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Voices Online Edition
Vol. XVIII: No. 3 - Michaelmas 2003

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor are not published on line. Below is a sampling of letters received. For information on receiving Voices, please see the Join Page.

About Letters ... We are very glad to get your letters, and we read each one. We print as many as we can, and give preference to those of widest interest. We encourage questions on issues concerning Catholic women and welcome all comments you have about Voices and Women for Faith & Family. All published letters may be edited. Please include your name and address (which may be withheld on request). If your letter is not intended for publication, please tell us. Letters may also be e-mailed.

Sample Letters to the Editor and Editor's response:
Thanks for Being Faithful -- On Vocations -- Last Vocation -- Keep Voices Going -- Parish "Ministries" -- Talking About "Talking About Touching" -- On Growing Old Gracefully -- Preserving Sacred Art -- Young Writers -- It Takes All Kinds -- Medicine & Morality -- Catholic Teaching Materials -- New Mailing Label?
On Vocations
I happened to pick up my mother's copy of Voices -- Vocations issue -- and started to read. Let me say, as someone who is hoping to enter the seminary, that it was some of the best vocational material I've seen.

It not only reminded me of why I want to serve our Lord, it stirred my heart to love Jesus more. Keep up the good work. Pray for me, if possible.

Tim Naples
Oneonta, New York

Last Vocation
My sympathy on the death of Anne Connell -- yet another advocate with the Lord. Coming up on 82, I appreciated the "Last Vocation". God Bless.

Bishop Thomas J. Welsh
(emeritus - Allentown)
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Keep Voices Going
Please keep on printing -- I'm deaf and 86 but I can hear you!

The Ryans
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Parish "Ministries"
Thank you for the fine article by Joanna Bogle ("Being Church" Lent-Easter 2003) regarding a survey of questions given to a parish. One question concerned the "ministry" of parish members. I think the Vatican, in some document in the 1990s specifically settled this issue by stating and I am quoting from memory ... the priest and other clergy have ministries, laymen and women have apostolates.

Patricia Cornell
Northern California

The Vatican document on questions concerning non-ordained Catholics who collaborate in the Sacred ministry of priests (Latin title: Ecclesiae de Mysterio), was issued jointly by eight offices of the Holy See on August 15, 1997. It stresses that the so-called "ministries" of laypersons should never be confused with the ministry of the clergy. Although "apostolate", meaning the work of persons dedicated to promoting the mission of the Church, was a term commonly used by Catholics, whereas "ministers" generally referred to Protestant clergymen, the word does not appear in the 1997 document. However, it does say that the proper term for a lay person who may be asked by the priest to distribute Holy Communion is "extraordinary minister of the Eucharist", not "Eucharistic minister" (the ordinary minister is always the priest). It also lists some terms inappropriate for laity. The main purpose was intended to clearly distinguish the role of non-ordained faithful from that of priests.

Talking About "Talking About Touching"
We so appreciated the coverage on Growing in Love ("Talking about Love..." Lent-Easter 2003). Maybe someone will listen and act. We have sent letters to bishops on other programs. We keep trying.

Re: Talking about Touching: I was an official observer at the 1977 International Women's Year meeting in Houston. It was totally controlled by Bella Abzug ($50 million from President Carter -- no pro-lifers need apply).

A group called COYOTE ( "Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics") was very active at the Houston meeting -- fanatic liberals. We have read that this group helped to write the Talking about Touching program!

M. Rita Burke
Cohasset, Massachusetts


According to the COYOTE Los Angeles web site, "COYOTE was founded in 1973 to work for the repeal of the prostitution laws and an end to the stigma associated with sexual work".

The group has changed its name and focus at least twice. A June 1, 2003 story in Catholic World Report states that the Talking about Touching curriculum

was funded by the State of Washington and produced by the Seattle-based Committee for Children. This committee is a non-profit organization that grew out of 1970s group called "Judicial Advocates for Women", which itself originally grew out of Seattle COYOTE, and whose initial mission was to 'educate the public about the realities of prostitution'.

The entire text of the Catholic World Report article can be read online at:

Catholic Teaching Materials

Please let me know of your opinion of the Faith First program for CCD -- I know little about it, only that it is recommended by our diocese resource center -- and that doesn't always say a lot.

Ms. Katie Janney
6th grade CCD teacher
Deer Lodge, Montana

Faith First is a series of texts published by "Resources for Christian Living". We have not reviewed it, but on their web site ( they offer review materials to qualified parish catechists.

We regret that it impossible for us to keep up with all the requests for information we receive; but WFF Editorial Board member Margaret Whitehead, a Director of Religious Education for a large parish in Virginia, is familiar with many catechetical materials.

Here is what she had to say on the topic of resources for teaching the Catholic faith to children:

It would be a very expensive and time-consuming operation to get copies of all the books and teachers' manuals and resources, especially since these books are revised frequently.

However, most of the religion textbooks now in use have some consistent deficiencies. In fact, in 1997, Archbishop Daniel Buechlein (Indianapolis) and the Ad Hoc Committee To Oversee the Use of the Catechism put out a list of ten major deficiencies found in most catechisms.

The ten major deficiencies the committee listed are: 1) insufficient attention to the Trinity and the Trinitarian structure of Catholic beliefs and teachings; 2) obscured presentation of the centrality of Christ in salvation history and insufficient emphasis on the divinity of Christ; 3) indistinct treatment of the ecclesial context of Catholic beliefs and magisterial teachings; 4) inadequate sense of a distinctively Christian anthropology; 5) insufficient emphasis on God's initiative in the world with a corresponding overemphasis on human action; 6) insufficient recognition of the transforming effects of grace; 7) inadequate presentation of the Sacraments; 8) deficient teaching on original sin and sin in general; 9) meager exposition of Christian moral life; 10) inadequate presentation of eschatology.

Since 1997, most, if not all, of the major series have been revised and re-named. Superficial changes have been made to accommodate the Ad Hoc Committee, but the emphasis is still very much on a community -- and action-centered approach to the Faith. The Catholic Faith is basically presented as a world-wide charitable organization and the Mass is a community meal. The Sacraments are seen as things we (the community) do, and not as saving actions of Jesus. Most students would probably come away from class believing that it's more important to help out in a soup kitchen than to get to heaven. Jesus is presented as a wonderful friend and model but not as our Savior. The concept of sin is very dimly presented and original sin, hardly at all.

Since 1997, the textbooks that I have seen (and I haven't seen all of them and some are better than others) often will have an occasional accurate reference to correct teaching, but the emphasis is on the deficient approach so clearly outlined by the Ad Hoc Committee.

We would welcome reviews of catechetical materials from our experienced readers, by the way. [E-mail us]

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