Intellectual NourishmentThe editorial Jaw, Jaw, Not War, War (10/15) was a well-argued analysis of this most frightening situation. It is too bad that such essays in America do not receive wider dissemination in either the secular or religious press. A conversation among like-minded persons is fine, but the dialogue and engagement needs to occur among well-meaning but ill-informed persons in our parishes, communities and families. Why cant a version of this essay be the subject of a Sunday sermon or a discussion in a diocesan newspaper? But that raises another question: where can thinking persons within the larger belief community, most especially Catholics in various parishes, find a forum for intellectual nourishment and growth on such important political issues?
Regarding Church Records and the Courts, by William Bassett (10/29): After 39 years of litigation experience, it is my belief that Bassetts suggestion, in response to sexual abuse litigation against the Catholic Church, that periodic review of files be undertaken to clear the files of certain classes of evidence is not good stewardship of records, but on the contrary is an invitation to destroy evidence. Experience teaches us so.
Thomas F. Curnin
Charity or Social Justice?
In A Catholic Call to the Common Good (10/15), Alexia Kelly and John Gehring suggest that their appeal has found roots with the public. I think not. The common good is no more helpful in making political choices than are the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the parables or the Book of Wisdom.
We are told that the church must seek social justice in the political sphere and that Catholic voters should be of one voice on such complex issues as war, immigration, health care and climate change. I beg to differ. These are matters of prudent judgment, not Catholic teaching. Jesus did not establish his church to propose legislation, call for more spending or advocate change in political or economic systems. Jesus was concerned for the poor, but he never asked for Caesars help.
A just society, human rights, good housing, education, jobs, clean air and water can all be delivered by a God-free state. The proper social work of the church is charity, not political action.
Thomas Ryan Mulcahy
Arden Hills, Minn.
Love Will Decide Everything, by Kevin F. Burke, S.J., (11/12) was both a challenge and a delight. I am a convert to the Catholic Church and did not know of Pedro Arrupe until this article, but I have long been a student of the mystic tradition. Indeed, that was one of my attractions to Catholicism, since Protestants had less appreciation for the mystics. I have found great encouragement within that tradition.
Myles N. Sheehan, S.J., states in A Struggle for the Soul of Medicine (11/5) that education that ensures respect for patients while not diminishing the humanity of those in training remains a daunting challenge. I respectfully disagree and submit that respecting ones patients enhances the physicians humanity. One of my treasured memories as a student at Marquette was watching a doctor holding the hand of a bedridden patient as he asked him about his illness. The down-and-out patient was respected by the professor, and my appreciation for the doctors humanity grew and has remained with me for more than 40 years.
Desks and Taxes
Terry Golways High Taxes, Empty Desks (11/12), presents a flawed argument, suggesting we are not entitled to a tax credit or some other form of tax relief because we have an obligation to support public education.
Completely overlooked is the point that by educating our children outside of the public system, we are relieving that system of a substantial costthat of educating the child.
What is the per capita cost of educating a child in a school district? You can bet its a lot higher than any suggested tax relief that has ever been proposed to help offset the cost of a private education.
Like a Cedar of Lebanon, by Michael G. Rizk, (10/29) resonated deeply with my own experience as a visitor to the Trappist Monastery in Spencer, Mass. The monks there have shown me that true joy is possible in this world if we acknowledge Gods healing presence in all the circumstances of our lives. On my last visit, when I took reluctant leave of the monks to return to the noise and confusion of the city, I wondered which in fact was the real world.
New York, N.Y.