Re “Bishops Battle Over Spiritual Worth of Medjugorje Pilgrimages” (Signs of the Times, 1/18): I heard Pope John Paul II’s reflection on the subject. It is neither a papal secret nor a papal declaration, but at one of the luncheons with bishops that the pope regularly hosted, Bishop Jerome J. Hastrich, then bishop of Gallup, N.M., asked the pope what he thought about Medjugorje. The pope said, “Well, something’s happening there!” Miraculous appearances or not, people are finding some spiritual peace and strength there, and that’s no doubt why Cardinal Schönborn visited there and spoke positively about it.
(Most Rev.) Frank J. Rodimer Bishop Emeritus of Paterson
(Most Rev.) Frank J. Rodimer
Bishop Emeritus of Paterson
Cor ad Cor Loquitur
Thank you for the extraordinary piece “Waiting for Doctor Newman,” by Nicholas Lash (2/1). In typical self-effacing Newman fashion, Professor Lash is not identified as one of the leading Newman scholars of our time. But his beautiful quotes from various sources about Newman’s significance for the Church of England and the Church of Rome reveal the depth and breadth of his research.
My next e-mail will go to as many friends as possible, to read this piece as a tribute not just to Newman but to his importance for church unity in our day. Finally, let us all hope that Pope Benedict will heed his own advice, cited by Lash, from 1990 when as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger he said that “Newman belongs to the great doctors of the church because he both touches our hearts and enlightens our thinking.”
The Real Problem
Re “Weakened by Defense” (Editorial, 1/18): It is not defense spending that has been wildly rising and threatening to bankrupt our country, but rather the massive, exponential growth in Social Security and Medicare, in comparison with which defense spending has drastically shrunk.
Up With Freewill Offerings
It is disconcerting that the editors focus on tax-generated revenues to solve social problems (“Weakened by Defense,” Editorial, 1/18). The primary role of government has grown over time because we have allowed it to do so. Now with so many dependent on government, the editors have little choice but to critique the defense budget. America should champion the Judeo-Christian ethic and tradition of caring for those who are in need and not put the burden on the taxpayer. Continued dependence on the tax dollar will bind those (including thousands of charitable organizations) who give by volition, ultimately securing their dollars without their voice or giving hands.
Power and Prestige
I cannot believe the excuses that are made for our bellicose approach to living in this complex and diverse world. The sabre-rattling mindset that sees us as the bully of the world and punisher of all evildoers is simply insane. By now we could have purchased both Iraq and Afghanistan outright and given their people far more joy than air strikes ever will or can. We are spending huge sums to kill and maim and destroy. No wonder the rest of the world distrusts and disrespects America and its aims. We are not fighting for American freedom but for American power and prestige. We will, in the end, fail to win at any cost.
(Deacon) Mike Evans
Just War and/or Torture
The theme of Stephen Colecchi’s article “No Excuses for Torture” (1/18), that torture degrades both the victim and the perpetrator, is not only pointed but self-evident. He goes on to say that the church views torture as an “intrinsic evil” that can never be justified. This position seems difficult to rationalize, particularly in view of the church position on war. The church effectively teaches that war is not intrinsically evil by having developed the just war theory. In a “just war” tens of thousands of people could be killed, including civilians. How can war be justified under certain conditions, with thousands killed, while an extremely limited use of torture, in which no one is killed but as a result of which thousands of lives may be saved, is intrinsically evil and never justified?
Peter A. Martosella Jr.
Forward to the Middle Ages
“Collegiality Made Visible,” by Michael Sean Winters (1/18), is right on the mark. How sad that the vision and decisions of Vatican II continue to be ignored because of the obsession for power. The church is suffering because of the present system of appointment of bishops. Almost all other organizations are becoming more decentralized in order to be more effective. We, on the other hand, seem to be regressing more and more to a Middle-Ages model. This certainly is not what Jesus meant when he washed the feet of the apostles or what he proclaimed to be his ministry (to serve, not to be served).
Let’s Get on With It
For years—more than Father Ryan, I think—I have closely followed the ins and outs of the ICEL process of translation (“What If We Said, ‘Wait’?” by Michael G. Ryan, 12/14). I have reviewed the final text and find it outstanding. It is infinitely better than the sophomoric and inaccurate translation that tortured us for these 40 years with the so-called “dynamic equivalency” translation.
Father Ryan seems to look down his nose at the venerable Anglican translation of the Mass, which we will soon be able to enjoy even in the Latin rite. He also seems a bit upset by the recognitio (ratification) that the Holy See must give the ICEL translation, forgetting that the Holy See is the ancient and venerable custodian of the Latin rite. An accurate, reverent and elegant English translation is supremely important because it will be used by dozens of English-speaking countries, and the Holy See is the guarantor of orthodoxy.
So let’s get on with it. I am sure the people will love the new translation and happily use it for generations to come.
(Rev.) Gino Dalpiaz, C.S.