The Editor: I want to congratulate the Prairie Messenger for the issue of Feb. 1. I spend over two hours reading it!
It reported and commented on so many good words and good actions in the church and the wider Christian community and, in this manner, fostered openness to others, the desire for justice and resistance to “the globalization of indifference” (Pope Francis). — Gregory Baum, Montreal
The Editor: Rev. Ron Rolheiser’s Jan. 18 column “In Exile” was entitled “We need to be more careful about term ‘mortal sin’ and our judgments.”
The truth of not being able to judge anyone is well laid out in Rolheiser’s article. What is not clear to me is the relevance of the criteria for behaviour as formulated in “external ecclesial church rules” as Rolheiser calls them — such as the requirement to attend mass on Sunday.
I am left to question whether rules such as mass attendance on Sunday are really relevant because they are “external” and formulated by the “church.” Does the church have any authority to impose such rules on Catholics? Is the church relevant to our lives?
I suspect that when the church formulated the external rule regarding mass attendance on Sunday it was in some way with God’s love for us in mind and his offering of himself for us in the sacrifice of the mass. His invitation was: “Do this in memory of me.” His words were: “My body is real food and my blood is real drink” and “Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man, you can have no part with me.”
I suspect that the church at one time saw in these words of Jesus the penultimate meaning of the Sunday mass as the way chosen by Jesus to unite us to himself and his Father’s Love, Life, Light and Truth, i.e., to Jesus himself. What a tragedy that the ultimate gift of God’s love for us in the eucharist is not understood in this way, and that we could dismiss the Sunday eucharist as merely another external ecclesial church rule.
If faith in the Sunday eucharist is the source of our daily life outside of the mass, then this external ecclesial rule is very relevant. How tragic it would be if those who lead us in our Catholic faith no longer see the relevance of mass attendance on Sunday. — Paul Burgoyne, Roseisle, Man.