July 14, 2017

Letters to the Editor

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

Trying to find a balance to the challenge of climate change that the world faces

The Sisters of Providence of St. Mary‑of-the-Woods championing of the righteous cause of the environment in their June 16 “Letter to the Editor” is to be admired. However their lament for the Paris Climate Accord is misplaced: its costs are huge, and its results are inconsequential. And unlike the sisters’ claims of a consensus on the catastrophic effects of global warming, the science is dubious, so there is much dissent on the topic.

For the sisters, the warming blanket of greenhouse gases principally from carbon released in the burning of fossil fuels is the culprit. Reducing these would “exercise a preferential option for the poor and care for creation” and result in “making the Earth inhabitable for all people.” But most of the Earth in its natural state is barely habitable and requires extensive transformation through the burning of fossil fuels to reduce its threats and utilize its resources.

As for the poor, ask them what they want, and it isn’t windmills. What they do want is what we have in abundance—cheap and reliable sources of energy from fossil fuels. This is not just to fuel their own industrial, technological and agricultural progress but to improve day‑to-day life with refrigerators and stoves. More than 3.1 million people die an early death from indoor air pollution resulting from the burning of dirty fuels like coal, wood and dung. Compare this to the nebulous number of unknown deaths at some time in the future from climate change mentioned by the sisters.

For the economic stagnation and resultant poverty of the Third World poor to end, the use of cheap and reliable sources of energy will be needed and these will be fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. The trade-off is a dirtier environment, but only for a time. Perhaps a heavy investment in green energy research will have yielded results by then.

China is exploring thorium reactors widely believed to be safer than the current ones. Can we not celebrate the fracking revolution and its bounty of natural gas which is one half as polluting as coal? Being resilient and resourceful need not conflict with being good stewards of the earth and grateful for its abundant gifts.

- Colleen Butler, St. Joan of Arc Parish in Indianapolis

Boys and girls can deepen their faith, grow closer to Christ as altar servers

During my three years at St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg, I have been an altar server. I started in this role when I was in fifth grade.

I served as a master of ceremonies ever since Father Vincent Lampert came to our parish and instituted this idea. This position serves as a mentor and leader to other altar servers. At times, I served weekly for months in a row.

I have served at school Masses, Sunday Masses and, recently, at funerals. Through my time altar serving, Father Vince as well as Father David Marcotte, Father Jegan Peter, Deacon Daniel Collier and Deacon Richard Renzi have not only instructed me as a server, but have taught me more about the meaning of the Mass.

Altar serving has taught me how to be a leader, as well as how to problem-solver when a mistake happens during the Mass. Being a part of the Mass in this role has instilled in me a deeper reverence for the Eucharist.

Additionally, I felt I was being called to deepen my relationship with God and requested permission to begin catechesis at home in preparation for the sacrament of confirmation, which I received in sixth grade.

Overall, altar serving has greatly influenced my faith as well as my relationship with Christ and others. I strongly encourage other young boys and girls to consider commitment to this service to the Church.

You will be blessed because of it!

- Ben Sanders, Indianapolis

Helping others help themselves guides society’s efforts toward the poor

This is in response to the letter to the editor in the June 9 Criterion in which the writer takes issue with the article, “Catholic leaders find proposed federal budget largely fails the moral test,” in the June 2 issue of The Criterion.

The writer makes admirable points about overcoming a disadvantaged childhood in which he, his family and, in particular, his father refused to let determine their lives. Likewise, he credits welfare and food stamp programs being helpful in a time of need.

Opinions can be perception. Not long ago, then-Indianapolis Archbishop [Joseph W.] Tobin, in one of his weekly columns for The Criterion, argued for a transitional approach to helping the poor. The Indianapolis Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul took him up on it. The council works on the principle of “helping others help themselves.”

You can see this approach for yourself. Visit the council’s Mission 27 Resale store. Hear the witness of the volunteers who get to know personally the clients. Better yet, listen to the clients themselves. Observe classes in the “Changing Lives Forever” program as the well-prepared trainers teach clients to pull themselves out of poverty through wise decision making. You can see the hope in the eyes of the graduates. Mission 27 sales fund the “Changing Lives” program.

Unfortunately, not all programs are self-funded. The bishops don’t advocate throwing money at problems. They just have a problem with cutting funding for worthwhile programs.

- Terry Daley, Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish in Indianapolis

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