Re: “Preventive Strikes on North Korea Fail Just War Criteria,” by Kevin Clarke (8/7): These strikes also fail just war criteria by the most important reason: Just war is not just about avoiding war but also proactively building peace. When we are backed into a corner and have to think in terms of short-term tactical measures, it is a little late to be talking about just or unjust. Some may argue that the United States has done all it can, but I would like to see a comprehensive discussion on that before I’m satisfied. Until we’ve had an exhaustive discussion, we haven’t fulfilled our duties according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Stop Blaming Doctors
Re “The Charlie Gard Case Reveals a Persistent Bias Against Disability,” by Jana Bennett (8/7): As a palliative care physician in London for the past 22 years, please allow me to disagree. Having frequently been in situations in which one has to decide whether or not to intervene in a situation that is not at all clear cut and from which considerable harm may ensue from getting it wrong, the pediatricians have my every sympathy. They are not insensitive to the parents’ suffering, whom they face every day. Of course, their suffering is not as intense as the parents’, but it is intense and suffered deeply nonetheless. They are struggling with a very deep dilemma that is too easy for someone who has not sat in the hot seat to reduce to black and white. We owe it to these doctors and to the parents not to reduce them to slogans.
A Heart-Breaking Situation
I once cared for an infant with a mitochondrial disorder, and I was shocked by how little quality of life remained for this child. She was breathing on her own, but continual seizures robbed her of consciousness in the usual sense. Purposeful movement was absent. Her condition was expected to deteriorate until death came while she was still an infant. Until people see this kind of condition with their own eyes, it is hard to fathom. To assume that those treating Charlie Gard are biased in their decision-making is unfair. It is a heartbreaking situation for all involved, including the doctors and other caregivers.
Grounded in Faith
Re “Ever Ancient, Ever New,” by Elizabeth Bruenig (8/7): I continue to appreciate those who through study, prayer and contemplation have converted to Roman Catholicism. As a cradle Catholic who principally kept his head down and did what he was told—the norm for us pre-Vatican II Catholics—I find myself wanting more with respect to the role of the church. Now that I am relatively old (73), becoming enlightened means becoming more grounded in my faith and in its practice.
A Restless Heart
St. Augustine was the one who turned me back to the church. When I came out, I assumed the church would not welcome me. But Augustine, the wild child, the sacrilegious, adulterous scholar God called to be a shepherd and a saint spoke to me. He recognized that “my heart is restless until it rests in You,” and “You were always within me, but I was always without.” This helped me turn back, and through a compassionate reconciliation, I returned to the church. Augustine will always have a special place in my heart.
Catholic Education Inequality
Re “Land O’ Lakes 50 Years On,” by John I. Jenkins, C.S.C (7/24): My support of Catholic education has been a core belief, having been a teacher in a K-8 Catholic school in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend for 36 years. When I read “Land O’ Lakes 50 Years On,” memories of seminars for teachers at Notre Dame came flooding back to me. While most were quite educational seminars, I confess to feeling anger and frustration that I was among the privileged few who could go to Notre Dame. I appreciate and understand the importance of academic freedom in Catholic universities, but what about the Catholic K-12 schools that are disappearing in the United States?
Fort Wayne, Ind.