotation," April 1990].
I left that group in 1966 and returned to the Catholic Church after an absence of eight years. The Jehovah's Witnesses is a religion of quotas imposed on the "publishers" and "pioneers" by its governing body, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
To be in good standing, one is expected to devote so many hours trudging from door to door, to "place" so many magazines and other literature, to make so many "back calls" on interested persons, to conduct so many Bible studies. Numbers and figures, expansion and growth, are of paramount importance. Was quantity important to Jesus? Did he keep a count? Where does it say he went door to door?
But I Like Fr. McBrien!
Your attack in "Dragnet" [April 1990] on Richard McBrien seems to indicate you are not concerned about the Catholic of average intelligence but only the poor uninformed dopes who run off to the sects.
Should you not be equally concerned with those Catholics who, in the words of the California bishops, have had "a poor experience of God due to merely ritualistic worship"? These people, once they have gone, do not join any church--they are gone. Fr. McBrien seems keenly aware of this phenomenon and would like to redirect a few things such as the sexism in the Church, the nonsense of loyalty oaths, and other things that offend reasonable people.
In "Dragnet" you attack not only detractors outside the Church, which I originally thought was your mission, but you seem to have no patience with anyone who doesn't subscribe to your brand of status quoism. This is too bad, for some issues of This Rock were really good. "Dragnet" is a bit too much. All that stuff about the Battle of Lepanto--good grief!
John P. Edwards
I Like Him Too!
I was very disturbed by the piece in "Dragnet" [April 1990] concerning Fr. Richard McBrien. Unlike the rest of the articles in previous issues, I found the tone of this piece to be very cynical and one-sided.
As one of the Catholics who nearly got converted to Fundamentalist Evangelical Christianity, there were three principal books which I found useful in bringing me back to the Catholic fold.
The first was Catholicism and Fundamentalism. The second was Catholicism by Fr. McBrien. The third was Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine by Fr. Raymond Brown. Therefore, I was stunned by the tone and stance of the above-mentioned piece about Fr. McBrien.
The Battle of Lepanto was not so much a battle to save Christendom but a battle to save the European powers from the domination of the Turkish Empire. To be sure, religion was a factor in rallying all the European powers, but to say that religion was the only factor is stretching the argument quite a bit. There were a lot of political factors as well.
Also, I feel that mentioning a battle to support your statement of the defense of Christendom is very inappropriate. How about the early Christians who were martyred in the arenas of Rome, of St. Paul and St. Peter being executed for the faith, of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe's sacrifice at Auschwitz, and the assassination of Archbishop Romero of El Salvador in defense of the poor? Aren't these better examples to mention than wars?
The implications regarding Fr. McBrien's beliefs are not fair. Granted, his teachings are indeed not commonly thought of, but they are still in line with mainstream Catholicism. Otherwise, the bishops would have revoked his license to teach theology. It seems to me Fr. McBrien promotes the same kind of Christianity that you or I believe in.
I also detected a sense of annoyance when the article mentions mainstream Catholic scholarship. We need scholars and theologians to help us understand Scripture and Tradition. Contrary to what most people think, most of the mainstream scholars and theologians are loyal to the magisterium.
I find Fr. McBrien's doctrinal writings to be perfectly consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. I do not find him promoting a different kind of Christianity, nor do I think he is opposing Bishop Thomas V. Daily on theological grounds. His opposition to Bishop Daily is more political than religious.
Johannson J. Tee, Jr.
Troy, New York
Editor’s reply: You say "Fr. McBrien promotes the same kind of Christianity that you or I believe in." Not quite. He dissents on moral issues. For instance, he doesn't think much of Humanae Vitae. (We think it's fine.)
Thanks for Evenhandedness
I certainly appreciate your sending me the issues of This Rock, especially your review of my Peter and the Popes [March 1990].
Since you used the term "evenhandedly" with reference to my discussion of the papacy, I feel impressed to likewise acknowledge the same fairness in your review of the book.
I realize our opposite backgrounds [Catholic and Mormon] leave us somewhat loyally biased with reference to certain concepts and ideas, in spite of a sincere desire to be scholarly and objective in the conclusions we draw and the truths we seek to portray and interpret.
Why Mormons Baptize
May I call your attention to an error in the representation of Mormon theology? In "Dragnet" for April 1990 it states that "Mormons say Fr. [Miguel] Pro is now a Mormon, not a Catholic, because in 1986 he was baptized by proxy through one of Mormonism's 'baptisms for the dead.'"
According to LDS belief, the truth is that "baptism for the dead," as referred to by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:29, extends the opportunity for those who have passed on to accept baptism if they choose to do so.
Baptism, like marriage, is one of the ordinances or sacraments which must be performed on the Earth. The choice to accept, however, has and always will be up to the individual or individuals--now residing in what we call the spirit world--who receive the opportunity.
To members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the fact that the Savior made provision to extend the privilege of baptism to deceased persons who may not have had an opportunity to know his full gospel in mortality is one more manifestation of his unending love for all our Heavenly Father's children.
That we mortals have the opportunity to assist in his work by performing such ordinances on behalf of deceased relatives and friends is considered by members of the LDS faith to be a sacred honor and privilege.
Keith J. Atkinson
LDS Public Communications
Los Angeles, California
Returning to Live With God
Baptism within the Mormon Church is intended to serve two purposes.
First and foremost, it is for the remission of sins through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, thereby allowing the penitent, faithful individual the privilege of entering the Kingdom of God in heaven once that person passes on from this life.
Second, baptism is the formal "rite of passage" for a person to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--that is, to be a member of what we believe to be the Kingdom of God on Earth. Since the LDS Church is an organization on this Earth only, an individual is no longer a Latter-day Saint, no longer a Mormon, once they leave this Earth.
Billions of souls will someday return to live with God as his resurrected children. They will come from all lands, all nations, all races, and all times, and only the few who were members of the LDS Church will have ever been called Mormons. All of these individuals, however, will have something else in common. They all will have performed or have had performed for them the necessary ordinances of the gospel, which include baptism.
So you see, Fr. Miguel Pro's baptism was not intended for membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but, instead, it was our attempt to share what we consider to be the most sacred with someone we believe would appreciate it.
Chaplain Michael J. Stacy
Carswell AFB, Texas
Old or Young Fogies?
I just reread the articles in the March 1990 issue. I was curious: Would you know whether the troublesome threesome of Tony Alamo, Alberto Rivera, and Jack Chick are young, middle-aged, or doddering old bigots?
John F. Tashjian
San Marcos, California
Found On a Bus in Ghana
I am a seminarian studying philosophy in the St. Paul's Catholic Seminary in Accra. During holidays I work in my home parish in Bekwai.
I am mostly concerned with the education and mobilization of the youth in the parish. I keep on explaining the Catholic faith to them, and since most of our youths are somewhat fanatics, they usually insist on biblical quotations as a substance to accept certain things.
The reason for this is that most of them have been indoctrinated by the Pentecostals, Adventists, and the numerous movements and sects springing up in the country. I at times come to open confrontation with some of these churches during my open evangelization.
Once I saw a certain man holding one of your books entitled Catholicism and Fundamentalism in a bus. Out of curiosity I demanded to have a glance at the book and fortunately I found out that this book contains most of the very questions I normally meet.
I have all along been wondering how I can obtain a copy of such a book since I have no means of purchasing it in dollars. I am therefore compelled to ask you to come to my assistance.
In fact, the response to my apostolate is very encouraging, and I thank the Lord for that. I normally go with some choral groups in the parish to an out-station where there is a problem with the so-called "born again" groups.
Backed by singing and drumming, I explain the Catholic teachings with scriptural support and then allow for questions from the people. Eventually most people come to understand us with the exception of certain few who are not ready to listen.
Godfred Boachie Yiadom
Welcome to the Church!
I come from a Fundamentalist background, but fortunately I was able to hear God calling me to the Church through all of the anti-Catholic rhetoric. Last August I started attending Mass and my parish's RCIA program. The program was good, but I couldn't have made it without Catholic Answers.
My family is anti-Catholic, and, because I still live with them, I need to be constantly prepared. I am still too new to the Church to be on sure footing in my defense of the faith. The materials you have sent me have been invaluable.
I am happy to report that I received First Communion and was confirmed this last Easter Vigil and that most of my family went to the Vigil. I pray that I will soon be able to write and thank you for your help in bringing my family back to the Church.
The Rock Is Solid for Rome
I belong to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Gibraltar, being a member of the Service Committee. I was invited to give a talk about the beginning of the Renewal and its development--also about why I was still a Catholic. This was by a Protestant group.
I spoke for about half an hour and finished saying that I was a Catholic because of the love and mercy of God. This was followed by one hour of question time.
I was asked all you can think of about our faith--and the most beautiful thing was that I could answer them. Every time I answered one I remember giving thanks to God for you and your work, because it is through this that I was able to answer all the questions.
Markan Priority: Humbug!
The observation that "the more study that's put into [the theory of Markan priority], the more glaring its defects appear" is the understatement of the year.
One of the most important arguments of Markan priority is that Mark's Greek is very crude and that Matthew is far more polished and exhibits a degree of cultivation and poise not found in the former.
So of course it is assumed that the "improved" Gospel of Matthew must be of later origin than that of Mark and, indeed, used the latter as its source. Since Matthew is longer than Mark, it has to have an additional source as well, the "Q" document.
This is akin to reading a Reader's Digest condensed novel and comparing it with the original and then deducing that the original came from the condensation and was fleshed out by references to a third book.
High on the list of the rationalist critics of Christianity is the debunking of all that is miraculous in Scripture. Since Matthew was a companion of Jesus and a first-hand observer of his miracles, it must be "proven" that he did not write the book attributed to him. This is accomplished first by "proving" that the early Christians were wrong about believing that Matthew's Gospel was the first written.
After showing that the early historians of the Church cannot be trusted on this point, it is quite easy to selectively present "evidence" that it was "the Christian community," not the apostle Matthew, that wrote Matthew and that this wasn't done until near the end of the first century.
Mary of Agreda's Visions
I found your review of The Birth of the Synoptics [March 1990] interesting. It seems modern biblical scholarship is determining what Venerable Mary of Agreda had recorded in her Ciudad de Diosalmost 450 years ago. In this private revelation Mary of Agreda wrote that Matthew and Mark wrote their Gospels in Hebrew in the years 42 and 46 respectively. Mark subsequently translated his Gospel to Latin in Rome. Luke and John wrote their Gospels in Greek in the years 48 and 58.
Saint Ann, Missouri
Priest or Voodooist?
In your March 1990 issue it was stated that the Evangelical Protestants make more converts because they "are doing more with less, and Catholics are doing less with more." There are times when my conversation has sparked someone's interest in the Church, but to which parish do I take him? To the local one, where the pastor wears seven earrings, nail polish, and amulets? Or to the next one, where the pastor uses the pulpit to promote political causes and criticize prolifers? How can I be more enthusiastic about making converts when the local fold is so corrupt?
Jacqueline P. O'Riley
I Came Back Running
I thought it time I should write to thank you for your efforts in defending the faith and clarifying the Catholic Church's teachings. In this day and age, when religion has a disturbing tendency to be marketed as cheaply and as easily as fast food, I heartily applaud the sincerity and resolve of your organization in not compromising the truth for easy solutions.
I am a great fan of your work and wish you all the best as I know you have given me all yours. You see, because of the lucidness of your apologetical approach, I have returned (running it might be said), back to the fullness of Christ's Body, his holy Catholic Church!
The Error, Not the Erring
I had noticed in a previous issue a slight undertone of ridicule which became, in your April issue, blatant. I'm referring, of course, to "Confidential Exam Revealed." This attacks with ridicule the members of the Association of Fundamentalists Evangelizing Catholics, rather than AFEC errors. Such an approach is not (or should not be) Catholic. The idea (not my own, but one received from others) is to deplore the error but never condemn or hurt the person.
Martinsburg, West Virginia
Ignore the Chamberlain Types
I got a laugh out of your AFEC admissions exam. I am going to run it off for my seniors and give it to them as a final exam this quarter since their real exam was a research paper. I think that it's funny, but I bet you get some flack from the Neville Chamberlain types. If anyone complains, tell 'em to kiss a Fundamentalist.
Rev. Gregory Pilcher, O.S.B.
Haven't You Learned Yet?
Sarcasm and derision have no place in a serious discussion of apologetics and evangelization. I would think you had learned a lesson after printing that smug "Hitchhiker's Guide to Kolob" [January 1990]. Such writing only leaves all other articles suspect. Your work is too important to treat other religions with so little respect.
Mrs. Francis P. Toolan
Cranford, New Jersey
Keep Up the Humor
Your magazine is very good. I have enjoyed every article. I found your AFEC exam most amusing. Hope you don't get a lot of negative comments. A bit of humor is needed in our crazy world.
Thomas J. Healey
Editor’s reply: Half a dozen people expressed to us their disappointment with our April Fool's piece (so labeled) called "Confidential Exam Revealed." We apologize to those whose feelings may have been hurt. To balance things out, next April we'll take on Catholics. We solicit your suggestions for targets for later years.
Don't Blame Us!
I am truly grateful for your clear presentation of our Catholic faith. The information you provide is invaluable in discussions with our Protestant brethren. Because of your ministry, I have recently canceled subscriptions to three Evangelical/Fundamentalist publications.
Family Radio Network
In the New York City area we have very little coverage in the mass media. The three major religious broadcast stations are Fundamentalist. I am greatly disturbed by this situation because many people listen to these programs during the week for spiritual guidance. I often wonder if our bishops are aware of this problem.
There is one network that I find particularly offensive: Family Radio. There are 30 radio stations across the country owned and operated by Family Radio. Harold Camping is the owner and general manager. His views are that of a "five-point Calvinist." He belongs to the Christian Reformed Church.
Family Radio has sponsored some very anti-Catholic programs. Camping hosts a daily open-forum program which enables callers to ask questions about the Bible. I need not tell you all the outrageous remarks made by this man. Another feature of Family Radio is called "Stories of Truly Great Christians." These episodes attempt to teach Reformation history and are very graphic--sometimes praising the desecration of Catholic churches by Reformers in the Netherlands.
Brooklyn, New York
Several weeks ago I ordered and received your sampler set of 53 tracts. I had occasion to use two of them last evening. I have a part-time job as a switchboard attendant at a local hospital. The woman whose shift I relieved, a Lutheran, told me that she had read the book Messiah, by Marjorie Holmes, and would leave it for me to read. She proceeded to read the first paragraph of it. She then went on to say "it talks about his [Jesus'] brothers and sisters."
Norma knows that I, a Catholic, do not believe that Jesus had natural siblings and that I believe in the lifelong virginity of the Blessed Mother. When I stated that Jesus had no brothers or sisters, she said, "Of course he did. It's in the Bible. I can show you."
I got home at midnight and proceeded to search in the sampler for a tract on Jesus and his brothers and sisters and found it, The Brethren of the Lord. It was perfect! I sent a note to Norma explaining that I do not like to argue about religion, but that when a teaching of my Church is attacked I feel I should defend it. I enclosed the tract and the one entitled What's Your Authority for That?
Beverly A. Matthews
How to Ignore Your Wife
The magazine is terrific. When it comes in the mail, I ignore my wife (the one good excuse I have to do so) and everything else until it's read from cover to cover. Keep up that refreshing humor that some people think is sarcastic or condescending. As long as you don't start calling the Fundamentalist movement the Whore of Babylon or return other insults of the like, you'll have a loyal supporter for a long time.
Steven J. Collison
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you should be highly complimented. I am being besieged with "Answers" offers [from non-Catholics].
Wishing them all well, I'll stay in your camp. Watching your efforts from Catholic Answers' infancy, I feel a glow of pride in your accomplishments--a typical "mother" reaction! Don't be discouraged!
Aurelia S. Rhodes
Leading a Double Life in Wales
Mark my words: When Jehovah's Witnessism collapses, Mormonism will be steam-rolling ahead. It will be the greatest challenge of the decade ahead.
Why? Because it has "authority," a "magisterium," obedience, and money!
Your magazine mentions a converted Presbyterian minister. When I was living in New Zealand, I heard of a young Presbyterian minister who converted to the Catholic Church. That must be quite a leap indeed. I find it hard enough from Anglicanism.
You know, organizations like Catholic Answers will cause crises for Evangelicals particularly if they convert. Former Evangelicals get a tough time from erstwhile brethren (particularly ex-Catholics) who think one [who converts to Catholicism] is being corrupted.
For instance, a few weeks ago I lunched in an Evangelical-run restaurant. They chatted to me and were appalled when I told them I was interested in Catholicism. They sent people to speak to me.
Likewise, I was warned by a lovely Pentecostal couple to keep away from Catholic Masses (I teach in a Catholic school), and they nearly threw me out when I told them I attended the Catholic Palm Sunday Mass. Believe me, it's not easy.
It's like leading a double life. To retain Evangelical fellowship you just keep quiet and sneak into the Catholic church as though it were an adult book store!
I've spent three years training for the Anglican priesthood, and I've been offered a curacy serving under a bishop who's more "Catholic" than the average U.S. Catholic bishop. The ARCIC seems doomed, but maybe the faithful remnant will become a uniate rite linked to Rome.
I feel if I do go now I will desert my church in its struggle against liberalism and miss out on any future ecumenical developments.
I wonder whether my remaining objections to Rome are my own desperate attempts to prevent conversion. I feel uncomfortable with Rome because it seems to be rampant with modernism. However, I see more truth in Catholicism than in Protestantism.
When I saw the illogicality of the Mormon idea of apostasy and restoration (that the true Church disappeared about A.D. 100 and returned in 1830), it suddenly struck me that the Protestant position is not that much better: The Church disappeared in the second century and returned in the sixteenth. I agree with Cardinal Newman: "He who studies history ceases to be Protestant."
Ignore What They Say
Don’t let critics get you down. You're not half as bad as people say--a quarter, maybe, but not half.