Q. It is amusing to see how years of defending the indefensible (Vatican II and its horrific aftermath) cloud judgments and dim the light of reason. In your reply to C. T. in a recent issue of The Wanderer, you state that the enormous (by most standards) salary received by Mr. Mahfood, head of Food for the Poor ($391,627 per annum if correctly reported by your correspondent), “doesn’t seem exorbitant…in a world where, for example, the commissioner of the National Football League is paid $29 million a year.”
Has your ability to discern the difference between the salary of a national head of a for-profit sports organization — however obscene the amount unquestionably is — and that of the director of a charitable organization dedicated to feeding the poorest of the poor in the Western Hemisphere evaporated together with your ability to see the wolves in sheep’s clothing who now rule the Church for who they are — those monsters you consistently excuse in your Wanderer column or disagree with in only the mildest of terms in the name of a false charity?
I don’t expect you to publish this note — nor does that matter to me. Seeing my name in print is not the reason I bother to write. I know from experience that you do not publish letters whose tone you don’t think is in tune with the glassy-eyed liberalism regnant today, which, tragically, you mistake for charity. — R.C., Pennsylvania.
A. Sorry to disappoint you, but we are publishing your letter, as we have previously published letters from those who disagree with us. Other readers (M.T. of Pennsylvania and C.O. via e-mail) have expressed the same concerns you voiced about Mr. Mahfood’s salary, although not in such colorful terms, so we want to address the matter again. Perhaps we can gain some perspective by listing the total revenue collected, and the salaries paid to top officials, of ten different charities, working down from the top of the salary figures, and by quoting from a group that studies these matters.
American Cancer Society — Total Revenue: $924 million / Salary of CEO: $788,416.
American Heart Association — Total Revenue: $626 million / Salary of CEO: $737,149.
American Red Cross — Total Revenue: $3.15 billion / Salary of CEO: $591,122.
World Vision — Total Revenue: $1 billion / Salary of President: $405,975.
Save the Children — Total Revenue: $576 million / Salary of CEO: $403,857.
Food for the Poor — Total Revenue: $900 million / Salary of CEO: $391,627.
Catholic Relief Services — Total Revenue: $699 million / Salary of CEO: $322,394.
American Lung Association — Total Revenue: $49 million / Salary of CEO: $319,133.
Feed the Children — Total Revenue: $618 million / Salary of CEO: $235,762.
Hands Together — Total Revenue: $4.3 million / Salary of Executive Director: $131,118.
In an introduction to its study of the CEO compensation practices at 3,929 mid-to-large-sized U.S.-based charities, Charity Navigator said that “we know that many donors continue to be concerned by what they believe to be excessive charity CEO pay. Many donors assume that charity leaders work for free or minimal pay and are shocked to see that they earn six-figure salaries. But well-meaning donors sometimes fail to consider that these CEOs are typically running multi-million-dollar operations that endeavor to help change the world.
“Leading one of these charities requires an individual that possesses an understanding of the issues that are unique to the charity’s mission, as well as a high level of fundraising and management expertise. Attracting and retaining that type of talent requires a competitive level of compensation as dictated by the marketplace.”
Q. 1) I have always felt that the ringing of the bells at the consecration of the Mass is very reverent and focuses the mind. A church that I attend does not do this, even though servers are available. Is there a church policy in this regard?
2) Also, I believe that the custom of receiving Communion under both Species was popularized after Vatican II. Since the Body and Blood of Christ are present in the consecrated Bread alone, is there a theological reason to receive under both Species when the Precious Blood is offered? — C.B., via e-mail.
A. 1) Yes, there is a Church policy on ringing the bell at the consecration. “A little before the Consecration, if appropriate,” says the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, “a minister rings a small bell as a signal to the faithful. The minister also rings the bell at each elevation by the Priest, according to local custom” (n. 150).
2) You are correct that one receives Jesus entirely in the consecrated Host, but the Church also offers the opportunity to receive the Precious Blood of our Lord as a way of fulfilling His command to “take and eat” and “take and drink.” The 2004 Vatican document Redemptionis Sacramentum explains it this way:
“So that the fullness of the sign may be made more clearly evident to the faithful in the course of the Eucharistic banquet, lay members of Christ’s faithful, too, are admitted to Communion under both kinds in the cases set forth in the liturgical books, preceded and continually accompanied by proper catechesis regarding the dogmatic principles on this matter laid down by the Ecumenical Council of Trent” (n. 100).
Communion from the chalice, says the document, “is to be completely excluded where even a small danger exists of the sacred species being profaned” (n. 101). Furthermore, the document says that “the chalice should not be administered to lay members of Christ’s faithful where there is such a large number of communicants that it is difficult to gauge the amount of wine for the Eucharist and there is a danger that ‘more than a reasonable quantity of the Blood of Christ remains to be consumed at the end of the celebration.’
“The same is true wherever access to the chalice would be difficult to arrange, or where such a large amount of wine would be required that its certain provenance and quality could only be known with difficulty, or wherever there is not an adequate number of sacred ministers or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion with proper formation, or where a notable part of the people continues to prefer not to approach the chalice for various reasons, so that the sign of unity would in some cases be negated” (n. 101).
Q. On the feast of St. Joseph, our pastor said that Jesus was conceived “out of wedlock.” This is not true, is it? — K.E.R., Connecticut.
A. No, it is not true as we have pointed out in the past. The best way is refute this is to read carefully chapter 1 of Matthew’s Gospel, particularly where he says that when “Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly” (Matt. 1:18-19). Notice that Matthew calls Joseph Mary’s “husband” and says that Joseph had decided to “divorce her quietly” when he discovered that she was with child upon her return from visiting her relative Elizabeth. But how could Joseph divorce Mary unless they were already married?
If these plain words are not enough to convince someone that Mary and Joseph were married when Jesus was conceived, then one can explain that, according to Jewish tradition, betrothal was the ceremony that united the couple in marriage. The second stage came a year later, if the woman was a virgin, when she moved into the house of her husband. In his apostolic exhortation Guardian of the Redeemer, Pope John Paul II confirmed this tradition:
“According to Jewish custom, marriage took place in two stages: first, the legal or true marriage was celebrated, and then, only after a certain period of time, the husband brought the wife into his own house. Thus, before he lived with Mary, Joseph was already her ‘husband.’ Mary, however, preserved her deep desire to give herself exclusively to God” (n. 18).
Mary’s relationship with Joseph was that of a wife, although they had decided to forgo marital relations and live in a celibate relationship.