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Letters to the editor
Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

Mr. Studinski made a great point in the December 7 issue about the importance of many other things that weren’t mentioned explicitly in my November 23 piece about what it means to be a practicing Catholic, such as the Works of Mercy and the Beatitudes.

But there was a reason for emphasizing the commandments. The terminology of “practicing Catholic” is one typically used to specify a minimum requirement for fulfilling certain functions within the Church (e.g. catechist, school teacher, godparent, etc.). And in the moral life, although the Works of Mercy and the Beatitudes are certainly more perfect than merely observing the commandments, yet still observing the commandments is the minimum.

The same can be seen in the reception of the sacraments: a devout Catholic, who is serious about trying to make progress in the spiritual life, will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation frequently, and yet the minimum requirement for a practicing Catholic is still only once per year.

So while it is important to specify minimum requirements, it is absolutely true that we cannot be content to stop at minimum requirements! Our goal must be to be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). And I thank Mr. Studinski for calling attention to that.

Dr. John P. Joy, Marriage and Family Coordinator, Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, Diocese of Madison