The Rev. Donald Cozzens’s excellent article (11/4) points out that forces and factors are both pushing and pulling at today’s priests. True. But it seems to me that the various stresses confronting today’s priests may correctly be condensed into one single urgencyChrist’s call to fidelity, universal to the whole church and, from the beginning, part of the Christian vocation, indeed the very marrow transfusing the words of Christ, When the Son of Man comes again, will he find faith on the earth?
I guess I disagree with Richard A. Blake, S.J., about genre, but I am wildly on his side over the irrelevant additions to The Exorcist (11/18). Neither in 1973 nor in 2000 did I see it as a horror movie, much less as the scariest movie of all time. And the obscenity never bothered me, then or now. After all, it wasn’t spouted by teenagers trying to impress each other, but by (the symbol of) the Evil One being rather evil. For me this movie, which started with a priest and ended with a priest and had a title that concerned a priest, was about a priest, not primarily about the possessed or her mother. The priest in question was Karras. After all, Merrin may have been inchoately the exorcist, but Karras was effectively so. I thought it was about him and his faith.
Was the possession diabolical, or merely an extreme psychopathological state caused by guilt and done in a religious context? Either way Regan saw herself as (or was) evil incarnate, and it seems to me that either way the only solution is to confront her (or it) with the power of Christ. The guilty Karras was not able to do it because his own guilt got in the way. This struggle demanded the guiltless Merrin and finally the purified Karras. I was never horrified, but I certainly was impressed, at least with the original cut.
James A. Rude, S.J.
Special thanks to David S. Toolan, S.J., for his comments on the 3-D film, Passport to the Universe (Of Many Things, 12/2). His description of having felt purified by the experience liberated my own psyche and gave me the best reason for revisiting New York City this holiday season.
Wow! Not the standard columnist’s fare. Valerie Schultz’s The Magic Touch (12/2) shows that Catholics can express the delights and benefits of physicality in a conjugal relationship. What a joyful model for married couples and for those aspiring to be.
James L. Brogan
It was a surprise and a joy to discover the book review, The Big Green Book (11/25). It was a delight to read. James J. Conn, S.J., certainly captured the uniqueness of the text, and I believe America has provided the perfect informal name for it: the big green book! At least here in our office, we refer to the texts as the red one and the green one.
Since sales of the New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law support the ongoing research of members of the society, the book review will certainly help. Among the many worthy texts that could receive mention in your magazine, I am honored that you considered this one for review.
Arthur J. Espelage, O.F.M.
Canon Law Society of America
Thank you for Valerie Schultz’s The Magic Touch (12/2). What a powerful witness to the wonder of love and parenting in a faithful marriage.
We need more of this. If married couples are a large portion of our church, we need more of their insights into the mystery of their sacrament that is a gift to the whole body of Christ.
Married people are not only a minority in the official catalog of saints; their voice is also a minority in many of the church magazines and journals that are too clerical.
I compliment America and Valerie Schultz for this wonderful piece.
Mario Barbero, I.M.C.