Re “Culture Shift,” by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson (1/7): I am happy to note Archbishop Carlson’s support for promoting a culture of vocations through Catholic schools, especially among the growing Hispanic population in our country. For the past two decades, through the Nativity/Miguel network and Cristo Rey schools, religious congregations of men and women, along with laypeople, diocesan priests and concerned bishops, have been making the “concerted effort to increase Hispanic involvement in our Catholic schools” that the archbishop calls for.
Today, though challenged by new alternatives like the ever-expanding charter school movement and by the financial viability of the Nativity/Miguel network, church leaders and Catholic communities need to advocate vigorously and find the financial means to sustain and grow these initiatives to make Catholic education available to the Hispanic community as well as other Catholic youth.
A study in Soul Searching, by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, found that the U.S. Catholic Church “appears in its institutional infrastructure to invest fewer resources into youth ministry and education than do many other Christian traditions and denominations in the United States.” Without strong action behind the words of encouragement, Catholic schools will continue to disappear in this country, as they have been doing for the past half century.
Ciszek for Everyone
I was delighted to read, “Chained, but Free,” by John Levko, S.J. (1/7), and I fully understand the Jesuit embrace of Father Ciszek as one of their own.
But I claim him, too. The lucid, profound and courageous wisdom of He Leadeth Me<$f$> belongs to all of us. I have reread it many times and continue to be challenged by its call of total surrender to God. I have recommended it to deacon formation classes as well as ordained deacons and wives in our diocese, and it continues to be read by Catholic cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
I have no hesitancy in doing this. I was introduced to the book by a shoe salesman as I purchased a pair of shoes to wear at my daughter’s wedding.
(Dcn.) Chuck Specht
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Respect the Law
“One Step Forward?” by Robert McCreanor (12/24), applauds President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Even if we sympathize with the situation of undocumented aliens who entered the United States as children, respect for the Constitution must trump even this presumably well-intentioned policy.
Congress, not the presidential administration, is the legislative branch of our federal government. Whether or not we agree with the legislation passed by Congress and signed by a president, it is the law of the land. If the president is allowed to decide which laws are worthy of enforcement and, as in this case, create an administrative status inconsistent with current law, the rule of law and freedom itself are in danger.
Clearly, a representative republic is a messy and inefficient form of government, but it does protect us from despotism.
Perhaps Congress will eventually pass a bill mimicking the deferred action program. Perhaps not. In the long run preserving the rule of law is more important than the common good. This is another case in which the end does not justify the means.
Re “Carrying On” (12/24): Kerry Weber’s fond memories of the 1978 “Christmas on Sesame Street” television special reminded me of that wonderful program. At the end, without understanding how it happens, Big Bird is visited by Santa Claus. This is a great analogy for the mysterious generosity of Christ’s appearance among us.
In 2012, PBS’s “Call the Midwife” Christmas special also revealed the tremendous love at the heart of Christmas. Set amid the docks of 1950s London, “Midwife” follows four young student midwives in training at a convent of Anglican nuns. An elderly victim of the workhouse finds consolation when a young nurse takes her to the graves of her five long-dead children. A frightened teenager gives birth in secret and leaves her newborn on the convent steps. The girl nearly dies, but is saved, and her baby is taken in by her family. There is a harried Boy Scout leader struggling to corral her lively charges into a presentable Christmas pageant.
You will laugh, you will cry, and you will be profoundly moved. It is a keeper.
Same as Before
Re “New Translation Receives Wide Acceptance” (Signs of the Times, 12/24): I have been using the new translation of the missal for six months. After a while the new words seemed awfully familiar.
I located my first missal—a Saint Andrew Daily Missal published in 1949 with an imprimatur. I had used this missal during my years at Archbishop Williams High School, for two years in the Maryknoll seminary and at Boston College. The Confiteor, Gloria, Nicene Creed, Suscipiat Dominus, Santus, Sign of Peace and Ecce Agnus Dei are essentially the same in both.
In the early 1960s there was a new English version. We were told our missals were obsolete. Now we have the “new translation,” which is actually the same as we used before. So why is it called a new translation?
Hope in the Resurrection
The column on evil by Matt Malone, S.J., (Of Many Things, 12/17) hits the correct balance. Evil is a mystery, and its residue is historical from Bethlehem to Newtown. We are not helpless. There are measures we can take to guard our children, like better gun control, better preparation in our schools, maybe even an armed guard in each school.
But we must accept the fact that this mystery of evil will go on until the end of time. Jesus did not come to earth to explain suffering, nor to make us understand it nor to take it away. He came to endure it with us to the bitter end and to assure us that we are not alone and that evil does not and cannot have the last word.
We all share the tears of Newtown, but hopefully we share the final hope. Evil does not have the last word; only the resurrection of life does and a hope built on that firm foundation.
Peter J. Riga