Gospel Imperative

In her article What Counts as Help, (11/20) Maryann Cusimano Love suggests that peace cannot be achieved where widespread poverty afflicts populations in conflict over financial and natural resources. The Catholic Relief Services experience in Rwanda graphically supports her point. I read along, agreeing that war is still very much with us, that world and U.S. military spending have increased to obscene levels, and that budgets indicate our mistaken priorities.

What went unmentioned was the elephant in the room: the fact that the world’s richest nation is responsible for the highest level of war expenditures. Our government continues to build and trade arms, stockpile weapons and fund the development of new ways to deliver death and destruction. We occasionally read about billions of dollars lost or defrauded while most of Iraq’s infrastructure remains in ruins.


It is our country that resists treaties and systems designed to benefit all populations. In the meantime, our government and its leaders promote destruction in the third world, proclaiming that we must fight the enemy over there to keep our country safe.

We must put our guns away, bring our young people home, start dialogues with our so-called enemies and be more neutral in foreign relations before we can commit ourselves to the Gospel imperative of building peace on earth.

Ruth Zemek
Phoenix, Ariz.

Practical Approach

Nurse Maria West’s letter (1/15) on the priest/nurse shortage article by George B. Wilson, S.J. (12/18), encourages males to consider careers in nursing; but then she writes encouraging others, especially women, to embrace the priesthood they received at baptism by becoming as active as they can in the church. While this is a great idea, it will not solve the priesthood shortage. A more practical approach would be to change entrance requirements for men aspiring to the priesthood or at least make them more uniform nationwide. If one diocese accepts older men, why can’t all dioceses do that? If dioceses accept Episcopalian priests with families and recent converts, why can’t they accept lifelong Catholic males who happen to be single parents? If dioceses accept priest candidates from third world countries or eastern Europe, why do many dioceses require American candidates to live in their diocese of choice for a year before applying?

Joseph P. Nolan
Waterbury, Conn.

Church’s Mission

The Rev. Andrew M. Greeley’s commitment to America is surely one of its greatest assets (A Writer, or a Parish Priest Who Writes? 1/1). As a reader of America for over 40 years, I received from him the greatest compliment a priest has ever bestowed on me, when he clearly stated I was an informed member of the Catholic laity because I read America regularly.

Congratulations to Father Greeley on the Campion Award and thanks to Cardinal Samuel Stritch for sending him to the University of Chicago, allowing him to research the effectiveness of the church’s mission and become one of the world’s great sociologists.

Billy C. Beal
Meridian, Miss.

Structural Change

Kudos to America for the fine interview of James Cone by George M. Anderson, S.J. (11/20).

For the past several years, the Loretto community has been involved in internal discussion about our own attitudes and practices. At a recent meeting, in which we discussed the interview, the Loretto Racial Justice Committee acknowledged the need to move beyond the personal to structural change.

James Cone has challenged us to speak out in a sustained and prophetic way about racism and white privilege. Thanks for the timely reminder.

Nancy Finneran, S.L.
St. Louis, Mo.

Striking Descriptions

In Icon of Creation (12/18), Sally Cunneen has offered a rather striking description of the Byzantine icon of the Nativity as she analyzes the rich meaning behind its symbolism. Her premise, that God continues creation through our own humanness during today’s rather dark times, is fittingly presented as well. But her writing would have been enhanced if a complete rendering of the traditional Byzantine icon had been included with the article. Many of the images she describes do not appear in the art that was printed. Then Ms. Cunneen’s quotation from St. Basil the Great would have been complete: What the word transmits through the ear, painting silently shows through the image.

Marilyn Schipp
Lawrenceville, N.J.

Nobel Prize

Robert A. Senser has offered good material for pondering the present situation in globalization, The W.T.O. in Crisis (1/1). As a follow-up, to add even more depth, I recommend perusal of the entire speech of Muhammad Yunus, on the occasion of his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Peace in December. He presents worthwhile, innovative ideas that need to be incorporated into the thinking of those who see the advantages and also the pitfalls of globalization and have the power to make positive changes in the laws.

Jeanne B. Dillon
Summit, N.J.

Awe and Mystery

I write in reference to Trent and Vernacular Liturgy (1/29) by John W. O’Malley, S.J.

The Second Vatican Council took place while I was in college, so the Latin Mass was part of my upbringing. I appreciate the vernacular, but I miss the Latin. On various occasions at exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, we sing O Salultaris and Tantum Ergo. When I hear these, as well as Ave Maria, for example, my heart and soul are touched to their depths with a sense of awe and mystery and love.

I had those same feelings last year when I attended a Shabbat service as part of our Catholic-Jewish dialogue group. Listening to the Hebrew was a profoundly sacred experience. My Shabbat experience left me feeling that we truly lost a treasure when we went totally to the vernacular. The Jewish community is blessed for having the beauty of the Hebrew. Maybe we will have more of an opportunity for at least a bit more Latin in the future.

Sherry McMahon
Indian River Shores, Fla.

Determined Mother

I was most impressed by the article by Stephanie Ratcliffe, I Need a JobAny Job (1/29). Bravo to this sturdy, determined mother. She has the important can-do attitude most employers seek. Also, congratulations on her finding a good position.

Anna M. Seidler
San Francisco, Calif.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
12 years ago
This letter is a response to a letter from Anna M. Seidler (2/5) about “I Need a Job—Any Job!” by Stephanie Ratcliffe (1/29). It is a great article, but the part I best liked was that tiny little credit, “Art by the author.” Let’s hope we are blessed with more of the same—art and heart.


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