I connected strongly to Shanna Johnson’s article on prayer and dog walking (“Paws and pray,” Practicing Catholic, October). Like Johnson on her morning walk with Jack, my own morning starts with a six-mile bicycle trek.
During my ride, I too connect with nature by watching the full moon and cloud formations and keeping track of the progress the trees and plants that I pass every day are making. I have also found on my morning rides that the people who are out walking their dogs are the most open to greeting me or engaging in conversation.
—David Jackson, via uscatholic.org
Thanks, Steven P. Millies, for highlighting the importance of imagination (“How to nourish your Catholic imagination,” uscatholic.org). It is a resource we have downplayed for too long, even given the church’s support of the arts. I remember Father Andrew Greeley’s book on the Catholic imagination, and I wish our liturgies could be more imaginative. Maybe every parish should sponsor improv training as a basic religious education practice.
—Tom Rinkoski, via uscatholic.org
Thank you, Kevin Considine, for bringing awareness to this “sign of the times,” BTS (“The unlikely Catholic heart of a Korean pop sensation,” uscatholic.org). I believe God is working through BTS to bring hope and charity to youth and people of all ages.
As a card-carrying member of the “BTS ARMY” and a worker in evangelization, I can attest to the plethora of moral, philosophical, and theological themes explored in BTS’ music and performance art, not to mention the responsibility the band’s members conscientiously uphold to live to a higher moral standard as role models. May they continue to bring others to peace and the knowledge of being loved and valued.
—Angela Sealana, via uscatholic.org
I enjoyed this engaging piece on the Korean pop group BTS. I have found the insights of their lyrics regarding youth today to be accurate where I work in Mexico as well. If a band can gather people of diverse ages and ethnic groups around the common table of music and artistry, then that is clearly a sign of the times in what is too often portrayed as a polarized United States.
—Bill Morton, via uscatholic.org
I loved Steven P. Millies’ essay on why we need the humanities (“The art of peace,” October). I encouraged my daughter to pursue her degree in fine art at a university abroad, because creating art has been her passion since childhood. It’s costing me my life savings, and I don’t expect many returns, but at least she’ll be able to explore her deeper, human side.
—Walter PCG, via uscatholic.org
Spotlight on the synod
After reading Kevin Clarke’s article on the Amazon synod (“A final stand,” Margin Notes, October), I think that it would be more effective for the church to impress upon Catholics that the Earth is a blessing from God, as the Bible teaches in Daniel 3:57–88.
Rather than embrace ideas bordering on Earth worship, we should glorify God through the conservation of our temporary home on Earth until Christ returns.
—David Dunn (@DavidPeterMI), via Twitter
My question about the Amazon synod is why not hold the synod where the concerns are: the Amazon region? Otherwise, there seems to be a danger of preconceived solutions before the discussion even takes place.
—Roger Ringer, via Facebook
I think the Amazon synod will only cause the church to divide into two churches: one for progressive Catholics and another for those who obey dogma, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Bible. I am also concerned that this synod is not God’s will but an attempt to secularize the church. Catholics need to start uniting.
—Scott Whalen-Monette, via Facebook
How green is your parish?
I disagree that sustainability is a Catholic issue; I believe it is a human issue (“Green your parish,” Reader Survey, November). However, the church could lead on calling everyone to respect the environment and educating people on the importance of caring for the Earth. This could be a good topic for the church to start regaining credibility around the world. My home parish could also be more sustainable, because any place could.
—Suzanne Harris, Spokane, Wash.
Although I personally take actions such as conserving water through rain barrels and using a low-flow toilet, I disagree that environmental action is an important part of the church’s social justice work. I do not believe there is such a thing as climate change, at least not in the way it is being depicted in the news. I don’t believe it is an urgent problem, and I think it is being used to further erode people’s liberties.
—Robert Lincoln, Dike, Texas
My parish has an environmental justice group and participates in environmentally focused events in our community. My parish takes action by recycling, conserving energy (turning off lights when not needed, using CFC bulbs, and sourcing power through solar panels or wind power), and promoting advocacy to the state and national legislatures.
In October 2017 my community dedicated a newer, larger church building that conformed to high environmental standards. Nothing left over from the church’s construction wound up in a landfill.
—Don Brunner, Phoenix, Ariz.
I think the church should be more focused on its religious aspects than environmental issues. The church can’t be all things to all people and chase after every political idea that comes along. But I also think my parish could be more sustainable, because humans should be consuming less on every level. Parish sustainability is important, because all religious organizations should conserve and practice moderation in everything. Personally, my travel is by public transportation, and my family tries to live in moderation in all things.
—Carole Ludwig, New York, N.Y.
In my opinion, the Catholic Church shouldn’t be doing more to address and combat climate change. Instead the church needs to focus on its religious priorities. The church’s purpose is to save souls, and climate change (whether it is “real” or not) is not the church’s purpose. I also don’t think parishes should be spending money on environmental activism (or any activism for that matter) when there is anything else the parish or community needs to spend it on. It’s time to remember that the church is not a political advocacy group; it is intended to save souls.
—Gabriel Wigutow, Huntington, N.Y.
I think the Catholic Church can do more to combat climate change by leading by example and treating climate change as important as other church issues such as abortion. We are all stewards of the Earth. If we as Catholics are serving as Christ for the world, then we need to share God’s love and concern for the Earth by serving as an example.
—Patrick Driscoll, Chicago, Ill.