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Who's worthy?

THANK YOU FOR THE WONDERFUL JUNE SOUNDING Board ("Let's stop posting bouncers at the table of the Lord" by Meinrad Scherer-Emunds). It is my passion that we move toward a church that does not judge the worthiness of those who approach the table. I see this as spiritual deprivation--withholding the very essence of what we Catholics believe to be the essential nourishment of our souls.

I cannot imagine a loving God who would be pleased with our eucharistic insensitivity. Nor can I imagine that all those who saunter up to receive Communion every Sunday are more worthy than those condemned to sit in the pews. I believe it is our unworthiness--no exemptions here--that brings us collectively to wholeness and healing at the table.

Carrie Kemp West St. Paul, Minn.

I cannot believe what I just read in my June issue of U.S. CATHOLIC. I am a 37-year-old cradle Catholic who attends daily Mass because I want to receive Jesus in the most blessed sacrament and be part of the holy sacrifice of the Mass. I truly believe that He is present--body, blood, soul, and divinity--in the Eucharist and that He sustains me on this journey on earth until I will be with Him in His Kingdom.

I also believe that all Christians should be able to receive the Lord in the Eucharist, however, they must be aware of what they are receiving if they do. That is why our church is set up in such a wonderful way that those who are not Catholic cannot receive. I have never met a non-Catholic Christian who truly understands what the Eucharist is. It is obvious to me from your article that there are a lot of Catholics who don't as well, especially the writer.

If non-Catholic Christians want to receive the Holy Eucharist, then they should become educated about what it is and become Catholic.

Paula Ryan Plymouth, Mass.

The June Sounding Board was, in my opinion, another strong indication that a number of people who term themselves Catholics have chosen to ignore some very basic tenets of our faith as Catholics. They have allowed themselves to be swallowed up in a touchy-feely humanism that strikes at the very basic beliefs of Catholicism.

It is a cause for sadness and a call to return to our roots as Catholics. We supposedly believe the words of consecration effect this mystical and mysterious change. It does indeed separate us from our brother Christians. Should we apologize for this and dilute it so as to not offend others?

Eamon Magee via e-mail

As I just finished reading Meinrad Scherer-Emunds' article on the topic of intercommunion between Christians, it led me to ponder how I felt on the subject. I am 19 years old and have been a baptized Catholic for roughly over two years now.

When I first became fascinated with religion and Catholicism, I began attending Mass at a local parish, and my friends always informed me I could not "get the wafer." I was baptized on April 4, 1998. Now that I was "in," I wanted the Eucharist more than anything. I did not receive some euphoric experience but a peace that is indescribable. It was only after I had exhaustively read and studied the catechism on the Eucharist that I could appreciate the value of the host. It was then that I thought I understood why there is no intercommunion.

Last week this all changed. I attended the services of a local Greek Orthodox Church. When I approched the priest to receive Communion, he asked me, "What is your name?" I replied "Ryan." Then he asked, "Are you Orthodox, Ryan?" I replied, "No, I am Roman Catholic." He quickly put the spoon back into the chalice and said, "We do not perform intercommunion, but I offer you my blessing." Little comfort that gave.

I walked back to my seat feeling like an intruder, as if I was not welcome in God's house. I felt like screaming at the priest, who meant well, and saying, "I love Jesus too, why won't you let me have Him?" Suddenly it all clicked and I began to understand the ecumenical intercommunion effort.

This kind of experience can turn people against the church, against Christ. When the Greek-Orthodox priest refused my Communion, I knew that this is not what Christ would want. I believe Christ is embarrassed every time someone is refused Communion.

How did Communion get so caught up in politics and dogma?

If we believe in our hearts that the wine and wafer have become Christ, then we should never allow any dogma or political situation to stop us.

Ryan Chegwin Los Gatos, Calif.

A day to remember

The photo story "Another side of paradise" by Mimi Forsyth (June) reminded me of one of the most memorable days of my life, one that was spent at Kalaupapa on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. As a child, I had rolled bandages for the lepers, but never, until my visit there, did I realize the ravages of the disease.

In her aptly titled article, Forsyth brought back all of the emotions I felt that day. It is impossible to visit Kalaupapa and not be deeply moved by the great sacrifices made by the residents and their caregivers.

In her photographs, Forsyth captured the raw, rugged beauty of the area. In her text, she conveyed the spirit of unselfish dedication that the three Franciscan sisters have to their patients, carrying on the tradition of caring of Father Damien and Mother Marianne.

MaryAnne Long Hauula, Hawaii

Food for vengeance

Sister Camille D'Arienzo gets to the heart of the matter in her article "Stop this in memory of me" (June).

Jesus came to urge us to become perfect as God is--to see things as God does, to love the way God does. Just punishment and retribution are elements of true and sometimes tough love.

But hatred, revenge, and vengeance do indeed kill our spirit by blinding our eyes and hardening our hearts so that we don't see and relate to others the way God does. Capital punishment gives every evidence of feeding vengeance--and so we are co-opted into the evil we wish to decrease or stop.

Special thanks to D'Arienzo and all who help us grow in much needed insight and wisdom.

Sister Mary Schmuck, R.S.M. Brooklyn, N.Y.

Saving grace

Peter Gilmour's excellent article, "Global warming: The world's religions challenge each other to repair the world" (May), makes me wish I had had the resources to send a representative from the United Methodist Reporter to cover the Parliament of the World's Religions.

Having just finished our coverage of the United Methodist Church's General Conference--our denomination's international legislative body--I was especially struck by Gilmour's query: "Who brings salvation and redemption to the institutions of religious and spiritual traditions? Can these organizations redeem themselves?"

It was quite obvious to observers during the General Conference that the United Methodist Church was mired in the irrelevant minutiae of institutionalism that Gilmour so vividly portrays. I found his proposed solution to this dilemma--that religious institutions extend redemption to one another by supporting mutual accountability for repairing the world--to be a word of hope in the doleful aftermath of our United Methodist gathering.

I plan to use Gilmour's suggestion as a guideline for our ecumenical news coverage between now and 2004--when, God willing, a staff member of the Reporter will be in attendance.

Cynthia B. Astle, editor United Methodist Reporter Dallas

Glimpses of faith

I was very interested in Catherine Wallace's article "Accidental evangelist" (May). In fact, I was delighted. She is a splendid writer. She also has glimpsed what it means to be a person of the faith. For those of us who try with determination to study the doctrines, the dogmas, and the creeds, she has a way of calling us back to the essence of the faith.

Sheri Curry Tulsa, Okla.

Catherine Wallace's "Accidental evangelist" proves that being exceptionally bright and exceptionally well-educated is no barrier to belief.

Wallace's faith is an "earned" thing, and her ability to touch others by the candor and clarity of that faith is living proof of how foolish the church has been in closing off the pulpit, confessional, and altar to women.

Saint Paul was perceptive when he said "faith comes through hearing" (fides ex auditu). Those who "listen" to Katie in her article will find much to enlighten and strengthen their faith.

Father Phil Rule, S.J. Worcester, Mass.

"Accidental Evangelist" may be a little misleading as the title of Catherine M. Wallace's article in the May issue. I know of no more an intentional evangelist than she.

In her life and work Wallace reminds us that there are few accidents and countless opportunities to say with the simplest words or gestures, "God loves you."

Father Robert Horine Lexington, Ky.
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Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Aug 1, 2000
Words:1478
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