The Letters

Our Turbulent Time

Re “What Has Pope Francis Taught Us Four years Into His Papacy?” by Helen Alvaré (4/3): Once again, Ms. Alvaré nails it! Such a comforting piece in our turbulent time. I hope we can move away from the amenities war and move on to giving everyone around us that “look of love that they crave” and then accompany that look with action on their behalf—no matter the circumstances.

Barry Fitzpatrick
Online Comment

God and Unity

When St. John XXIII became pope, I was in Catholic elementary school. At that time there was much rejoicing that he was a pope for the people, a pope with a compassionate heart who also saw the long-overdue need for the church to change. The Second Vatican Council was his inspiration, and we all lost his guiding light because he died too young.

Much like St. John XXIII, Pope Francis is a pope of the people and one who espouses virtue, mercy, compassion and the spirit of the law over a rigid interpretation of doctrine. His vision for the church is for bishops and priests to be pastors and not judges who only see the letter of the law and sin. Pope Francis sees things differently: The Curia must be reformed, more responsibility and authority should be given to local bishops, and bishops and priests should focus more on the people who live in moral dilemma and hardship. Let us pray for Pope Francis, that his vision for our church changes hearts and minds, and for unity, instead of division.

Michael Barberi
Online Comment

Toxic Shame

Re “Confessions of a Porn-Addicted Priest,” by John Smith (4/3): Many thanks for sharing this story. As one who has lived with toxic shame, I am deeply touched by the author’s transformative story—a story, I am sure, that continues to be written. I hope his story will touch those who are hounded by shame to reach out for help and to hear the voice of loving acceptance.

Frederick Hill
Online Comment

Further Cause for Alarm

In “Supreme Extremism” (Our Take, 3/20), the editors focus solely on Democratic reservations about Judge Neil Gorsuch related to abortion. It is unfortunate that they chose not to mention the criticism of Judge Gorsuch’s predilection to favor the wealthy and corporations over individuals, as is evidenced in various shareholder lawsuits. His cozy relationship with the billionaire Philip Anschutz should indeed be a cause for alarm.

Marilyn Hoffman
Online Comment

Lay Saints

Re “Saints, Not Superheroes,” by Robert Ellsberg (3/20): I would totally agree that saints were mostly ordinary people who had doubts and fears and failed miserably at times, just like the rest of us. I also agree we desperately need more lay saints, because lay people constitute most of the church.

It can be powerful to invoke those who have gone before us, and I would like to think that after death, people who suffered certain illnesses in this life or struggled with certain problems or had certain dreams or accomplished specific tasks are given the grace of being able to help those still on earth with similar problems, goals or struggles. We should turn to the saints—both living and dead—for help.

Stephen Fratello
Online Comment

Breathe Together

Re "At a Time of Real Division, How Can We Help Clear the Air? First, Breathe," by Kerry Weber (Of Many Things, 3/20): What a timely feminine perspective, offering a hopeful practice in these unsettling times: Breathe! And even better counsel, perhaps: Breathe together. I would like to take this opportunity to thank America for its new formatting, which is also a “breath of fresh air.” The articles themselves, in addition to the more clearly delineated content, beckon the reader to tuck the magazine away, to steal a read while in transit—small practices to keep us alive and breathing. A tribute to America’s creative, evolving contribution to shaping the future. Great work!

Lillian Needham
Westmont, N.J.

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