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Audience failed to show proper etiquette; Life's simple moments should be celebrated, not disparaged; Sorority story was disservice; Roman Catholics don't have monopoly on God


Audience failed to show proper etiquette
Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend a performance of the Richmond Ballet's version of "Romeo and Juliet," which was excellent and beautifully staged (Dance, Feb. 1). Unbelievably, after a wonderful performance there were only two quick curtain calls, and then the audience rushed out without enticing the dancers out with applause for a few more encores.

Instead, people were rushing out before the last act even ended. I was shocked at the lack of appreciation and graciousness shown by the audience. We all need to behave in a more thoughtful manner showing respect for the artist and the art we have chosen to enjoy. This is the time to forget stress and crowded schedules, a time to sit back and relax, letting the crowds disperse in their own time, even if it takes 10 or 15 minutes longer. It's part of the etiquette of the evening.

-Margaret Grace Sweeton

Life's simple moments should be celebrated, not disparaged
Please, leave Jann Malone ALONE! (Cover story, Feb. 8) There are those of us who need her column to remind us that when we dry our tears after a Columbine incident that there will be a normal life with "the mocking bird" returning! When there is no place on TV or in the paper to get away from "Monica and Bill," there is Jan" ... a safe refuge from media saturation.(She did let us down with one column on Monica and Bill.)

When you have made a donation to the Kosovo refugees and you still worry about the children and the camps, there is Jann to help you get your equilibrium back.

I don't feel the need to belittle the quiet, everyday issues of life that she writes about ... they connect me to others and remind me that there is only so much that I can do to change the world.

Humility isn't a bad trait! Enjoyment in the simple everyday questions of life shouldn't be disparaged. It could be celebrated!

-Ann Griffin

Sorority story was disservice
My husband and I would like to submit a -8 score for "Greek 101" (Cover story, Feb. 15). We both expect far more from your newspaper, and this was a major disappointment, actually an insult to your readers. Who cares?

You do a disservice to young women, college students and the Richmond community by this article.

-Dorothy J. Hollahan
George M. Smith

Roman Catholics don't have monopoly on God
Thank you so much for the article which included a general overview of our new Gentle Shepherd Parish in Richmond, and of course the American Catholic Church to which it belongs (Metro, Feb. 15).

As part of that interview, your reporter contacted the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond for a comment. The Rev. Pat Apuzzo, spokesman for the diocese, made the following observations: "We don't have a lot of knowledge of them. They seem to be a group that centers a lot of their identity on how they worship. That seems to be what holds them together, and it appears they are liturgically conservative, whereas it appears that anything goes [regarding] personal morals or church morals."

In the name of the American Catholic Church and of Old Catholics everywhere, I must express my grief and sadness at this statement. That the good father is ignorant of our denomination can be understood, but that he in his ignorance could opine so hurtfully is certainly far below what one would expect of a man of God.

We are a simple church, a church with the same Apostolic roots as Roman Catholicism. We elected, as early as the 12th century, to not follow the evolution of the Roman Church into an embellished sociopolitical hierarchy that delved into the personal lives of its congregants in a manner never even thought of by the apostles and early disciples of Christ. Thus, much of the "baggage" that came with this evolution simply does not enter into our dogma.

Our belief is that we are all created in God's diverse image, and that both laity and clergy may be male or female, single, married or divorced; pro-choice or pro-life, and of any sexual orientation. We believe that we should love God above everything else and that we should love our neighbors as ourselves (sound familiar?).

We subscribe to the exact same moral codes concerning committed relationships as our Roman brethren, the only difference being that we respect the fact that God's gift of love and sexuality can extend to same-sex situations.

Perhaps the most hypocritical is the fact that men and women, denied the gifts of God, are placed in the position of advising and counseling their flocks, while at the same time repressing their own natural urges. And yet how many times have we heard the Roman Catholic Church openly speak about their own internal problems? Their rule of thumb here seems to be quiet dismissal, transfer, and obscurity of the truth.

Quite simply, the Roman Catholic Church has a lot of internal housekeeping to do before it can make value judgments on the religious beliefs of others. They simply do not have a monopoly on God, and we view their rights to judge us as less than zero.

-Archbishop Bruce Simpson
Vicar General for Social Justice
American Catholic Church

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