Your Opinion: Response to Thompson on Catholic Church

Dear Editor:

This is in response to the letter to the editor entitled “Pope personifies return to humility.”

Ms. Thompson, your traditionalist defense of religious symbolism in the Roman Catholic church seems to indicate that you regard these externals as sacrosanct.

Many view the Church differently. Like Franciscan Richard Rohr, “the marrow of the gospels” and Jesus’ teaching on non-violence, simplicity and healing those on the fringes inspire me more than symbolism or tradition.

Many think of the Apostolic era in a very sanitized and romanticized way. In truth, there was as much dispute and contention as there is today.

I understand that many traditionalists are scandalized that Pope Francis broke with tradition in washing the feet of juveniles at a detention center; two of them were women (gasp) and one a Serbian Muslim. In the Abrahamic tradition Christians, Muslims and Jews are children of the same God. I have yellowed news clipping of Pope John Paul II kissing a copy of the Koran.

The harshest words of Jesus were reserved for the legalistic, arrogant, hypocritical religious leaders of his day, calling some “whitewashed sepulchers.” I doubt that the message has changed; the term could be applied to the countless abuses against children. Since women are not prone to such behavior, it has been suggested that the number of these atrocities would have been drastically reduced through history had women had been allowed as clergy. Seriously of the two which is the greater sin?

Ms Thompson, it is difficult to view the color red as a symbol of martyrdom when viewing Google images of the ego-driven investiture of Cardinal Raymond Burke as a Prince of the Church. Along with other trappings of royalty of special atrocity is Burke in his red Capa Magna great cape trailing 15 feet behind him; the ends carried by an attendant as befitting the emperor, Charlemagne.

There is a belief that liturgical garb dates back 2000 years. It seems evident that prior to the time of Constantine, Christians mostly worshipped in house churches and wore simple attire.

Many of us recall the financial sacrifices made by people of Freeburg for their historic church. In spite of their importance to these people, altars as Freeburg were forcefully removed to reflect a simpler church. Church leaders would do well to scale down some of their symbols of power in favor of humility and authenticity.

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