Basilica is ‘architectural wonder’

Re: “The beauty of basilicas” (In Focus, July 20).

Thank you for the terrific article. Writer Denis McNamara was correct when he wrote “you’re bound to find one near you.” Indeed, Our Lady of Victory Basilica, located in Lackawanna, New York, has been a national shrine in our country since its dedication in 1926.

Venerable Msgr. Nelson H. Baker at the age of 79 built one of the most magnificent European-style basilicas in the world as a gift to his lifelong patroness, Our Lady of Victory. Made of the finest material and craftsmanship from several countries, this basilica is truly an architectural wonder and a spirit-filled place, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Gene and Arlene Mendrysa, Clarence, New York

Open arms for migrants

Re: “In quotes,” (This Week, July 20).

Bravo to Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle for framing the situation of small children arriving at our southern border in the context where it belongs — not on the legal niceties and nuances of immigration law, but on the moral character of the American people. As others have pointed out, this is a refugee problem, not an immigrant problem. And to those who ask: Yes, I do think we should accept each and every endangered child who shows up at our border. It is frightening to contemplate the judgment likely to fall on anyone who would send a child seeking help back to the murderous streets from which he has fled. If we have to pay more taxes in order to do it, yes, dear money worshippers, I do think we should raise taxes to pay to house and feed those children. And if we end up a little monetarily poorer ourselves for having done so, so be it.

Mark Gronceski, Warren, Ohio

Lack of freedom in Iraq

Re: “No good option in Iraqi war” (Guest column, July 6).

Writer Russell Shaw stated that there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. The definition of such is given as “chemical, biological or radioactive weapons capable of causing widespread death or destruction.”

I believe they are not limited to such but also include any means by which people are being tortured physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, or that destroy their mind, soul or result in death. That was happening there and continues to happen in way too many countries even today. We live in a land with so much freedom that we can’t even begin to comprehend what it would be like to not be so fortunate. We need to wake up before we find it happening here.

K. White, Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Emigration reasons

Re: “Border ‘bottleneck’ as minors flee violence” (News Analysis, July 6).

We acquired a huge part of our country through a war with Mexico in the 1840s that no respected historian would call “just.” Then there are the many interventions by various American administrations in Central America over the past century.

When we read that countries like Honduras and Guatemala are close to being “failed states,” some thought should be given to that history also, and the possible conclusion that we bear some responsibility for their governments’ failure to develop solid, incorrupt democracies. We largely prevented the development of communism in Central America, but the region has many deep-seated problems — some related directly to the American hunger for illegal drugs — that lead to out-migration.

I mention these things in addition to the observation that some of our current government’s actions in the area of reducing religious freedom should not cause us to reject any government efforts — like better regulation of the financial sector — to reduce massive income disparity.

The lack of charity toward child migrants may well be related to a failure to see the suffering caused by the large reduction in well-paying jobs once available in the manufacturing sector. Giving the cold shoulder to poor children anywhere is not the Catholic way.

Frederick J. Kurtz, Bronx, New York
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