Letter from an alumnus to St. Thomas University in St. Paul

You know about the controversy at St. Thomas University, in St. Paul, which effectively gave the heave-ho to the local Archbishop as an ex officio member of the board.  There are other reasons to be concerned about the Catholic identity of that school as well.

Someone forwarded to me a letter sent to the University. 

Development Office                                                                           January 3, 2008

University of St. Thomas
P.O. Box 64947
St. Paul, Minnesota  55164-0947

Dear Sir or Madam,

            As a 1989 graduate of the College of St. Thomas, I follow the news about my alma mater with no little interest. Having recently received the latest, glossy print magazine, I would like to be able to donate to St. Thomas, if only to allow the University to recoup the expense undertaken to produce such a high quality product. A few things prevent me from doing so, two in particular.

            Firstly, I am concerned about the direction the University has been taking with regard to its Catholic identity. The recent decision of the board to alter the privileged role that the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis has as chairman is troubling and seems contrary to the vision of Catholic education presented in John Paul II’s Ex corde Ecclesiae. The planned renovation of the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas not only seems contrary to solid liturgical principles (e.g., a moveable instead of a fixed altar) but seems primarily designed to permit the chapel to be more easily used for non-liturgical events (even while a number of other suitable places exist on the campuses for such events). Since my primary reason for attending St. Thomas was a perceived emphasis on fidelity to the Church and the fullness of the Catholic tradition, the steps the University has taken to distance herself from that Catholic identity makes me wary to allow my money to be used for the destruction of something I value deeply.

            Secondly is the issue of fiscal responsibility. The frivolous renovation of the chapel, the third such renovation since the Second Vatican Council, not only undermines the stability of the faith that a permanent chapel ought to engender, but also comes at an exhorbitant cost, when money could clearly be spent better elsewhere.

            I will continue to offer the University of St. Thomas the support of my prayers, with the particular intentions that the board reconsiders its troubling decision to remove the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis from the chairmanship and that the University seeks to strengthen rather than dilute her Catholic identity. Financially, however, I will instead direct the funds I have at my disposal to Catholic institutions of higher education that espouse the ideals I was taught to value during my time at the College of St. Thomas.

 Sincerely,

[NAME REMOVED]

(BA, History, Classical Languages, ’89)

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23 Responses to Letter from an alumnus to St. Thomas University in St. Paul

  1. Diane says:

    Wonderful, to-the-point, letter.

    I hope the place is flooded with more of the same.

  2. TNCath says:

    Yes, a fine letter. Never underestimate the power of a letter; it may do more good than the writer will realize. The one thing that colleges and universities do not like to hear is when you mention withdrawing contributions. HOWEVER, do not expect a satisfactory reply. Rest assured that the following will be included in the contents of the reply from St. Thomas:

    1. The customary “Thank you for your letter of concern” introduction.

    2. A steadfast denial that St. Thomas is distancing itself from the Catholic Church by the removal of the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis from the board, and that, in fact, keeping Archbishop Flynn on the board will actually enhance Catholic identity.

    3. An assurance to the writer that the renovation of the chapel will be done through donations specifically earmarked for the project and that it will be done with under the supervision of the “liturgical experts” of the Archdiocese.

    4. A respectful invitation to the writer to reconsider his/her position regarding the redirecting of donations.

    5. A friendly remembrance in prayer and “warm wishes for a happy 2008.”

    I speak from long experience at writing letters to diocesan officials and colleges/universities. It can get very frustrating at times to take the time to write letters that go seemingly unnoticed. Nonetheless, while their replies are almost always the same, they do pay attention, and, sometimes, we get results. However, you have to get used to that friendly reply that basically says, “Buzz off!”

  3. M Kr says:

    I especially like the statement that a permanent chapel with continuity of fabric engenders stability of faith. Very important.

  4. RBrown says:

    I speak from long experience at writing letters to diocesan officials and colleges/universities. It can get very frustrating at times to take the time to write letters that go seemingly unnoticed. Nonetheless, while their replies are almost always the same, they do pay attention, and, sometimes, we get results. However, you have to get used to that friendly reply that basically says, “Buzz off!”
    Comment by TNCath

    At least you received a reply. Some years ago I wrote Archbishop Strecker (rhymes with “wrecker”) to ask about a Latin Mass. No reply. I tried again. No reply.

    I then wrote the Apostolic Delegate and received a reply from a Msgr Clemente Faccani, who told me that many had been experiencing trouble with mail, and that was probably the reason I had heard nothing. Later, the Church recognized that the good monsignor was a real go-getter, and that his talents were needed as a nuncio in Africa.

  5. TNCath says:

    RBrown,

    You are one up on me. I have never received a reply from an Apostolic Nuncio’s office nor a curial office at the Vatican. The only responses I have ever received are from bishops’ offices, sometimes from a bishop himself, sometimes (and more recently) from a vicar general and/or “designated spokesperson.” However, I have been assured that all correspondence to the nuncio and curial offices are read and given attention. In fact, I know for a fact that one such letter to the nuncio by a friend of mine got the personal attention of the nuncio and raised the ire of our local bishop, requiring the bishop to issue a response to the nuncio. Unfortunately, the response seems to have satisfied the nuncio for the time being, and the bishop’s policies and positions remain in place, albeit somewhat nuanced to “stay off the radar.”

  6. RMJ says:

    “Espousing” Catholic values is one matter and most Presidents of Catholic colleges and universities are expert in this regard. The propaganda espoused is, for the most part, laudable. However, “enacting” those values throughout the entire collegiate experience—including Campus Ministry and Student Life—is an entirely different matter, one that proves embarrassing to most leaders in U.S. Catholic higher education. Any parent who believes that what is espoused by most Presidents of Catholic colleges and universities will be enacted in their institutions of higher education would be better off spending their tuition dollars by sending a child to a state-supported university and entrusting that child to the ministry provided by the Newman Center. Alumni/ae would be better off making contributions to fund Newman Centers at state-supported universities which, by the way, are fostering vocations to the priesthood in greater numbers than are U.S. institutions of higher education founded by religious orders.

  7. TNCath says:

    RMJ,

    Oh yes, “espousing Catholic values” is a great term–signifying nothing. They all want to tout that term to parents and prospective benefactors who have no clue what is really going on in “Catholic universities.” The problem lies primarily among the aging faculty and “campus ministry” staffs, many of whom are disgruntled and/or fallen-away Catholics who are products of the 60′s and 70′s who still think that having “prayer services” around a campfire or Mass in a chapel with chairs around a table singing “Yaweh, I know You are near” is the way college students wish to worship.

  8. UST Alumnus says:

    Oh Great, here we go again – another “Let’s bash St. Thomas Post”.

    The letter states: “I am concerned about the direction the University has been taking with regard to its Catholic identity. The recent decision of the board to alter the privileged role that the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis has as chairman is troubling and seems contrary to the vision of Catholic education presented in John Paul II’s Ex corde Ecclesiae.”

    Please refer to the following paragraphs in the Code of Canon Law…

    Can. 805 For his own diocese, the local ordinary has the right to appoint or approve teachers of religion and even to remove them or demand that they be removed if a reason of religion or morals requires it.

    Can. 810 §1. The authority competent according to the statutes has the duty to make provision so that teachers are appointed in Catholic universities who besides their scientific and pedagogical qualifications are outstanding in integrity of doctrine and probity of life and that they are removed from their function when they lack these requirements; the manner of proceeding defined in the statutes is to be observed.

    §2. The conferences of bishops and diocesan bishops concerned have the duty and right of being watchful so that the principles of Catholic doctrine are observed faithfully in these same universities.

    Can. 812 Those who teach theological disciplines in any institutes of higher studies whatsoever must have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority.

    Can. 813 The diocesan bishop is to have earnest pastoral care for students, even by erecting a parish or at least by designating priests stably for this, and is to make provision that at universities, even non-Catholic ones, there are Catholic university centers which give assistance, especially spiritual assistance, to youth.

    Sounds like this is the right, responsibility, and duty of the Archbishop regardless of what you think the University may be trying to do, or what “title” he may have on the board. Actually, the why is spelled out in their Newsletter… “These changes as well as others made previously reflect recommendations made to us five years ago by the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities when it reviewed with our board best governance practices. One AGB recommendation was to conform our bylaws to what is now the common practice among Catholic colleges and universities: to elect the board’s chairman and vice chairman. “

    It is the Archbishop’s job – not mine or yours. Let him do his job.

    The letter states: “The planned renovation of the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas not only seems contrary to solid liturgical principles (e.g., a moveable instead of a fixed altar) but seems primarily designed to permit the chapel to be more easily used for non-liturgical events (even while a number of other suitable places exist on the campuses for such events). “

    Please refer to the following paragraphs in the Code of Canon Law…

    “Can. 1235 §1. An altar, or a table upon which the eucharistic sacrifice is celebrated, is called fixed if it is so constructed that it adheres to the floor and thus cannot be moved; it is called movable if it can be removed.

    §2. It is desirable to have a fixed altar in every church, but a fixed or a movable altar in other places designated for sacred celebrations.

    Can. 1236 §1. According to the traditional practice of the Church, the table of a fixed altar is to be of stone, and indeed of a single natural stone. Nevertheless, another worthy and solid material can also be used in the judgment of the conference of bishops. The supports or base, however, can be made of any material.

    §2. A movable altar can be constructed of any solid material suitable for liturgical use.”

    And it goes on from there. This also falls under the right, responsibility, and duty of the Archbishop. If the Canon Law makes provisions for a movable altar, why do you have a problem with it?

    -Class of ’79
    (BA Economics)

  9. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    The absolute law of minimalism: If you can minimalize, you must minimalize until all is reduced to nothing. The lowest common denominator of nothing can be equally shared by all.

    All of this is permitted in Canon Law, except, except, oh no! Don’t say it! That last, pesky law: what is it? Something about “always observing canonical equity, and keeping in mind the salvation of souls, which in the Church must always be the supreme law” (Can. 1752).

    Yup. Forgot about that one. Didn’t we?

  10. Matt Q says:

    TNCath wrote:

    “Never underestimate the power of a letter; it may do more good than the

    writer will realize. The one thing that colleges and universities do not like

    to hear is when you mention withdrawing contributions.”

    ()

    Well, for the most part, such letter-writing only puts more undue stress on

    the city dumps. As for the monetary contributions, I hope every single

    faithful alumnist cuts off all monies. Let a place like that sink or swim on

    its own. If it’s so against being Catholic or having a Catholic identity,

    then it doesn’t deserve the support of any Catholic. If a student is so

    clueless as to want to go to such a school then oh well.

    RBrown wrote:

    “‘I speak from long experience at writing letters to diocesan officials and colleges/universities. It can get very frustrating at times to take the time to write letters that go seemingly unnoticed. Nonetheless, while their replies are almost always the same, they do pay attention, and, sometimes, we get results. However, you have to get used to that friendly reply that basically says, “Buzz off!”
    Comment by TNCath’

    At least you received a reply. Some years ago I wrote Archbishop Strecker (rhymes with “wrecker”) to ask about a Latin Mass. No reply. I tried again. No reply.

    I then wrote the Apostolic Delegate and received a reply from a Msgr Clemente Faccani, who told me that many had been experiencing trouble with mail, and that was probably the reason I had heard nothing. Later, the Church recognized that the good monsignor was a real go-getter, and that his talents were needed as a nuncio in Africa.:

    ()

    How convenient about mail trouble. I want to know if they used that excuse with the light company or the water board in paying their bills.

    Well, RBrown. One of the best ways to get the attention of these perfidious bishops is to create one’s own website, or blog and let them have it. Say as you wish, get your point out and let it go from there. I for one have no consideration whatsoever for the feelings of a bishop. If such a man who has the fullness of the priesthood by being ordained bishop couldn’t care less about my or your spiritual welfare, then he’s on own with his.

    UST Alumnus wrote:

    “Oh Great, here we go again – another “Let’s bash St. Thomas Post”.

    The letter states: “I am concerned about the direction the University has been taking with regard to its Catholic identity. The recent decision of the board to alter the privileged role that the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis has as chairman is troubling and seems contrary to the vision of Catholic education presented in John Paul II’s Ex corde Ecclesiae.”

    Please refer to the following paragraphs in the Code of Canon Law…

    Can. 805 For his own diocese, the local ordinary has the right to appoint or approve teachers of religion and even to remove them or demand that they be removed if a reason of religion or morals requires it.

    Can. 810 §1. The authority competent according to the statutes has the duty to make provision so that teachers are appointed in Catholic universities who besides their scientific and pedagogical qualifications are outstanding in integrity of doctrine and probity of life and that they are removed from their function when they lack these requirements; the manner of proceeding defined in the statutes is to be observed.

    §2. The conferences of bishops and diocesan bishops concerned have the duty and right of being watchful so that the principles of Catholic doctrine are observed faithfully in these same universities.

    Can. 812 Those who teach theological disciplines in any institutes of higher studies whatsoever must have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority.

    Can. 813 The diocesan bishop is to have earnest pastoral care for students, even by erecting a parish or at least by designating priests stably for this, and is to make provision that at universities, even non-Catholic ones, there are Catholic university centers which give assistance, especially spiritual assistance, to youth.

    Sounds like this is the right, responsibility, and duty of the Archbishop regardless of what you think the University may be trying to do, or what “title” he may have on the board. Actually, the why is spelled out in their Newsletter… “These changes as well as others made previously reflect recommendations made to us five years ago by the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities when it reviewed with our board best governance practices. One AGB recommendation was to conform our bylaws to what is now the common practice among Catholic colleges and universities: to elect the board’s chairman and vice chairman. “

    It is the Archbishop’s job – not mine or yours. Let him do his job.

    The letter states: “The planned renovation of the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas not only seems contrary to solid liturgical principles (e.g., a moveable instead of a fixed altar) but seems primarily designed to permit the chapel to be more easily used for non-liturgical events (even while a number of other suitable places exist on the campuses for such events). “

    Please refer to the following paragraphs in the Code of Canon Law…

    “Can. 1235 §1. An altar, or a table upon which the eucharistic sacrifice is celebrated, is called fixed if it is so constructed that it adheres to the floor and thus cannot be moved; it is called movable if it can be removed.

    §2. It is desirable to have a fixed altar in every church, but a fixed or a movable altar in other places designated for sacred celebrations.

    Can. 1236 §1. According to the traditional practice of the Church, the table of a fixed altar is to be of stone, and indeed of a single natural stone. Nevertheless, another worthy and solid material can also be used in the judgment of the conference of bishops. The supports or base, however, can be made of any material.

    §2. A movable altar can be constructed of any solid material suitable for liturgical use.”

    And it goes on from there. This also falls under the right, responsibility, and duty of the Archbishop. If the Canon Law makes provisions for a movable altar, why do you have a problem with it?”

    ()

    Blah blah-blah. You’re too close to the problem to see it for what it is. All of your Canonical citations are meaningless because there is no enforcement of them. Like all liberals, they pick and choose the citations they wish to further their part but disregard others. We’ll just wait and see if a Tridentine Mass is ever celebrated there. If your stupid school so wants to disassociate itself with the Church, fine, but we have no obligation whatosever to go along with them. In fact, I hope that school of yours self-shutters.

  11. Tim Ferguson says:

    let me respond, UST alumnus, as a canonist, and a graduate of the College of St. Thomas (not the university)

    Canon law tolerates proof texting no more than does scripture. With regards to the Archbishop’s role as chairman, removing him from a position he holds and has held ex officio since 1885 can only be seen as a means of distancing the university from episcopal oversight. While the bishop of a diocese need not be chairman of the board of a college or university to be effective, what message does it send when he is removed? The only obvious answer is that the message is – we want our independence. Read “Ex corde Ecclesiae”, particularly the General Norms in the second section. It does not require that the diocesan bishop have an institutional role in the governance of a college or university, but it does encourage the preservation of those institutional roles that are already in place.

    As to the altar, again we have to “think outside the Code” since the Latin Code itself states (c. 2) “For the most part the Code does not determine the rites to be observed in the celebration of liturgical actions.” There is some liturgical law in the Code, but the majority of it is found elsewhere, such as the General Institution of the Roman Missal. A moveable altar is indeed permitted, but it is clearly not the ideal. There are sound reasons for a moveable altar – a temporary worship site, a chapel which, for various reasons MUST be used for non-sacred gatherings, the inability of a community to afford a fixed altar, a temporary situation until a fixed altar can be secured…

    St. Thomas Aquinas chapel already has a fixed altar, which is in good repair and suited to the celebration of the liturgy. There is no compelling reason for it to be removed. To remove it an replace it with a moveable altar would seem to imply that there really is no preference in the law – moveable altar, fixed altar, it’s all good. That’s not what the law states.

    The canon you quote (1235, §2) actually states “Expedit in omni ecclesia altare fixum inesse; ceteris vero in locis, sacris celebrationis destinatis altare fixum vel mobile.” “Expedit in omni ecclesia” seems like a pretty strong preference for fixed altars. I don’t know the exact canonical designation of St. Thomas Chapel, but presume that it’s a chapel or oratory.

    Further, in the General Institution of the Roman Missal, a clearer source of liturgical law, we find the reason for a fixed altar: (art. 298) “It is appropriate to have a fixed altar in every church, since it more clearly and permanently signifies Christ Jesus, the living stone (1 Pt 2:4; cf. Eph 2:20). In other places set aside for sacred celebrations, the altar may be movable.”

    While the chapel or oratory of St. Thomas Aquinas might not be required by law to have a permanent altar, the question needs to be raised, if such an altar is already there, is suitable for the liturgy, is in a good state of repair, what justifies the expense of taking it out and putting in a portable altar. To raise a crass analogy – would your mother sell off her wedding china in order to buy paper plates, presuming she was not in dire financial straits? Certainly not. Then why move out this permanent symbol of Christ, the living stone, in order to install a temporary substitute?

    Our churches used to stand for centuries before anyone thought of “renovating” them to be attuned to the spirit of the times. Now we have churches that are going through their third and fourth renovation in less than forty yers. Where’s the stability and continuity?

  12. UST Alumnus says:

    To Father Fr Renzo di Lorenzo: Father, my point in citing those canon laws was to show the authority of the Bishop with regard to Catholic Colleges and Universities (whether or not he is specifically on the board) in his Diocese. I am not “minimalizing” anything here and I am missing point of your post.

    To Tim Ferguson: Like you, it was “CST” when I graduated, however, I am not a canonist. I was attempting to point out that renovations of churches/chapels cannot be done without the episcopal knowledge and approval. Could you provide some insight on this?

  13. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    To Class of ‘79(BA Economics)UST Alumnus

    The point is NOT: If you can get away with it, do it. Tim’s comments speak to equity and the care of souls, as does the letter itself. You should be able to see a difference between the thrust of your words and that of the letter (with Tim’s comments).

    Take a lesson in moral theology:

    Thomists say that the best way to go about the moral life is virtue, so that the question is: “What is the best thing that I can do?”

    Many others say that the best way to go about the moral life is to find loop-holes in the commandments (as if there were any), so that the question is: “How can I please myself without falling completely into hell?”

    There’s a difference between these approaches. I’m sure you can see that as well.

  14. Tim Ferguson says:

    Oh they certainly are done regularly with the approval and input of the local ordinary, and I don’t doubt that the Archbishop was consulted in this matter, and likely gave his approval. Just because he gave his approval does not mean that I, or any Catholic, is obliged to think it is the right thing to do. See canon 212.

  15. Matt Q says:

    Tim Ferguson wrote:

    “Oh they certainly are done regularly with the approval and input of the local ordinary, and I don’t doubt that the Archbishop was consulted in this matter, and likely gave his approval. Just because he gave his approval does not mean that I, or any Catholic, is obliged to think it is the right thing to do. See canon 212.”

    ()

    You go, Tim. ** Thumbs Up **

  16. UST Alumnus says:

    Tim Ferguson wrote: “Oh they certainly are done regularly with the approval and input of the local ordinary, and I don’t doubt that the Archbishop was consulted in this matter, and likely gave his approval. Just because he gave his approval does not mean that I, or any Catholic, is obliged to think it is the right thing to do. See canon 212.”

    Canon 212 express the dynamic nature of the Church as a community. It DOES NOT state that we are to participate as individuals, but with interdependence and using all our gifts in the community of the Church. 212 speaks of obedience to “follow what the sacred pastors, as representatives of the Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or determine as leaders of the Church.” (Quae sacri Pastores, utpote Christum repraesentantes, tamquaam fidei magistri declarant aut tamquaam Ecclesiae rectores statuunt, christifideles, propriae responsabilitatis conscii, christana oboedientia prosequi tenetur.)

    The third paragraph of 212 states that the faithful “have a right and at times, a duty to manifest to their sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the church… and to other Christian faithful, with due regard for the integrity of faith and morals and reverence towards their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and dignity of persons.” The Christian faithful here are not individuals, but specific communities of faith.

    Fr Renzo di Lorenzo: “Take a lesson in moral theology: Thomists say that the best way to go about the moral life is virtue, so that the question is: “What is the best thing that I can do?” “

    Well Father, I would bet that St. Thomas Aquinas would say that attempting to foment negative opinion and discord on a blog certainly is not the best thing one can do!

    Although I may not agree at times, I for one will trust in the wisdom of the Church.

  17. dcs says:

    UST Alumnus, are you lecturing a canonist on the meaning of Canon 212?

  18. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    To Class of ‘79(BA Economics)UST Alumnus

    Whatever about your incredibly minimalist interpretation of CIC 212, this would not exclude fraternal correction made by an individual. Check out the proper interpretation of the law.

    Also, the Common Doctor wasn’t stupid. He allowed for individuals to fraternally correct even superiors even in public. You “bet” wrongly.

    Guess you didn’t become a Thomist at UST, did you?

  19. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    To Class of ‘79(BA Economics)UST Alumnus

    Check out my comments in the post “Hilarious”. To guide interpretation of the comments, which others had difficulty reading, (1) distinguish the office and the person of the bishop, and (2) know that fraternal correction is often the best form of obedience there is.

  20. UST Alumnus says:

    Father Fr Renzo di Lorenzo wrote:
    “Whatever about your incredibly minimalist interpretation of CIC 212, this would not exclude fraternal correction made by an individual. Check out the proper interpretation of the law. Also, the Common Doctor wasn’t stupid. He allowed for individuals to fraternally correct even superiors even in public. You “bet” wrongly. Guess you didn’t become a Thomist at UST, did you? “

    What is there to “interpret”? It is not rocket science here. The Christian Faithful in this case would be the people of St. Thomas University (It definitely is not people on some blog pushing an agenda. If the people of St. Thomas have have problems and/or concerns, then they have recourse to go to the Archbishop and express those concerns. However, in the end, it is Archbishop’s decision. It appears you are the one looking for loop holes and being a minimalist here.

    I did not bet wrongly and I did become a Thomist at CST. Even though it was a long time ago, I bet if St. Thomas Aquinas were alive today and posting here, he would do so with a spirit of congeniality and NOT condescension.

    Father Fr Renzo di Lorenzo also wrote:
    “Check out my comments in the post “Hilarious”. To guide interpretation of the comments, which others had difficulty reading, (1) distinguish the office and the person of the bishop, and (2) know that fraternal correction is often the best form of obedience there is. “

    Thanks, but no thanks, Father. Sounds like you have too much time on your hands!

  21. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    To Class of ‘79(BA Economics)UST Alumnus. Strange that a Thomist doesn’t know what St Thomas wrote. Saying that is not condescension. It’s an encouragement to read St Thomas. The purpose of such comments here is help people understand, people such as the person who wrote the letter. People helping people is not a bad thing. Now, as to your last comment, what did you say about a spirit of congeniality?

  22. Little Gal says:

    “I speak from long experience at writing letters to diocesan officials and… It can get very frustrating at times to take the time to write letters that go seemingly unnoticed. Nonetheless, while their replies are almost always the same, they do pay attention, and, sometimes, we get results. ” TNCath

    “At least you received a reply. Some years ago I wrote __. No reply. I tried again. No reply…”RBrown

    I wonder if folks think it’s worth considering that when one writes a letter that there is someone on the other end reading it, who might have another perspective and indeed be able to teach us (the letter writers). I have only written two letters to bishops and got personal replies from both men. BTW, one of these men is a Cardinal. In the case of one letter,the matter was more detailed and
    he not only addressed my concern, but he took the time to teach me something. It was my job to (1) humble myself (2) read the response with openness (3) learn.

  23. TNCath says:

    Little Gal,

    I think it all depends on the individual you are writing. Some cardinals and bishops are more open to responding than others. Indeed, some responses from cardinals and bishops are most helpful and instructive. Nonetheless, yes, we can always learn from a response, no matter how much we agree or disagree with it. And, with all due respect, so can the cardinal or bishop who are the recipients of our letters. Once again, never underestimate the power of a letter.