Loving Fidelity

I have long insisted that authentic reform in the church must proceed through passionate love for the church: Ecclesia semper amanda et reformanda. Your recent editorials “Pilgrim People” (5/10 and 5/17) are bracing and compelling because they join, in a distinctive way, a loving commitment to the uniqueness of Christ’s church with a clear call for greater fidelity to its mission.

I know I am not alone in being grateful.


(Rev.) Robert Imbelli

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Mowing the Lawns

In “Pilgrim People, Part II” (Editorial, 5/17) you write: “Finally, the council called for laymen and laywomen to be given greater voice and to take greater part in church affairs.”

I won’t hold my breath. I was a teenager when the Second Vatican Council convened. I am in my 60s now. I was on a Catholic school board for many years. Our pastor showed up occasionally for board meetings but hired and fired the teachers and administrators at will and spent money on what he thought was important. This church is a “gated community,” and sometimes the owners hire some of us to mow the lawns.

Dan Hannula

Gordon, Wis.

Glimmer of Hope

Congratulations on “Pilgrim People, Part II.” I am delighted that America’s editors have recovered from their timidity following the forced resignation of Thomas J. Reese, S.J., as editor. I am not confident that the hierarchy and the Roman Curia are capable of reform. I have watched with dismay as several of our children, raised in the faith, have walked away from the church. I am resigned to the likelihood that many of our 11 grandchildren will not be Catholics as adults. If America continues to point out courageously the need for reform in the church, there is at least a glimmer of hope that church reform could happen. Please keep it up.

William H. Green, M.D.

Springfield, Pa.

In Need of Reminders

Please never despair of making the case that you have been making for change in our church. Your editorial “Pilgrim People, Part II,” is an example of what I want more of from you. I see you as following in the footsteps of the great prophets of old. Until what needs to be done in our church has been done, we will continue to need to be reminded of it.

We are a pilgrim people, with busy days and short memories. We need to be reminded. Reminding us is a holy task. Thank you for undertaking it. I pray that you, the editors of America, will continue be there to remind us as long as it takes us.

Wellborn Jack Jr.

Shreveport, La.

Prophetic Voice Needed

America is beginning to get there, getting ever closer to being the prophetic voice that the church needs. What we need is some institution or individuals within the church to stand up and be prophetic. We need someone or some group to speak truth to power and demand real reform, radical reform of the papacy and the Curia. Is America going to be that voice?

Play the prophet by addressing the issue that money has played in this scandal and plays in the hierarchical church. It seems that the most notorious villain in this scandal, Marcial Maciel Degollado, used the vast sums of money at his disposal to insinuate himself into the papal apartments and the confidence of Pope John Paul II. The role of money and the influence it wields in the affairs of the Vatican need to be unmasked. The hierarchy needs a good dose of Christian poverty. Can America make them swallow the medicine?

John D. Fitzmorris Jr.

New Orleans, La.

Roses Amid Thorns

Re “Hallelujah,” by Thomas G. Casey (Books & Culture, 5/17): Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this article. You are absolutely correct—this song gives hope to the dirt in our lives, the brokenness, the awfulness, the raw and seemingly desperate pieces that keep floating to the surface waiting to be redeemed or fished out and tossed onto the garbage heap in the landfill.

My life in a L’Arche community was like that; and my stories tell of the good, bad and very disturbing. But the God part is that all can be redeemed, eventually, in God’s time, through the cracks and splits and open festering sores.

This is the paschal mystery. It’s also what Jesus meant when he said “Follow me.” Follow me all the way through the Last Supper, into the garden, up the hill to Golgotha, onto the cross and then into the tomb of waiting, and, yes, to the resurrection. He didn’t say, follow me to the rose garden. Unless he did, come to think of it, but if so, he also reminded me about the thorns.

Kathleen C. Berken

St. Paul, Minn.

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