The ‘Real’ Drinan
If I understand Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. (“Career Interrupted,” 3/7), he prefers that the late Congressman Robert F. Drinan, S.J., be remembered as a champion of many worthy causes and one whose storied political career was cut short by the Vatican and pro-life activists.
I believe Drinan will be remembered as the Catholic priest who defended abortion. It is not that he dissented from the Catholic Church’s position on just one issue but that he callously turned a blind eye to an evil that ended up destroying tens of millions of unborn children whose only “crime” was being inconvenient. The tragedy of Father Drinan is that while earning substantial acclaim for his moral principles, he found himself unable to defy the powerful abortion lobby within the Democratic party and dissent from the prevailing orthodoxy of his fellow law professors who erroneously believed that legal abortion would keep the world population in check and help solve other social ills, like poverty and crime.
I am a Jesuit, 83 years old. When I read “Career Interrupted,” I said thank God for the gift of Father Drinan. What an example for me! To be so inwardly free—“indifferent,” to use St. Ignatius’ term—to say, “Let your will be done.” This is also the virtue of Father Pedro Arrupe when he was ordered to lay down his office as superior general of the Jesuits by Pope John Paul II. I have a visceral dislike for those who persecuted people like Arrupe and Drinan. Then, why obey them? Because I have been taught as Drinan and Arrupe were.
M. Maria louis, S.J.
A Refreshing Change
As a retired Michigan teacher, I was happy to read “Hard Times No Justification for Clamping Down on Unions” (Signs of the Times, 3/7) and appreciate Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki’s standing up for the rights of workers. It is a refreshing change. For too long we have heard vocal support only for pro-life causes and politicians, which unfortunately may be one reason why Tea Party candidates have gained power. Seeing them in action is frightening.
In “Irish Church Collapse?” (Signs of the Times, 3/7), Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, O.F.M.Cap., is perhaps a bit optimistic in his assessment. It may have already collapsed into irrelevancy for its most vital demographic, the 30-somethings. Several years ago, before the recent revelations, while my wife and I were in Ireland, we asked our driver, a vibrant, charming, insightful 30-something, what he thought of the church and, in particular, careers in the church. I used the word careers purposely. His reply sent a chill through me. He and his friends, he said, thought “there must be something wrong with anyone wanting to do that.” Something wrong with working for the church! It had gotten to that! If that’s what the next generation in Ireland thinks, then Ireland is like the rest of Europe already.
John D. Fitzmorris
New Orleans, La.
Give Peace a Chance
Bravo to Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., for his wisdom (Of Many Things, 2/28). The seeming impossibility of finding common ground for both the Israelis and the Palestinians is not a failure of moral imagination after all; it is a failure of nerve and a severe lack of courage to buck the sad status quo. Father Schroth’s good flood of memories from growing up, when Jewish neighbors were supportive and the world was kinder, struck chords. Today the greed and crazed thinking of so many lead us into wars over land or oil rather than to the peace we say we all want. The intractable devastation in Israel is partial proof of this state of affairs. When will it end? Only when both sides take the biblical challenge seriously and choose life rather than destruction, and when narrow nationalistic interests finally take a back seat to peaceful reconciliation.
Peter Murray, S.J.
Blame the Robber Barons
In your Current Comment “Union Busting” (3/14), the collective bargaining issue is not about money. It is about voice and control. The robber baron types want to take away the workers’ voices and their resistance to their schemes to outsource their jobs or bring in inexpensive labor to replace them. Let’s put the blame where it really belongs: on the Federal Reserve, on Congress for mismanagement of the country’s resources, on state and local politicians for mismanagement, on the global banking cartel, including Wall Street, who, through the Fed, ripped off the American taxpayer and have never been held accountable. Why are the workers paying for the screw-ups and criminal actions of the country’s elite?
Ever Love a Janitor?
When I think of union busting (Current Comment, 3/14), I think of the people who are most dependent on the services of public employees—poor children, homeless persons, those suffering from chronic physical or mental illness, the unemployed. They cannot “buy their way out” of the public service system, as can affluent citizens who arrogantly criticize anything provided by government. I wonder if any of these wealthy folks have ever come to love or respect a janitor or a guard who works so hard for so little. Have they ever experienced the gift of a public school teacher who helps a homeless child succeed in college or in the trades? Have they so lost touch with the virtue of solidarity that they cannot feel the joys and sorrows of their neighbors, the ones they are to love?