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Faith practice, good works do not need to be in competition Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

A Catholic Herald letter by Kenneth R. Studinski calls guidance about what it means to be a practicing Catholic “a list of assumed credentials for an acting Catholic,” however he says being a “practicing Catholic” requires the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

I reflect that Works of Mercy that are authentic Christian charity are fruits of the life of grace that we received first at Baptism and have and preserve through faith by the sacraments, prayer, embrace of Catholic teaching, and ordered participation in the life of the Church. It is reductionistic to call these things “assumed credentials” when they are profoundly necessary to our incorporation in the Body of Christ and having His life, the life of grace.

A nominal Catholic who busies himself doing apparent “good works” but has fallen away from authentic unity with the Body of Christ and whose soul is spiritually dead (not in a state of grace) when his body dies, cannot go to heaven. A person who lives up to his vocation as a member of Christ’s Body participating in the divine life and beautifully fruitful with all the virtues and the Works of Mercy may be a saint. But a person who repents on his deathbed and receives the sacraments with faith may also be in heaven without having performed many Works of Mercy.

I hope and suspect Mr. Studinski would agree that we need not set Christian faith practice vs. good works in competition against each other.

Elizabeth Durack, Madison