The National Catholic Review
Vital Care

The reasons given in your editorial for the condition of the homeless of our country (Homelessness: A Solvable Problem, 3/5) are on target. Many of the homeless are mentally ill and in need of care that would provide a structured setting and promote recovery in most instances. Taking medication for mental illness, under supervision, is one of the best methods for enabling people to return to live in the community, where follow-up care is vital.

Having worked in the mental health field for several years, I know that providing a structured setting for those in acute phases of mental illness and then follow-up care in the community is the best approach to that cause of homelessness. Inexpensive housing is also very important. But finding building contractors is difficult, since the profits from such homes are much less than from the building of McMansions.

Anna M. Seidler
San Francisco, Calif.

Credit

Aileen O’Donoghue’s story, God in Machines (3/5), was well written and unusually interesting. A relative of mine was a frequent flyer at local hospitals, labs and doctors’ offices. She was tube-fed at home for several years as well. Our family became well acquainted with the latest in medical machines. Because of a new, high-tech health product on the market (that is predigested in the laboratory), my relative’s health has improved remarkably. Credit must be given to scientists on the same level as Professor O’Donoghue, who have used their brilliance to heal my relative and make this world a better place.

Joseph P. Nolan
Waterbury, Conn.

Inhuman Behavior

I am very grateful to Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J. (You Did It to Me, 2/26), for connecting the scriptural account of Jesus’ passion with the known facts of the torture practices of our own nation. Jesus knew about the torture practices of his day (Matt 18:34). But he did not condemn them explicitly. Do we condemn them because of our church’s teachings, or because of Jesus’ teaching, Whatever you do to the least... as Sister Johnson graphically explains?

I am passionately ashamed of my country for allowing such activity by our armed service personnel. It is worse than pornography, which is so vigorously prosecuted in civil law. And we cannot escape condemnation by sneaking prisoners into other countries to be tortured.

Perhaps the Catholic members of Congress who may run for president could take some appropriate action to rescind U.S.-approved methods of coercive interrogation. Get rid of this un-Christian, un-American, inhuman behavior.

Celeste Bowman
Livonia, Mich.

Monumental Issues

In Mark’s Countercultural Vision (3/5), Kevin B. McCruden’s brief but enlightening analysis of St. Mark’s presentation of Jesus as countercultural seems simply to endorse the all too familiar denunciation of the current administration. Once again, we can almost hear the cry, Can anything good come from the White House? Is there an implication here that the president and his administration qualify as grave sinners? Further, the assertion that Mr. Bush is a modern-day Moses belittles the sincere and sometimes painful efforts of our military men and women to free an enslaved people from a latter day pharaoh. To use Professor McCruden’s own standard of violence, was not Moses guilty of violence in calling down, in God’s name, the death and destruction of the plagues in order to force Pharaoh’s hand? And did not the Lord God destroy the pursuing Egyptian host? God knows it is hard to make wise decisions even in small things, but in monumental issues the risks are not only greater but also open to all manner of criticism including Monday morning quarterbacking. No less a person than the beleaguered King Abdullah of Jordan is pleading for continued U.S. leadership and might to bring peace to the Middle East. Perhaps the professor needs to see the other side of the coin.

Reg Kelly
Tampa, Fla.

Always Peaceful

I was pleased to read Kevin B. McCruden’s analysis of Jesus’ countercultural response to imperial (actually all) violence in Mark’s Countercultural Vision (3/5). In our current culture of violence, we can be inspired and challenged by Jesus’ examples of always peaceful healing, forgiveness and restoration of wholeness to creation. How unfortunate, however, that the subtitle to the articlein the table of contents, portrays Jesus with militaristic language as the divine warrior against evil. Can we not find labels other than warrior? Such language perpetuates images of a violent Jesus/God. Nowhere in the article did the author employ such an image.

Mary Ann M. Schoettly
Newton, N.J.

In Good Faith

Michael Griffin’s article, A Soldier’s Decision (1/29), accurately states the law; but there is more to be said about legislative protection of selective conscientious objectors, whose objections may be based on a particular war, or a particular weapon system or a particular tactic. In each case, someone in authority (a judge? a jury?) must decide whether the objection is made in good faith or simply to avoid danger. And if the decider isn’t certain, should the objector or the state be given the benefit of the doubt?

Certainly selective conscientious objection is part of our religious liberty. So is martyrdom.

Michael F. Noone
Washington, D.C.

Angel of Comfort

Reading May the Angels Welcome You, by Marie Therese Ruthmann, V.H.M., (3/5) was a journey of joy and hope. I would love to meet the tall archangel who was a living representative of Christ in the flesh. I remember when suicide was a certain ticket straight to hell. To know that there are priests who would give such honor and respect to a person so troubled in life as to feel a need to take his own life is beautiful. I could actually feel the presence of our loving brother, Jesus, as I read this beautiful article. May God continue to provide us with tall archangels and bless and comfort this family and all the families of those who die by suicide.

Gerard Burford
Indianapolis, Ind.

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