The National Catholic Review
A New Welcome Mat

Paul Crowley’s “Tomorrow’s Theo-logians” (2/7) gives all Catholics hope. Though Father Crowley is a Jesuit teaching at a Jesuit institution, his message calls for a more effective Catholic education. As a child of the 1960s I am encouraged by the young, by respect for diversity and the benefits of crosscultural and cross-religious experience. This only strengthens the Catholic faith; this culture is not the culture of death. Without discounting the problems of modernity, Father Crowley says we should not fear it. The goal is not to divide the church but solidify it, not do away with the hierarchy but help it to focus on the real message of Jesus, who never turned away sinners. It is for welcoming the divorced and remarried, the homosexuals and the marginalized. Great article!

Michael Barberi

Carlsbad, Calif.

Catholics Might Still Kill the Bill

In response to “’Fixing’ Health Care Reform” in Signs of the Times (2/7), I think we, as socially responsible Catholics, need to look at the local impact of the health care reform bill on its intended beneficiaries, the poor, marginalized and uninsured. Yes, there is an abortion component; and we all are, or should be, against abortion. Representative Dan Lipinski finds the mechanism in the bill to withhold federal funding of abortion “dangerously fragile.” Others, like myself, find it adequate under the circumstances. (In a pluralistic society others with different views have a right to basic services.) The bill may not be perfect, but it is better than nothing. And with the strident opposition coming from some Catholic circles, Americans are likely to end up with nothing by way of universal care for many years to come.

Tony Podlecki

Vancouver, B.C.

They Deserve to Die

Visigoths and Vandals no longer pillage and kill, but to imagine that violence is permanently a thing of the past is beyond naïve. Interpersonal, unspeakable violence does occur and can be magnified by the media. But it must be condemned in the strongest terms. Contrary to the stand of your editorial “Giving Back Lives” (2/7), a commonsense reading of Western history points to the importance of the death penalty. To allow a mass murderer to live beyond the weeks allocated to justice is immoral. America’s freedom allows you to move around without reporting to local police, criticize the government, own your own gun, peaceably assemble and protest. In return you are expected to respect the rights of others. If you take another’s life, you forfeit your own right to life. To those who oppose capital punishment, I say, grow up.

Chris Mulcahy

Fort Myers Beach, Fla.

Mistakes Kill

The editorial “Giving Back Lives” (2/7) neglects to emphasize that the church teaches that capital punishment is wrong. Pope John Paul II called it “cruel and unnecessary” and removed language from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that could have been used to justify it. While society may have to kill a person under some circumstances, it does not have to kill someone who is captured and under the control of authorities. Traditional Catholics not only follow the teaching of the pope and bishops; they have the mature judgment to recognize that human institutions, including legal systems, are imperfect and may lead to decisions with unjust results.

Jim Axtell

Bolingbrook, Ill.

What We’ll Lose

I am absolutely sure that Americans would drop their jaws after reading the last paragraph of John J. DiIulio Jr.’s “The Value of Nonprofits” (2/7). Indeed, what would happen if Catholic institutions suddenly shut down? The contribution is so great that it is now taken for granted in social work, education and health care. Indeed, parochial schools complement public schools, both great equalizers in society. Unfortunately both were neglected, and now we wonder why we cannot be civil to one another.

Norma Nunag

Worcester, Mass.

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