Identity Theft

Re “Identity Crisis,” by Melanie Morey and John Piderit, S.J. (10/13): “Identity theft” is more like it. What really counts at a Catholic university is who teaches and what they teach. With the attenuation of theology and philosophy requirements at Catholic universities and the striking decline of Catholics on faculties, the Catholic identity of the major Catholic universities is properly in question.

Most Catholic university administrators, if they talk about Catholics on the faculty at all, speak of a “critical number” of Catholics, a phrase the authors employ several times. That is a useless measure, for it means only what the administrators say it means.


William H. Dempsey

Arlington, Va.

Rhetoric and Reality

“Escaping the Political Mire,” by Olga Bonfiglio (10/13), is an excellent review of the important book A Nation for All, by Chris Korzen and Alexia Kelley.

As a longtime social worker, I know that one of the prime motivating factors behind welfare reform was the belief that many women were having children just to receive more public assistance. Even if this were true in some cases, at least these children had some degree of financial security.

Removing or limiting this support forced more women into the workforce, leaving their children in day care and weakening the mother-child bond, and it made pregnancy termination a more likely option. The workforce also exerted its pressure against further pregnancies, births and children, as all are counterproductive for firms that employ women. This made abortion even more likely.

Decisions made largely for economic reasons, such as reduced welfare expenditures, are usually not pro-life.

Jim Lein

Minot, N.D.

Naming the Beast

The analysis of our current financial crisis by Paul D. McNelis, S.J. (Current Comment, 10/20) was refreshing, because his remarks did not come from a point of view born of a corporate profit model. He provided a historical and moral perspective on our current financial crisis that is calming, because it helps release our thinking from capitalism’s egocentric nature and our popular culture’s “show me the money” financial values.

No matter how loudly the beast cries, we will not be defined by this moment in time.

Rene Lorio

St. Louis, Mo.

Living Wage

The article by Paul D. McNelis, S.J. (Current Comment, 10/20) on the current financial crisis reflects a serious disconnect with low-wage earners throughout the nation. Much of the credit card debt we have accumulated, I’m willing to bet, is because people are trying to make ends meet in regions where the cost of living is enormous, such as the San Francisco/Monterey Bay area, Los Angeles, New York and similar metropolitan areas. Low wage earners have been suffering from stagflation for at least a decade now, but it hasn’t been noticed or reported by economists who focus on macroeconomics.

It’s time to remember what a living wage is, and examine what happens to those at the bottom who have not had the benefit of a living wage. It’s also time to review Rerum Novarum and reflect on its timeliness even today.

Chris Nunez

Santa Cruz, Calif.

Get to the Point

It would be much more honest of J. Brian Bransfield (“Conscientious Election,” 10/13) if he had simply said “Vote Republican” instead of dancing around the issue.

Tom Bastien

Denver, Co.

Lesser of Two Evils

Re “Respecting Religion” by Michael Sean Winters (10/13): Get off John F. Kennedy’s back about his approach to religion in politics. Would you have preferred that Richard Nixon win in 1960?

Charlie McNamee

Minot, Mass.

Lost in Translation

Re: “Expressing Holy Things,” by Bishop Victor Galeone (9/8): Every day the members of ICEL should repeat the following ten times: “Liturgical language should be accurate, faithful and clear.” Perhaps then they would be inspired to listen to the suggestions of those bishops who have experience with “John and Mary Catholic” and what they need for prayerful participation in the Mass.

Let us pray that many other bishops will join Archbishop Pilarczyk, Bishop Trautman and Bishop Galeone and continue to insist that these changes must be an improvement over what we have now.

P.S.: Do any members of ICEL speak English as their first language?

Anne Michel, C.S.J.

Brentwood, N.Y.

No More Changes

Thank you to Bishop Victor Galeone for speaking up for “John and Mary Catholic” in “Expressing Holy Things” (9/8). Please leave the Mass translation in understandable English, and keep trying to convince the other bishops in our country to consider the Catholic people, even if they personally are becoming bored with the whole argument.

Many of us are seeing too much of the spirit of the Second Vatican Council being chopped away. Must it also be so with the liturgy?

Shirley Craigshead

Moose, Wyo.

Reverent, Noble and Accurate

Bishop Victor Galeone’s article on liturgical translations (“Expressing Holy Things,” 9/8) was not helpful to the cause of reverent, noble and accurate translation of the Latin Missal into English. I deeply regret that at the recent meeting of the U.S. bishops in Orlando, he and some of his fellow bishops were able to stall the approval of the ICEL translation of the changeable parts of the mass.

After the Vatican’s recent approval of the unchanging parts of the Mass, this delay was a bitter pill to swallow for thousands of American Catholics and for the other English-speaking episcopal conferences throughout the world that had already approved the text.

The ICEL translation is a good one. Of course, it isn’t perfect; nothing is. The perfect is the enemy of the good. I just hope the Holy See finally steps in to ensure that the English-speaking people of the world will soon have an up-to-date English translation of the Roman Missal, like all the other linguistic groups in the church.

Gino Dalpiaz, C.S.

Chicago, Ill.

War and Conscience

I am writing to protest the full-page ad you ran reading “The Infantry Provides Firepower,” which ironically followed an article by Mary Ann Walsh, R.S.M., “Conscience and the Catholic Voter” (10/6). Are the Quakers the only ones who get it?

The just war theory, much less our two pre-emptive strikes on Muslim countries, doesn’t have a Gospel leg to stand on.

Kathryn Shannon, M.M.

Monrovia, Calif.

A Bit of Advice

I was saddened by two letters in your recent issue (“Poor Choices” and “Help Needed,” 10/13). Two writers, both obviously deeply committed to the political process and wanting to vote in light of their very own formed adult consciences, express themselves as stymied. One writer considers himself disenfranchised because the message he hears from the pulpit in his local parish contradicts his carefully formed conscience. Another, a self-confessed anti-abortion liberal, wonders whether she will sin if she votes for candidates who espouse a pro-choice political position, though they may themselves be personally anti-abortion.

Both of these patently conscientious adult Catholics find very little positive in the positions of candidates whose claim to Catholic votes seems limited to their support for the official church position on opposition to stem cell research, abortion and contraception.

As long as such people find their educational experience and their commitment to becoming true followers of Christ contradicted by what they are told from the pulpit and from their bishop’s pronouncements, my non-authoritative, non-binding advice to them would be to say a prayer for the perhaps benighted, doubtless overworked parish priest, and another for the bishop who has not the slightest notion that there is a world of difference between “teaching” and “laying down the law.”

And yes, let them then go and vote for the poor, the orphans, the widows and all the marginalized, and for candidates who do not say, “I’ve got mine; I earned it; tough on you.”

(Rev.) Franklyn J. Bergen

Tucson, Ariz.

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