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Something Great

Of Many Things (2/23) honoring the life and the work of Jim Santora was one of the nicest tributes I have ever read. I hope and pray that you said all these same things to him not only on his deathbed but also 10 and 20 and 30 years ago during the middle of his tenure at America.

By way of background: I, like Jim, am a C.P.A., and like many others I have heard for years that I must remember my Christian values and live them in my professional life. I was lucky. During my years at LeMoyne College I took courses in corporate responsibility, religion and philosophy, so I actually had an idea what it meant to be true to my Christian values while running a business and trying to make money. You cannot believe how many businessmen there are out there, good people, who just don’t understand that Christian values and acceptable business conduct can be reconciled and demonstrated.

I am one of the leaders of a youth group at our church, 8th, 9th and 10th graders. I have been talking to the kids for two years about leading their lives with Christian values, being idealistic, trying to do something great. I knew I was not getting through to them. I handed out your article last Sunday night, and we all read it as a group. The lights went on! They finally understood what I have been talking to them about. Jim may not have been a saint; he wasn’t even a Jesuit. He was not the president of the United States, nor was he C.E.O. of I.B.M. Jim was a working guy, a father and a husband, and he touched everyone’s lives and made the world a better place as a result of his work.

I loved your closeyou asked Jim to pray for us. Thanks from my kids. I am hopeful that because of your article at least one of them will grow up to be another Jim Santora.

David W. Morris
South Plainfield, N.J.

Initial Implementation

Regarding Kathleen McChesney’s article (New Steps to Protect the Children, 2/9) I believe that the National Conference of Catholic Bishops should be congratulated on their initial implementation of safeguards to protect our children in the future. It is a good starting point that has been long overdue. But we do not need only legal compliance and safeguards; we also need spiritual and heavenly protection if we are going to prevent this injustice and scandal from happening again. All the background and reference checks, audits, psychological testing and fingerprinting represent secular society’s attempt to prevent this scandal from happening again; but since we the religious and laity are Christ’s church here on earth, we must pray and plead for heavenly guidance in this very serious matter.

Harry D. Carrozza, M.D.
Tucson, Ariz.

Inadequate Care

Your excellent editorial Mentally Ill Prisoners (2/9), with its thorough, concise overview, gave an important voice to people sorely marginalized by stigma and their inability to speak for themselves. It should be pointed out that the crimes committed by incarcerated persons with mental illness are often of a relatively minor nature (shoplifting, vagrancy, drug possession), caused less by criminal intent and more by behaviors related to untreated mental illnesses. The root of the problem is an inadequate mental health care system.

Constance M. Rakitan
Oak Park, Ill.

Different Disabilities

The editorial Mentally Ill Prisoners (2/9) correctly addresses one of the most shocking situations in our country today. A similar situation exists also regarding prisoners who are mentally retarded. While some persons with mental illness are also mentally retarded, the two disabilities are quite different. But the situation inside jails and prisons for those who are mentally retarded is the same as reported in the Human Rights Watch study.

Charles M. Luce
Riverdale, Md.

Tough Loss

Thank you for the review by Richard Hauser, S.J., of Eugene Kennedy’s Cardinal Bernardin’s Stations of the Cross (2/16). I can appreciate Father Hauser’s observation about the invective against the hierarchy [that] runs throughout the book. As a priest who attended the priests’ meeting with Cardinal Bernardin after he returned from Rome, where he had been consoled greatly by the pope, and as a chaplain with him on a few occasions at Loyola University Cancer Center, I found him very able to process his own feelings in a highly mature way. He is a model to all on dealing with life’s most challenging issues and never failing to be faithful. Eugene Kennedy, many admirers of the cardinal, and I are still in the process. The cardinal is missed; it’s a tough loss.

James Creighton, S.J.
Chicago, Ill.

Lessons of History

Thanks to the Rev. Willard F. Jabusch, chaplain emeritus of the University of Chicago, for his thoughtful insights in Of Other Things (2/16). His reflections on the challenges that currently face the American church remind us forcefully that all efforts to build ecclesial community must be rooted in charity, while his reflections on the 20th-century Chicago experience remind us more subtly of the importance of learning from the lessons of history.

John Allen
Charlotte, N.C.

True Ills

I am deeply concerned about the lightning-rod effect that gay issues and the gay marriage debate are having (3/1, editorial). The emotional, economic, social and moral cost of divorce is so much greater than any cost of gay rights or gay marriage as to make our preoccupation with gay issues laughable if it were not so sad.

Whether you are socially liberal or socially conservative, whether you favor civil remedies or faith-based remedies to the plague of divorce, we cannot as a nation allow more than half of our marriages to end up in divorce. Please, let’s end our preoccupation with this red-herring issue and focus our attention on the marriage issue, where the true ills lie.

Patrick Coburn
Cleveland, Ohio

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