Young missionary’s heart, message were in the right place

Re: “Missionary’s death elicits varied responses” (News Analysis, Dec. 30, 2018-Jan. 5).

I am disturbed by Donald McCrabb’s comparison between the “very antiquated approach” to mission work of the young missionary, John Allen Chou, who was killed by members of a remote tribe he was trying to evangelize, and the more modern approach of Sister Dorothy Stang, who was killed because of her attempts to promote social justice among the impoverished rural workers in Brazil.

To be sure, Christ calls us to “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” and this zealous and courageous young man may have lacked some of the prudence that comes with experience. Ultimately, it is not the method but the message that is the central element in Christian missions, and on that point Chou got it right. The first apostles of Christ did not preach a message of economic liberation or political reform, but of salvation from sin through the cross of Christ. Their primary focus was not material and temporal, but spiritual and eternal.

That is a Gospel worth living — and dying — for!

Margret Meyer, Jacksonville, Florida

Suicide

Re: “Michigan funeral uproar offers opportunity for catechesis” (Openers, Dec. 30, 2018-Jan. 5).

A few years ago a friend of mine, a priest, was asked to give a eulogy for an old friend he knew from his seminary days. His friend had left the seminary some years ago for family reasons. Father said to me that his friend was the smartest man he ever knew, yet somehow he’d committed suicide.

There seemed to be no way he could participate in this eulogy. I said to Father, “Your friend was not in his right mind when he pushed the button on life, and I believe the Church allows for mental illness!” “How could I know this,” Father said. “How could I be sure?” I said, “Father, no one in his right mind wants to end his own life. Something was not right and he couldn’t deal with it.”

Mental illness, sometimes only temporary, is a much larger problem than anyone wants to admit. The mass shootings are one example of a sickness that invades the mind. To kill oneself seems to the victim a way to end their problem, but it is not the solution, only the beginning of an eternal situation.

I pushed the button 30 years ago, and I know I wasn’t in my right mind. Because of my alerts and a good priest, I can write this letter today.

The young man in Gretchen’s story couldn’t cope with the evil that had invaded his mind, I assure you, and God knows that.

Father Don LaCuesta followed all of his training to give his homily, but unless you’ve “been there,” the heart can’t know for sure.

Les Johnson, Akron, Ohio

In my lifetime (I’m 71), I’ve attended hundreds of funerals, and there is nothing easy about witnessing grieving families. But sometimes a funeral is a teachable moment, as was “Michigan funeral uproar.”

Maison’s death can be viewed in different ways based on our faith in Jesus.

Craig Galik, Duquesne, Pennsylvania

Basic income

Re: “The Church and basic income proposals” (News Analysis, Jan. 13-19).

I’m for a basic income, but I’m utterly against a one-size-fits-none federal solution to the problem.

It is my belief that this should be left to the counties and municipalities, and that we should revise the Constitution to allow them to issue their own fiat currency for the purpose of paying for city services and providing basic income support. Some counties and cities will undoubtedly go with a cryptocurrency; others will issue normal local currencies.

But by keeping it local and out of the hands of the IRS and the federal government, the solution can be fine-tuned to the living standards and the unemployment rate of a particular region. And in so doing, it could stimulate the local market to produce local jobs.

Theodore Seeber, via online comment

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