Re “The Pattern of Sin is Clear” (Our Take, 9/3): This is an excellent summary of steps that could well take us along the journey of healing the deep wounds inflicted by the tragedy of clerical sex abuse. The changes must be responsive to those who have suffered most. There must be liturgical and ritual seeking of forgiveness. And there must be practices in place to back up any policy created to heal this nightmare. The bishops do not need to wait until their meeting in November to respond, nor should they be the ones crafting the solutions.
These are excellent suggestions, all of which have been suggested before. Until the power structure of the church changes, nothing else will. Let us see what they come up with at the November meeting. Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea
Welcoming the Stranger
Re “Three Steps to a More Civil Political Debate,” by Daniel Allott (9/3): I do not remember Jesus saying anything about caring for the rich and educated and already privileged people. I do remember Jesus talking about caring for the poor, the sick and the stranger.
Everyone in this country except Native Americans is descended from immigrants. Most of those immigrants came here because they were poor or oppressed or trying to escape war and violence. Just like people are doing now.
Re “The Church Must Rid Its Supply Chains of Modern Slavery, Says Former Vatican Ambassador,” by Kevin Clarke (9/3): I am glad that Pope Francis is an outspoken advocate for assisting human trafficking victims. I hope that more people who perpetuate the crime of human trafficking will be prosecuted and that church agencies will do their best to avoid purchasing products made by forced labor.
With the Poor
Re “Medellín at 50: A Synod for the Poor,” by Hosffman Ospino and Rafael Luciani (9/3): I could not help thinking about all the bishops in Chile who resigned after yet another big sex abuse scandal surfaced within the Catholic Church. The church needs to be for the poor, as Jesus was. It does not need layers of bureaucratic structure between Christ’s clear call to pool our resources and help the needy, even if we have to sell our homes to do so. That is the spirit that has long been missing from the church. Efforts to recapture this spirit in Latin America may not be perfect, but they are moving in the right direction; they are efforts to carry out Jesus’ message.
Re “Helping Catholics Who Struggle With Scrupulosity,” by Rachel Ehmke (9/3): While scrupulosity is a real issue, it is not something that overwhelms the vast majority of Catholics—never mind the population at large—in our day and age. Moral laxity and, as many recent popes, including Francis, have pointed out, not even believing there is such a thing as sin is the issue we face, not scrupulosity.
Re “John Irving Wrestles With Religious Themes New and Old,” by James Keane (9/3): I do not have to support all of his positions to find John Irving a wonderful illuminator of the wavering line between “my religion” and the true core that it was built to serve. We all need practice, discernment and correction in navigating that line, and he certainly helps! Your article helped confirm how he can do that.
For Him- or Herself
Re “A Libertarian Case for the Common Good,” by Stephanie Slade (8/20): Ms. Slade’s article avoids any recognition that communitarianism is the bedrock of our community of believers. She does not address how treating government as anathema helps to address environmental concerns. She presents no libertarian solution to growing income disparity or to the materialism that pervades our culture.
John W. Lemega
West Hartford, Conn.