A Well-Constructed Study
Re “Community Colleges Need Church Support (Our Take, 2/5): This is an excellent editorial, bringing the findings of a well-constructed study into the social justice discussion. The Notre Dame-University of Maryland study (worth reading!) strongly suggests that graduation success among low-income community college students—especially women—can be substantially improved by frequent interaction with professional caseworkers.
These caseworkers help students deal with challenges beyond the academic realm, and so the student’s improved academic performance cannot necessarily be replicated by providing access to substantial funds for financial emergencies. Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “Charity does not exclude knowledge, but rather requires, promotes, and animates it from within.” Pope Francis urges “an integral promotion of the poor that goes beyond a simple welfare mentality.” We need more articles like this.
Joseph J. Dunn
Hopes and Dreams
Re “Martin Scorsese Has Something to Say About Immigration,”by Antonio De Loera-Brust (2/5): It is the last century’s immigrants who are responding worst to this century’s immigrants. Descendants of the original English settlers in the 1600s (like me) are used to receiving immigrants. The road to success in this country is bringing your wonderful cooking, your music, your hopes, dreams and willingness to work and play with you.
Promote Social Justice
Re “Changing Hearts and Structures,” by Bishop George V. Murry, S.J. (2/5): Thank you, America. I think other media outlets can do a better job of promoting social justice. As the universal church, which is supposed to make disciples of all nations and all peoples, I think Catholic media can do a better job of promoting this dimension of our faith.
What About Sunnis?
Re “Aramaic Comes to America,” by Matthew Petti (2/5): Why should Aramaic speakers be distinguished from other Middle Eastern communities? All are human beings made in the image and likeness of God. Both Muslims and Christians are suffering in places like Iraq and Syria. It looks to me as though it is Syrian Sunnis and Iraqi Sunnis who are now most in danger.
How many Sunnis have been killed; how many are refugees because of the Assad and Iraqi Shiite governments and the West’s refusal to stop them? I speak as someone who has roots in Aleppo, in the descendants of the early Christians. The anti-Muslim bigots in the United States use Middle Eastern Christians to prop up their hateful anti-Arab, anti-Muslim propaganda.
Worried by Refugees?
Re “Trump Policy Shift Could Close Catholic Charities Refugee Offices,” by Kevin Clarke (2/5): I work in refugee resettlement. These are legal refugees who come, often having been promised admission because they worked for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan at great danger to themselves. They settle in, get jobs, often ones that no one wants, and their children learn English, go to college and become people who support our economy.
Some think we can just help refugees in their own country. They say, “It’s our country; we need to protect it.” Funny, that is probably what Native American tribes said, too. Are critics worried about protecting the country from the refugees? Who committed the mass murders in Las Vegas, Charleston, Sandy Hook? Not refugees.
Re “Banjo-Pickin’ for Jesus: the Bluegrass Music of ‘The Hillbilly Thomists’” by Stephen Bullivant (2/5): How about singing the ordinary in Latin chant? There is a seemingly endless push by music directors and songwriters to come up with new melodies for the ordinary parts of the Mass. So whenever you visit a different parish or even return to your old parish it seems that the ordinary has a different tune. The move to take Latin completely out of the Mass has divided the Catholic community into language groups that seldom intermix, and this is balkanizing the Catholic faithful. If the ordinary were kept in Latin, it would provide something common to all the faithful throughout the world.