No understanding of Catholic teaching

 I was saddened to see how far Chris Britt has gone in his editorial cartoon making fun of Bishop Paprocki (July 24). It is clear that Britt has no understanding of Catholic teaching. Mary Keldermans placed herself outside of communion (excommunicated) with the Catholic Church by attempting to be ordained as a priest. By her own admissions, published in the Illinois Times article the week before [see “Woman priest defies Catholic diocese,” by Patrick Yeagle, July 17], she indicated she couldn’t accept certain teachings of the church. Bishop Paprocki has formally stated what Mary Keldermans has done to herself, as far as the Catholic Church is concerned. Despite what Keldermans has said, she has advocated and led others to a separation from the church.

Furthermore, Bishop Paprocki has never made any statements, nor has he ever taught, that God is “vengeful” and “despises the gays,” etc. For Chris Britt to even imply such should bring shame to IT and lead to doubts about its journalistic integrity. Such statements only impress the idea further that Britt (and possibly IT staff) have no idea in regards to authentic Catholic teaching. It is possible to love the sinner while hating the sin; and sin will always be sin, in spite of those who try to gloss it over or ignore it and its consequences.

Similarly with the article regarding Mary Keldermans, the author shows no understanding of authentic Catholic teaching. For Keldermans to say that the Mass is simply “a prayer” shows her lack of understanding and faith. The Mass certainly includes prayers, but the focus is the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. Her idea that anyone can say the words is a sad commentary on her understanding of what Catholics truly believe happens at Mass. If Keldermans believes that society should be what determines teaching, perhaps she should become a member of the Church of England, where the government determines what is taught and believed, as well as who teaches it.

Keldermans does not help the faithful when she keeps insisting that she is a Catholic priest. Just as she can wear vestments and say words, I can wear a military uniform with medals and call myself a war hero; in both instances, the truth is not being told, and a disservice is done to those who want to believe.

Britt’s comments about cleaning up the child-rape scandals are just as bad. If one were to follow his logic, then there must be no such scandals in public or private schools, in other Christian communities, or other religious denominations. One needs only to read the news to see the fallacy in Britt’s statement.

I pray that some day Keldermans sees the discord she has sown in the community. I pray that she focuses not on herself, but on the teachings of Christ and his church. I pray that she some day soon returns to the church and to the faith into which she was baptized. I truly hope that those who think they hate the Catholic Church or want to change her would only take the time to actually read, study and listen to her teachings.

Larry Smith of Springfield works for the State Board of Education. He writes: “I came into full communion with the Catholic Church as an adult some 26 years ago; I have been active in my parishes, having served as a Reader, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, co-chair of a parish liturgy committee, RCIA team member (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) and more. I am married, with two daughters (one a special education teacher in the area; the other a sophomore in high school); my wife (whom I met at a church retreat) is retired from Springfield District 186. In 2009, after five years of study, I was ordained as a Permanent Deacon for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. I was assigned to the Cathedral Church of the Immaculate Conception that same year.”

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