Meet in the Middle
Re “The 2018 America Profile,” by Matt Malone, S.J. (12/24): Candidates in the mold of Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana are definitely the smart path for Democrats. And more moderation would benefit Republicans as well. Meeting in the middle is the only logical way forward.
At the Cinema
Re “Return to Lourdes,” by Eve Tushnet (12/24): This is an interesting and thought-provoking article. As a young, bedridden girl, I was fascinated by “The Song of Bernadette.” I was too young to dissect the meaning of the film except on the most visceral level. It prompted me, eight years later, to investigate the Catholic faith. Forty-four years later, I have not looked back.
Where to Begin
Re “The Promise of Restorative Justice,” by Stephen Pope (12/24): The Catholic Church needs to deal with its overbearing attachment to secrecy. I am not referring to the seal of confession; I am referring to the everyday workings of the parish—and that will not be easy to change.
Christmas carols are the most beautiful songs ever written, in my opinion. “Silent Night” is also a beautiful lullaby. I just recently read that it was sung to George H. W. Bush as he lay dying. I love them all.
Re “The Lure of Brideshead, Then and Now,” by Rob Weinert-Kendt (12/24): An important dimension of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited is aestheticism. Beauty and love are presented as shadows of something otherwise and elsewhere. Catholicism offers aesthetics, and those aesthetics hint at more. But it is the aesthetics of upper-class Catholics that wins the heart of the novel’s artist protagonist. As a child of Irish parents
who fought (or helped fighters) in the Irish War of Independence, I was impressed but not taken in. Those aesthetics mask much social and economic darkness as well as the presumed transcendent.
A Necessary Reminder
Re “The Faces of Christ,” by Leo O’Donovan, S.J. (12/24): Thanks to Father O’Donovan for a wonderful article. He reminds all of us why this country began. All are welcome, especially the children. People have the basic right to live without fear. All children have the right to be safe and secure. May all Americans remember this.
A Powerful Article
Phil Klay’s “Man of War” (12/10) was the most thought-provoking and powerful article I have read in some time. I want to read his collection of stories, Redeployment.
I was greatly moved by Mr. Klay’s account of his deployment in Iraq. It mirrored in many ways my own year in Vietnam (1967-68). His loss of faith rang bells. I do not recall seeing or seeking a chaplain the whole time I was there. Ironically, my return to faith came on the weekend that the Vietnam War peace accords went into effect, in January 1972. Catholicism would be decades in my future.
Bruce P. Schoch
Re “Five Ways to Safeguard Children Everywhere,” by Msgr. Stephen Rossetti (10/29): I find a sixth way is needed. As a public health nurse for almost 17 years, I think prevention is the first consideration in approaching a risk situation. Children need to be informed about what sexual abuse is so they can alert authorities when it happens. They need to know that no one has the right to touch them in inappropriate ways no matter who they are. This gives power to potential victims.
Silver Spring, Md.