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Church should be worship-time, not single-issue tests
Public Forum.jpg

To the editor:

Every human-being is a sinner. The only man who walked the face of the earth who committed no sin was Jesus Christ. I have read several articles in the news about the recent squabbling among Roman Catholic bishops, archbishops, and even Cardinals over the issue of denying Communion to elected politicians whose voting records support the practice of abortion. This in-fighting among Catholic Clergy is unseemly.

As a Roman Catholic myself, I fully understand the opinions on both sides of this debate. For the record, I consider myself “pro-life” from conception until Old-Age death. I believe every human life is sacred.

However, when it comes to the Eucharist (the Communion bread), I agree with the sentiments of Pope Francis in that the “Eucharist is the bread of sinners, not the reward of saints.” If only spotless, saintly people stepped forward, there would be no need for anyone to go to church, if they already gloated about their positive assurance of their own self-salvation. Make no mistake, I have the hope and prayer that I am going to Heaven when I pass on from this mortal life. However, I don’t want to exhibit an egotistical or haughty hubris that I think my eternal fate is guaranteed or “in the bag.” I wish to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I wish to be humble and meek.

Perhaps the most pivotal aspect is that I regard the Sabbath Day to be Holy. For most Christians, that is Sunday (although some Christians observe it on Saturday). Technically, we even get our word “Saturday” from the Hebrew root word “Shabbat.” On a serious, yet humorous note, our  calendars which we in Western Nations read from left to right, places Saturday as the end-day on each lined-out week. As we all know, Almighty God rested on the seventh day. It was His Commandment to keep that day holy.

For me, no matter which day a person observes, that day is dedicated to worshiping our Creator and Redeemer. As a Roman Catholic and a Trinitarian Christian, it is incumbent on me to worship The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. When I go to Mass, I go to church to pray and to partake of the sacred rites. Each of us prays that we are “worthy.” That judgment really resides in every person’s own heart. Four words describe the attributes of Almighty God. 

First, Omniscience means that God is all-knowing. Secondly, God is Omnipresent, meaning everywhere at all times. Thirdly, God is Omnipotent or all-powerful. Fourth and lastly, God has an omnibenevolent nature, meaning that “God is good.” That doesn’t mean that Almighty God cannot be angry at sins or upset if we put idols or other gods before Him; yet overall, God is patient, kind and forgiving.

Even in our Apostles’ Creed we parishioners of various denominations state that we believe in “the forgiveness of sins” and the hope for life everlasting. While I fully realize every church has rules, doctrine, and dogma, I am mindful that estrangement doesn’t accomplish much. It isn’t “medicinal.” Often when people are spurned or ostracized, the chances of reconciliation decrease to nearly nil chances. 

My point is: Every priest or bishop has a multitude of ministerial duties, from comforting the ill, burying the dead and helping the downtrodden. Catholic Charities is a great example of uplifting efforts. I don’t want the bishops so angry with each other that they inadvertently make the Catholic Church a “one issue” denomination. 

James A. Marples