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Petition perturbations

George Weigel seems hypersensitive to the presence of political partisanship in prayers of the faithful (“Lord, please don’t hear this prayer: a reprise,” 8/3). Surely Weigel will concede that profit is sometimes sought at the expense of human well-being. Praying that this not happen is hardly a variety of soft socialism (perish the thought!), and seems fully consistent with Jesus’ love for the poor. Furthermore, given his criticisms of the United Nations, one would imagine that Weigel would welcome the Lord’s intercession in its work, so that this powerful international organization might be a force for good. Moreover, it is fatuous to take exception to the phrase “greatest suffering” on the grounds that “the greatest suffering in the world is moral and spiritual,” and thus beyond the U.N.’s mandate. Doubtless the petition-writer had “greatest material suffering” in mind when the petition was written. Like the “austere” and “formulaic” petitions he suggests at the end of his piece, the prayers Weigel reports were phrased so that practically any partisan view could be read into them. Weigel’s own response is a case in point. Of course, if one reflexively assumes the bad faith of one’s co-religionists, it is all too easy to see political partisanship where others might see good will.

Chris Constas

Wakefield, Mass.

Justifying the unjustifiable

I read Patrick Madrid’s article “Calling priests ‘father’” (8/3). It’s amazing how he took Scriptural passages out of context to justify the unjustifiable. I am a former Roman Catholic and the more I read Scripture the more I saw how utterly heretical many of the traditions and practices of the Church are, leading people astray. This is just another example.

Pastor Jeff Russell

Drexel Hill, Pa.

Long sought explanation

I have been asked why Catholics call priests “father” often by non-Catholics and was never prepared, but now with your article (“Calling priests ‘father,’” 8/3), I’m ready. I’m going to look all of this up and make a copy for study so I can also inform my friends who also don’t know how to respond. I am so happy as I have never gotten such a complete answer even from a priest. Thank you.

Margaret Larrivee

Trenton, Ontario, Canada

Familiar face

My family gets The Pilot via my grandfather. We received it at our home this weekend and were surprised when we saw a familiar face (“Meet our seminarians: Michael Farrell,” 8/3). I first met Mike back when we were students at St. Edward’s School and became great friends, Mike going to Coyle Cassidy and I to Cardinal Spellman. As we both went off after high school, we kept in touch until a few years back. I am pleased that Mike has found his calling and that he is doing well in his life. I hope he does well and that on behalf of myself and my family, that God blesses him in his vocation.

Jason Henningson

Brockton, Mass.

Beloved priest

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Father James Lane, former pastor of St. Brendan Church in Dorchester. Father Lane was a beloved priest and good friend to all. He also had one of the first “vanity” plates on his blue Ford -- BPPA. Even in retirement I would see Father Lane outside of Gerard’s in Adams Corner greeting old friends and always willing to listen to a problem or concern. Father Lane’s signature advice was “do the best you can” -- very appropriate today as it was almost 30 years ago when he first came to St. Brendan’s. He was a great man and a model priest and he will be missed.

Joseph M. Foley

Dorchester, Mass.

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