Thanks to Frank Moan, S.J., for his reflections on prayer (“Finally, God’s Voice,” 2/9). It takes courage to punch through the veneers of doctrine and dogma and arrive at a place and time that is infused with God. Moan speaks to the sterility of words that can so easily bind us up and lock us in. Fortunately for him, belated grace has morphed into amazing grace. Well done!
Olympia, Wash.Smoke Signals
Humility is a good thing, and the article in your 100th Anniversary issue by James T. Keane, S.J. (“Oops!” 4/13) detailing some of the errors in judgment made in America’s past gave me a whole new view of your magazine.
The photo of suffragettes marching in 1912 also lifted my spirits. The daughters and granddaughters of those women have also marched for women’s issues in the recent past and have accomplished much to advance women’s rights. We are not the delicate flowers that were once kept at home.
And past editors must have been smoking something to back Idi Amin and publish Ezra Pound.
We Salesians were delighted with the article by George M. Anderson, S.J., on Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez, S.D.B., and world poverty (“Advocate for the World’s Poorest,” 3/30). We do regret, however, that America never seems to remember that the cardinal is one of our Salesian confreres—not even an S.D.B. after his name!
Michael Mendel, S.D.B.
New Rochelle, N.Y.Teaching Virtue
The issues of prudence, excess and public service raised in “Generation S” and the Of Many Things column by Drew Christiansen, S.J., in the issue of March 2 remind us of the need for ethics classes for all college students. We remember when most colleges and universities did not require an ethics class for M.B.A. students—and these are the greedy business executives who have brought down the economy of the entire world. They still do not seem stricken by conscience or repentant.
Ethics courses in all our colleges and universities could prepare the members of Generation S for lives of prudence and service for the common good.
(Rev.) John F. Cain
Spencer, IowaSuch a Fuss
Thank you to John F. Kavanaugh, S.J., for his reflections on the controversy over President Obama’s upcoming visit to the University of Notre Dame (“Outrages,” 4/13 online edition). We north of your border here in Canada scratch our heads when we see such a fuss. Yes, we have our disagreements—some significant—but I thought the age of mindless confrontation had passed.
To insult the holder of the highest office in your nation with an “uninvite” is hardly a constructive way to engage others in the conversation that is necessary if any change is to take place. Obama also stands for so much that reflects Gospel values. We have to keep perspective.
Brian Massie, S.J.
Winnipeg, CanadaHonoring the Good
John F. Kavanaugh, S.J. (“Outrages,” 4/13 online edition), presented a well-reasoned and realistic commentary on the recent firestorm over the invitation to President Obama from the University of Notre Dame to speak at its commencement ceremony. Obama had called for a national discussion about abortion in his book The Audacity of Hope. I am disappointed that he did not allow for that discussion to take place before he made a number of decisions after he took office, but this hardly makes him the Antichrist.
What about Obama’s compassion for the poor, his aversion to conducting unjust wars, his desire to care for the health of all Americans, his reaching out to the leaders of the world to call for justice and to share the world’s riches of food, water and natural resources? Does all of this count for nothing? Can we not honor these good things he does and continue to encourage him to re-examine some of his stances?
Gahanna, OhioStraight Talk
I enjoyed the article by Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. (“The Shape of the Church to Come,” 4/13), and particularly valued his approach of looking to where and how the Catholic Church can make the greatest contribution to future times.
But I think it is a misrepresentation to portray Jesus as essentially a “conversational” man. In many situations, Jesus was uncompromisingly apodictical, as when he said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” or “If your hand or foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away.”
Weston, Mass.Global Vision
Re “The Shape of the Church to Come” by Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. (4/13): Since I was a young teenage girl, I have considered myself a progressive Catholic. But, as Radcliffe notes, viewing oneself as part of a traditionalist/progressive dichotomy is polarizing and wounding to the church, and is counterproductive at this point.
There is far too much “circling of the wagons” going on today, and it only leads to the exclusion of others. Surely God loves all his/her children. How could it be otherwise? What parent does not love all of his/her children? What parent does not give each of his or her children chance after chance? What parent would not reach out to a child who may have rejected one route to heaven to choose another?
Perhaps an appropriate image for the shape of the church to come is a “Hoberman Sphere,” which expands and collapses around a core center. With God in the center and all of humanity on the circumference, we can come closer to God only by coming closer to others; and coming closer to others brings us closer to God.
The exclusionary view of “I’m saved, you’re not” just sends us all on our different ways—outward!
Congratulations to America on 100 years of publication, and thank you for the magnificent banquet for mind, heart and soul that you have offered for a century. The centennial issue (4/13) contains a treasure trove of articles. The writings of Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J. (“An Earthy Christology”), never fail to surprise, delight and call us to God with her eloquence and graciousness of expression, and the article by Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. (“The Shape of the Church to Come”) excites us with the positive possibilities for our church during a time when judgmental fundamentalism seems to be on the rise. He presents a big, big picture and encourages us with a profoundly hopeful view of the future.
Also, the passionate and personal article on vocation by Helen Prejean, C.S.J., (“Ride the Current”) would be an inspiration for anyone at any point in one’s life. Thank you 100 times.