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Remember the Gospel

The analysis and the documentation by Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. (“America at War” and “War of Words,” 3/25) was an outstanding piece of journalism, offering insights into America’s editorial history. I remember the editorials very well and found it a bit chilling to read them again.

The big question in my mind is: “Where was the Gospel in all of the analysis of Vietnam?” I know there were themes of justice and responsibility, but American exceptionalism seems to have trumped efforts to bring a Christian point of view to the issues. It’s good that America has learned from the experience—thanks to Father Schroth.

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Leo Gafney

Lakeville, Conn.

Why Apologize?

I am confused by two points made at the end of “Vietnam Postscript” (Editorial, 3/25).

The editors wrote, “America was unable to appreciate well enough and early enough what was truly at stake.” No doubt, true. But why does America give this lofty impression that they should have been the publication with the wisdom and vision to have all the policy answers on this complex, disturbing time in American history?

The editors also wrote, “America asks for forgiveness for what we have done and for what we have failed to do.” The editors “acted in good faith and good conscience,” just as most of us in the United States did back then, regardless of our differences. So where does “forgiveness” come in? I’m confused.

Kurt Chismark

Nevada City, Calif.

Editor’s Note: America does not believe that we should “have been the publication with the wisdom and vision to have all the policy answers” regarding Vietnam. The point is simply that many of our peers in the media grasped the heart of the matter sooner than we did, and we regret that fact.

As for our request for forgiveness: The military industrial complex that promoted and prolonged the war was a prime example of a “structure of sin.” Thus, America’s support for this structure constituted participation in social sin, and for this we request forgiveness (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1869).

Unseen Heroes

My deepest thanks to Brian Doyle for sharing his fond memories of the sisters of the Order of Preachers in his touching article, “A Place at the Table” (3/25). While some of us were educating students academically, these valiant women were welcoming students to the convent for those “gentle and delicious gifts” of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Mr. Doyle is wise for recognizing the incredible lessons he received, not so much in the classroom as at that wooden table in the convent.

Those unseen sisters were true heroes in leaving their compassionate and caring marks on the lives of hundreds and thousands of children. As an O.P. sister, I’m glad they are remembered and revered.

Peggy Devlin, O.P.

Marlton, N.J.

Meaning of ‘Church’

Re “A Listening Church” (Current Comment, 3/18): May I suggest a moratorium on the indiscriminate use of the term church, as in, “The church’s teaching is clear: the church has no authority whatsoever to ordain women as priests.” Note the whatsoever to con the reader into thinking that the statement needs no proof. As Vatican control has become tighter and more ubiquitous in recent years, there is an understandable tendency, I think, to equate pope/Vatican/hierarchy/Curia with “the church.” The secular media might be given a pass on this one, but America should know better.

Joseph Murray

Waterford, Conn.

Status Update

Re “Pope Francis, the CDF and the LCWR,” by James Martin, S.J. (In All Things blog, 4/15):

Thank you! As a Catholic, a woman and a Catholic school teacher who spent many years with the good sisters and a person who knows some of the victims of clerical sexual abuse, the last 15 years or so have been sad and painful. The weeks since the election of Pope Francis, and his many actions in that time, brought me not only joy and delight, but also hope that the church I was promised as a teen in the 1960s would finally begin to emerge. This morning’s news really shook that hope. Your calm and level-headed assessment of the situation helps me not to despair that “the honeymoon is over.”

Teresa Hooten Kozempel

Holding tight, but not confident.

Andrew Raymond

The pope, coming from a religious order, is far more likely than not to be sympathetic to the view of religious. Logically, he is almost certainly going to be fair in the process. It does not mean, however, that both sides of this argument will be satisfied with the outcome. However, trusting in God, I am confident with hope and with prayer, the good side will prevail, whatever that result may be. It is, after all, the Easter deason.

Kevin Conery

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