The meaning of a Catholic business
SIR – Christopher Altieri, in the cover story of the June 14 edition entitled “The other scandal”, mentions, among other things, an erroneous mentality held by many in the Church that the role of the laity is to “pray, pay and obey”. Here I wish to elaborate on the true role of the laity which is “to sanctify the temporal order”.
To sanctify the temporal order means to bring Christ into every field of human activity: culture, science, education, business, etc. In other words, ask yourself: How would Jesus do my job? How would He do other things such as the promotion of the arts, scientific research, or education? Let’s go deeper into the final example of business. Just imagine, if Jesus were the CEO of a company, how would He run it? (Take your time) The answer is: A Catholic business.
A Catholic business is a group of lay faithful who, with the proper assistance, join forces to make a living together. Their relationships are centered in Christ. They see themselves as a family of disciples of Jesus, and as such they help each other to live lives with dignity and to follow the Lord.
To be part of a Catholic business means that you have a boss and co-workers who care about you. Tell me if that kind of love would not transform everyone who became associated with that business. Tell me if that isn’t a beautiful way to sanctify the temporal order.
God bless the laity.
Fr Juan Villagómez SOLT
Dover, New Jersey
Why parishes don’t go on pilgrimage
SIR – The decline in organised parish pilgrimages (“Taking control”, June 14) is another consequence of lapsation and mobility.
As the tide of lapsation since the Second Vatican Council continues, there is a pro-rata decrease in parishioners availing themselves of the organised pilgrimage opportunity.
Mobility has increased the tendency among the faithful to choose a church for their Mass attendance – for a variety of reasons, including escaping cringe-worthy Liturgy in favour of better or the Traditional Latin Mass, attendance at which is increasing, whilst attendance at Mass in the Ordinary Form is declining. These faithful are less likely to regard themselves as parishioners.
In managing the availability of priests, Bishops are grouping parishes into one, thus further diluting the concept of the parish as a community – those frequenting their preferred church in a “grouped” parish are less likely to participate at other churches within that group – the majority of the faithful limit their weekly activity to attendance at Sunday Mass.
A parish pilgrimage can occur, realistically, annually at best. This obviously doesn’t suit everyone. Individuals couples and families taking holidays which can include visiting a shrine, can account for the increasing popularity of ‘private’ pilgrimages.
Lights not bubbles
SIR – I find Fr Raymond de Souza’s repeated use of the term “worldly” to criticise the content of Pope Francis’s interview conversations very revealing, especially as he contrasts “worldly” with “theological and spiritual” (Comment, June 7).
Theology and spirituality do not exist in a sanitised bubble. They are the lights which guide us as we struggle to be disciples of Jesus in the chaos of everyday life. Fr de Souza may not have noticed that the majority of Catholics live in the real world and that therefore the Holy Father’s comments on issues such as violence against women, migrants and refugees, or irregular marriages are most helpful.
Speaking for myself, I think most of us would prefer a pope who is an engineer to one who is a theoretical physicist.
Harrogate, North Yorkshire
SIR – The Catholic Herald of June 21 refers twice to the Extraordinary Form of Mass being of the type celebrated by martyrs executed under Henry VIII (St John Fisher and Blessed Adrian Fortescue).
The Mass these martyrs would have been familiar with might have been in Latin but it was the Sarum not the Tridentine which was not published until 1570, more than 30 years after King Henry’s death.
Our history as English Catholics is important and should not be confused by basic errors.
Dr John Canning
Briarfield, Marton in Cleveland
The age of outrage
SIR – Ann Widdecombe perfectly encapsulates the trend of the modern era of pseudo-outrage and the twisting of ordinary statements. I was surprised however by her admonition to St Paul: “…but you weren’t living in 21st Century Britain.” We may get fed to the metaphorical lions in the media, but I think we are a long way short of the persecutions of Nero!
I suspect St Paul today would live up to his words “we believe and therefore speak”. And so should we (as indeed Ms Widdecombe does) with courtesy, kindness, truth and love.
Correct the myths and mis-conceptions, stand by what is true and should it come to it, rely on the Holy Spirit to speak when you doubt yourself. I do not agree with all that Jacob Rees-Mogg says, but it is well worth watching him deal with a hostile interviewer trying to catch him out, especially on matters of faith. He is unfailingly polite, maintains his poise and inevitably exposes the interviewer’s loaded brief.
Now, more than ever, we who believe must speak.
Stalybridge, Greater Manchester
A lesser-known apparition
SIR – Last week’s “Image of the Week”, of the Sorbian Pilgrimage, was especially interesting. So, too, was the picture of the stunning black-and-white gothic basilica of Las Lajas in Colombia. The first time I saw a photo of that basilica, I thought it was a black and white photo with the green painted in. Not so!
A pity, though, that you didn’t mention the most stunning thing about the Las Lajas apparition site: the beautiful miraculous image left behind by the Virgin on the rock wall of the cave of the apparition. A German geologist who took a drill to it discovered that the image penetrates the hard rock on which it appears to a depth of a metre and more. On that basis it must surely rank with the image of Guadalupe, though it is comparatively little known.
Arms and the man
SIR – I was intrigued by the photograph in your pages (June 7) of a priest celebrating the Extraordinary Rite with his arms wide apart. This is all wrong. A priest, celebrating Mass before Vatican II would be familiar with the liturgical vade mecum, Fortescue & O’Connell, which insists that a priest extends his hands “at about the height and width of the shoulder, the palms facing one another”.
Revd Dr Peter Phillips
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