The National Catholic Review
William R. O'Neill
Lessons and temptations
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In Robert Bolt’s play, A Man for All Seasons, the aging Cardinal Wolsey admonishes Sir Thomas More: “You’re a constant regret to me, Thomas. If you could just see the facts flat on, without that horrible moral squint; with just a little common sense, you could have been a statesman.” Wolsey’s heirs are quick to upbraid our latter-day Mores for their sentimental “moral squint” at public policy.  Yet even statesmen of Wolsey’s stripe seldom see the “facts” flat on. Invariably, our perceptions betray our moral squints and prejudices.

Beginning with Leo XIII’s magisterial encyclical on the rights of workers to a living wage (Rerum novarum, 1891), the Roman Catholic Church looks at public policy through the moral squint of its social teaching. In the words of Benedict XVI’s “Message for the 92nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees,” “the Church sees” the suffering of our sisters and brothers “through the eyes of Jesus, who was moved with pity at the sight of the crowds wandering as sheep without a shepherd. (Cf. Mt 9:36).” How then, as citizens of faith, do we fulfill the Gospel’s prophetic mandate, in our present day?

Inspired by the great biblical injunctions of justice or righteousness (sedaqah), right judgment (misphat), and love of neighbor (agape) marking the reign of God, modern Roman Catholic social teaching turns to the distinctively modern idiom of human dignity and the rights that follow from it. The bishops elaborated on these rights in their 1986 pastoral letter:

Catholic social teaching spells out the basic demands of justice...in the human rights of every person. These fundamental rights are prerequisites for a dignified life in community. The Bible vigorously affirms the sacredness of every person as a creature formed in the image and likeness of God. The biblical emphasis on covenant and community also shows that human dignity can only be realized and protected in solidarity with others.

The appeal to human dignity “in solidarity with others” serves as a proximate foundation of human rights, permitting us to speak prophetically to the world. Yet in specifying the “minimum conditions” for the realization of such dignity, the bishops not only ratify, but enrich our notion of rights. For in the church’s social teaching, basic human rights encompass not merely the “negative” civil-political liberties enshrined in our American tradition—e.g., the freedoms from interference or coercion, such as our rights to freedom of worship, assembly and speech—but the “positive” socio-economic rights of security and subsistence, including employment, minimal health care and education: rights necessary for “a dignified life in community.” The theme is echoed in Faithful Citizenship (2007):

The basic right to life implies and is linked to other human rights to the goods that every person needs to live and thrive–including food, shelter, health care, education, and meaningful work. The use of the death penalty, hunger, lack of health care or housing, human trafficking, the human and moral costs of war, and unjust immigration policies are some of the serious moral issues that challenge our consciences and require us to act.

Free to Serve

Christian freedom, then, is not merely the freedom from interference by others, but our freedom for service to the community in love: the “end” of freedom is thus not merely private satisfaction, but the “common good” of every person. Solidarity, writes John Paul II, is the characteristic virtue of the common good. In modern Catholic teaching, the common good is conceived distributively, not en masse, as “the sum total of those conditions of social living” that protect and promote the dignity and rights of every person. The common good thus comprises the institutional protection of basic human rights including, a fortiori, the rights of effective participation of those historically denied place and voice.

While recognizing legitimate plurality in a democracy like our own, the common good sets a threshold for dignified life in community. In Faithful Citizenship, our bishops write, “While the common good embraces all, those who are weak, vulnerable and most in need deserve preferential concern. A basic moral test for our society is how we treat the most vulnerable in our midst” (2007: no. 50).

In other words, our moral entitlement to equal respect or consideration, in concert with the ethical ideal of the common good, justifies preferential treatment for those whose basic rights are most imperiled—in Camus’s phrase, our taking “the victim’s side.” Aquinas’s observation that a servant who is ill merits greater attention than a son who is not, is pertinent here: the fulfillment of equal basic rights, in materially dissimilar conditions, justifies a discriminate response. Precisely our concern for equal dignity and equal rights requires that we ask, Whose dignity and rights are unequally threatened? The church’s moral squint, her “option for the poor,” bids us ask: “Who is missing from the table of policy, whose voice suppressed?”

Finally, as our bishops observe, our solidarity, ordered to the common good, bids us to “be careful stewards of “God’s creation and to ensure a safe and hospitable environment for vulnerable human beings now and in the future.” How, then, does our “moral squint” guide our thinking on public policy? What lessons for voting might we draw?

Lessons for voting

A. Worthy persuasion:  The norms that govern personal choice, such as my opposition to abortion or racism, likewise govern social choice, but differently.  For personal choice, I must ask what moral rules, attitudes and beliefs form my conscience. And these rules, attitudes and beliefs may be distinctively religious. If I believe certain actions are wrong, especially if they are always wrong (intrinsically evil), I can never perform them—or intentionally (formally) cooperate in their performance—whatever the consequences might be. I am categorically obliged by the dictates of my conscience.

But suppose, as in politics, the question is not merely my obligation to form my conscience, but my obligation, as a citizen of faith, to influence yours. I must, as Dignitatas Humanae (nos. 7, 4) reminds us, engage in “worthy persuasion.” I must find the very best arguments that will persuade you. For those who share my Christian or Catholic beliefs, I will look to Scripture and Tradition, including magisterial pronouncements. In a religiously pluralist society, however, worthy persuasion will typically entail public reasons: reasons that we share, or should share, as citizens. And here we appeal to the modern lingua franca of dignity and human rights. On questions of immigration, abortion, or health care, for instance, we appeal to the basic human rights of the most vulnerable in our midst. As citizens of faith, then, we seek not to impose or legislate our particular morality, but rather to legislate morally, in accordance with the basic human rights that underlie the legitimacy of law and public policy.

B. Precepts are not policy. Like moral rules generally, such rights oblige us to behave in certain ways. But precepts, typically, do not immediately determine policy. For social policy, I must ask the further question of how we best fulfill such rights through the imperfect instrument of law. And here our reasoning is, in Amartya Sen’s words, “consequentially sensitive.” Indeed, as we saw, in the Catholic tradition is ordered to the common good—to the institutions and laws that best preserve, protect and promote basic human rights. 

Voting, then, is not simply a referendum on values. Rather voting constitutes an exercise of prudential deliberation which enables us, in the words of the Catechism, “to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it” (no. 1806; Faithful Citizenship, no. 19). In a democratic society, as we seek to discern our true good, we vote not so much for values or precepts as from them. Clearly we vote for candidates who, to a greater or lesser degree, embody values we cherish. But chief among these values that mark character is wisdom, and wisdom looks to consequences. Which program, policy, or candidate, we must ask, will best preserve, protect, and promote the common good? 

As Aquinas reminds us, not all precepts of natural law are fittingly legislated as civil law, nor are violations of natural law necessarily proscribed by criminal sanction. Coercive law remains an imperfect instrument. We have generally agreed, for instance, that not all “intrinsically evil” actions (e.g., artificial contraception) are fit subjects for criminal prosecution. Neither is the wisdom of a particular law exhausted by what it says; wise leaders will look at what it does: once implemented, is the law likely to protect or harm the most vulnerable?

C. Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Can a Catholic, then, vote for a candidate who in turn votes for a policy permitting abortion? Or to put the question more precisely, is it morally permissible for a legislator to vote for a policy permitting what is morally impermissible? And could I vote for such a candidate?

The question we face is how best to “limit the evil aspects” of prevailing policies, laws or practices. We must ask which feasible proposal will best promote and least violate the rights of all affected, especially the most vulnerable. In the words of our bishops:

Prudence shapes and informs our ability to deliberate over available alternatives, to determine what is most fitting to a specific context, and to act…As Catholics seek to advance the common good, we must carefully discern which public policies are morally sound. (Faithful Citizenship, no. 20).

Such prudential reasoning, legitimately and properly, pertains to abortion policy. In voting for a candidate, I must ask, not only what candidate X explicitly professes, but whether electing her or him will likely contribute to a decrease in abortions. David Hollenbach, S.J., writes, “Whether the number of abortions can be reduced more effectively by taking economic and other preventative measures that reduce pressures on women to consider abortion or by passing legislation that simply bans abortion outright is clearly a matter of practical wisdom.  Reaching a judgment on such a matter calls for the exercise of the classic virtue of prudence” (Journal of Religion and Society).

With the virtue of practical wisdom, we recover our “moral squint.”  And it is a squint that looks to all morally relevant issues, precisely because “the basic right to life implies and is linked to other human rights and goods that every person needs to live and thrive—including food, shelter, health care, education and meaningful work” (Faithful Citizenship).

Political Temptations

Let me conclude, then, by touching upon the temptations that beset faithful citizens today:

A. Hiding our light under a bushel basket (Mt. 5:14).  As we argued earlier, the wisdom of our Roman Catholic heritage is also “catholic” or universal in the lower case sense of the word. Catholic Social Teaching rests upon revelation and reason; there is no “double truth.” Thus to those who share our biblical texts, we speak in the cadences of Scripture. But faithful citizens engage in “worthy persuasion.” We must translate the great biblical injunctions and deposit of tradition into the persuasive rhetoric of human rights if the Gospel is to be heard in our present today.

Much hinges on this. For if we fail to engage in public reasoning, we play into the very rhetoric we so adamantly oppose. For many who accept abortion, after all, the issue is settled by choice; there is no public, common good to be adjudicated in public policy. And in the absence of such a common good, negative liberty—the rights of choice—typically prevail. Indeed, if we oppose abortion merely because we are Catholic, we effectively concede the primacy of choice in a religiously pluralist polity like our own. 

But we are not imposing our morality, as if it were merely a form of Catholic etiquette. No, we appeal to a common good that should shape our common life as citizens—this is the wisdom of our Catholic heritage. We are not biblical or magisterial positivists. We have a rich heritage of worthy persuasion; let us not hide it under a bushel basket.

B. Doing the wrong deed for the right reason. T. S. Eliot memorably wrote in Murder in the Cathedral that “the last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.” But the converse is also true. Our good intentions do not absolve us from making wise, prudential decisions. Citizens of faith must look at all policies and the consequences of implementing them from the perspective of the most vulnerable. And here we may differ, not on whether, but on how what Pope Benedict calls “social charity” (Deus caritas est, no. 29) is best practiced “in the present today.

Our bishops remind us, “As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support,” even if a candidate’s support for “an issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.” Our bishops follow Benedict when they write that

There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons.  Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil. (Faithful Citizenship, no. 35).

The virtue of prudence summons us to vote reflectively, never ignoring grave reasons that bear on the common good. What might such grave reasons be? A faithful citizen who opposes Roe vs. Wade may doubt whether electing a given candidate will be effective: since 1973, the majority of Supreme Court justices have been appointed by Republican presidents, and the decision remains. So too, citizens may doubt whether overturning Roe will resolve the question: reversing Roe would merely remand the issue to the states, the majority of which would likely preserve abortion. Concern for other issues such as poverty, where one’s vote could make a greater difference, may then prevail.

And finally, as we observed above, a faithful citizen may believe that social and economic policies that support pre- and post-natal care would more likely reduce the incidence of abortion. Others, to be sure, may believe that the possibility of reversing Roe vs. Wade outweighs such considerations. What is in dispute for faithful citizens, then, is not so much the relative gravity of the issues but the wisdom of our reasons in adjudicating them. Indeed, precisely because I am so opposed to the intrinsic evils of abortion and racism, I must prudentially deliberate about which policy or candidate will best protect the rights of the most vulnerable, including the unborn. By the same token, neglecting such grave reasons—disregarding Roe vs. Wade or merely voting for a candidate because of his or her stated position on Roe without weighing the consequences—is imprudent: Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons is not noble; it is simply wrong. Just as a failure to engage in “worthy persuasion,” belies our Catholic wisdom, so a failure to develop the virtue of prudence betrays both faith and citizenship.

C. Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves—and not the other way around (Mt. 10:16). We have a rich tradition of public reasoning. We must, like the scribe whom Jesus commends in Matthew’s Gospel (13:52), be adept at drawing out what is old in Scripture and Tradition, when we speak to co-religionists, and drawing out what is new when we speak to citizens. Faithful citizenship requires no less. 

So too, our public reasoning looks to the common good. The virtue of prudence, as the Catechism states, bids us “to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.” Such good is specified by the principal themes of Catholic social teaching—the dignity and rights of all, the common good and a preferential concern for the most vulnerable. These “binding universal principles” in the bishops’ words, comprise our moral squint. These are the values we must seek to preserve and promote in the public realm.

Prudence guides us in their fitting application. About these values we cannot as faithful citizens differ. Indeed, only with such prior consensus, can faithful citizens make sense of their differences on how best to apply them. For precept is not policy: Thus citizen A may express her opposition to abortion by favoring a candidate who seeks to overturn Roe vs. Wade; while citizen B may favor a candidate who seeks  to reduce the incidence of abortion by promoting pre- and post-natal health care, income support for poor, expectant mothers, and adoption programs.

Which is right? There is no simple answer. Wisdom must finally prevail and wisdom is something we share in common. We, who believe in reason and natural law, above all should not fear public debate. And we show our wisdom, not by hiding it under a bushel basket, but by civil argument. For faithful citizens, the choice is not between lacking all conviction and passionate intensity! Our passion, after all, is principled. Intemperance, derision of those with whom we differ, even hatred: these poison the well of worthy persuasion. But let us drink deeply here: we have something to say as faithful citizens, in the present today. Let us say it well.

William R. O’Neill, S.J., is professor of theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. This article is based on a talk delivered in New York as part of JSTB's “Theology in the City” series.

Comments

Sues Krebs | 1/30/2009 - 5:42pm
Whether or not you completely support abortition rights, the truth is some people do in all cases, while others feel it becomes an issue only in rare instances. This variety of responces is the very reason why the overturn of roe vrs wade would be a disasterous mistake.
E.Patrick Mosman | 10/29/2008 - 1:52pm
Jesus Christ said "My kingdom is not of this world" and those who attribute, "Free health care, affordable housing, quality education, living-wage jobs, peace initiatives, protection of the environment? and "If you build a great society with peace and justice", seem to be unaware or ignore that Jesus Christ's teaching of the two greatest commandmants, "Love God" and "Love thy neighbor" were directed to each and every individual, not to any state or government entity.Voting for one who promises to have the government do good works while also promising to support each and every pro-choice position may salve one's conscience but may not save one's soul.
Janet Flatley | 10/28/2008 - 7:39pm
Despite many highly nuanced attempts, like this article, to have it otherwise, there is only one litmus test, if you will, in any ballot decision. And we just heard it during this weekend's Gospel: the greatest commandment to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. I look at the folks on my ballot who want my precious unique vote. As I research their record & campaign promises, I want to get a simple answer to a simple question: how do you show love of God and love of neighbor? In the words of Faithful Citizenship, what "truly grave moral reasons" would it take to "ignore a fundamental moral evil"? Free health care, affordable housing, quality education, living-wage jobs, peace initiatives, protection of the environment? If you build a great society with peace and justice, how many children in the womb is it worth? What does it profit our nation if we win elections but lose our soul?
E.Patrick mosman | 10/28/2008 - 11:06am
William R. O’Neill, S.J., in writing "citizen A may express her opposition to abortion by favoring a candidate who seeks to overturn Roe vs. Wade; while citizen B may favor a candidate who seeks to reduce the incidence of abortion by promoting pre- and post-natal health care, income support for poor, expectant mothers, and adoption programs.Which is right? There is no simple answer." "No simple answer" really begs the issue by presenting an argument based on a moral equivalency between the Commandment "Thou shalt not kill" with Jesus Christ's teaching "Love thy neighbor". Father O'Neill calls into play the 'subjective conscience' allowing individuals to disregard or minimize the commandment based solely on the hopes that abortions will be reduced by more social programs and that the pro-choice candidate willl not increase abortions by approving legislation that will negate pro-life laws already in force. Father O'Neill should know that Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Biden and all Catholic politicians voicing support for abortion rights, a public act of scandal, as defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Nos. 2284-6), is committed. Paragraph 2286 is directly applicable to people in their position. It reads: “Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion. Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structure leading to the decline of morals....” Father O'Neill also shows an ignorance of or disregard for then Cardinal Ratzinger's, now Pope Benedict XVI, analysis and reasoned rejection of the erroneous belief in the primacy of one's own conscience or the subjective conscience. Since Vatican II the liberal wing of the Catholic Church has promulgated the superiority of one's own, or the subjective conscience, and in February 1991 he delivered the Church's response in his presentation 'Conscience and Truth" delivered at the '10th Workshop for Bishops; in Dallas Texas. A brief summary if his conclusion is found in the following extract, "It is of course undisputed that one must follow a certain conscience or at least not act against it. But whether the judgment of conscience or what one takes to be such, is always right, indeed whether it is infallible, is another question. For if this were the case, it would mean that there is no truth - at least not in moral and religious matters, which is to say, in the areas which constitute the very pillars of our existence. For judgments of conscience can contradict each other. Thus there could be at best the subject's own truth, which would be reduced to the subject's sincerity." Those who claim that Jesus was a big-government socialist provider with regard to helping those in need and replacing individuals' personal responsibility to "Love thy Neighbor' with with government programs is a misreading of His message. Jesus Christ made the point "to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" with no guidelines as to how the Romans were to spend the tax monies. "For you will have the poor always with you" Matthew 26.11 and nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus Christ lay the responsibility for caring for the poor, the sick the hungry or thirsty, the homeless or any oppressed people on any governmental body. He did not cite King Herod, the priests of the temple, the local mayor or the Roman powers as the source of Charity. He made it an individual responsibility time after time in His sermons, in His parables and in His own acts. The Good Samaritan was not an example of "Love thy neighbor" because he stopped at the nearest inn and asked that a 911 call be made but because he acted, providing aid, comfort and financial assistance to his neighbor. For all Catholics there is a simple answer, elect government officials that will obey God's commndment "Thy shalt not kill".
Marian Trebon | 10/27/2008 - 3:39pm
Senator Obama in the last debate stated that a litmus test for his appointment of a Supreme Court justice would be that person's support for ROE v WADE. He has promised NARAL and Planned Parenthood that his first legislation would be to pass FOCA, the freesom of choice under which: Minor girls(13-17) will have unrestricted access to birth control without parental notice Minor girls (13-17) will have unrestricted access to abortion without parental notice Minor girls (13-17) will have unresticted access to Plan B - the over the counter pill. Removes ban on partial birth abortion Abortions will be federally funded Abortions will be covered in basic health care plans Federal funds to health clinics domestic and international will include abortion Will eliminate funding for abstinence-only programs in schools Will eliminate federal funding for pro-life crisis pregnancy health centers. Does this sound to you like a plan to reduce abortions?
Bill Isenberger | 10/26/2008 - 1:00am
An four word review of O'Neill's article. An apologetic for abortion.
E.Patrick Mosman | 10/24/2008 - 5:11pm
William R. O’Neill, S.J., in writing "citizen A may express her opposition to abortion by favoring a candidate who seeks to overturn Roe vs. Wade; while citizen B may favor a candidate who seeks to reduce the incidence of abortion by promoting pre- and post-natal health care, income support for poor, expectant mothers, and adoption programs.Which is right? There is no simple answer." "No simple answer" really begs the issue by presenting an argument based on a moral equivalent between the Commandment "Thou shalt not kill" with Jesus Christ's teaching "Love thy neighbor". Father O'Neill calls into play the 'subjective conscience' allowing individuals to disregard or minimize the commandment based solely on the hopes that abortions will be reduced by more social programs and that the pro-choice candidate will not increase abortions by approving legislation that will negate pro-life laws already in force. Father O'Neill should know that Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Biden and all Catholic politicians voicing support for abortion rights, a public act of scandal, as defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Nos. 2284-6), is committed. Paragraph 2286 is directly applicable to people in their position. It reads: “Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion. Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structure leading to the decline of morals....” Father O'Neill also shows an ignorance of or disregard for then Cardinal Ratzinger's, now Pope Benedict XVI, analysis and reasoned rejection of the erroneous belief in the primacy of one's own conscience or the subjective conscience. Since Vatican II the liberal wing of the Catholic Church has promulgated the superiority of one's own, or the subjective conscience, and in February 1991 he delivered the Church's response in his presentation 'Conscience and Truth" delivered at the '10th Workshop for Bishops; in Dallas Texas. A brief summary if his conclusion is found in the following extract, "It is of course undisputed that one must follow a certain conscience or at least not act against it. But whether the judgment of conscience or what one takes to be such, is always right, indeed whether it is infallible, is another question. For if this were the case, it would mean that there is no truth - at least not in moral and religious matters, which is to say, in the areas which constitute the very pillars of our existence. For judgments of conscience can contradict each other. Thus there could be at best the subject's own truth, which would be reduced to the subject's sincerity." Those who claim that Jesus was a big-government socialist provider with regard to helping those in need and replacing individuals' personal responsibility to "Love thy Neighbor' with government programs is a misreading of His message. Jesus Christ made the point "to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" with no guidelines as to how the Romans were to spend the tax monies. "For you will have the poor always with you" Matthew 26.11 and nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus Christ lay the responsibility for caring for the poor, the sick the hungry or thirsty, the homeless or any oppressed people on any governmental body. He did not cite King Herod, the priests of the temple, the local mayor or the Roman powers as the source of Charity. He made it an individual responsibility time after time in His sermons, in His parables and in His own acts. The Good Samaritan was not an example of "Love thy neighbor" because he stopped at the nearest inn and asked that a 911 call be made but because he acted, providing aid, comfort and financial assistance to his neighbor. For all Catholics there is a simple answer, elect government officials that will obey God's commandment "Thy shalt not kill".
NANCY DUNKERLEY | 10/24/2008 - 4:01pm
If two comments came through from me prior to this one, please only post the second one - the first one was a little muddled. Thanks,
NANCY DUNKERLEY | 10/24/2008 - 4:00pm
Wow, think this is the answer to my prayer. It has been hard to sort out all the rhetoric, expecially from my extreme right-wing friends/family. When I ask them questions or point out falacies to their statements - they label me as "pro abortion," which is not the case at all. I have tried to sort out for myself, which party will actually bring about the fewest abortions through their social justice programs, based on past and present understandings, voting records, and statistics. I only hope all the prayers we have been saying the past few months are answered by our loving Father, that prayer being that the person chosen as our president is the one God himself would have chosen. Thanks for helping me further clarify my choice.
NANCY DUNKERLEY | 10/24/2008 - 3:53pm
Wow, my prayer this morning was for enlightenment, for have become so confused by the rhetoric and the language forcefulness of my extreme right family members, that have wondered if I ought to just skip voting altother as being the prudent way for me to go. Your article, as well as other recent articles in America and Commonweal have helped me look at the issues more clearly. I do not know if my decision is the right one, but I do know that I have searched long and hard, looking at the issues, voting records, statistics and what good could possibly come from either party. I will probably be praying that my conscience has formed the right opinion on who to vote for - right up to the moment I get in the booth to vote. Thank you for helping me to clarify for myself at least, how I should proceed. When I bring up questions to my extreme right-wing friends/families - they never respond to my questions, but infer that I am pro abortion because of my questions - which is not the case at all. My whole question has been which party will cause the least abortions through their social justice programs. This has been very difficult to determine. I sure hope God listens to all the prayers we have been sending his way that the party who wins is the one God favors, for this has truly been a difficult choice.
JOHN PETERSON | 10/24/2008 - 3:38pm
To be "good", an action must be "prudent" beforehand. To be "prudent" consideration must be given to "memory, understanding, reasoning, foresight, circumspection and caution." How he managed to include each of these aspects in a single monograph is incredible - but he did! KUDOS to my Jesuit brother, William R. O'Neill, with gratitude "beyond all telling." John Peterson, O.P. Providence College