Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Letter to the Editor - 01/11/06

This letter is in response to the Voice of the People, January 11 letter of Mr. Alfred Sevillo who was responding to a certain Mr. Yana who in his turn was responding to …, was responding to …, etc., over the Catholic understanding of “Purgatory”. First, please allow me to assert my personal distaste for any sort of religious haranguing in a public forum that should be reserved for community issues. I would encourage the editors of this paper to re-evaluate the purpose of publishing such letters in light of their value to the public discussion and the overall integrity of our community newspaper.

That said, I must address Mr. Sevillo and all those who feel it incumbent upon themselves to publicly bash the Catholic Church and its teachings. Last I heard there was still freedom of religion in this great country and we are free to believe and follow whomever and whatever we choose. Should Mr. Sevillo and others antagonistic towards the Catholic Church feel it their duty to speak out against our Church then I would encourage them to find a forum where true & fruitful dialogue can take place. The present “letter to the editor” tactic smacks of guerilla or even terrorist tactics: from a safe distance, the perpetrator sets off his bomb in the public square.

But since I have no jurisdiction over the editors of this paper and small hope that my advice will be entertained, I must address the “it’s not in the Bible” issue that Mr. Sevillo here employs, but is standard fare for other such attacks on the Catholic Church. Here’s the bottom line deal: Jesus didn’t leave us a book, He left us a Church and a teaching authority that He would protect with the Holy Spirit. The fact that we interpret Matthew 16:18-19 to mean Peter and his successors is our practice of freedom of religion. No one requires you or anyone else to believe the same.

By the way, Mr. Sevillo, thank you for the purchase of the two books from which you quote. It’s quite obvious that you bought them from my bookstore at the Agana Shopping Center. Next time you are there, may I recommend “Where We Got the Bible” by Henry Graham? Also, please feel free to introduce yourself.

Tim Rohr
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