Re “A Libertarian Case for the Common Good,” by Stephanie Slade (8/20): Libertarianism relies on markets for determining value, meaning a supposed free and competitive exchange. Markets—of economy, politics or ideas—are the mechanisms by which libertarianism does its business. Catholic teachings would object to the dehumanization that comes from determining value by faceless market processes. Values, properly understood, transcend the objectification that occurs in markets. So whatever transactional good might come from libertarianism, at its core it is a system that fails to reflect the fixed values by which Christians are called to understand the human person, creation and truth.
No Good Alternatives
Re “Pope Francis Revises Teaching: 'No exceptions' on Catholic Rejection of the Death Penalty,” by Kevin Clarke (8/20): While I am against capital punishment, I am also against lifetime solitary confinement. Both are inhumane and violate the dignity of life. Presented with each, I would select lifetime confinement, which in many cases means solitary confinement. Granted, sometimes prisoners ask for solitary confinement to avoid being attacked by another inmate. However, this does not change the fact that both capital punishment and lifetime solitary confinement violate human dignity. Unfortunately, the U.S. criminal justice system does not offer good alternatives. But if one prisoner has a change of heart and repents, lifetime confinement is the lesser of two evils here.
Closer to God
Re “The Kids Are All Right,” by Colleen Duggan (8/20): I agree that children are part of the community, and that we are all seeking to become closer to God, and it is our responsibility to urge them along in that path. Faith is not something that is developed overnight. If one thinks about it, it doesn’t make sense to let a person wait until they’re an adult (and can finally sit still) to develop faith, any more than we would wait for a person to become an adult to introduce them to music or math.
Advancement and Security
Re “Aspiration Nation,” by Eve Tushnet (8/20): Good point about “advancement” and, indirectly, about security. This article made me think of the centrist Democratic party: The solution to everything is to go to college.
Children Belong in Church
I will never forget the priest who from the pulpit invited parents with young children to walk around the church with them as needed. He reinforced that young children belong in church. My young son was quite the handful at that time, and it made all the difference in helping me to continue coming to church.
A Watershed Moment
Re “The McCarrick Case and the Future of Reform” (Our Take, 8/6): As a victim of clerical abuse nearly a half-century ago, I feel, profoundly, that this is truly a watershed moment in our church. I applaud the writers of America for their courage to be honest, thoughtful and direct. The time is now for change. Under recent papacies, transparency, rooted in the good news, did not happen. Now, there is hope in Pope Francis to do the right thing. Taking action against Cardinal McCarrick, and before him Bishop Juan Barros Madrid of Chile, sends such a message of renewal to me and victims everywhere, in and out of the pews. As our Lord said, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid.”
Mark Joseph Williams
Far Hills, N.J.
A Piece of History
Re “When the Jesuits Left Baghdad,” by Joseph MacDonnell (Vantage Point, 7/9): Thank you for this piece of history. I was privileged to have spent three great years (1957-60) on this mission teaching young Iraqis as well as studying Arabic. Thank you to Jesuits who carry on this great work with Iraqi refugees in Jordan.
Jim Powers Evans, Ga.