Make College Affordable
Re “Student Debt Blamed for Falling Homeownership” (Editorial, 8/21): The problem is the very high cost of college and limited prospects for those without a degree. A few elite schools pledge to offer enough aid to make college affordable, sometimes without debt. But the vast majority don’t, including Catholic colleges.
Maybe One Day
Re “Remembering 9/11,” by Matt Malone, S.J. (Of Many Things, 8/21): I know the exact moment when I learned that the Twin Towers had been struck. I was a teacher in New York City and was responsible for over 300 children that day. The panic, the horror and the prayers to God by so many who wailed to the heavens will never be forgotten. After all of my students were dismissed, I began my own journey home. I was stunned to see the avenues filled with people covered in dust—some with shoes, some without and some with clothes in shreds. These were the survivors of that day. They resembled the walking dead. I cannot forget any of the images that still live vividly in my heart and mind. Forgiveness? I am 16 years removed, and I am not yet able to forgive the men who orchestrated and carried out the attacks. Maybe one day I will be.
Re “Catholic Campuses Should Look Outward to the Larger Church,” by Patrick T. Brown (8/21): There is some very sound food for thought here, with a keen eye on the amenities war and other signs of the insularity of Catholic colleges from the larger church. I wonder if one more disconnect is the relationship between parent satisfaction for tuition payments and the stature of their child’s college as an icon in their lives. Often the parents are as idolatrous as the students in their view of college.
I do not know how many are worried about the blending of the local parish community with that of the college. My experience has been that the religious formation of the college’s campus ministry program touches the hearts of students more deeply than most parish experiences.
Right to Name
Re “Cardinal Bo on Myanmar’s Delicate Path to Democracy,” by Gerard O’Connell (8/21): Dealing with the legal status of the Rohingya on a case by case basis, the solution Aung San Suu Kyi is reported to support, has proved to be a bureaucratic nightmare because the military confiscated people’s identity information and the government is not operating in good faith. Cardinal Charles Maung Bo should continue to build public support for full pluralism in Myanmar, with visible and widely televised activities that bring all ethnicities together. It is an international right for people to name themselves, and there should be no hesitation about naming the Rohingya the way they prefer. To refuse even to say their name is to become complicit in their social erasure.
A Formidable Senator
Re “The ‘Al Franken Moment,’” by Bill McGarvey (8/21): From watching Senator Al Franken on television it is pretty clear he does his homework and cares about all U.S. citizens. That he combines his intelligence with compassion and has some media skills makes him a formidable figure. It is not great political power, except for getting conservatives in an uproar. For those of us who have traditional Catholic values but also support working people, Mr. Franken exemplifies what we think politics should be about: not winning or money but improving people’s lives.
What Is the Solution?
Re “A Good Job Is Hard to Find,” by Rachel Lu (8/21): There are a number of valid observations here about how protectionism is expensive and may not be helpful in the long run. But what, then, is the solution to the labor crisis that Catholic social teaching inspires? “Rerum Novarum” discussed the mutual duties of labor and capital. St. John Paul II was, of course, well acquainted with the economic need for the solidarity of labor unions, yet the word union appears only one time in Ms. Lu’s piece—in connection with the word collapse. While there is no doubt that as long as there is a labor force, there will be jobs, this does not guarantee that the tasks left for human labor will pay a living wage. How can the common good be served?