The Letters

A Good Starting Place

Re “Appeal or Accusation? How We Use ‘Pro-Life’ and Why it Matters” (Our Take, 10/16): This editorial is a good starting place for a sensible discussion that could lead to real change in U.S. political practice. The realist in me says it will never happen, but the Spirit has worked in stranger settings. Too many politicians are pro-birth and not pro-life because the minute the child is born they wish to remove all possible help for the child by way of social programs. The church itself sends a mixed message…. This editorial calls for a consistent ethic, reminiscent of Cardinal Bernardin, which would give all of us pause as we enter the body politic with our faith at the ready. Well done.

Barry Fitzpatrick

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Online Comment

Worse Than Nothing

Re “As Rohingya Crisis Worsens, Myanmar’s Cardinal Bo Calls for Healing and Justice,” by Gerard O’Connell (10/16): If [Myanmar’s leader] Aung San Suu Kyi were merely silent and inactive, those excuses would at least potentially make sense, but she is doing worse than nothing. She is actively complicit by denying the atrocities by the military and mobs and explaining away what the regime is doing as the victims’ fault. Sadly, it’s not unusual for ecclesiastical hierarchs to take the side of the secular authorities against the oppressed and contrary to the dogma of the preferential option for the poor. The Catholic hierarchy in Syria does the same thing, siding with the regime and soft-pedaling the regime’s lies.

Kester Ratcliff

Online Comment

Vocations of Love

Re “Blessed Among Women,” by Jennifer Ochstein (10/16): Equality should not be seen as in opposition to complementarity. In fact, the equality that is equated with some type of mathematical sameness only serves to elevate one particular vocation over another, one particular destiny over another. For example, why should it be assumed that working in a career for money is greater than working in a home? It all depends on perspective. Similarly, the role of priest and the role of mother or father are both best understood as vocations of love, with different callings and different gifts, all with equal dignity.

Tim O’Leary

Online Comment

Social Deadlocks

Re “A Farmer and a Prophet,” by Anna Keating (10/16): Thank you for your insightful and timely article on Wendell Berry. As the Rev. Andrew Greeley (and others) have pointed out, the Catholic imagination is not “either/or” but “both/and.” The “and” suggests that there is more available to choose from than just “this” or “that.” Your contrast between Berry’s approach (not his uniquely) and the drive for the homogeneity of big industrial capitalism and big totalistic statism invites us to contemplate alternatives for breaking the political and social deadlocks that are characteristic of our times. Beautifully done!

Randolph Lumpp

Online Comment

What is Right?

Re “Saint Black Elk?” by Damien Costello and Jon Sweeney (10/16): Interesting. I will take this into my inner room and pray for what is right. The spirituality of indigenous people everywhere is much closer to Christ than to Christianity. I suspect that the canonization of Black Elk would do more to lift Christianity than to lift the Lakota people, who are, and have been alive in Christ since before the Catholic Church came along to convert anyone. In fact, it is we who need conversion to be Christ in humility.

I was happy to learn that Harney Peak was renamed Black Elk, for it was there he first observed the great hoop of the world. I climbed it in 2009 before my 60th birthday so I too could see what Black Elk saw. Sadly, I saw vast acres of browned pine waiting to go up in flames, a monoculture managed by paper interests. The footprint of colonialism remains overwhelming. Watching for news on this whole story. Thank you so much.

Janet Elizabeth Horton

Online Comment

Nice Touches

Re Why Are Catholic Horror Hilms So Popular? Revisiting ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ for Clues by Nick Ripatrazone (10/16): Not all Catholic representations in horror films rely on typically negative stereotypes. In “The Sixth Sense,” Haley Joel Osment's character, Cole Sear, finds solace from his perplexing visions when he purposely visits his church, and when he is in possession of his small saint figures in a private space in his home. Those were nice touches in an engrossing, tense film.

Tom Cashman

Online Comment

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