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Editorial: A revolution of love

Editorial: A revolution of love

Two days after counterprotestors clashed with white nationalists at an “alt-right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Washington Post ran an article about the science behind racism. “Why are people still racist?” the headline asked. Two scientists, one a social psychologist and the other a psychology professor at New York University, hypothesized that the answer can be found in one’s environment. “People learn to be whatever their society and culture teaches them,” one said, adding later: “The only way to change bias is to change culture. You have to change what is acceptable in society.” The reasoning in itself is not unsound, but as people of faith, the culture change we seek is different from the one the two scientists envision. Our change is more revolutionary, going much deeper than the secularist goal of fostering a culture of inclusivity. Instead, our challenge is to foster a culture in which every person is able to flourish in accordance with his or her inherent dignity as one loved by God and created in his image — one in which individuals submit with joy to the will of God and love neighbors as themselves. This, we know, is easier said than done. But the forces catapulting us toward the crossroads of healing or death are real, and they’re not going away. Charlottesville is only the latest manifestation of that reality, one that carries within its folds the heavy weights of Paris, Brussels, Orlando, San Bernardino, Newtown, Charleston, Berlin, Nice, Boston, 9/11 and so many more sites of violence and unrest. Action is imperative, and as Christians, we must be the ones to offer the world the healing that is found in Jesus Christ. This healing begins with individuals. Take James Alex Fields Jr., the 20-year-old infatuated with Nazis and “alt-right” symbolism who drove a car into a crowd of people, killing one woman, on a day Charlottesville will never forget. He was seduced by the “answers” of a twisted ideology: power, supremacy, the worshipping of one’s race and self. But these are false idols. Would history have been changed were he to have worshipped Jesus Christ instead? Charlottesville is a reminder that each of us is called to spread the Gospel person by person. Ours is a message of hope for all, and sharing it can’t just come from the top down. It has to begin with us. This healing begins with our words. It’s may be a cliché, but it’s true: What we say matters. How we speak to and interact with others shapes who we are and influences those around us. This especially includes children, who pay attention to our every word and deed, and co-workers who know we are Christian and who are watching us to see just what that really means. Charlottesville reminds us that we must represent our faith well, and, as such, our words should lift up and never demean. This healing begins with looking at our neighbor and seeing not a color, hearing not an accent or knowing not a political viewpoint, but instead recognizing the individual’s humanity and God-given dignity. As the late Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago said in a 2001 pastoral letter on racism, “Loving only people who are just like ourselves, loving only those who are members of our biological family or who share our own ethnic or cultural background, our own political views or our own class assumptions, does not fulfill the challenge of the Gospel.” Our duty as Christians is to create a new beginning. To shun anger, fear, hatred, demeaning words, racism, terrorism, bigotry, death and instead to embrace the hope of the Gospel that is Jesus Christ. This is the challenge of our time, and each of us is called to respond. Editorial Board: Greg Willits, editorial director; Gretchen R. Crowe, editor-in-chief; Don Clemmer, managing editor read on

Letters to the Editor for May 14-20, 2017

Letters to the Editor for May 14-20, 2017

Science reflects natural truths, but those truths can be exploited Re: “Faith and science” (Editorial, May 7-13). I certainly am no scientist and did poorly in my science courses in high school and college, with the exception of biology, in which I was fairly competent. I agree that because a new human being comes into existence at the moment of conception/fertilization, that “it must follow that science should respect embryos as human beings.” However, the unfortunate reality in our culture is that there is no such mandate. My high school physics teacher, a Marianist religious brother, was very well-versed in the field, but he pointed out that while scientific knowledge was neutral, how it was implemented was not. He explained that technology could distort scientific facts and that such knowledge could be used in immoral ways. — Tim Donovan, via online comments First Commandment Re: “The Ten Commandments” (In Focus, March 26-April 1). A discussion of the First Commandment of God should have included the fact that more than 3 billion people on earth worship false gods. Having in mind that God “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm 2:4), one finds it difficult to understand how this great number of people could be saved. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross and of the martyred saints who roamed the world spreading the Gospel seem to have been stymied by the fact that people who worship false gods have increased. — Reynaldo O. Yana , Saipan Imprisonment Re: “Prison system” (Letters to the Editor, May 7-13). Thank you, Father Gordon J. MacRae, for advising us of this great tragedy. Although the entire story of imprisonment is somber, for myself, I appreciate that you’ve informed us of the great injustice of ICE deportation. Things are bad enough that people like you are being punished for pleading innocent, now this story of ICE. God help us. We are a confused nation who got even more confused when we kicked God out of schools. — Helen Tangradi, via online comment Witness of faith Re: “Model of joy and faith” (Taking Note, May 7-13). Thank you for writing such a beautiful tribute. I wish I had known her, but feel like I do just a little thanks to you. — Angela Pellerano , via online comment Divine Mercy Re: “‘Jesus, I trust in you’: Stories of Divine Mercy” (In Focus, April 23-29). I was blessed by an uplifting confessor on Mercy Sunday in Dayton, Ohio, and would like to thank him and all of our priests. — Michael McCready , via email Top-Viewed Articles The most popular stories on OSV.com this week included: 1. Faith-filled business leaders witness to success (News Analysis, May 7-13) 2. Model of joy and faith (Taking Note, May 7-13) 3. The meaning of Fatima: 100 years later (In Focus, Jan. 1-7) 4. Do animals go to heaven? (News Analysis, Jan. 4, 2015) 5. Young people are leaving the Faith. Here’s why (In Focus, Aug. 28, 2016) 6. What every Catholic needs to know about funerals (In Focus, Oct. 9, 2011) 7. Figuring out God’s will for you right here, right now (Faith, April 30-May 6) 8. Top 10 Catholic cities, USA (In Focus, June 2, 2013) 9. Katharine Drexel shrine to close at year’s end (News Analysis, April 23-29) 10. Catholic scientists discuss faith’s role in work (News Analysis, May 7-13) read on

A real ratings killer

A real ratings killer

The Lifetime cable channel is one of the many bottom feeders hanging around the current television industry. Not a premium channel, it is a toss-in for cable subscribers, one of those myriad stations a couch potato usually surfs past between looking for the game and the news. The last Sunday of April, however, Lifetime launched a six-episode “dramedy” series, “Mary Kills People.” It’s hoping for attention. The show gives us one Mary Harris as a sharp-talking emergency room physician who, for a second job, kills the terminally ill for money. The going rate seems to be $10,000, which she splits with her wisecracking assistant, a cosmetic surgeon. The show tries to mix in with the drama what it perceives as a few ironic laughs, especially at the expense of the dying. In the premier, Mary shoots up a half-filled champagne flute with poison, then hands it over to the victim. He seems to be having second thoughts, but she reassures him, and he drinks it down. Then the fun begins. The victim’s wife comes home unexpectedly and begins calling for him. Mary and her partner make a dash for a quick balcony escape, then she rushes back in because she forgot the money. To her horror, she finds that her victim is still alive. She suffocates him with a pillow though he tries to protest that he has changed his mind. Our heroes leap from the balcony, crash-land and escape with the money. I fully expected the Roadrunner to then show up with a “beep-beep.” “Mary Kills People” is a horror on all levels, the only unifying theme being the blanket advocacy of what the show presents as the unquestionable good in helping the terminally ill kill themselves. “Doctors feel it is important for patients to choose their death,” Mary explains in one of her trite apologias, though she does wonder to her joke-cracking partner if he is “a compassionate doctor or a serial killer.” In a case of life imitating art, only weeks before “Mary Kills People” premiered, Donald Harvey was killed by a fellow inmate in the Toledo Correctional Institution in Ohio. Harvey was one of the most prolific murderers in U.S. history, killing at least 37 people, but likely many more as he thought the number was closer to 70. Most of his victims were hospital patients in Ohio and Kentucky where he worked over two decades. He killed those terminally ill or aged patients because he could and because he liked to kill them — it gave him a sense of power over life and death. Like Mary’s explanation for her work. Additionally, like those involved with “Mary Kills People,” he thought it was kind of funny. According to The New York Times story after his death, his co-workers gave him “nicknames like the Kiss of Death” and “joked about the number of patients who died while he was on duty. Mr. Harvey joined in the joking, and because his victims were old or in poor health, their deaths did not arouse much suspicion.” “Mary Kills People” is television gone evil. And, as evil so often does, it spreads its tentacles. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe now in print or digital . One of the lead advertisers on that first show was Domino’s Pizza. Founded by the devout and dynamic lay Catholic leader Tom Monaghan (he sold it in 1998), Domino’s was once boycotted by pro-abortion zealots because of Monaghan’s staunch support of pro-life causes. Now it’s shilling pies on a show killing the terminally ill for laughs and ratings. Lifetime itself is a subsidiary of A+E Networks, owned by the Hearst Corporation. And The Walt Disney Company. “When you wish upon a star ….” That’s entertainment. Robert P. Lockwood writes from Indiana. Follow him on Twitter @BobPLockwood . read on

Stemming the tide

Stemming the tide

It is a new day, and it dramatically is affecting the Catholic Church, along with other religious denominations. No end is in sight. Until now, a strong factor in very many Catholics’ religious lives was their attachment to a Catholic “culture.” Often, it involved family ties and heritage. Catholics tended to hold on to the Church because they were reared as Catholics by Catholic parents, likely attended Catholic schools and quite often viewed life from a Catholic perspective. Catholicism was part of their DNA. This is changing altogether, and the change is picking up speed. For example, look at two public figures recently in the news. Vice President Mike Pence is from a staunchly Catholic Irish-American family in Indiana, “Irish as Paddy’s pig.” He was an altar boy. He went to Catholic schools. Then, as a young man, he left the Catholic Church and became an evangelical Protestant. He has reared his children as Protestants. The new Supreme Court associate justice, Neal Gorsuch, comes from a Catholic background. He attended Catholic schools. Then, also in early adulthood, he left the Catholic Church. Until moving to Washington to serve on the Supreme Court, he was a member of an Episcopal congregation in Colorado. Without guessing about what is in these men’s hearts, it is a fact that they are two of very, very many people with similar experiences. Throughout the United States, men and women by the thousands, regardless of their Irish, or Italian, or Polish, or Spanish heritages, are leaving the Church. “Former Catholics” compose the second largest religious group in this country. Many other Americans still express association with the Catholic Church but irregularly if ever attend Mass and have views inconsistent with Church teaching. Almost always these are signs of the first steps out the door. The same thing occurred in the past when Catholic immigrants flooded into this country. Many fell away from the Church. (Our histories rarely tell this story.) What does it mean? American Catholicism in 50 years will be different. Catholics simply will not be as many as today. Catholicism will less visible. Catholic institutions will be fewer. Why? The children of today’s less than fervent Catholics, or of former Catholics, will not identify with the Church of their parents and grandparents. Look at other denominations. Most are losing ground precariously. In my home diocese of Nashville, Tennessee, two new Catholic parishes recently formed. Once, new Catholic parishes had to build facilities for their use, but these two new parishes in Nashville simply bought, and moved into, buildings sold by Protestant denominations with severely dwindling congregations. All this summons older American Catholics to awaken. Youth will no longer be satisfied with family tradition, or childhood attachments, or even with intellectual points, when it comes to religion. They will make their own decisions, very much moved by what they see as working. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe now in print or digital . Mature Catholics can have an influence, not always by theological argument, although Catholics must be able to explain our Church’s teaching, but if they display that being a faithful Catholic brings great rewards to lives and uplifts and beautifies human experience. Love and live the Faith. Love the Church. Pray that all humbly will hear God’s Holy Spirit. Five hundred years ago, St. Francis de Sales, a brilliant French bishop, said that Catholics could draw others to the Church, not by bitterness and demand, but by proving by their lives that Catholicism works. Msgr. Owen F. Campion is OSV’s chaplain. read on

Editorial: Cycle of nonviolence

Editorial: Cycle of nonviolence

Pope Francis’ trip to Egypt at the end of April, the 18th overseas trip of his pontificate, began under a cloud of violence and fear due to the Palm Sunday bombings of two Coptic Orthodox churches in the country three weeks earlier. The bombings naturally raised questions about the pope’s safety, and Vatican spokesman Greg Burke acknowledged these concerns. Tight security, he added, is a “new normal.” And so the pope characteristically pressed on with his visit, and in doing so, his trip to Egypt spoke volumes about how followers of Christ are called to respond to violence. In visiting with Coptic Christians and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II just three weeks following the bombings that killed nearly 50 faithful and injured more than 100 others, Pope Francis was present with people in their mourning and suffering, but he also took the opportunity to build bridges of unity through the encounter. He signed a joint agreement with Pope Tawadros that each Church would recognize the other’s baptism, a significant move as the Coptic Orthodox had previously required new members, including baptized Catholics, to be baptized again. Related Reading Pope Francis preaches peace, unity in Egypt Pope Francis didn’t limit his bridge-building to other Christians. In his visit to al-Azhar University in Cairo, he dialogued with the country’s Sunni Muslim religious leaders, addressing root causes of the societal ills that led to the Palm Sunday attacks. In particular, he addressed the responsibility of all religious leaders to take the lead in stopping people from engaging in violence in the name of religion. “As religious leaders, we are called, therefore, to unmask the violence that masquerades as purported sanctity and is based more on the ‘absolutizing’ of selfishness than on authentic openness to the Absolute,” he said. “We have an obligation to denounce violations of human dignity and human rights, to expose attempts to justify every form of hatred in the name of religion and to condemn these attempts as idolatrous caricatures of God.” He noted that “it is of little or no use to raise our voices and run about to find weapons for our protection: What is needed today are peacemakers, not makers of arms; what is needed are peacemakers and not fomenters of conflict; firefighters and not arsonists; preachers of reconciliation and not instigators of destruction.” On the return flight to Rome, Pope Francis looked beyond violence in Egypt to the growing signs of conflict between the United States and North Korea. “I always call (for) resolving problems through the diplomatic path, negotiations,” because the future of humanity depends on it, the pope said. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe now in print or digital . In Pope Francis’ brief visit to Egypt, we saw him once again model with his actions what he so often tries to teach with his words. His response to violence is not to flee, or even stay away, but to draw nearer to those affected, engage them lovingly and invite all people, especially those from different backgrounds, into respectful dialogue and encounter with one another — all with an intentional focus toward preventing future violence. Francis knows this is the path to lasting peace — a path that would engender great potential if more Christians, as well as believers of other religious traditions, joined him. As the pope noted in his recent TED Talk, “Hope began with one ‘you.’ When there is an ‘us,’ there begins a revolution.” We can all pray and model with our hearts and actions the hope that this becomes another “new normal.” Editorial Board: Greg Willits, editorial director; Gretchen R. Crowe, editor-in-chief; Don Clemmer, managing editor read on

Coptic Christians

Coptic Christians

Coptic Christianity suddenly was in the headlines. It was good news at first. Pope Francis was planning to visit Egypt. He would meet Coptic Christians while there. Then, the news was bad. Terrorists bombed Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday, slaughtering many innocent people. These attacks on Coptic Orthodox churches in Egypt were horrendous in themselves, but they were only the most recent of many outrages that Coptic Christians have endured over the years. Who are the Coptic Christians? Christianity has been in Egypt since the days of the apostles. It is said that St. Mark the Evangelist, considered by some to have been an early disciple of Jesus who later was associated with St. Peter, went to Alexandria, still today a great city in Egypt, a Mediterranean seaport. Two millennia ago, it was the second most important city of the Roman Empire. Alexandria came to be, and is today, the center of Coptic Christianity. It is hard to believe, but within a few centuries after Christ, Coptic Christianity was the major religion in Egypt. It also had been taken to Ethiopia, where incidentally it still is the dominant religion. Then came the Arab Muslim sweep across North Africa. Many Christians converted, or were forced to convert, to Islam, but Coptic Christianity never died altogether. In the fifth century, the Coptic Christians severed their union with the papacy. About 300 years ago, a segment within Coptic Christianity restored this union, but the majority of Copts remained Orthodox, separated from Rome. The Coptic Orthodox title the head of their church the “pope.” Presently Pope Tawadros II is head of the Coptic Orthodox communion. Heading the Coptic Catholics is the patriarch of Alexandria, the diocese believed to have been founded by St. Mark, Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak. Aside from Alexandria, six other Coptic Catholic dioceses, or eparchies, are in Egypt. Obviously, Coptic Catholics believe all that other Catholics believe. Coptic Orthodox do not accept the authority of the bishop of Rome, but they celebrate seven sacraments. They believe that deacons, priests and bishops are ordained and are in a line that began with the apostles. They believe that the Lord is present, body, blood, soul and divinity, in the Eucharist. In several other matters, however, they differ from Roman Catholic teaching. For both Coptic Catholics and Catholic Orthodox, the liturgy is in Coptic, the ancient language of Egypt, and from the language, their religious tradition draws its name. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe now in print or digital . For almost a millennium and a half, Coptic Christians, Coptic Catholics and Coptic Orthodox, have had a hard way to go. For a while, Britain dominated Egypt, and Christians were in a more protected situation. Since Egypt attained full independence, in living memory, Christians have lived through days of peace but also through many days of persecution or at least harassment. The turmoil that has existed in Egypt for the past several years hardly has helped the situation. Coptic Catholic parishes exist in the United States in Boston, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Nashville. They are responsible to Patriarch Sidrak, not to the local bishop of the Latin rite. Recently, as unrest has intensified in the Middle East, and especially in Egypt, more Coptic Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, have come to the United States. Not surprisingly, many Egyptian Christians worry about the future. The future of this pattern is unclear, as it is not known how, or if, the Trump Administration will handle such immigration. Msgr. Owen F. Campion is OSV’s chaplain. read on

The Benefits of Reconciliation

Category 22 (Reconciliation) – The Benefits of Reconciliation, The Hidden Treasure that is Confession Click here to read it now. read on

Taking Note: Attentiveness to God

Taking Note: Attentiveness to God

“Take time to heal your inner self through meditation. Give your mind a few moments of ‘nothingness’ each day. Concentrate on your breathing to achieve a state of relaxation and peacefulness.” After a long conference day — speaking and meeting readers and friends and supporters — my temptation was to see what Donald Trump event had everyone buzzin. But the note, flagged “meditation,” left by the room attendant was enough to prod an examination of conscience: What really is the best use of a few minutes of downtime? Recollection or MSNBC? While the note would not offend any “spiritual not religious” sensibilities, it did strike me as refreshingly countercultural. As traffic below whisked by the windows, even at a late hour, all into the night and early morning, the message was about slowing down and tuning out the noise. Slowing down may happen, but what do we do and what do we pour into ourselves as we do so? In his book, “ Contemplative Provocations ” (Ignatius, $17.95), Father Donald Haggerty, a New York archdiocesan priest who has spent extensive time with the Missionaries of Charity, writes about the “need for recollection as a prelude to prayer.” He says that it “contains a certain dilemma besides the difficulty of attaining it. It implies that a mental concentration is necessary if one is to pray. And so the demand to corral our wandering thoughts, to tie them down and keep them from breaching the enclosure of prayer. If we succeed in this effort, it is thought, we can presumably dwell on ‘spiritual things.’” The challenge, as always, is about love. “Attentiveness to God is desirable in prayer,” Father Haggerty writes. “But the attention we are to cultivate comes from love, not a mental discipline directed simply at thoughts. What we should seek is a recollection that surrenders us to someone entirely beyond our thought, a beloved who will never stop to rest for long within a particular thought.” In other words, it’s not about nothing, and it’s not about us, either, and our initiative or strategy. It’s about what God wants to do with the time we give. It’s about trusting God with our whole lives. It’s about letting him show us what he wants that to look like. Our challenge is the loving surrender to him to do with us as he wills. That “spiritual not religious” trend may just be an indictment of what we’re doing with our free time. How much of it is in adoration? How much of it is in self-giving? Do we convey joy, even while “off duty”? How “ All In ,” as Pat Gohn writes in the title of her recent book on faith are we, really? When Mother Angelica — whose eventual beatification Mass I’m looking forward to —died around this time last year, the Mass program for the Mass in Hanceville, Alabama, included, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18). Is that happening? Is that what we’re giving ourselves over to? With every business trip and carpool — whatever it is we’re doing? Are we careful about what we pour into ourselves? Do we treat ourselves — one another — as the tabernacles he’s asked us to be? And do we take everything as a reminder that that’s who we are about — all in, all his? Are we beholding his glory wherever we are? With or without the rare explicit invitation, we must strive for a posture of being that is something more contemplative. Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review, and co-author of “How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice” (OSV, $17.95). read on

Pastoral Answers: Impossible perfection

Pastoral Answers: Impossible perfection

Question : Matthew 5:48 says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It seems to me that, knowing man’s fallibility and knowing the impossibility of man being perfect, that perhaps Jesus was not saying “perfect” as we understand the word to mean. Could it mean “strive to be complete” or some such thing? — Michael Peerless , via email Answer : It is true, the Greek word here, τέλειοι (teleioi), speaks more of perfection in the sense of completion. Thus, we are to attain to a state of being complete, full grown or of full age. It also has the sense of “reaching the goal.” So we are not dealing with a merely moral perfection, but a completeness of character that is not merely absent of sin, but is possessed of all the virtues. Clearly this is more than a moral injunction for the moment but something attained by God’s grace in stages and accomplished fully only after a journey with the Lord. St. Paul speaks to this when he says, “And [the Lord] gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ …” (Eph 4:11-13). But we ought not consign the Lord’s words to a sort of flourish or exaggeration and see our perfection as impossible. No, this is our dignity and our future if we persevere to the end. The saints in heaven have attained to this by the Lord’s grace which has been accomplished in them already. To the degree that this seems impossible, it only seems so from the standpoint of human achievement unaided by grace. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord is setting forth a moral vision. He is describing the transformed human person. He is doing more than uttering moralisms or new duties, he is painting a picture of what happens to us when he lives his life in us through his indwelling Holy Spirit. You might say he is describing the normal Christian life, which is to be in a life-changing, transformative relationship with God. It is in this way that we attain, in stages to being perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. Thus being perfect isn’t just something we start doing today. It is something we grow into, until it is complete andis perfected in us. Priest participation Question : The new priest in our parish just stands there at the altar when we sing the acclamations such as the mystery of faith and the Great Amen, Lamb of God etc. The previous pastor sang loudly with us. Should he not participate more fervently in these acclamations? — Name withheld Answer : Actually, his stance is the correct one. The Liturgical directives indicate that the people proclaim the mystery of faith, the Great Amen, the conclusion to the Our Father and the Lamb of God. So, those are acclamations that belong to the congregation, not the priest. The priest is directed to say or sing the Sanctus and the “Lord I am not worthy” with the people. Since there are responses and acclamations that belong to the people, for the priest to say or sing them does harm to the dialogue and shared responsibility that is intended by the Liturgy. The priest should not look bored as the people respond. Rather he should reverently and prayerfully attend to the response of the people. Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in Washington, D.C., and writes for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., blog at blog.adw.org. read on

Letters to the editor for April 9-15, 2017

Letters to the editor for April 9-15, 2017

Gender confusion Re: “How to talk to your kids about gender issues” (In Focus, March 12-28). Man and woman are created by God to honor and praise him. How does “transgender” fit into that equation? How can altering one’s sex make one pleasing to God? God knows each and every one of us by our name. By changing one’s body and name, does that make it right in the eyes of God? — Craig Galik Duquesne , Pennsylvania Re: “Mother Frances Cabrini: An immigrant who shows us the way” (Faith, April 2-8). Having attended Catholic schools in the Bronx, New York, in the late 1940s, and later Hastings and New Rochelle (St. Jerome’s, St. Clare’s and Iona), I remember the stories — and the love and respect for Mother Cabrini. We were all descendants of immigrants, from Ireland, Italy, Germany and more — later from throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. Society worked to integrate people from Puerto Rico and African-Americans from the South. Now we are locked in a dilemma. How do we continue to welcome new people while preserving the core values that have allowed us to be the most welcoming and the most generous nation in the history of the world? It is too easy to castigate those of us who worry about open Southern borders and unrestricted immigration from the war-torn Middle East. Some of our schools are simply unable to cope with the influx of young people who speak no English and disregard our customs and conventions. Our family has sponsored immigrants, and we contribute to supportive charities. However, we find it too easy for many to imply that we need open doors to unrestricted immigration. The reality of a militant strain of Islam, the problems we see in Europe and the reality of terrorism must be dealt with — although I hear little about these from the pope and other Church leaders. We seem to forget about the idea of formulating policies which would create safety and peace in other parts of the world, thereby allowing people to stay in their native homelands. We need “safe zones” overseas and we need a rational military policy that deals with the cause of dislocation. We need balance. Thomas J. Fields Jr. , Springfield, Virginia Porn addiction Re: “Pornography: a growing public health crisis” ; (News Analysis, March 19-25). The articles about porn addiction have been good in that they show how destructive this disease is. But each article stops before giving any solution. But there is a solution. I am a Catholic priest, and I was addicted to sex from age 12 to 42. I was in despair for years because I could not find a priest who understood sex addiction or had any solution. Finally, I went to treatment for drug addiction and besides offering Alcoholics Anonymous I was introduced to Sexaholics Anonymous. I found hope at last. The program started in the 1980s. At this time I have 25 years of sexual sobriety. I am happy and free. Please let your readers know where they can find hope. — Name and location withheld Re: “Priest hits the street fishing for souls” (Faith, March 19-25). When I read of St. Joseph, Missouri, I recognized the birthplace of Pony Express and Walter Cronkite. Now, I can remember and pray for resident Father Lawrence Carney: visible contemplative-in-action Christ figure, fisherman of souls, bearer of Mary to the masses. And doesn’t he do as Pope Francis asks of his priests to “wear your shoes down” while exercising a reminder of Archbishop José Gomez that we are called to holiness — to heaven — and to bring as many people as possible along with us. Continued courage to you, Father Carney. — Bretta Ribbing , Manchester, Missouri Top-Viewed Articles The most popular stories on OSV.com this week included: 1. Charismatic renewal movement turns 50 (News Analysis, March 26-April 1) 2. Priest hits the street fishing for souls (Faith, March 19-25) 3. Health care debate draws Catholic voices (News Analysis, April 2-8) 4. Mid-Lent joy (Faith, March 26-April 1) 5. Young people are leaving the faith. Here’;s why (In Focus, Aug. … read on