Traditional Mass safeguards faithI was pleased to see that...


March 27, 1996

Traditional Mass safeguards faith

I was pleased to see that Latin was the subject of a considerable article in the Feb. 26 Sun. I must disagree, however, with some of the views of the Rev. Reginald Foster, as reported approvingly and at some length by your correspondent from Rome.

Father Foster, described as an American scholar of Latin at the Vatican, apparently dismisses those Roman Catholics who are working to have the Traditional Latin (Tridentine) Mass made widely available as an alternative to the post-Vatican II Mass as "ultraconservatives seeking to return to some mystical golden age."

In the U.S., the bishops of more than 100 dioceses (including the Archdiocese of Baltimore) have authorized the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. This hardly demonstrates the sort of hostility Father Foster ascribes to American bishops.

Those Catholics, who have successfully petitioned for the original Latin Mass, have been largely laity, not clergy, and they find in it a reverence and an expression and safeguard of Catholic truth which the "Novus Ordo" (even in its Latin Version) cannot replace. They probably do not include many whom Father Foster would call Latin scholars or experts.

Father Foster seems to despair of the long-term survival of his beloved Latin in the Catholic Church, yet he spurns the efforts of those in the trenches actually fighting for it. In this, he makes no sense.

James P. Lewis


Blame bay problems on population growth

Surprise, surprise! Coastal bays in Maryland and Delaware are endangered, according to a March 10 article. A $500,000 study by the Environmental Protection Agency of the shallow bays alongside the beach resorts shows they are just as degraded as Chesapeake Bay.

A March 9 conference in Ocean City sought ways to protect and restore those fragile bays. The sea grasses are gone, algae bloom and aquatic creatures die. Better management of growth and development may help, the EPA study and conference participants hoped.

Newspaper accounts like the one published March 10 and the people who were quoted in it barely mention the basic problem, which is population pressure. Worcester County's planner, Philip Hager, predicted that county's population will double in 35 years.

The problem is too many people. It is people who pollute, and the best of planning can only delay or slightly mitigate the destructive force of population pressure.

Maryland alone cannot stop people from moving into the state, but the United States government could adopt a population policy for sustainable growth. A slow-down of immigration and incentives for smaller families are elements of a policy that can lead to a balance between resources and people and to preservation of waterways in place of further degradation.

Carleton W. Brown


Shy people not egocentric

It wasn't until I read the Feb. 27 article by Laura Lippman that I fully acknowledged my problem -- shyness. I have suffered from it -- just like the article said -- from birth. My friends don't believe I am and have been shy, but it's true.

Shyness affects me in little ways. I refrain from asking directions when I'm lost; I don't challenge someone who has pushed ahead of me in line at the supermarket; I say excuse me to someone who has bumped into me; I say "thank you" to really rude sales clerks and more often than not I do not return food that has not been prepared as I requested.

I don't like to ask favors, even if I need one, and sharing small elevators makes me nervous. I don't want to make a scene, I don't want to be embarrassed. Being acknowledged in a crowd or public place for something good I did is embarrassing. I may love the acknowledgment but if done in public, I cringe.

Shyness has been my secret for years -- even my mother didn't know. Close friends have berated me for being stubborn or too proud to ask for help, being a people pleaser, and finally, not aggressive enough. But it's none of those things.

I think shy people are modest, very, very civilized and sometimes too sensitive to push themselves ahead of others, to brag or to compete in a way they find morally objectionable. I like to think that for shy people their standards of good behavior may well be a cut above what is considered "the norm." I do not for a minute believe we shy people are "egocentric."

On the contrary, it's the ones who unabashedly push ahead in the grocery line, take the parking spot we've waited so patiently for and lie on their resumes who are egocentric.

Donna Reifsnider


Hollins Street needs attention

I read your March 16 article about the Hollins Street couple who had given up all hope of resurrecting their neighborhood. It made me feel disgusted.

Who can blame them for moving up to New Jersey, when you consider the lack of city, state and federal support for the area over the past 10 years?

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