Secret Blessing

The article by John O’Malley, S.J., (4/8) gives rise to the hope that our best kept secretthat the church is an institution that lives in history and has changed - will finally be appreciated. What a blessing a dedicated church historian is.

Thomas A. Shannon


Worcester, Mass.

None More Than One

Thanks for the Rev. Gerard Sloyan’s The Return of an Old Tradition (4/15).

I have an even simpler solution to the so-called priest shortage, even more deeply rooted in tradition. Presbyter means old man. A 27-year-old seminarian is not an old man. Call more younger men to the diaconate. Ordain to the diocesan presbyterate no one under the age of 55. Let the bishop choose from among lay and deacon candidates nominated by the congregations. Let none have more than one wife.

(Deacon) Tom Cornell

Marlboro, N.Y.

Bittersweet Smile

I enjoyed Professor Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo’s analysis of the role of Catholicism in the civic life of Puerto Rico. As a Boston College graduate, I am especially proud of the contribution the Jesuits have made on the island. Thanks to Daniel Berrigan, S.J., I met the now- deceased Jesuit bishop, Antulio Parrilla-Bonilla, who was a longtime advocate for the people of Vieques. This resulted in his being marginalized during his lifetime, so it is bittersweet to see the important work being done by Archbishop Gonzalez and Bishop Corrado del Rio. I still think that Parrilla is looking down on all of this with a smile.

Gene Roman

San Jose, Calif.

Invariably Liberal

Professor Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo’s article, Catholicism’s Emerging Role in Puerto Rico (4/15), addressed church leaders’ attempts to close the military range on Vieques, where public opinion perceived that the Navy’s bombing of an inhabited island had crossed a moral boundary and was not acceptable. I’m dismayed that you have published such a feckless article and that bishops have exploited an amoral political issue.

Has America become devoid of balanced writing on matters of social action? Is there no longer a Jesuit capable of tempering a welfare article with concerns of individual responsibility for one’s economic condition? Is there no author who will not only condemn war, but stand for a strong U.S. military? None who will argue that immigrant children are hindered by excessive dependency on other than English in their schooling? None who will write that well-intentioned affirmative action has hurt many whites and increased racial friction? None willing to argue that trade protectionism helps some U.S. employees and unions, but inhibits economic growth of our foreign brothers mired in poverty? None who will balance an immigration article with concerns about illegal immigration and its effects?

Regrettably, America has become a journal of social accommodation in which solutions are invariably liberal.

Larry Dacunto

Tacoma, Wash.

Other Possible Choices

The letter by George D. Sheehan (4/29) fails to differentiate between translating concrete material of a technical or scientific nature and translating more abstract matters like thoughts, ideas and concepts. A very literal translation is appropriate for the one, but may actually not transmit the meaning of the other. The various meanings of the word to be translated often do not coincide with those of the word used. There may be an overlap of meanings with other possible choices. Having been bilingual for nearly 50 years, I am very much aware of the challenge presented in discovering and conveying the original intended meaning. In the example cited, I wonder why the Lord should be with us (Dominus vobiscum) but only with the spirit of the presider!

I truly hope that the language of Scripture and of liturgical texts will be something more than perfectly readable English.

Edda H. Hackl, M.D.

Chicago, Ill.

Most Explosive

Sometimes the most explosive articles in America are hidden in the most unlikely columns. Your Of Many Things by George M. Anderson, S.J., on Mario Cuomo’s critique of American legislators’ neglect of needy U.S. citizens was an eye-opener (4/15).

John Roderick Mescall, C.P.

Jamaica, N.Y.

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