He’s Not Here

In “Welcome to the Cafeteria” (Current Comment, 12/20), you describe Luke Gormally as a professor at the Ave Maria Law School in Ann Arbor, Mich., and as one of those who criticized Pope Benedict’s statement on condoms. Mr. Gormally is no longer a member of the Ave Maria Law faculty, and the school is in Naples, Fla., not Ann Arbor.

(Rev.) Michael P. Orsi


Naples, Fla.

Beware of Intervening

Your editorial “Deadline in Sudan” (1/10) sounds like a description of the Sudan of 35 years ago, which was the same as Sudan back in the 1950s. Over the decades all of Sudan’s dictators have systematically eliminated any insurgents in the south or anywhere else. Some of these campaigns of extermination would take years of effort. What did they all have in common? They were all Muslim leaders in a Muslim country. Allowing the Christians and adherents of traditional religious in the south to go off peacefully and practice their religion in a separate state is not acceptable to them. The moment no one is looking they will go back to their mode of suppressing whatever challenges Muslim control.

The United States, with its involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, runs an extreme risk if it gets involved. Effective support of the Christians will be seen by Muslims worldwide as an attack on a Muslim nation.

Tom Maher

Stow, Mass.

The Gaza Siege Must Cease

I applaud Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., for his humane and practical vision, “Two Peoples, One State” (11/15). The people living in the Holy Land had the natural right to self-determination after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Certainly the refugees have the right to return, according to international law, and to exercise their right to self-determination now. In the meantime, home demolitions, the military occupation, the checkpoints, the siege of Gaza and so on must cease immediately. We cannot give aid of any kind to nations that are violating human rights or international law. If needed, a U.N. peacekeeping force can keep order until details are worked out.

Benjamin Urmston, S.J.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Head Off Netanyahu

“New Pressure From Israeli Hardliners” (Signs of the Times, 1/24) should prepare us for the likelihood that during the U.S. presidential campaign in 2012 Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will take advantage of the fear American politicians have of the Jewish vote and decide to ”take out” the Iranian nuclear factories or attack Hezbollah in Lebanon. This possibility can be countered only if Americans can overcome their fear of being labeled anti-Semitic and contact their representatives about their concern for actions Netanyahu might take. We have to support the Jewish peace movement in the United States.

The impact of an Israeli attack would cause worldwide inflation as the flow of Saudi oil is cut off, and the interruption of oil from Iran would send the world into a spiral of inflation and depression. We must make it clear to Israel that this would end the flow of U.S. refined petroleum, military weapons and funding to Israel.

C. Theisen

Bonita Springs, Fla.

Not With My Money

I agree with “Bad Deal,” by Thomas Massaro, S.J. (1/3), when he calls for the increased teaching and honoring of Catholic social teaching, special concern for the poor and other value principles. But the author’s application of these principles is questionable.

I do not know where government, Father Massaro or anyone else gets the right to decide when certain people have too much money (honestly acquired) and therefore have a moral obligation to turn over a larger share of that money to someone else—especially to a government that they did not choose and that does not have a reputation for the efficient use of other people’s money.

Perhaps Father Massaro should promote greater charity and support for “proxy-government” or faith-based organizations—especially in the Catholic community, which is ranked last in its support for its church among the main denominations.

Robert W. McChesney Jr.

New Braunfers, Tex.

Back Words With Action

Reflecting on “Pope Denounces Violence as Threat to Freedom” (Signs of the Times, 1/24), I commend Pope Benedict for his strong position on the lack of religious freedom and the persecution of Christians by Muslims and, in the Holy Land, by Israeli officials. The pope should back up his words with action, as Pope John Paul II did with the Soviet Union and his response to the suppression of labor unions in Poland. By focusing on the suppression of human rights in Poland, he was able to mobilize the world in support of his actions. The rest is history: the fall of the Soviet Union and freedom granted to Poland.

Chuck Radioff

San Diego, Calif.

California in the Fore

Since I do not live in Spain, I cannot address the problem raised by Pope Benedict XVI (Signs of the Times, 1/24), referring to “educational programs that mandate obligatory participation in courses of sexual or civic education with content opposing Catholic teaching.”

But because I live in California, I am familiar with the school policy here. No student in a public school must stay in a classroom when material related to the subjects mentioned [abortion and homosexual marriage] are discussed. So let’s be clear about the issue and regional context. California is a great example of how to deal with this issue, and the political culture was shaped by Catholic social thought before it became a state in the union.

Chris Nunez

Santa Cruz, Calif.

A Moment of Peace in Paris

Your “Accidental Pilgrims” (1/24) reminded me of another article by Dennis Linehan, S.J., that appeared in America (Of Many Things, 2/25/08). He wrote of his time in Paris working on his dissertation, when each day after the noon meal he would walk the short distance from the Jesuit residence to the Motherhouse of the Daughters of Charity, where he would pray in the chapel of the Miraculous Medal. For him it was a haven from the pressure of study and the din of Paris traffic. Now I can affirm all your pilgrim experiences while searching for those that may come my way unexpectedly.

Mary Anne Brawley, D.C.

Binghamton, N.Y.

When the Red, Red Robin...

After re-reading the Of Many Things column by Drew Christiansen, S.J., in the Jan. 24 issue, I am convinced we need a phenomenological analysis of the holy. Transcendence—whether in art, music, drama, sports or patriotism—refers to an experience beyond the ordinary. But a sense of the holy is different. The various religions integrate prayer, sacrifice and love into their traditions. But those outside religious traditions also experience the sacred. Meanwhile, we Christians should spot the holy in our daily lives. When the first robin sings over the melting snow, God is with us.

Ernest Ranly, C.PP.S

Carthagena, Ohio

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