To the editors:

Joyous Christian Greetings!

In response to my letter [March 13] Jane Ellingwood [Letters, April 3] says that Christians are those who follow Christ and his teaching. True enough, but my letter dealt with the question of who are Catholics? In point of fact, they are those Christians in communion with Christ’s Vicar in Rome. Many people have trouble with this, but we live in a free country and if they don’t like what the Pope says they are free to protest and become Protestants.

I must agree with her statement that the most misguided people are those who “confuse their own biases and personal needs with holy inspiration or a calling.” She, however, then proceeds to look within herself for answers (i.e. looks to her own biases) instead of looking to the wisdom of Christ, Scripture, the Apostolic Fathers, the Doctors of the Church, or Christ’s own Vicar, the Pope.

As for vocations, in calling Peter and the 12, Christ created the vocation of bishop. The idea that somehow this vocation was “not THEN open to them,” is a logical nonsequitur. Further, we may be certain that Christ called them because he did so empirically, in the flesh as it were. Just as we may be certain that Christ is not calling women today, because Christ’s Vicar, the successor to Peter upon whom Christ built his Church, teaches us otherwise. “Sincerity” is no more proof of a genuine calling than hypochondria is proof of genuine illness.

Gays and lesbians are rejected by the Church just as any unrepentant sinner is rejected by the Church. Contrition, not arrogance, is the prerequisite for reconciliation with Christ. I am being continually reminded by militant homosexuals that Christ’s message was one of forgiveness. This is a convenient half-truth. Christ’s message was one of repentance and forgiveness. Christ teaches us not acceptance of, but hatred for our sinful nature [Luke 14:26 as well as virtually every Pauline epistle].

Ms. Ellingwood is indeed correct in urging us not to allow our “personal beliefs and interpretations of the Scriptures to take precedence over what Christ taught us and wants us to believe.” I would urge her to look to Rome for the guidance she admits that we need.

R.M. Schultz

N. Franklin