Please package the two editorials (“Pilgrim People, Part I” and “Pilgrim People, Part II,” 5/10 and 5/17) and circulate them everywhere. We who work for reform in the church have been working for these structural changes for almost 30 years. I am so pleased that America is speaking out. The sexual abuse crisis is the unfortunate wake-up call that can bring about the much needed reform of the Curia you detailed. Just when I begin to think it is all hopeless, I am presented with the excellent writings of these last two issues. Perhaps Part I should be tacked up on the doors of every Catholic parish in the world!
Mary Louise Hartman
Princeton, N.J.A Lost Opportunity
Re “Main Street Still Waits for the Recovery” (Signs of the Times, 5/31): Despite the obvious myriad of victims of the meltdown of the financial system, our U.S. bishops’ conference remains apparently unengaged and silent on the sidelines. Where is the call to responsible legislation and regulation of a totally heinous approach to our economy by special interests? In California, our state budget proposes cutting services even further to the most vulnerable in our midst. In other states, notably Arizona, xenophobia seems to be the order of the day. An opportunity to lead as Jesus would lead is being lost.
(Deacon) Mike Evans
Anderson, Calif.A Beloved Community
Thank you, Sister Barbara Reid (“Breath of God,” The Word, 5/17) for the lovely reminder and word of encouragement with our recent Pentecostal celebration. The Hawaiians talk about “being in the presence of the breath of life,” and for me this means God, of course. The reading for May 24 from Mark 10 tells us to not be sad, to give away our wealth and join Jesus. I am ever grateful for the example of my grandmother, Dorothy Day, who managed to do this, thus creating a beloved community in the Catholic Worker. We need one another and our mother church. We need to remind ourselves and one another that this is so.
Perkinsville, Vt.Mistaken Identity
I loved the article about Norman Rockwell (“The Storyteller’s Art,” by Terrance W. Klein, 5/24). Am I the only one who thinks that the movie star in the magazine on the little girl’s lap is not Rita Hayworth, but Jane Russell?
San Diego, Calif.Air Freshener
If the Catholic hierarchy would read the wonderful article “True North,” by Thomas A. Shannon ( 5/31), and take to heart the wisdom contained in it, the air might begin to sweeten and the light begin to shine.
Vancouver, B.C.The Maternal Face of God
One thing that must die (“The Spirit’s Gifts,” Editorial, 5/31) is the patriarchal structure of the church. The reformation of the rigid hierarchy we now have must include the ordination of married women to the diaconate, and the ordination of celibate women to the priesthood and the episcopate. Otherwise, the body of Christ will continue to suffer the nefarious effects of making the maternal face of God invisible.
Montgomery Village, Md.
Christianity in China
Many thanks to Jeremy Clarke, S.J., for his article on Matteo Ricci, S.J., and his breakthrough missionary activities in China in the 16th and 17th centuries (“When West Meets East,” 5/10). It is important to note, however, that he and his companions were not the first to bring Christianity to China. Christianity first came to China overland along the Silk Road, beginning in the fourth and fifth centuries, carried by Christian missionaries from Mesopotamia.
Western China had a flourishing Christian culture with many churches and monasteries, some of which still stand. It has been estimated that at one time there were as many as 30 eparchies (dioceses) in Western China. In addition, the Jesuits in the 17th century discovered a stone stele dated from 781 C.E. celebrating the first 150 years of Christianity in China. The writing on the stele is in Chinese characters and in Syriac (Aramaic). Christianity in China was eventually overtaken by Islam in the 10th and 11th centuries.
Ronald J. Jebaily