Letter to the Editor 4/15 #2

By Pitt News Staff

To the Editor,

Admittedly, in a culture that gives little thought to sin and its… To the Editor,

Admittedly, in a culture that gives little thought to sin and its consequences, the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on indulgences might seem baffling or nonsensical. This being said, it is certainly fair that an article would be written about the Church’s practice of granting indulgences and that this practice would be examined critically in light of its theological and biblical foundations, as well as the historical abuses and misunderstandings of the practice.

Yet, the column written by Dave Beitzel on April 2, ‘Vatican indulges self, sinners,’ did none of these things. The one Catholic resource that Beitzel mentions, Catholic.com, provides a well-developed explanation of the teaching as well as an insightful section on the most common myths about indulgences. Beitzel either failed to carefully read or intentionally ignored the Web site’s explanation. Of course, there are many other resources Beitzel could have used, notably the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church. He could have also interviewed the Catholic chaplains at the Newman Center or any of the priests at St. Paul Cathedral simply to clarify his understanding of the teaching before writing his article. He did none of these things. Instead, he chose to mock the practice of many faithful Catholics and grossly misrepresent Catholic teaching.

Among educated and devout practicing Catholics, it has now reached the level of a cliche to remind ourselves that anti-Catholicism is the last form of acceptable prejudice in the United States. It is unfortunate that The Pitt News lacks the capacity to distinguish between what is provocative — writing that gives rise to thoughtful and spirited dialogue — and what is inflammatory — writing bent on insulting and offending the reader. The Pitt News has been described as a ‘teaching newspaper.’ At least in Beitzel’s case, the paper miserably failed him and his readers. In the face of such a profound lack of concern for accuracy and for disciplined well-ordered thought, perhaps the article should have been entitled, ‘The Pitt News indulges self, writers.’

Rev. David S. Abernethy, C.O.

Director, Ryan Catholic Newman Cente