Re “Unjust Discrimination” (Editorial, 11/7): There are many sins that are public, especially these days. Unmarried couples living together; thieves caught red-handed; witnesses lying under oath; healthy, registered members of the church who never make it to Mass—the list could go on and on. Why indeed are gay people such targets for public censure? Jesus was a just judge, but can we say that about ourselves?
For Love Alone
It’s incredibly simple. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus gave us a pretty stellar model to follow. What’s most important in all this is that we continue to do all things with love, for love alone, as we have each been individually charged. As for me, I am a Christian; and imperfect as I am, my job is to welcome everyone with open heart and the love of Christ.
Shining the Light
Re “Remedies Beyond Reach,” by Fran Quigley (11/7): Shining the light is the best thing we can do, just what is happening here. We should push ethics for all business. Pushing for competition through legislation is another great idea. These patent laws need tweaking. Also drugs derived from public research should have some kind of common-good patent, where costs are kept low. But I do not push for government control of the pharmaceutical business. Innovation requires freedom.
Pursuit of Ideals
There is at least one point of Mr. Quigley's article that seems accurate, namely that there is a high cost when it comes to drugs. The rest of his article trashes patent law, dismisses the reasonable recovery of research costs, and casts the drug industry as heartless capitalists.
The patent shield clearly exists to recover costs of research into a particular drug, but it is also a mechanism to recover costs associated with all the failed research attempts that would, hopefully, finally lead to a successful and marketable drug. To take a drug from conception to market is a long and expensive process, littered with many failed attempts. All of this needs to be accounted for in any cost assessment.
If the drug companies cannot recover their costs, then how are they to remain in business? A purported right to a drug does not obligate the drug company to financially ruin itself. There are definite costs that need to be included in any calculus of research and manufacturing of a drug. If the costs are not paid by the users, then who do you expect to step up and pay on their behalf? The state? The international community? Do you want to impose higher taxes to compel us all to pay our "fair" share?
I recognize that there is a problem with the cost of drugs, as there is with education, clothing, even drinking water, and that Mr. Quigley does well to dramatize the issue in his article. However, despite his best efforts, I don't think he gave fair treatment to a very complex issue. Rather he seems to place excessive onus on the drug companies, which are innovative employers of tens of thousands around the world and take seriously their mission to end disease and improve the quality of human life. The pursuit of such ideals should be commended, not ignored or condemned.
State the Truth
Re Of Many Things, by Matt Malone, S.J. (11/7): To me as a Catholic, a Jesuit-educated man and sinner, the search for truth and those willing to speak the truth are what guide me during these elections. That as humans we are all fallible is a given. What separates one from the other among those who offer themselves to serve the public good is whether one is willing to state the truth and courageously stand by it or not. When I apply that standard to our presidential candidates, the choice is clear. All human frailties are forgivable if we acknowledge them rather than concealing them from a public.
The Common Good
“It is remarkable, then, that these two men, Francis Xavier and Ignatius Loyola, separated by 10 years, born into warring factions and of markedly different temperaments, would, with the aid of Faber and several other companions, found the Society of Jesus.” Well written, Father Malone. I would add that something similar could be written about Christ’s disciples, who came from diverse social and political backgrounds. At one extreme we have Simon, a zealot, and at the other we have Matthew, the publican. For Ignatius, for Christ, as well as for Thomas Becket, the “honor of God” and the “things of God” are at the heart of the common good.
Grateful for Bruce
Re “A Great and Harsh Beauty,” by Angelo Alaimo O’Donnell (10/31): This is a wonderfully written piece, as poetic as Bruce Springsteen's songs. I was brought back to the years when I taught The Grapes of Wrath to 11th graders and used especially Springsteen's song, “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” The entire album had songs that my students grasped and liked. I have often been grateful for Bruce, and this essay reminds me of this. Thanks.
Re “Hate.Net,” by James Martin, S.J. (10/31): I don’t use social media, but every now and then I read comments on articles and journals and it doesn’t take long for hatefulness to rear its head—from the right and the left, from secular and sacred spaces.
Of course Christians, Catholic and other, should be better than others, and not simply “no worse.” Why aren’t we? Could it be our fault?
On America’s blog In All Things, Natalia Imperatori-Lee commented on the theological arguments underlying the debate on women’s ordination (“It’s Not a Complement,” 11/6). She argues that theologies of rigid complementarity cheat both men and women of their full humanity. Readers weigh in.
It seems to me that the reasoning presented in this article, while compelling on its own terms, would not simply lead to the ordination of women priests but would rather eliminate the symbolic or spiritual meaning of sexual difference altogether. At some point the academic-disciplinary perspectives of biology, psychology and so on miss the point. They are too immanent, or too theoretical. Sometimes, working within objective constraints—especially those of revelation—is the way that truth and beauty first emerges.
Amen! Complementarity and a masculine-feminine duality do not make sense even on an intellectual level. Every human trait in every person is on a spectrum, there is no “either/or,” just “both/and.” “Both/and” is the Catholic way in many things. When you are sure you know what is true about God, you are almost assuredly wrong. We need to always ask questions and trust grace to help us balance what we believe and the inevitable uncertainty of what we can't know in this lifetime. We must always pray, listen and discuss our differences with great love.
I think this piece needs a much expanded view of the feminine within the church. If obedience and receptivity (in the shallow way they are cast here) is all that make up the “feminine,” then it is not surprising that the “masculine” is seen as so much better in this context.
I agree that an understanding of women's roles in the church and the faith needs to be much enhanced. But throwing out the duality of gender fails to do this—it just leaves us in our current state of recognizing the masculine as most desirable, encouraging attempts to “elevate” women to what men have. What we really need is to dive more deeply into the significance of the feminine (or Marian) influence that women have in the church.
This certainly is an interesting article. One small point, however. The author states “the Petrine dimension centers on leadership and initiative.” While the focus on initiative is obvious in the Gospels, we are left in the dark as to what type of leadership it refers to.
Interesting article! Complementarity seems to be excessively narrow and rigid, plus it also has a practical translation as “men lead, speak and make all the decisions while women pick up the messes and make coffee.” The issue of ordaining women to the priesthood blocks useful discussion about the role of women in the church. If women are ordained as deacons, they will have the most important part of what women need in the church—namely, the right to preach at Mass.