December 13, 2013

Letters to the Editor

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No letters were printed this week; here are the letters from two weeks ago:

Morning Prayer is a great way to start your day in a centered fashion

Thank you for publishing John Fink’s recent Year of Faith column on the Liturgy of the Hours in the Nov. 15 issue of The Criterion.

He educates your readers about the nature and value of lay participation in the Liturgy of the Hours, and I wanted to thank him for his advice. I also want to give your readers personal witness to the value and impact of his advocacy.

I first learned about Morning Prayer, a specific component of the Liturgy of the Hours, through an article that Fink wrote in The Criterion more than 22 years ago (“The breviary for laypeople? Yes, indeed” in the Aug. 30, 1991, issue).

I then began regular attendance at Morning Prayer every weekday, from 7 to 7:20 a.m., in the presence of the Franciscans at Sacred Heart Church on the near south side of Indianapolis. The timing and location were just right to finish prayer and start my work, then as a scientist at Eli Lilly in downtown Indianapolis.

After I took early retirement from Lilly and no longer had a need to travel downtown in the morning, we started a Morning Prayer group in the Bosler Chapel at St. Thomas Aquinas Church at 46th and Illinois streets in Indianapolis. It meets every weekday from 7:30 to 7:50 a.m.

This December, it will be 10 years since we started our group. Anyone is welcome to join us at St. Thomas, on a regular or occasional basis, and become familiar with Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours.

If our location and time is not convenient, I am sure the Franciscans would also welcome laypeople to their morning prayer at Sacred Heart. Interested individuals might also contact the Benedictive sisters at Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove to see if they could attend their Morning Prayer. This is a great way to start your day in a centered fashion.

Thank you, John, for bringing Morning Prayer into our lives.

- Bill Scott | Indianapolis

Constitution’s Establishment Clause not meant to be controversial, reader says

As the Supreme Court today once again faces arguments regarding the real meaning of the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause, I remain astonished that such a simple, clearly stated statement is still so controversial.

The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free practice thereof,” reflected an historical perspective of European citizens cruelly ruled by oppressive, church-dominated national governments. As such, this clause should be easily understood without much question.

The key word here is clearly “establishment,” which by any sense of the English language implies a national, statutory requirement of allegiance to a specific religious belief with serious economic and personal well-being consequences for non-compliance.

The continuing arguments against school prayer, invocations asking God to guide our legislative deliberations, Christmas displays, asking a higher power (however defined) for protection, etc. come nowhere close to violating this First Amendment clause because, most fundamentally, there is absolutely no national, legal mandate and no consequences for the non-believer.

It might be noted that more than one of our non-believer founders had no trouble with engraving supplication to God into our Declaration of Independence and other significant federal statements, some of which remain engraved on federal buildings to this day. Our current dilemma clearly derives from ignorance of European and national history.

There are understandably atheists, non-Christians, Muslims, believers in celestial gods, tree huggers and others who may be offended by simple prayer to a higher power, but they suffer little consequence other than being offended.

Unfortunately for such, the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a right not to be offended.

- David A. Nealy | Greenwood

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