Reactions to the Usual Homily

Dear Father, ††

My son and I liked your ususal homily, but we understood it differently. He says you were trying to explain why it is not important to go to Mass or even be a Catholic. He has concluded that one religion is just as good as another. I told him that cannot be what you mean since you are a Catholic priest. Please help. ††

A concerned parent †

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Dear Father, ††

I am hardly in a position to criticize a priest, but I did notice some contradictions in your usual homily:

1.You spoke about the importance of tolerance, but you do not seem very tolerant of Jehovah Witnesses, Fundamentalists and "conservative Catholics." †

2.†You talked about avoiding rules and regulations, but you seemed to have a lot of "shoulds" and "musts". E.g. we must stop judging. We should never try to convert someone else.

3.We need to respect diversity, but there is no difference between any of us. †

Also it does not seem to me that Adolph Hitler is a good example of "lack of self-esteem." If anyone got loads of "affirmation" and "unconditional acceptance," he did. †

I am sorry to bring up these points, but is the important thing whether something makes one feel comfortable or whether it is true? † †

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† I am confused about the "spirit of Vatican II." I bought a CD-Rom with all the Vatican II documents and did a search. I could not find where it said "all religions are good" and "each one is a valid path to God." I did find references to elements of truth in other religions, but at the same time a clear statement that Jesus is the one source of salvation and that the Body of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church. Also I found a couple references that the pope has full teaching authority even if he does not proclaim something infallibly. What is this "spirit of Vatican II"? It seems to be free floating and not anchored in the actual teachings of that Council or even the Bible. †

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Dear Father, ††

I am not a scripture scholar, but I must question a couple of your Bible quotes. Your citation of Luke 12, 19 was taken out of context. The guy who had things stored up for years to come and then said to himself, "relax, donít worry," was the "rich fool." Jesus was using him as an example of false confidence which caused him to lose his very soul. ††

Also, Father, I do not understand how you can conclude that what matters most to Jesus are our feelings: whether we feel sorry for others ("compassion") or whether we feel comfortable with ourselves (self-acceptance, avoiding negative thinking). Reading the New Testament I noticed clear statements by Jesus that salvation requires keeping the (ten) commandments (Mk 10, 19) and, above all, believing in him (Mt 10, 32). Also it seems hard to get around the corrolary that believing him involves believing his church (Lk 10, 16) and receiving the sacraments (Jn 6,53). †

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† Dear Father, ††

I am a college student and I appreciate your saying women do not want to be stepped on or put on a pedestal (although sometimes thatís nice). However, speaking personally, I like a guy to be courteous, open doors, help carry things, etc. Also, I have to admit I love flowers, even though I have an allergy. I do dream about a guy who will protect me Ė and what I most think about is having a baby of my own. Am I crazy? †

† Rose Flores †

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I notice you talk a lot about accepting people who have different "lifestyles," particularly about not judging homosexuals. At the same time you do not say much about the moral issues involved. Is this equivocation deliberate?

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† Dear Father, †

I have been trying to follow your advice about not proselytizing, but instead being so good that people will be attracted to Christ and the Catholic Church. But it seems like the harder I try, the more I bungle it. Sometimes I don't control my temper and I know my outbursts are a real turn-off. Also I'm aware of a darkness inside me that if others knew, it would scandalize them. I get so discouraged I want to say, "Go ahead and join the Evangelicals." Maybe they (or the Mormons or the Adventists) could help more than I can. What should I do?

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Dear Father,

That was the best homily I ever heard. Could you give it every Sunday?

S.Toybro Meando

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Dear Father,

Please give credit where credit is due. The ideas expressed in your usual homily can all be found on our editorial pages.

Sam Olstuf
Assistant Editor, Seattle Times

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Personal Reflection (Taking off the mask.)

Less Usual Homilies

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