Sensitive to Pain
Re “When Parishes Must Close” (Our Take, 5/28): I agree with this editorial. But the priests at the parishes that are to be closed need to be sensitive to the pain being felt. Parishioners need to be involved in final decisions as much as possible.
Priests need to be comfortable with painful, difficult conversations. They should not run away from the people who are hurting. Pastoral training is sadly lacking at this time. When there is autocratic decision-making to avoid hard conversations, we are led back to the clericalism of the past.
A Pro-life Cause
Re “Prescriptions Are Not to Blame for Today’s Opioid Crisis,” by Sally Satel (5/28): I am the patient Dr. Satel mentions in this article. I feel the opioid crisis is an unrecognized issue for the pro-life movement. I have lost friends to suicide because they no longer had any quality of life. If you believe life begins at conception, use the fetal pain argument to support the fight against abortion, lobby against the death penalty and protest euthanasia, you should support measures that promote quality of life for patients with chronic or intractable pain as well.
Thank Korean People of Faith
Re “The Dizzying Pace of Improved Relations Is a Welcome Surprise in South Korea,” by Kevin Clarke (5/28): A lot of the impetus for the summit came from the people of South Korea and particularly from faith-based peace activists, who have been advocating for a peace treaty and improved relations with North Korea for years.
In 2016 a delegation from the South Korean Council of Churches visited the United States to lobby the Obama administration on behalf of a peace treaty. It is hard to know how much President Trump influenced events on the Korean peninsula, but it is clear that in both Pyongyang and Seoul, domestic Korean considerations played an important role.
A Terrible Lottery
Re “A Home of One's Own,” by John W. Miller (5/28): In seeking services for a family member with disabilities, I was told: “He walks and talks and has a living parent. He will never qualify for a group home until his parent dies.” As it turned out, he moved to a different state, where services were available. In the other state, a conversation with a state worker about his being able to move to a group home started with, “Have you ever won the lottery?” It felt like winning the lottery to obtain services for my family member.
Re “We Need a New Pro-Life Movement Built on Social Justice,” by Christina Gebel (5/28): You give me hope for the future in a very grim present.
Love and Catholic Teaching
I find more love, and true Catholic teaching, in your elucidation than anything else I have read on the subject.
Re “Thank You, Senator,” by Matt Malone, S.J. (Of Many Thing, 5/15): Father Malone was spot on with his comments about Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony on Capitol Hill. Having testified (and being grilled in follow-ups) at my state legislature for years over issues as minor as how many times a year a barber shop should be inspected to what level of medical practitioner could safely perform certain procedures, I can say that respect is always noticed and often appreciated by legislators. It is never seen as excessively deferential, and I believe this is good.
Basic respect is sadly lacking in our current culture, and pointing fingers at presidents, senators or anyone else who ignores decorum (or parliamentary procedure) is no license to behave badly. We were all taught two wrongs do not make a right, and being disrespectful is never the proper response when you are shown disrespect. My motto: Always take the high road.
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