Letters

Most Complex Society

In his column (2/12) Terry Golway generalizes and oversimplifies about adolescent society. He claims that any adolescent or young adult who strives for knowledge in education, abides by a moral code and delves into cultural interests such as non-mainstream music (jazz, classical, folk) becomes a dork in today’s culture.

Speaking from the standpoint of a 20-year-old, my experience tells me this is outrageous. In my four years of high school and three years of college, I have seen that it is often the people who are honor students, have a firm moral ideology and are involved in cultural activities (such as playing a musical instrument or being involved with the environment) who are the most socially adjusted and admired. Moreover, Golway puts young people into conceptual black and white stereotypes (popular or dork) that are outdated concepts. The adolescent and young-adult world of today is much more complex and contains many more specific social groups than in generations past.

Instead of lashing out and creating stereotypes of young people, there needs to be a conscious effort to communicate with and understand the experiences of adolescent and young-adult societies.

Matt Sonefeldt

Westwood, Calif.

Civil Dissent

John F. Kavanaugh, S.J., in Killing Unborn Patients (2/19), is right to state that with the legal sanction of third-trimester abortions, we have not started on some slippery slopewe have stepped into an abyss.

For decades now I have gone to the polls to vote for or against various issues, but I consistently refuse to vote for any of the presidential candidates because none have come close to embracing a consistent ethic of life. Abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, the incredible and scandalous military buildups and trade in weapons of mass destruction...all these and more are upheldin whole or in partby the presidential wannabes.

There are thousands upon thousands of people who refuse to vote in this country each year and are labeled by the media as apathetic, which in many cases may be accurate. But I’m beginning to believe that more and moremyself includedrefuse to vote based on a sense of civil disobedience, certainly not apathy.

Tim Musser

Cleveland, Ohio

Remembering

The column by George M. Anderson, S.J., (2/19) brought back memories of long ago for me. When I was a teenager in the early 1940’s, I lived in the Bronx and attended Cathedral High School in Manhattan. I used to travel there by the 6th Ave. subway or the 3rd Ave. elevated train. I lived halfway between both.

I especially remember being on the El and standing (most of the seats were taken by the time I got on) with my books cradled in my left arm and my left hand holding onto a handle bar across the back of a seat while my right hand was in my pocket fingering my rosary beads as I meditated on the various mysteries. At the same time, I gazed out of a window and watched the Bronx and Manhattan roll by.

Interesting that you and many other readers now read the Bible, but back then we Catholics were not encouraged to read it.

It’s nice to know that each generation walks in the way of the Lord and prays continuously as St. Paul exhorted us to do.

Elizabeth Jones

Syracuse, N.Y.

Crippling Sanctions

A sincere thank you to John Kavanaugh, S.J., for Courage and Cowardice (3/11). Having heard the same account almost word for word from a member of my community who recently returned from Iraq, I feel an overwhelming sense of powerlessness.

What can the ordinary person do to stop the U.S. government from causing this suffering and death through its crippling sanctions and by bombing several days each week? Why has the ordinary Catholic not heard the message of the pope and president of the N.C.C.B.? I suspect that most Catholics would be appalled to know that children are dying every day in Iraq because our government is preventing ordinary medicines from reaching them.

I hope that thousands of your readers take Father Kavanaugh’s words to heart and devote themselves to prayer and fasting for an end to the evil that is being done in our names.

Lesley Block, O.P.

New York, N.Y. 

Controversy

Thank you for the column by John F. Kavanaugh, S.J., Courage and Cowardice (3/11).

Over the years I’ve been encouraged by such articles, which really try to show what we are doing in Iraq. I admire the fact that your magazine has dared to deal with such a difficult and controversial subject.

Frank Kasper

Baltimore, Md.

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