Regarding your editorial on the situation in India (“Persecution in Orissa,” 9/22): it seems to me that much of the impetus for the growing religious intolerance in India stems from the booming economic strength of India that has empowered ethnic and religious majorities to express themselves in unprecedented ways. Moral education has not kept pace with this growing economy, and such education is not likely to occur until economic incentives are brought into the equation. These can encourage a spirit of tolerance, interfaith cooperation and education. Perhaps a worldwide boycott of Indian goods and services, supported by religious leaders, would encourage India’s political leaders to work more fervently to rekindle the vision of unity that was so brilliantly fostered by Mahatma Gandhi and his followers.
Dan Callahan, S.A.
Re the Rev. Terrance W. Klein’s “A Space for Inquiry” (9/15): I believe that Father Klein has underrated the powerful role that Newman Centers and other chaplaincies have played in recent years. Having spent nearly 40 years in Catholic, public and other private universities, I am of the opinion that staff persons serving schools that are not Catholic regularly find themselves in very important situations and are often much better prepared to meet students where they live and work. I also have experienced strong and sensitive relationships with university administrators and faculty, as these professionals have discovered just how important church people are in assisting them in teaching and forming students.
Both Catholic and non-Catholic institutions share a task, and each seeks to manage that task well. I see no reason to think that asking the important questions, and finding people who are expected to respond to them, is easier or more effective in a Catholic institution. Actually, I have experienced just the contrary.
Patrick LaBelle, O.P.
The Sulpician Fathers are grateful to America for publishing a glowing birthday tribute to Father Jean-Jacques Olier (“Christians Who Can Breathe And Laugh,” by William Thompson-Uberuaga, 9/15). Thompson-Uberuaga is correct in writing that we are a small community today without the national prominence we may once have had. Nevertheless, as our Web site (www.sulpicians.org) shows, we are not “down to two” seminaries in this country. The Holy Spirit, who inspired Father Olier, continues to call us to find new ways to serve the church by serving the priesthood.
(Very Rev.) Thomas R. Ulshafer, S.S.
Acting Provincial Superior
Society of St. Sulpice
Reading “Religious Life in the Age of Facebook,” by Richard G. Malloy, S.J. (7/14), I emphatically disagreed that students today simply “can’t handle” Rahner or any other rigorous theological text. Students today are asked to synthesize a wider array of data and take into account many different perspectives. The great educational advances of the day have been around the process of thinking itself—not merely the memorization of stories from previous generations, but the ability to process critically and reflect on the world around us (including organized religion).
Also, Father Malloy is right that students today are exploring different religious traditions, but I do not understand why that is a negative. There is something to be said for knowing one’s own tradition; but ultimately a blending of world religions is conducive to intercultural understanding, cooperation and peace.