Essential distinction: Opinion vs. fact regarding Catholicism

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Peter McDonough's opinion piece "The Pope's Real Mission" (July 28 Forum) should be read as what it is, his own personal opinion. He certainly knows that many well-informed and faithful Catholics disagree with him. But there is one factual error that needs to be corrected.

In regard to priests who leave holy orders, the expression "reduced to the lay state" was replaced in the 1983 "Code of Canon Law" by "loses the clerical state" -- "statum clericalem amittit."

This was done to avoid the appearance of the inferiority of the laity and to stress the basic equality of all of Christ's faithful. This should please Mr. McDonough.

RAYMOND SEYMOUR
Ebensburg, Pa.


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