In It Starts in Mexico (10/15), Tim Padgetts apology to his fellow Catholics for criticizing poor Mexicans choice to build ostentatious churches with their remittance monies is a nice touch, especially when such profligacy is equated with purchasing flashy trucks and wide-screen television sets. I suppose all will be considered well in Mexico when the campesinos build cheap, ugly sanctuaries and then sleep in or watch futbol and golf on Sunday mornings in pleasant suburban developments with Lexuses and S.U.V.s parked in every drive, just as we do.
A Faith Without Borders
Finally an essay (It Starts in Mexico, 10/15) that actually deals with the scandalously ubiquitous missing component of so-called comprehensive immigration reformthe role of Mexicos leaders in addressing the inexcusable inequality that pushes almost a million Mexicans over the border each year. Had no one until Tim Padgett noticed that comprehensive immigration reform, to be truly all-inclusive, is a matter not only of domestic but also of foreign policy?
Following Mr. Padgetts lead, some portion of immigration reform commentary must address the need to motivate the Mexican elite to make necessary changes within Mexico, which are also called for in the United States: transforming unjust social structures and rooting out corrupt economic practices. Accomplishing these two important things will require the participation of a borderless church, which by leading certain U.S. and Mexican elites through personal religious transformation, will lay the necessary foundation for subsequent social transformation in both countries.
Los Angeles, Calif.
Tear Down the Wall
Regarding Tim Padgetts article on rethinking immigration reform: You need good people? You need smart people? You need people with dreams? Mexico has them. Give them what they need; make those U.S. companies pay them living wages; get the Mexican elite off their backs; and for all our sakes, tear down that stupid wall.
Mary A. ODonnell
A More Vocal Church
Rather than portray those opposed to illegal immigration as racists, It Starts in Mexico explores the reasons why millions feel the necessity of leaving their homeland for the United States.
The Catholic Church needs to be more vocal on solutions to inequities in Latin America and Mexico, both socially and economically; the U.S. church needs to encourage them to do so, instead of putting pressure on the United States to accept them with open arms.
Mexico enforces its southern borders with Guatemala and Belize; why should the United States not be able to enforce our laws and control our border?
Orange County, Calif.
Coming Home to Roost
Thanks so much to Tim Padgett for identifying the real root of the Mexican immigration problem: the economic, political and social instability in Mexico (not the United States), which is largely rooted in the influence of homegrown monopolies and oligopolies. Eventually this sad story will find itself unfolding right back into the investment and retirement accounts of us Americans, who really have little understanding of the many global systems in which we are invested and how they function in the realm of human rights. No wonder we are putting off the real solutions.
(Rev.) Rick Sherman
Elusive Middle Ground
Amnesty and Abortion (10/29) is an editorial of which a Catholic can be proud. It is both reasoned and well-expressed. I have been dismayed by the number of editorials both on the Web and in diocesan newspapers that have ignored the plight of women and the middle ground Amnesty International has tried to address.
The churchs rush to condemn Amnesty International has simply ignored this dimension of the problem. America is to be congratulated for having the courage, within this polarized environment, to express the possibility that Amnesty International has indeed raised some genuine and difficult moral concerns.
The Dangers of Certitude
Godforsakeness, by John F. Kavanaugh, S.J., (10/1) reminds me of a statement I heard recently: When people are certain in faith, they can crash airliners into buildings to convince others of the righteousness of their cause and bring unbelievers to just punishment. When people are uncertain in faith, they can do ordinary things with extraordinary love and show the spiritual fruitfulness of a Mother Teresa.
(Rev.) Michael Lydon
St. Louis, Mo.
More Important Words
Almost every issue of America in the past few months has carried some comment about Bishop Donald W. Trautmans article regarding the new translation of the Roman Missal (How Accessible Are the New Mass Translations? 5/21). I think that we Catholics would be more impressed by and more grateful for the quality of the sermon than the quality of the translation of the missal. Bishops should be required to monitor the parishes in their domain to weed out and train or retrain poor performers. A well-prepared, written homily could be distributed within the diocese to be read or used for talking points. It should be reasonable in length and use humor that only embellishes the subject.
New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
Trip Down Memory Lane
As a devoted fan of baseballs Fall Classic, I am indebted beyond measure for the Of Many Things column by James T. Keane, S.J. (10/15). My memory holds the iridescent image of a batter, barely able to stand, rocketing the ball beyond the field and into baseball mythology. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing, but the names and dates had faded from memory. Many thanks to the author for reflecting on that timeless moment. If only he could help me recall the name of my second grade teacher, my cherished memories would be complete.
Taking the Easy Way Out
Thanks for Dotty Lynchs report on How The Media Shape Elections (10/22). Decades ago a writer in America opined that the media had reduced American politics to a football game and a presidential campaign to the Super Bowl. They had done this by limiting the majority of airtime or page space to the simple (and unanswerable) question Whos going to win? Rambling on about unanswerable questions takes less work than asking Who are these people? or What interests have they served in the past? One has to research these important questions, and then stand behind the research.
Americans surely need to know how, even in our free society, our choices are being formulated for us.
Terry Golways The Plight of G.M. (10/15) does not tell the whole story. Toyota and Honda have taken market share from G.M. because they can make cars for approximately $2,500 less per car than G.M. This is because of the cost of health and pension benefits, as well as work rules for an aging work force for American car manufacturers. Until recently, the United Auto Workers union has refused to budge on benefit costs, and only in certain cases on work rules.
It is ironic that America, which advocates good wages, health benefits and decent pensions, should dump all over a company that has striven mightily to provide these while fighting to overcome a huge cost penalty for doing so.
Farmington Hills, Mich.
The Real Point of Liturgy
Regarding A Dinosaur Ponders the Latin Mass (10/8), I am always amazed when good Catholics complain that there is so little mystery in the post-Vatican II liturgy. As a 77-year old dinosaur, I would ask what exactly has changed from before, except that now we understand what the celebrant and lectors say?
When our fellow worshippers stream to receive the Eucharist, we proclaim that we are unified as one body of Christ even when we disagree on so many issues. And some still think there is no mystery in the liturgy?
We should all ponder just what it is we celebrate when we gather as a community at Mass.
Nicholas E. Bedessem