Many thanks for the recent Of Many Things column (4/30) by Patricia A. Kossmann. I always make it a point to read anything that bears her byline. Thus, this expression of gratitude has been long in coming.
She always mentions books that would ordinarily slip by without being noticed but that are eminently worth reading. Please know there are those out here who do take notice.
John B. Pesce, C.P.
West Hartford, Conn.
Before We Withdraw
Why We Must Withdraw From Iraq, by Msgr. Robert W. McElroy, (4/30) is an excellent argument against war in general; but before we carry out his suggested prudently crafted American military withdrawal from Iraq, we should make sure that Iran, Syria, Osama bin Laden, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and so on read and concur with the article. Then we can all relax.
No one now believes that the pre-emptive attack against Iraq was a good move. Many at the time believed that Iraq posed a greater threat to us than Osama bin Laden did a few short years prior to the disasters of Sept. 11, 2001. So our leaders made the best decision based on what we thought we knew. Unfortunately we cannot take back our move; so now we must make the wisest choices possible to ameliorate the situationnot only in Iraq, but also in the entire Mideastwith the least harm to all concerned, especially those Iraqis who have been our allies. Before even contemplating our prudent withdrawal, we should examine all likely consequences, one of which is the likelihood that any potential future ally would hesitate to place confidence in our loyalty and commitment.
Justifying a Withdrawal
Msgr. Robert W. McElroys article on the Iraq war (4/30) is an excellent analysis of the four just-war principles that need to be applied to judge the validity of this controversial calamity. Sadly for all of usAmericans, Iraqis and world citizenscontinuing the conflict cannot be morally justified on any basis. Nor, as Monsignor McElroy stated well, should opponents of the war be the ones required to justify a withdrawal. Unfortunately, when our country departs from its founding principles by pursuing an imperialistic foreign policy, the results prove to be costly, widespread and probably long-lasting. Pursuing Osama bin Laden in his hideout in Afghanistan can be defended. The same cannot be said for invading Iraq.
As a former member of St. Gregorys parish in San Mateo, a graduate of the Jesuit University of San Francisco and a Marine officer in the Korean War, I applaud Monsignor McElroys analysis and conclusions.
Rancho Murieta, Calif.
Msgr. Robert W. McElroy begins his discussion as to why the war in Iraq is not justified by saying that the just cause argued by the administration is transformational democratization (4/30). Rather, I believe, it is the prevention of wholesale slaughter of Sunnis by Shiites and Shiites by Sunnis. This is certainly a just cause. Further, Americas intention in this war is now exactly that, namely, the prevention of the slaughter of innocent human lives. I agree with Monsignor McElroy that we need to do everything to initiate dialogue and negotiation, and that the question regarding the likelihood of success is uncertain.
I read with pleasure your current comment Unrepentant Media (4/30) on the Duke lacrosse team incident and the unaccountable journalism of personal destruction. I thought how good it is that we have insightful observers trying to improve public discussion. Then I read the next editorial, Corporate Hall of Shame and you do exactly what you just criticized others in the press of doing. You give credence to a zealot groups undocumented allegations, in this case about corporationsbut apparently without doing any fact-checking of your own.
First you scared me: my throat became parched at the image of Coca-Cola Company drying up sources of fresh water all over the world.... Then you provided the facts: Water bottling...is one of the least regulated industries in the United States and is less safe than tap water. As a former employee of a federal regulatory agency, I know that bottled water and tap water are in fact regulated, as much or more than other products, under the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; and both are required under these laws to meet the same standards of safety for contaminants.
I think there are a lot of things wrong with bottled waterthe price mark-up for the water is over 1,000 percent; the empty bottles are everywhere, are unsightly and environmentally polluting; but certainly two federal laws and several pages for bottled water in the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 165.110) is proof enough that it is indeed regulated by the federal government, in addition to local health authorities.
You earned a place in the hall of shame for this performance. As a Jesuit magazine, you should try to raise the quality and accuracy of public discussion and not amplify the inflammatory language that characterizes so much of todays political and social debate.
Grateful for the Years
I want to thank you for the account by Jim McDermott, S.J., of the racial integration of Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. (4/9 and 4/16). I lived in Mobile and experienced some changes. It was good to see Albert Foley, S.J., included. He often welcomed our charismatic prayer meetings in his classroom/office. Elbert Lalande was a leader in our parish Sunday liturgies. Generally, my observance of Mobile, at that time, was that some Southerners were still fighting the Civil War, as the trend was to look upon Northerners as suspect. The people of the small parish of St. Peter Claver were well aware of the restrictions on their lives while seeking equality. I am grateful for the years in Mobile and glad to see the changes to make everyone equal.
Lucienne LeBlanc, I.H.M.
Bishop Donald W. Trautman is not only a liturgical expert but, as chairman of the U.S. bishops Committee on Liturgy, his comments should carry considerable weight (How Accessible Are the New Mass Translations? 5/21).
It is tragic that his voice has not been heard by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. It is even sadder that they have not consulted with those who could have given good advice.
When Bishop Trautman tells the church of God to speak up, he is right to do so. But if they will not listen to him, to whom will they listen? As a priest who is charged with conducting the liturgy and ensuring participation of the people, I would be tempted to retranslate the words. But that is also forbidden.
As Bishop Trautman states so clearly, If the language of the liturgy does not communicate, how can people fall in love with the greatest gift of God, the Eucharist? It is not only the people who want to be there who will be compromised, but it is also those they struggle to bringtheir children, who will have logic behind them when they say, Its boring!
Nicholas W. Punch O.P.
It may well be that Bishop Donald W. Trautman puts the proposed translation of the Roman Missal in the most unflattering light, How Accessible Are the New Mass Translations? (5/21) and that the work in progress is altogether much more satisfactory than he thinks.
However, if the translation examples Bishop Trautman uses are in any way representative of the whole project, then I predict a very serious problem: that clergy will take it upon themselves to improvise and make ad hoc adaptations of the prayers for their congregationsor will simply reject the new sacramentary and continue using the present one. This would be a serious breakdown in liturgical discipline and a pastoral disaster with wide implications.
The new sacramentary must not only be presented to the English-speaking world; it must also be received. The key to genuine reception will be the consultation and pastoral testing within the wider church for which Bishop Trautman wisely calls.
(Msgr.) M. Francis Mannion
Salt Lake City, Utah
Thank you for the two-part series Advice for College Grads, edited by Jim McDermott, S.J. (5/7, 5/14). It was both enjoyable and enlightening, and provided the special vicarious experience that makes graduations so special.
But I was slightly disappointed you did not list the sources of the various remarks. After all, context is critical, and communication is audience-driven.
Tom Singer, O.M.I.