September 29, 2006

Letters to the Editor

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Give bishops the freedom to do their jobs well

Should we all stop what we are doing professionally and as Church so we can focus full attention on the crisis of our times? Should interest in normal life events cease?

Isn’t that what some are expecting of bishops and log complaints at them because they are continuing to perform their duties in the area of liturgical reform?

Let’s not be so narrow in our understanding of the role of Church leaders.

Yes, they have the responsibility of leading us in worship. They, like the rest of us, have multiple responsibilities. Check out the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Web site to see what your bishops are up to. There is the social justice campaign, “Faithful Citizenship,” migrants and refugees concerns, ecumenical affairs, pro-life ministries, cultural diversity, family and youth ministries, catechetics, education and formation, evangelization and yes—liturgy!

Hopefully, we are all praying for a resolution to war and terror, but at the same time we continue to do our work, love our families and perform our duties for our Church and communities.

Let’s give the bishops the same freedom to do their jobs well. They need our support and prayers, not our nitpicking.

-Nancy Fahringer, Guilford


Reader: Migration editorial has some serious flaws

I am an avid reader of John F. Fink’s writings and usually share his views. However, his editorial on “Migration and Assimilation” has some serious flaws.

My first point is that I notice that Fink considers it a “threat that Muslims will become dominant throughout Europe.”

Why “threat”? Are not all humans equal? He concedes that there is no such “threat” in our country, “where even most Muslims assimilate into our culture.” Fink is, of course, right. They do assimilate because they are few in number, and their entry is severely limited.

My second point is that assimilation depends on the quantity of the immigrants. European immigration into the Americas just about wiped out the continent’s native population. Anatolia was Greek before Turkmen tribes transformed it into what it is today: Turkey.

In the first century B.C., France was not French but Celtic. Ancient China was a heterogeneous conglomerate of various peoples before it became, well, China. Chinese immigration into the province of Xinjiang transforms this huge piece of land from Turkish-speaking into Chinese-speaking.

One could easily increase the list of similar cases. For the classes I taught at Indiana University, I even created a new word: “to out-baby” the local population.

In our own Midwest, the French were “out baby-ed” by the English speakers. Assimilation into the main national body happens only if the quantity of immigrants is small when compared to the local population.

I have no quarrel with immigrants; I myself am one of them. But if the Latino immigration continues at the present rate, the U.S. will become Spanish-speaking.

Supermarkets in Bloomington (among all places!) carry notices in Spanish; the U.S. is becoming bilingual.

Whether this is “bad” or “good,” a “threat” or just a fact of life, it is not for me to argue in this letter.

-Professor Denis Sinor, Bloomington


‘Under my roof’ is a special place within us

As I read the “Letter to the Editor” in the Sept. 15 issue of The Criterion about the (forthcoming) change of wording at the celebration of Mass, from “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you” to “Lord, I am not worthy that thou should enter under my roof,” it came to me that the person writing didn’t fully understand the meaning of “under my roof.”

It doesn’t mean taking Jesus home to your house. It means taking Jesus into the home of yourself—your body, your mind, your heart, your soul—into the special place within us.

It is a most personal and private place where he can minister to us and, through us, to others.

-Lorene Brancamp, Greensburg


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