Re “No Catholics of the Left or Right” (Our Take, 6/26): Well, the online comments on this editorial show that the pope has his work cut out for him on this one. The unfortunate truth today, at least in United States, is that people have turned their political affiliation into their God, agreeing only with the aspects of their religion that agree with their politics.
Gregory R. Hansell
Re “Lords of Charity,” by Nathan Schneider (6/26): I see the point, but I can't help but wonder what the author would have the wealthy do with their money. Granted that Mr. Gates and Mr. Zuckerberg have influence, it seems to me that there are plenty of wealthy people with influence who do nothing with their wealth but enjoy themselves and accumulate more wealth for the sake of having it. Give me a Gates or Zuckerberg who at least use that wealth to do something positive. And unless the author really interviewed either man in depth and dug into their history to analyze their motives, I respectfully ask, “How do you really know what motivates them”?
Sense of Giving
I need to read this a second time and possibly a third to get everything the author is offering. In teaching U.S. history in a Catholic school, I often had the students analyze the 19th-century “captains of industry” through the lens of Catholic social teaching. The kids were more brutal than this author. Now I wish we had done the same for today's captains. I am glad that Gates and others are giving to others rather than just buying more stuff for themselves. I just never thought of their giving as actually buying influence. But questions remain. Isn't the gift the right of the giver? Does any individual or group get to impose their values on the giving of another? And should we perfect our own sense of giving before being so critical of someone else? Is someone else's giving even in our realm to review, let alone criticize? It is so very easy to think about how to spend someone else's money.
Mary Kay Blum Peters
A Masterful Tale
Re “As Harry Potter Turns 20, It’s Time to Take Him Seriously,” by Vanessa Zoltan (6/26): I have read all of J. K. Rowling’s books. One of the real benefits of the Harry Potter series is that it motivated thousands upon thousands of young people to read. Rowling’s books and movies were released over a 10-year period so young people could literally age right along with the characters. The Harry Potter books are wonderful companions for boys and girls growing up, and they teach valuable lessons. They have been translated into around 70 languages, so their appeal is cross-cultural. Rowling has created a masterful tale for our age.
Built on Story
Re “A Jesuit Perspective on Harry Potter,” by William Reiser, S.J. (6/26): I have never been a big fan of Harry Potter, but my daughter has read the whole series a few times. I have to agree with you on your point that “Christian faith is built on a story, and stories require imagination.” A creative story is what we humans like.
Re “Does the Truth Matter? This is No Longer a Theoretical Question,” by Charles Sykes (6/26): What an excellent article, one that points to one of the very worrying aspects of politics in this country. My only disappointment is that the author did not provide an example to highlight how politics has moved toward tribalist partisanism.
We need to get back to honest debate and decent, well-thought criticism of both President Trump and the opposition party. The circus of the last campaign season did not end after the election, and I fear that if changes are not made, even more harm could be done to our country.