Quote Bias

I agree with the editorial “Gender Bias” (6/18). As a Catholic woman, however, I do find it interesting that Pope Paul VI is quoted, followed by the sentence: “It is difficult to convince some societies of the value of an unborn girl, if the society does not see the inherent worth of a woman.” What better example of why women are not valued than a quote from the late head of a church that steadfastly refuses to accept that women are equal to men?

Kathleen Healy


Chicago, Ill.

Let the Christians Do It

Re “What Ryan Missed,” by Gerald J. Beyer (Web only, 6/4): How is a national government policy that creates an underclass of dependency beneficial to those who are the targets of such programs? How is forced taxation to pay for such harmful programs “Christian”? Paul Ryan has it exactly right—federal programs, by and large, are abysmal failures because they are incapable of dealing with local differences. Moreover, they encourage waste, treat the poor like case files and take resources away from the private sector that could be better spent creating wealth.

For all of their good intentions, the bureaucrats in Washington will never be able to eradicate “poverty.” That is because their central planning cannot anticipate all the differences among the 330 million citizens and thousands of towns, villages, cities and neighborhoods it tries to control. Christ left it to his followers to make a difference individually and to form communities that would care for the poor; He did not say, let the government do it.

Paul Louisell

Grosse Pointe, Mich.

Rebuke for What?

I am confused by your editorial “Christian Correction” (6/4). You note that Emily Herx was fired from her Catholic school for receiving in vitro fertilization and that Christa Dias was fired from her Catholic school for using artificial insemination. Your objection seems to be limited to the fact that “the shock of public rebuke was not avoided.”

My question is: Rebuke for what? What can possibly be immoral about what these women did? There was no sexual intercourse between them and men not their husbands. There was no adultery. These women wanted to have children, something the church has always praised.

Charles J. Steele

Washington, D.C.

Editorial Correction

Your editorial on Christian correction brought to light an important example of the incivility that seems to characterize much of our intra-ecclesial dialogue today. The power relationships between the ordained clergy and members of the laity that are involved make it twice as important to engage with one another in a loving and Christ-like fashion. While I am in complete agreement with the editors’ assessment of the situation, as well as with the solutions offered, I am concerned that publishing those solutions in an America editorial may be perceived as hypocritical.

While couched in very pastoral language, and well supported scripturally, the editorial is itself offered as a “correction” to the behavior of those church officials whose actions appear to privilege hierarchical discipline over loving relationship. Further, this correction is made in the most public of forums—a national Catholic magazine.

Adam Krueckeberg

Melrose, Mass.

Autism Acceptance

Concerning “Study Suggests More Services Needed for Young Adults” (Signs of the Times, 6/4), I wish to thank America for raising awareness of this important topic. I am the father of a 13-year-old girl with autism and wonder what the future holds for my daughter and her peers. These children pose a particular challenge to all of us as they enter adulthood.

The church can be a powerful agent for spiritual growth and acceptance for people with disabilities like autism and can provide support and guidance to parents trying to forge some meaning out of their situation. Understanding is the key. Your discussion helps bring all of us in the Catholic faith community together.

David Rizzo

Marlton, N.J.

Rephrase That

I would like to provide a gentle correction to your Signs of the Times piece on the autism crisis. “Mental retardation” is no longer an acceptable phrase, because of its hurtful connotations. The correct term is either “intellectual disability” or “intellectual impairment.”

I am a physician specializing in the transition to adulthood for young people with autism and other chronic diseases or disabilities. It is true that there is a tidal wave of young adults needing transition services in order to lead independent, successful lives. According to a recent national survey, only about 40 percent of youth with special needs receive all the transition services they need. The church would do well to support the others and their families.

Kitty O’Hare, M.D.

Jamaica Plain, Mass.

Ethical Sensitivity

As a professor of business ethics, I can well appreciate the points made by Ray Schroth, S.J., in his excellent piece, “The Plagiarism Plague” (5/14). The students who disregard academic honesty policies rarely see themselves as sinners or code breakers, since they view plagiarism as a “victimless offense.”

It seems that we are dealing with a problem of ethical numbness—young minds too shallow in this area, like having underdeveloped math or writing skills. A sense of hope appears in Father Schroth’s observation that “the 19- to 25-year-old conscience is still being formed.” My intention is to keep telling students, over and over, that ethical behavior matters and why, giving examples of good and bad behavior by companies and executives and hopefully having the fortitude to hold them accountable when they fall below acceptable standards of academic honesty.

Daniel P. Cunningham

North Canton, Ohio

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Jim McCrea
6 years 6 months ago
Re: "Ethical Sensitivity." Could it be that these students see no problem in what they are doing becuase they have seen more than a few instances of similar or comparable breaches of ethics in their own families, communities and country?
Jim Lein
6 years 6 months ago
Gerald Beyer's response to "What Ryan Missed" likewise misses a major point.  The War on Poverty did eradicate malnutrition - until Reagan's policies were enacted, like the infamous "ketchup is a vegetable" school lunch program.  It takes both federal backup-safety net efforts as well as varied local and church programs to help the poor rise out of poverty.  Empty stomachs, especially in growing children, is not the way.  Micro loans are a way, but our big banking systems dominate and leave little room for such efforts. 

I've worked as a mental health social worker for over 35 years (in the public and private sectors) and I have seen many people work their way out of poverty with an assist from mainly public but also private programs.  The public programs worked better when there were more job training programs and when women did not have to take the first job that came up but could raise their own shildren until the youngest was in school.  Thanks to Reagan and others, these programs were gutted just as they were successful in nudging many into financial independence.    
Jim Lein
6 years 6 months ago
As to the private sector creating wealth, how does this help the poor?  The wealthy these days create more wealth for themselves.  End of story.  Why not a little of the Greatest Generation spirit when the wealthiest paid income taxes of 90 percent for 20 years, and new drugs were discovered and produced for the common good, for public health, rather than for profit?  Many more drugs were discovered and produced before the profit motive took over, and drugs were cheap and available.  Profit can easily take over any endeavor - and the point of producing something for the common good is missed.  How is this Christian?     


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