Re “The Perversion of Patriotism” (Editorial, 11/13): The true patriot is the one who is willing to put his or her life on the line for the principles upon which this country claims to stand. As a veteran who has done that, I deeply resent being used by worthless politicians whose only loyalty is to their own best interests.
Too Much Idolatry
Thank you for publishing this timely and thoughtful piece. There has been too much idolatry and, one might add, self-serving nationalism, connected with these issues. The abuses to which the protests sought to draw attention never mustered as much passion as those who rail against the protests themselves.
Up to the Bishops
Re “Family Counseling,” by Thomas Reese, S.J. (11/13): It is up to the bishops to implement “Amoris Laetitia” and educate the laity about this pastoral teaching. It is up to moral theologians to “develop” moral theology in light of the teaching of “Amoris Laetitia.”
Missing the Point
Re “Path of Duty,” by Catherine Addington (11/13): The online title of this article (“The Life of Catholic Foundress Cornelia Connelly Was Ruled by Men. Was Her Obedience to Them Holy?”) misses the point of Cornelia Connelly’s life. Her primary obedience was to God. If “ruled” by anyone, it was by the God she so dearly loved.
Ms. Connelly’s submission to men was by no means total. She defied her family to marry Pierce Connelly. She did conform to 19th-century ideals during the early years of her marriage; but after her conversion, her independent spirit gradually reasserted itself. As the founder of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, she was often in conflict with clerics over her vision of religious life and of education. Cardinal Wiseman called her “bold” and “ungovernable.”
An eminently practical woman, she submitted when she believed that obedience was the best option to fulfill her mission or when she had no other choice. The context of her life is important. She had no legal rights over her children or her money; as a founder of a new religious order, she was under the authority of the local bishop and dependent on his sponsorship to finance and staff her fledgling ministry.
Her life would indeed be “pitiful” if blind obedience were the only hallmark. Instead, she worked tirelessly for what she saw as her mission from God with zeal, imagination and love—despite the many obstacles she faced.
Judith A. Talvacchia
Associate, Society of the Holy Child Jesus
Complexity and Sophistication
Re “Voting for Trump, Loving Pope Francis,” by Jim McDermott, S.J. (11/13): Father McDermott's article avoided the clichés and caricatures produced by the left and the right. His profile of Trump supporters adds a much needed layer of complexity and sophistication to the portrait of Catholics who voted for him. We need more journalism like this from the mainstream media. Good work.
Re “Ten Ways Hispanics Are Redefining American Catholicism,” by Hosffman Ospino (11/13): This is so true. I am a white Catholic who began to be exposed to Guadalupe several years ago and have developed a special devotion since. I have also become terribly concerned about immigration issues and have begun to become active on this front, because these are the very people sitting next to me. My “neighbor” indeed!
Jennifer Rebecca Tomshack
Thanks for the continued coverage on immigrants and the Latino population with this interesting article. I agree that dialogue is a critical step in building a relationship. Unfortunately, the tone Mr. Ospino uses makes it seem as if the best way to make “us” feel less apprehensive about “them” (meaning foreign folks) is to engage in dialogue—yet he does not clearly lay out factors that contribute to the situation, such as class and race. Using words like invade doesn’t help. I hope Mr. Ospino would come to realize that this type of language reinforces negative attitudes about immigrants as invading hordes who must now be tolerated to be better understood.