Small Gesture Builds Bridges

A response to: Lighting the Easter Candle

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The comments made in response to a few readers supporting the blessing of fallen-away or non-Catholics included: «for those in such a situation the principal grace of the Mass would be that of conversion.» As a priest who is aware of who is in what «situation,» I feel that comment lacked an awareness of the spectrum of situations exist.

For example, I know some married couples who await the final decree of nullity so that they can have their current civil marriage convalidated by the Church. They have already undergone significant conversion and to say that they need more conversion may be true as we all need conversion however, it sounds as if it is assuming that they choose to live status quo with the «situation.»

There have also been others who have undergone conversion to enter the RCIA program but again are waiting for the paperwork to grant permission to become Catholic at the next Easter Vigil. Some of these «non-Catholics» have been more active than other Catholics who have come to take their faith for granted. Meanwhile, they have chosen to be patient and to respect Church rules and commune with the mystical body of Christ at the parish by coming forward even though they cannot commune through the Eucharistic Body of Christ. Many Catholics such as a few politicians have demonstrated disregard for Church law and still receive Communion.

I believe this small gesture goes a long way in building bridges and painting a better picture of the Catholic Church.

Father John M. Zimmerman

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