Some of you may have heard about an unsigned letter that was placed on the windshields of all the cars in the St. Mary Ackley Church parking lot during mass a couple of weeks ago (and some of you were perhaps there and received such letter). If you did not hear or read about it, you can read the article below that was posted in the Ackley paper, (A special thanks to Becky Schipper who wrote the article.)
In short, the letter was an 8-page letter (37 points), citing Scripture to try and “disprove” and denounce the teachings of the Catholic Church, saying that it is an unbiblical church, that it is “Satanic” and that is a “counterfeit of Christianity.”
As some of you may know, I am very much in favor of “ecumenical dialogue,” that is, dialogue with other Christian denominations to continue to strive to follow Christ more deeply together. This unsigned letter is however is an example of two things:
1) First of all, of how NOT to do such dialogue. Dialogue is a two way street, not a one-way conversation…and it’s hard to continue to have conversation about Christian doctrine and biblical teaching if the person does not give any way or opportunity to continue the conversation, hiding behind an unsigned letter with no way to contact them
2) Second, this letter demonstrates just how much we NEED such dialogue. The things stated in the letter demonstrated that the writer had some misconceptions or a distorted understanding of some of the Catholic Church’s teachings and their biblical foundations. Not to mention that the way the writer cited Scripture was a poor demonstration of in-depth biblical study, especially considering the writer cited the Scriptures convenient to their position while ignoring other very relevant Scriptures.
If this letter did raise questions for you about the teachings of the faith, that you wish to learn more about OR you just want to learn to understand and be able to explain better the reasons for the Catholic Churches teachings, please know there are many great resources for you out there! I encourage you to look at the many resources available to you on our FORMED program. There are many good Catholic writers/speakers out there – such people as Scott Hahn, Brant Pitre, and Peter Kreeft have great resources to help Catholics better understand the Catholic Church’s teachings.
And, of course, I, Fr. Kevin, also very much enjoy discussing and explaining why we believe what we believe and would be happy to sit down with you and discuss such things!
May we continue to pray for ongoing healing in the divisions of the Body of Christ, and that we who bear the name Christian may continue to strive to find ways that we can better understand each other so as to better follow and serve Our Lord more and more together as brothers and sisters in Him!
Manifesto delivered to local Catholic parishioners – Author invited to dialogue with church leader
August 23, 2019 – An eight-page, unsigned document expressing the views of the author, was placed on over eighty vehicles located in the St. Mary’s Catholic Church parking lot on during mass on Sunday, Aug. 18.
Catholic parishioners exited the church to find the letter in unsealed envelopes which were placed on windshields of each vehicle.
The letter begins with the author stating he or she has studied the Bible for over 34 years and felt compelled to share his/her findings with the parishioners, noting repeatedly the ‘distortion’, ‘blasphemy’ and ‘false doctrine, wrongly taught by Roman Catholicism’ throughout.
Father Kevin Earleywine spoke with the Ackley World Journal about the letter on Aug. 23. “I would be very interested in an ecumenical dialogue with the author – or anyone else about Catholic Christianity,” Earleywine said. He added that he was mostly annoyed with the incident, though some parishioners were more shaken up. Earleywine said that while the author cited Scriptures, he or she chose only pieces of those which supported his or her own view while ignoring other pieces of Scripture.
“It clearly shows the argument that this person doesn’t understand Catholicism and the teachings therein,” Earleywine said. He added if he was provided an opportunity for a discussion with the author he would like that individual to know that Catholics are genuine Christians, not followers of Satan and he would welcome the opportunity to dialogue more with that individual.
“I hope he or she reads this article and reaches out to have a discussion,” Earleywine concluded. If anyone would like to dialogue or have a conversation about Catholic Christianity or anything else with Fr. Kevin Earleywine, he invites people to get in touch with him. Can e-mail him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ackley police were paged out on the call, which was logged as general harassment
Ackley Police Chief Brian Shimon said the letter is being taken “very seriously” and stated that a copy has been hand-delivered to the Department of Criminal Investigation for latent print processing.
Shimon explained that latent fingerprints are formed when the body’s natural oils and sweat are deposited onto another surface. Latent prints are not readily visible to the naked eye but can be processed with various chemicals causing the prints to be visible. The process can take up to 30 days.
Shimon further explained that the investigation into the manifesto is ongoing and that he has been talking with the county attorney about the latter and possible suspects, which he would not identify.
A member of the church states that she feels the letter was uncalled for.
“The Catholic path is the way I enjoy. I believe all faiths go to heaven, we are simply taking different paths to reach the same destiny,” she said.
Anyone with information including seeing anything out of the ordinary that morning is asked to contact the Ackley Police at 641-847-2222
The letter can be read in its entirety online at www.ackleyworldjournal.com
Ackley World Journal