I always look forward to receiving Maryknoll magazine and the January/February issue was no exception. The featured stories, highlights from the various departments and outstanding photography make me anxious to read from cover to cover.
This month I was especially touched by the article “A life of utter joy,” which tells the story of Father Michael Snyder, who served in Africa for 26 years. Father Mike’s loving memories closely resemble those of my late cousin, Maryknoll Father Alan (Al) Smidlein, who ministered in Kenya and Tanzania for over 25 years. Africa and its people were always first in his mind and heart. May God continue to bless Father Snyder and all Maryknollers for the outstanding work they do at home and overseas.
Mary Ann Brown
Bronxville, New York
WORDS AND ACTIONS
In regard to the article about Maryknoll Sister Ngoc-Hà Pham and her ministry in China in your November/December 2017 issue, I greatly admire her service to the mentally and physically disabled. I wonder, though, how a Catholic sister, when asked why she would leave her family to be there and do the work she does, answers, “I’m attracted to the Chinese people … and because of a special love that in my faith I call God.”
I recognize that proselytizing is forbidden by law in China. Still, I wonder why she did not put the command of our Lord to “Go and make disciples of all nations” above the law of man and share in words her love of our precious Lord and his love for all people.
They asked her, so she would not have been pushing her faith upon them.
Judy R. Schwenk
Colorado Springs, Colorado
In response to the letter writer expressing her disappointment with the Orbis Book Spotlight inclusion of Father James Martin, personally I believe he is doing great harm to our Church, especially causing confusion among the young people hearing a message that is inconsistent with the message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But then, I am not surprised since there is such an undertone, if not overt expression, of this new, liberal Catholicism in Maryknoll magazine. Having expressed my view, I still want to continue to receive the magazine.
CALLED TO ADMONISH
I enjoy your magazine, and read each with as open a mind as possible. Jesus speaks to us through many ways, including in those viewpoints we find tough to understand. However, I am struggling to understand why Maryknoll would open its wonderful magazine to the viewpoints of a Jesuit priest who has sparked much controversy via his “LGBT bridge with the Church” movement that he ignited in his writings.
To counter Father James Martin’s comments in the interview with him in your January/February issue that Church members consider LGBT persons as the most sinful: All of us are sinners, but we are still called to admonish one another by calling out sin in an effort to bring all back to the truth.
I encourage Father Martin to return to more authentic teaching, and not be afraid of the “judgment” word. Those who say “Hate the sin, but love the sinner” are trying to build bridges for all sinners to come back to the truth and mercy found in the Church.
Father Martin is correct in saying this: Jesus did meet the poor, sinful, and marginalized where they were. But Jesus did not compromise on calling the sinners out of their sin, and helping them find a way to lead a more holy life .
Editor’s note: Father Martin declined an invitation to respond to criticism. However, in an interview with The Washington Post in September 2017, he said the following: “As I was writing the book (Building a Bridge, HarperCollins 2017) … I was careful to stay well within the bounds of Church teaching. My reflections, which can be summarized as a call for respect on both sides, were based on the Gospel, and on the Catechism’s call for the Church to treat ‘homosexual persons’ with ‘respect, compassion and sensitivity.’ As with all my books, I sought the formal ecclesial approval of my Jesuit superiors, who vetted what would become Building a Bridge. Perhaps to the disappointment of some critics, it is about dialogue and prayer, not about sexual morality or the sexual practices of LGBT people. On sexual matters, the LGBT community and the institutional Church are simply too far apart at this moment. So, I decided to focus, intentionally, on possible areas of commonality, to help encourage dialogue.”
ACT OF MERCY
The recent articles in Maryknoll magazine on the beatification of Father Stanley Francis Rother show yet another example of an act of mercy in our troubled world.
Pope Francis in his encyclical letter Laudato Si declared 2016 to be a year of merciful observances and since then, lay and ordained ministers have indeed turned their face toward the Son.
Here in Detroit, we had the beatification of Father Solanus Casey this past November. A Capuchin priest and mystic, Father Casey exhibited kindness through the simple act of being a good listener. By helping to feed and clothe the poor or bring comfort to someone, we may get a simple response of “no one did this for me before.”
Mark A. Sleboda
Redford Township, Michigan
The editors invite Maryknoll Members to send us their views. Write to:
P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, N.Y. 10545-0302
Our e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured Image: Tzutujil women lead hymns at Mass to honor their martyred pastor, Father Stanley Francis Rother, whom they called Padre Apla’s, on the day he was beatified. (Sean Sprague/Guatemala)