Word and Image

It’s laudable thatwith everything else the Rev. Andrew M. Greeley is able to accomplishhe keeps up with the times and what is going on in the world around him (9/16). Father Greeley has such vital enthusiasm. Would that all of us noticed as well the beautiful skies in the photos by Michael Flecky, S.J., dropped in as extras to Father Greeley’s words. Isn’t it a fact that some of us are like the barren trees? One striving upwards for light, and the other one just a cut-off stump. The photos speak volumes!

Lucy E. Merker


Pittsfield, Mass.

One to Save

Congratulations on the religious education issue (9/16). It is the best issue of America I’ve ever read. The appreciation of Mother Katharine Drexel was a wonderful contrast to much hagiography. The combination of anecdotes and the personal reactions of her contemporaries gave the saint a human face. I was also captivated by the Rev. Andrew M. Greeley’s The Apologetics of Beauty. The interweaving of the papal letter to artists with some harsh criticism of present Catholic evangelization was particularly apt. I hope that Father Greeley doesn’t have to wear a flak jacket because he is so forthright. The wisdom of William O’Malley, S.J., and the hysterical commentary of James Martin, S.J., on Survivor just added to my pleasure. No secular commentator could have pilloried current television fare so accurately. That issue is one to save.

David O. Miller

Alexandria, Va.

Revived by Beauty

The Apologetics of Beauty (9/16) by the Rev. Andrew M. Greeley gave hope to this laborer in the cultural vineyard. Father Greeley’s courage in facing the pervasive philistinism of the American church is to be commended. The pharisaical emphasis on correctnessliturgical, political and theologicalrather than beauty has had a devastating effect on American Catholic culture. Father Greeley’s words, echoing in many ways those of Pope John Paul II in his Letter to Artists, offer hope for spiritual revival and cultural renaissance in our time.

Joseph Schickel

Loveland, Ohio


Thank you for an exceptional issue on religious education. I was especially touched by the Rev. Andrew M. Greeley’s article on beauty, in which there are many and varied examples from nature to liturgy to art works. The article by William J. O’Malley, S.J., should be a must for anyone involved with children and young people today.

Mary T. Legge, S.S.J.

Bayonne, N.J.


Bravo to the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir for the clear, concise and compelling article Disciples and Citizens (9/23). It is a wonderful tribute to two men (Hesburgh and Higgins) who give confidence, credibility and relevance to our Catholic clergy and church. what a refreshing balm for all the befuddled confusion surrounding Pope Pius IX.

My thanks.

Maureen Quinn, S.S.M.N.

Buffalo, N.Y.


The news report in Signs of the Times (9/23) about declaring Blessed Pope John XXIII a Righteous Gentile reminds me of what the late Rabbi Pinchas Lapide wrote on the subject in his masterful study, Three Popes and the Jews (1967).

As consul for Israel in 1957, he paid his respects to Cardinal Angelo Roncalli, then patriarch of Venice, and thanked him for all that he had done in saving thousands of Jews as the Vatican’s apostolic delegate in Turkey and the Balkans during World War II. In all these painful matters, the future Pope John XXIII responded, I referred to the Holy See and afterwards I simply carried out the Pope’s orders: first and foremost to save human lives. The pope, of course, at that time was Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli).

In that same work Lapide wrote that the Catholic Church under the pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but probably as many as 860,000, Jews from certain death at Nazi hands. Lapide had arrived at those figures before the publication of the 11 volumes of documents relating to the actions of the Holy See during World War II. With those documents now available, there are those who claim that the number of Jews saved under Pius XII was even higher. Thus, both Angelo Roncalli and Eugenio Pacelli are worthy of being recognized as Righteous Gentiles.

Vincent A. Lapomarda, S.J.

Worcester, Mass.

Real Clout

Might a very concerned and equally disgusted citizen wonder about the possibility that someone, somehow can see to it that Selling Arms (9/23) reaches the desks of Mr. Clinton and Ms. Albright and the hands of Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore?

As a weekly reader of America for 50 years I have often wondered how many readers with real clout who are not Catholic see pieces of this nature.

W. J. D. Wells

Greer, S.C.

Still Suffering

Regarding your editorial Gasoline Prices (8/12), I recall that during the oil embargo, the OPEC countries invested great amounts of their profits in American banks, and then the banks threw the developing world people into terrible debt. People are still suffering from this action.

For 18 years I lived with the very poor in Detroit, and I saw how hard gasoline prices were on these people. I have also seen how much elderly people suffer from these prices.

The American people spent billions on the Persian Gulf war. It was partially to keep the oil flowing, but also to enrich further the OPEC countries that cause so much hardship for the developing world. Now they are doing it again. Why don’t you take these OPEC leaders to task?

Many of our young American men and women gave their lives in the Gulf war. What do we receive in return? A kick in the teeth to our poor and struggling people.

(Rev.) Bob Reckinger

Livonia, Mich.

Tuned Out

What the United States needs going into the new millennium is a president with a global vision, a realization that what the United States does or doesn’t do will affect all the countries of the world. Gore and Bush have focused on important, if narrow, domestic issues, but failed to excite the imagination of voters. Sadly, at a critical time in history, it seems that except for party stalwarts, the electorate has long since tuned out.

The question posed by Joseph A. Califano Jr., Who’s a Catholic to Vote For? (9/9), might be broadened: Who’s an American to vote for?

(Rev.) George P. Carlin

New York, N.Y.

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