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Traditionalist Catholics: So Close Yet So Far Away

March 07, 2004

Traditionalist Catholics apparently believe that there is nothing sacred or spiritual left within the Roman Catholic Church ("Beyond the Trappings," by Eryn Brown, Feb. 15). Father Charles Ward of Our Lady of the Angels Church in Arcadia couldn't be further from the truth. He states that the Roman Catholic Church is spiritually depraved because its moving away from the Latin Mass to the vernacular has robbed it of the "sacrifice of the Mass." It's a strong charge to make about my faith. One wonders if Father Ward believes that God only speaks and understands Latin.

Reading the traditionalist Catholics' criticisms of the Catholic Church reminds me of hearing from a reclusive relative after many years of separation. I know I am related to that person, I know we have much in common, and that I may still have a deep love for him or her. However, when the relative admonishes me that something is lacking in my life, I only look forward to the relative's leaving once again.

Donald A. Bentley

La Puente

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One wonders if the folks who fly the "traditionalist" banner are aware of the history created by their predecessors. The first generation of traditionalists treated the world to the Crusades, where nonbelievers were denied the right to life. Then Vatican traditionalists came along and persecuted Galileo--you see, thinking was a sin in those days. And, in the defense of orthodoxy, the same folks gave us the Spanish Inquisition, where being Jewish was a death sentence. History suggests that religious traditionalism has characteristics above and beyond speaking Latin, smelling incense and staring at the back of a priest.

Frank Ferrone

El Cajon

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As a member of Our Lady of the Angels Church, I know that we are not anti-Semitic, nor is it ever preached to us by our priests. If it were, then we would have quite a contradiction when it comes to worshipping God. His only son, Jesus Christ, was Jewish, and he was born of a Jewish woman whom we honor as the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It appears that since people haven't been successful in getting Mel Gibson to scrap his film "The Passion of the Christ," the next best thing is to attack his father, Hutton Gibson. This is a disservice to both men. Having read Hutton Gibson's books on the Roman Catholic faith, I've found that he has an astonishing intellect and a profound love for his faith.

Margie Tiritilli

Montebello

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I am tired of hearing Mel Gibson and his ilk described as "Catholics." When traditionalists do not acknowledge the authority of the pope by rejecting Vatican II, they are not Catholics.

Adrienne Karyadi

Los Angeles

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The comment made by Father John Fullerton, district supervisor for the U.S. churches affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X, that the Jews "were the ones who condemned him [Jesus], but they didn't have the power to crucify him, so they got the Romans to do it," reveals a stunning ignorance of history, or perhaps an anti-Semitic agenda. The Romans held political power at the time, and they viewed Jesus as a political threat. He was therefore executed by the state by the usual Roman custom of crucifixion.

To think that any group could wield the type of influence that Fullerton attributes to the Jews shows what his brand of "traditionalism" is really about, and it underscores Jewish and mainstream Catholic groups' concerns about this movement, not to mention Mel Gibson's film.

Leslie M.B. Cole

Victor E. Cole

Encino

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In the morality play that we make of life, good and evil, and winners and losers, are demanded. But how can there be blame for Jesus' crucifixion? The event was preordained. If Jesus hadn't died for the sins of man, there wouldn't have been Christianity. God made the event happen.

Louis H. Nevell

Los Angeles

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