Visions of God's Justice
Felicitations on your education issue (5/20). Space being precious, I single out the article by James E. Hug, S.J., on education for justice--a candid, straightforward, courageous challenge to our Jesuit educational enterprise. It spells out for that ministry what several of the Jesuits' general congregations have declared the Jesuit mission for today--"the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement." As Father General Pedro Arrupe confessed in his tenure (1965-83), so now it will alienate some of our benefactors, will be castigated by some Jesuits in higher education as naive and impractical. And yet I see this as a significant way in which Jesuit schools can be different, can make a difference.
In fact, I suggest that Father Hug's approach might solve some problems raised by the papal Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Not the mandatum for orthodoxy, not necessarily more courses in theology. Rather a commitment to God's justice, concretized in relationships to God, to people and to the earth. If a core of Jesuits and lay educators could reinvent programs from astronomy to zoology with this in mind, we might relinquish control of our schools with less troubled hearts.
Such an educational vision would also affect spirituality, link the internal conversion to external activity. For, as has been suggested, spirituality means being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.
Walter J. Burghardt, S.J.
Woodstock Theological Center
"The best possible use of print" were the words spoken of America during the eulogy for Sister Mary Consuela Callaghan, I.H.M., delivered by her niece, Catherine Ward. Sister Mary Consuela was an emeritus professor of history at Immaculata College, who over the years of her teaching taught her students the discipline and importance of history, be it personal, national or international. Throughout her lectures and in one-on-one sessions, I don't think there was a time that the periodical America was not mentioned as essential reading for any individual who wanted to truly comprehend current events.
Those of us fortunate enough to have had Sister in our lives were blessed by her encouragement and her vision of what intelligent, concerned and joyful Catholic women could accomplish. She imbued in us her deep faith, her dedication and obedience to her religious community, her love of family and history as well as the importance of being knowledgeable and ethical when pondering current events. While the 92 years of her life were a living testimonial to all that she believed, she relied on America for "the best possible use of print" in providing contemporary perspective on today's world.
Thank you for never disappointing her.
Mary Anne Burns Duffy
What a magnificent (I use the word advisedly) quote from Cardinal Medina on the May 13 cover. A supremely baroque rejection of the principle of subsidiarity so beloved of the misguided enthusiasts of aggiornamento. What more is there to say? Roma locuta, and with such style too! Truly, arrogance has been raised to an art form.
(Deacon) Brian Carroll
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Well, Bishop Trautman (3/4) certainly got Rome's attention! I write out of 30 years' experience of celebrating the liturgy in English and Spanish. I am as aware as anyone that, as the saying goes, Traducir es traicionar, "Translation is betrayal" (or, as Cardinal Medina and those around him would likely have it, "To translate is to betray').
His Eminence expresses concern that one commission cannot initiate on the proper basis or carry out in the proper manner texts for countries as diverse as the United States of America and the Philippines. These are the very people who, in a brute exercise of cultural imperialism, imposed upon the rest of the Spanish-speaking Catholic world the peculiar verb forms and vocabulary of Spain, spoken only by a minority living in Europe, for use in the liturgy. It is evident they think liturgical translations should be uniform but that they have to be done in Rome. They know what's best for us.
These are also the people who have in recent years insisted on lumping our entire hemisphere into one reality called "America," which makes about as much sense as thinking of the place where they live as "Eurafrica." Some may remember the Youth Day for "America" celebrated a few years ago. At first they were not even going to admit English as an official language. A delegation from our bishops' conference went over to get that straightened out. Upon their return, when challenged about the Roman notion of "America," they said the dicastery concerned defended it as conforming to how geography is taught in European schools. It is evident that those in charge of the Roman Curia these days think, whatever they might say, that no true Catholicism exists outside a European cultural ambience. They are not to be trusted with the translation or inculturation of anything. (And what, by the way, is a "dicastery" in real English?)
Our current translations may not be perfect, but I will certainly hang on to my copies until we get more enlightened management of these questions in Rome.
(Rev.) Michael Burton Roark
One could question the linguistic authority of a Chilean prelate working in Italy regarding English texts versus an advisory and episcopal committee who have studied, written poetry, sung and directed music in English for generations and many of whom are steeped in theology, tradition, Latin, Hebrew and Greek, not to mention celebrating the sacraments for and with English-speaking congregations.
Cardinal Medina's letter (5/13), rather, shows an attempt of the Roman dicastery to turn back Vatican II and to control wherever and however it can in its contempt for anything outside its Own immediate clique. The bishops of ICEL, who represent Catholics in half the world, should instead demand their nihil obstat for the staff and leadership of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
Gerald J. Sigler
Mount Dora, Fla.
Congratulations on your cover of the May 13 issue featuring excerpts from the concluding paragraphs of Cardinal Medina's letter. With such an approach one must ask: "Why bother having an ICEL at all, or for that matter, any other international of bishops and experts, when this Curial office seems to possess such superior expertise and discernment? " Evidently, a murky miasma still rises from the Pontine Marshes to fog some Curial windows.
(Rev. Msgr.) John R. Portman
San Diego, Calif.
I came home from work, sifted through the mail, picked up America and began to flip through it. "Religious Persecution" caught my eye (5/13), but for some reason I first thought of persecution by the church of its own dissidents, not persecution of the church by governments. Statements about the church's concern for religious liberty weren't making any sense. Then I realized my mistake. I came away glad the church no longer has the powers granted to governments to persecute. I could live with more religious freedom from both church and state.
Kudos to Richard R. Gaillardetz, "The New E-Magisterium" (5/6), for exposing the value of the Internet as a vehicle for the "shared testimony of the faithful." E-magisterium allows theologians, clergy, religious and laity better to express their view of the modem world to the college of bishops. Pastoral care issues that are critical today are viable topics for this communication vehicle.
Old Lyme, Conn.