Bears Bearing Arms

Bishop Michael W. Warfel (4/15) really does have a problem if he has an acquaintance who encountered a charging bear with a firearm. Dangerous place, Alaska! Joking aside, the article was great.

Victor Whelan


Mobile, Ala.

More Daily Bread

The article by Ron Hansen, My Daily Bread (3/18), was poignant and inspiring. Please let’s have more articles like these!

Theresa Austin

Stockton, Calif.

Vacation Reminder

The issues of America accumulate unread, and I decide to cancel my subscription. Then I bring a pile of them on vacation and catch up. I read Descend on Us in Fire by Paul Mariani (3/4) and remember why I subscribe. Thank you.

Elizabeth A. Gavula

Flourtown, Pa.


In Priests With Aids (3/18) Jon Fuller, S.J., referring to homosexual acts by priests, states that clergy are so human that they, too, can make mistakes. Homosexual acts by priests are not good-faith mistakes but rather malicious mistakes called sin. This would be more in line with the biblical meaning of sinestrangement from God and neighbor. Good-faith mistakes would not do that.

Thomas William Verhoeven

Stuart, Fla.

Mind of a Director

Kathy O’Connell, in her review of AfterImage by Richard Blake, S.J.,(4/8), discusses the signs of a Catholic imagination at work in the mind of a film director. I would like to add the following to that list of signs: the use of color to express attitudes; a sense of the sacramental and the sacrificial; the rage of personality; and the awareness that entertainment (as opposed to amusement) is not inimical to seriousness of purpose.

Also, although Ford, Hitchcock and Capra do possess a Catholic imagination, there are other directors who are far more interesting to explore: Abel Ferrara and Sam Peckinpah, to name two.

Ferrara’s King of New York is a fascinating study of personified evil (a Catholic preoccupation), and Bad Lieutenant is an explicit Catholic study of the drama that is the rage of personality and redemption.

As for Peckinpah, who was an adult convert to Catholicism, only a Catholic imagination could have given us that final image of stained glass glory at the end of Ride the High Country: the head of Joel McCrea, first turning to look at the blue horizon, then turning to face the earth and give up the ghost, entering his house justified.

Paul Bussan

New Haven, Conn.

Measured Courage

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights (3/25) has come into its own because of the foresight and prodding of Virgil C. Blum, S.J., the courage of William J. Donohue and his staff and the financial support of the Catholic laity. The Catholic League has been a symbol to the clergy and laity that it is an act of courage to stand against forces which try to erode the Catholic Church’s charisma and alienate its members, especially the young and impressionable. The courage of the Catholic League and its members is measured, tolerant, considerate and responsive, and reflects well on the Catholic Church and laity.

Joseph M. Cassin

Glen Cove, N.Y.

Something Exceptional

I appreciated reading the article by Francis Sullivan, S.J., The Papal Apology (4/8). Along with many other students who attended the Gregorian University in the early 60’s, I didn’t think his ecclesiology course was anything exceptional. Only recently have I started to appreciate the unique insights he tried to convey, insights that predated even Vatican II. I’ve come to realize how fortunate I am to be able to say, Francis Sullivan was my teacher.

Roger Karban

Renault, Ill.

Fundamental Human Values

I am writing in response to your editorial, Send the Boy Home to cuba (3/11). The economic hardship endured by my fellow Cubans on the island is not the issue in the case of young Elián González. Cuba’s economic condition is comparable to that of most third world nations. The devastation wrought by the Castro regime cannot be measured in dollars. The real devastation is moral and spiritual in nature. The Stalinist system of repression, which has been in place for more than 40 years, dehumanizes the citizenry. The concept of the human being forcibly inculcated in its children rejects man’s transcendence. Castro’s regime is far worse than atheistic; it is anti-Christian and anti-freedom (in the most profound theological sense of the word). Cubans throw themselves into the ocean to escape tyranny, not poverty.

My hope that Elián will be allowed to remain in the United States has nothing to do with his father’s impoverishment. If Elián is returned to Mr. Castro, he will be molded into a living mascot for a failed revolution; he will become a symbol designed to mask the wickedness of the dictator who controls him.

Eventually it will be up to the church and Cuban-Americans to assist in the process of reconstruction and reconciliation. While it is easy to repair the structural deterioration with bricks and mortar, how will we address the spiritual damage that has resulted from the deprivation of fundamental human values? Perhaps we can begin by saving one child.

Manuel Alvarez

Miami, Fla.

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