Preventing a Holocaust
I know not how it happened, but your editorial “Diplomacy and Disarma-ment” (9/24) fails to mention that Iran has threatened genocide on the Israelis not once but many times. Yet somehow the United States and Israel are found morally lacking and must “come up to snuff” before taking steps to prevent Iran from perpetuating in one hour a greater holocaust than Hitler’s final solution? Ridiculous.
New York, N.Y.
Seek Peace, Not Power
Thank you for your clear-headed editorial on Iran. Unfortunately the hawks are out flying again, ready to commit the United States to more war, more sacrifice and more division. But for what? We have no threat from Iran. We cannot be a true world leader without respect for morality, justice and equality.
And there is the issue of our own belief. How can a military strike against Iran be reconciled with “turning the other cheek, putting away our sword, loving our neighbor”? At times we overwhelm ourselves with our exceptionalism. We don’t have to follow the rules; we just make them. Have the last 10 years of useless war not taught us anything? Let’s hope and pray we can someday become a nation that really seeks peace, not power.
What Sister Didn’t Say
Re “Political Thrill-Seeking” (Current Comment, 9/24): At the Democratic National Convention, Simone Campbell, S.S.S., executive director of Network, applauded Democratic economic policies as being “pro-life” and “aligned with Catholic values.” She equates “I am my brother’s keeper” with the obligation that this be carried out by the federal government.
Absent from Sister Campbell’s speech was any mention of abortion, which the Democratic platform en-dorses. She also failed to mention the controversial mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services. The Catholic bishops and other faith leaders warn that the mandate threatens our religious liberty.
Sister Campbell did not give a truthful speech to millions of people. Her views do not reflect authentic Catholic teaching. As a consecrated religious in the Catholic Church, she is creating scandal. There should be consequences.
The Greatest Clergy
Thanks for the kind reference to my new book, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Current Comment, 9/24). You list Abraham Heschel, Martin Luther King Jr. and James Lawson as members of the clergy among the 100 people profiled in the book. Others listed include Norman Thomas, A. J. Muste, William Sloane Coffin, Bill Moyers and Jesse Jackson. Myles Horton went to Union Theological Seminary but was never ordained.
I’m a big fan of Saul Alinsky, but he was hardly a saint! He could be callous and abusive toward people. Dorothy Day, also known for being difficult, is a stronger candidate for sainthood.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Citizens of the World
I appreciated your editorial “The Education We Deserve” (9/10), on the importance of a liberal education. One area missing from the list, however, is the great need in our day for graduates to have had an exposure to the global world. This includes world religions, cultures across the world, the poverty that exists in so many areas and the many contributions that diverse cultures have made and are making to the society that we enjoy. Truly education, particularly higher education, has to prepare students to be citizens of the world.
Saint Paul, Minn.
Re “As It Is in Heaven,” by Edward McCormack (9/10): Surely the quality of preaching is important, but the image of God that one preaches is of first importance. Often preaching misses the truth that God is not only transcendent but also immanent. Why is this important? If I only know the God who resides in highest heaven, then I will think of “getting to heaven” as my prime concern.
By contrast, if I am aware of the Trinity as immanent and that my human vocation is to be drawn into Trinitarian participation, into kenosis, the outpouring of love, then love of nature, creation and of all humanity is my vocation. I no longer worry about heaven but am focused on gratefully sharing the love that is the birthright of all creation. Is there a better way to constitute a new heaven and a new earth?
Pompano Beach, Fla.
It Was Not an Abortion
In “Phoenix Hospital Controversy Continues” (Signs of the Times, 9/10), America describes the disputed medical situation as follows: “...a woman’s placenta was removed and her child died as a result.” Precisely! This is the only description I know of in the Catholic press that got it right. So, kudos!
This was not an abortion. There was no desire to kill the fetus. The placenta was killing both the mother and the baby. Removing the fetus but not the placenta would not have saved the mother’s life. Catholic moral theory addresses this kind of situation. Removing the fetus was an undesired consequence of the act—removing the placenta—that saved the mother’s life. It was not an abortion and never should have been expressed in this way—by detractors or defenders.
To some extent the ignorance of biology is excusable; we can’t be experts on everything. But it is not excusable for a bishop who acts out of that ignorance and by doing so, excommunicates an innocent nun.
Robert P. Heaney, M.D.
Beauty Transformed Me
Re “Woven from Light,” by Judith Dupré (9/10): We cannot underestimate the power of beauty to transform. Every day on my way to work I pass by the magnificent Cathedral of Christ the Light. In fact, I watched its construction. The cathedral is nothing short of stunning. At first, I had no idea it was a Catholic church. Not being Catholic, I shyly entered one day and was deeply touched, even transfixed, by the unusual interior. I was so impressed that I brought my non-Catholic parents to visit the cathedral, and they too were astonished by its beauty. I am now seriously considering becoming Catholic, and I daresay this beautiful cathedral played a part in drawing me near.