Thank you for writing about the important matter of torture and for the good editorial, The Shame of Torture (11/7).
I was a bombardier in Europe during World War II, which I regret in my old age, and I am even more ashamed of our country today because of its blatant practice of torture on human beings.
To those who have paid attention to this subject, my comments might seem trite, but I believe there are two key issues we have not dealt with adequatelynot the government or the media.
First, while there has been a baker’s dozen of investigations on the use of torture by the U.S. government, these have been fox-in-the-henhouse inquiries, and not one of them has been an independent investigation. Why is this?
Second, a large body of evidence shows that the U.S. practice of using torture is not an aberration or the work of a few bad apples (the entire barrel smells like something washed up by Hurricane Katrina). Yet the blame is placed on a few low-ranking noncoms at a single prison, Abu Ghraib. The policy of state-sponsored cruelty has not led to anything but the trial and conviction of a private in the Army, as well as eight other hapless G.I.’s.
Am I missing something? If this were in a novel, no publisher would touch it; the plot is too far-fetched. When do we get to the heart of this problem? After America has lost its soul? The question is not rhetorical.
Silver Spring, Md.
Sadly, history is repeating itself. A little over a century ago religious leaders failed to condemn, some even condoned, the slavery and sale of human beings. Today religious leaders are mum about a similar evil, the torture of prisoners (11/7). It has fallen to the secular press to oppose this monstrous policy.
Where are the proponents of moral values of yesteryear?
(Rev.) Sebastian L. Muccilli
Lake Park, Fla.
Your magazine is always appreciated and enjoyed, but I took special pride in the lovely article on my Mercy founder, Catherine McAuley, by John W. Donohue, S.J., Correspondence of a Foundress (11/7).
A relatively recent issue of Chicago magazine did excellent work presenting a profile on Catholics in Chicago. My concern was that the only woman religious featured consisted of a full-page photograph and story about a girl who left her community. It’s the truth, so no real problem, but it is refreshing to read about someone who remained and significantly contributed so much to our church.
Christian Molidor, R.S.M.
Having just experienced the Month of Nazareth as part of the Jesus Caritas (USA) movement, my heart jumped when I read Evangelism of Presence, by Robert Ellsberg, (11/14) about Charles de Foucauld. But Ellsberg merely touched the tip of the proverbial iceberg. De Foucauld’s life has provided our present generation with a solid path of spirituality for priests in the trenches each day: adoration, Gospel living, fraternity. More needs to be written about de Foucauld’s failure lifestyle for emulation and imitation.
In this success-driven age, it is refreshing to remind ourselves that God has called us to be faithful, not successful.
(Rev.) Dan Cipar
East Palestine, Ohio
I was pleased to see the Word of Appreciation by Drew Christiansen, S.J. (11/21). I, too, would like to thank Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., for her work over the past three years as writer of The Word column. I have also heard her speak. Our pastor and I have used her columns to prepare our weekly homilies. May God bless her in her future work.
Leon J. Flaherty, C.PP.S.
Bravo for the forthright expression of opinion set forth in Unfinished Work by Drew Christiansen, S.J. (10/10). The message of Nostra Aetate has yet to reach the Israeli political class. Will we ever see the day when sensitive fundamental issues that involve criticism of Israel can be discussed freely and without risk of the indictment of anti-Semitism?
Hat and Ring
I noted in Signs of the Times of Nov. 14 the item about Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., and the caption under the accompanying picture.
If the picture was taken before Avery Dulles was elevated to the rank of cardinal, the year must have been 2001, not 2003. My only reason for responding is I was at that consistory, for both the hat ceremony and the ring ceremony in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.
I had only arrived in Rome on Monday, Feb. 12, as a participant in the sabbatical program for U.S. priests at the North American College. Notice was posted on the bulletin board that tickets were available for any of the priests who might be interested in attending. If my memory serves me right, Cardinal Dulles’s reception was held in the courtyard below my room.
In any case, if the picture needs dating, while it may have been taken on Feb. 20, 2003, it would have been years after the consistory naming him cardinal.
(Rev.) Bernie Reilly
I agree with Joseph Bukovchik (Letters, 10/31) that America is becoming a more conservative publication. Not so long ago, we could count on America presenting an intelligent, balanced discussion of controversial issues affecting our church and society. But now that the magazine appears to be so fearful of the backlash from conservative U.S. bishops (for example, removal of the previous editor), it ceases to be relevant (at least in my mind) in a country under immense pressure from the radical religious right.