The National Catholic Review
Wringing Hands

Maryann Cusimano Love’s “The Constitution, by Heart” (3/28) clearly defines what is wrong with our country today. One political party, pretending to be fiscally and socially conservative, proposes a budget that cuts social services upon which so many of our poorest citizens depend. At the same time, they want to continue to cut taxes paid by corporations and the richest Americans. The other political party wrings its hands, doing little about this draconian budget, as if it did not have the power or the will of the bulk of our citizens backing it.

Our Constitution clearly states that our goals are to be a people united in establishing domestic tranquility, promoting the general welfare and liberty for everyone, including our posterity. The evangelical writer Jim Wallis asked House speaker John Boehner to invite Christian leaders to discuss the budget, a moral document, judged by how it treats the weakest members of society.

Margie Lachman

Beaverton, Ore.

Priests Have Rights Too

You claim in “Philadelphia Shame” (Current Comment, 3/28) that “the church still has not fully faced the scourge of clerical sexual abuse.” One thing the church has not faced is that the majority of these cases are same-sex. And the constitutional rights of the accused priests have been lost in the rush to justice. Of the 61 cases examined in 2003 in Philadelphia, 24 were dismissed because accusations could not be substantiated. In the long run no credible accusations had been made against the majority of the priests accused. And the charges among the remaining 24 include matters like “boundary issues” and “inappropriate behavior,” terms so elastic as to indict anyone. Yes, the church must face up to this shame because even one case is too many, but priests have rights too.

Frank C. Tantillo

Freehold, N.J.

Respect N.G.O.’s

I wish the otherwise illuminating article by Michael Westerhaus, “On Call in Amuru” (3/21), had not included disparaging remarks about N.G.O.’s. Ten years working with CARE, the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children in two global maternal health programs at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have convinced me that N.G.O.’s are deeply committed to improving health care of the poor under difficult circumstances. Rather than make the brief visits Westerhaus describes, the local staffs of the N.G.O.’s live and work in underserved communities like Amuru improving health services at all levels. The flow of information within N.G.O.’s and to contributors includes critical evaluations of their work. It is misleading to say that N.G.O.’s avoid critical evaluation for fear of losing funding.

George Patterson

New York, N.Y.

You’ve Got to See It

I agree with the Rev. Robert Barron that the “theology” in the film “The Adjustment Bureau” (3/21), at least as he describes it, is bad. But is theology the point? The single hint that the point may be something else appears when Terence Stamp’s character states that most unalterable plans exist because of the 20th-century experience with free will. So to avoid future holocausts, free will has to be reined in. As Barron suggests, not following “the plan” would deny Matt Damon’s character his destiny to be a president and Emily Blunt’s to be a great dancer. But perhaps in their coming together, they are being given an opportunity to take on something that was larger than God’s original plan. Perhaps God’s plan is vindicated by our protagonists exercising their free will.

Brian Gross

Washington, D.C.

It’s Hard To Forgive

You praise Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois for having signed the abolition of the death penalty into law (Current Comment, 3/28). This master flip-flopper has done himself proud, because in Illinois the system just couldn’t get it right all the time. I know that we Catholics are about life, not death. But after having spent my whole adult life on the police force and becoming a permanent deacon, Iknow Jesus teaches us to forgive and himself forgave those who killed him. But how do I comfort someone whose husband was killed buying a Slurpee at the 7-Eleven when it was being robbed by someone who didn’t want to leave any witnesses? Heavenly Father, give me the grace to support the governor’s decision.

Gary Kupsak

Mundelein, Ill.

Prayer Coins

Thank you for William Van Ornum’s beautiful article, “Spiritual Currency” (3/21). It is amazing how much history and biography can be shown in a small piece of art. While it would be wonderful to see the coins in the Vatican Museum, the online slide show was wonderful too. I appreciate the idea of using the coins for meditation and will start with the “Lamb of God Grant Us Peace” and move to St. Peter in the storm. My favorite is of Peter and Andrew fishing in the Sea of Galilee.

Janice Johnson

San Diego, Calif.

Comments

WILLIAM GRAHAM | 4/11/2011 - 1:30pm
Deacon Candidate and America correspondent Gary Kupsak (April 11) calls his Governor, Pat Quinn of Illinois, "this master flip-flopper [who has] done himself proud" after he signed the abolition of the death penalty into law.  Kupsak, who reports having spent his whole adult life on the police force, asks how to "comfort someone whose husband was killed buying a Slurpee at the 7-Eleven when it was being robbed by someone who didn't want to leave any witnesses."  How would his sad diaconal task be any easier if the murderer had a date on death row?

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