The National Catholic Review
Make Charities Catholic

Re “Fighting Bias” (Current Comment, 10/31): The federal government’s recent denial of funds for the U. S. Bishops’ Office of Migration and Refugee Services should come as no surprise. Whoever controls funds controls how the funding agencies operate. This is nothing new.

Before governmental grant restrictions there were limits placed on local Catholic agencies by United Way and other community fund-raising groups that resulted in repeated denials of funding until the local C.Y.O. and Catholic Charities groups ceased asking.

Some very deserving programs no longer exist not just because they lost community funds. Those programs had seen no need to maintain their connection with the local Catholic community and to seek its support. But when they turned to parishioners for assistance, they found that they had become unknown entities to local Catholics. Catholic charitable programs that depend on government funding for their existence are seen by many people, Catholics included, as no longer Catholic or charitable. They are contracted programs of the government.

It is time for the Catholic Church in the United States to wean itself away from the government and return to Catholics for support of its works of charity. This may result in fewer programs offered, but at least they will be Catholic charities.

(Msgr.) Mike Braun

Bakersfield, Calif.

They Won’t Be Back

I assure you that Valerie Schultz’s “Raised on Faith” (10/17) is accurate. It is as if she were describing half of my adult children.

All seven were raised in the faith, Sunday Mass included. My wife and I even administered a C.C.D. school in our parish. Now several of our children lead Christian lives and show concern for their fellow men and the common good, but they have given up on the church. I always hope for their return, but with the focus of the new Roman Missal being a throwback to the pre-Vatican II past, I doubt they will be back. This is not the way to engage the younger generation in the lives they live.

Art Maurer

Penfield, N.Y.

Read Yourself Back

Re Valerie Schutz’s “Raised on Faith” (10/17): Hope is not lost. The lost faith of Catholics raised with a sense of social justice can be regained through contemplation. Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day and Charles de Foucauld, models of charity, knew the church was not perfect, but they loved it. As I read their life stories I could look past the annoyances that are part of human institutions. Some days I would have to give up the soup kitchen work to concentrate on spiritual reading. Unfortunately there is little encouragement of serious reading in either the church or secular culture.

Barbara Sirovatka

Brookfield, Ill.

Arrogant and Presumptuous

I appreciate America’s openness to a variety of viewpoints. Every issue is informative and inspirational. “Life or Death Decisions” (10/31), by Charles F. MacCarthy, M.D., and John P. MacCarthy, M.D., O.Praem., gave me an insight into their thinking.

The two physicians explain that medical professionals will not ask the opinion of a bishop “unless the bishop is a friend or has participated in ethics committee discussions.” It is fair to summarize their view: they will not consult a bishop out of respect for his teaching office.

I did not expect open disrespect for the office of a bishop from Catholic doctors. I was even more surprised by their arrogance and presumptuousness. They cannot imagine saying to a patient that they have talked to the bishop about this. They say the patient’s response would be: “The bishop! What does he know about this? You are the doctor.”

I know at least a few Catholics who as patients would not react in this way. In the face of the attitude of your authors, one of whom is a priest, I find the decision of the Bishop of Phoenix easier to understand.

David Burton

Steubenville, Ohio

Audience Gasps and a Great Pumpkin

“Patrons and Companions,” by James Martin, S.J. (11/7), is one of the best explanations I have read of what makes a saint and why we need them after their death. His tales of the bishop, the gasps of the audience and the Great Pumpkin story show the ridiculous ways in which the church has propagated a false image of sainthood so polished and farcical that it resembles a fairy tale rather than real life. It is refreshing to see an example of how a priest can stand up to a bishop. Behind the humor there is a serious message.

Phil Ewing

United Kingdom

God Plays Favorites?

Stories of saints and miracles, as discussed in “Patrons and Companions” (11/7), confuse me. What are we really to make of the saints beyond seeing them as role models? Why would God favor those who have friends or school children in C.C.D. to pray for them and dismiss the needs of others simply because they do not have that kind of support? Does God play favorites?

Anne Chapman

Los Angeles, Calif.

Bury Those Talents

The Word column “Unmasking Greed,” by Barbara E. Reid, O.P. (11/7), is a very different way of looking at the parable of the talents. This is encouraging, because the move to the right in both the United States and Canada suggests that government should be more libertarian. Individuals are encouraged to want more money than they need. Those who expect entitlement are going to be disappointed as social systems are destroyed by Conservatives or Republicans, depending on which country you are referring to. The movement for less government and more protection of the rich is a way to defeat the Gospel, which calls on us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Virginia Edman

Toronto, Ont., Canada

Asymmetric War

Your editorial “Conscience in the Mud” (10/31) does not give its sources for the so-called negative view of the United States in the world. Are they the usual suspects who hate because of ideology or envy? Your evaluation of the drones is flawed because you do not accurately perceive the moral circumstances. This is asymmetric, not traditional warfare. The enemy is militant Islam intent on destroying the West and specifically the United States. The enemy relies on host countries like Pakistan. Drones target these enemies and operate within the parameters of Catholic social teaching by limiting damage to combatants and avoiding innocent civilians. Until you see this, your analysis will remain flawed.

Frank C. Tantillo

Freehold, N.J.

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