Comedian doesn't speak for most Americans

I think we have lost something with nuns shedding their habits that is potentially critical — a visual sign of God in the world, a reminder the world desperately needs, particularly as the world seems bent on erasing God’s presence in the public sphere (“Rekindled debate over religious habits and their benefits,” Oct. 17)

I can remember growing up in the 1950s and ’60s. Even nonbelievers would step aside, hold a door, smile and greet a nun. Perhaps that visual reminder of God was fleeting, but a moment’s reminder over time can turn into eternity. It was a calming and hopeful encounter — perhaps even a form of prayer. It was a reminder of something good in the world, something that mattered. It spoke something about Christian community. It was an easily recognizable reminder of what we are all called to be. 

Sadly, for some nuns, the habit has become a symbol of inferiority in the Church, as if the many ministries of nuns throughout the ages are somehow inferior to ordained ministry. My own faith formation and inspiration to discipleship was influenced by the nuns who taught me in school, and the nuns who witnessed to humble service, as well as the spirituality of many nuns who significantly helped shape my own spirituality. I can think of few others who played such a role. 

The value or lack of it in a habit is shaped by the attitude of the one wearing it. It can be about the self, but it can more importantly be about the other. 

— Deacon Ray Moreau via email

Whenever I see a nun, brother or priest in a traditional habit or wearing a clerical collar, I always approach them and say, “Thank you! Thank you for giving a visible sign to the world that you belong to, and serve, the Lord Jesus Christ and his people on earth!”

Frankly, all of us should be proud to display the symbols of our faith. For laypeople, that should mean wearing the cross; for religious, appropriate nonsecular garb. Doing such is one important way we tell the world that there is more to life than worldly concerns/trends/fads. Many souls have been saved by the witness of those wearing a habit or collar because these men and women stood out from the crowd — they had that “something special” so eagerly sought by souls hungry for God.

—Suzanne Renaud, Charleston, S.C.

At 66, I well remember both when religious women wore habits and when they discarded them. I am a laywoman, but I was for many years a Boy Scout leader. One day I was in uniform and visited a restaurant for a quick lunch. I could not believe how many people, all total strangers, approached me and shared stories of scouting with me. It was then that I realized that the religious habit served a similar purpose, though on a deeper level.

In our increasingly secularized society, I think a return to religious habits would serve as a healthy reminder of the spiritual.

— Emma Eaton via email

Yes, I support the return of the habit for the religious. We need to respond to the ambiance of the Church by the clothes we wear, the architecture we see, the crucifix and statues of saints and the incense. We need to kneel and pray because we are in God’s presence. We need to recognize the sacrifice the religious give, and thank God for them.

— Ellie DeWalt Findlay, Ohio

Don’t be butt of joke 

Re the Oct. 10 issue cover: 

My 5-year-old grandson asked me why I had a picture of a bare “booty” on my paper. I opened it to show him a pair of hands folded in prayer. Be more careful! 

— Bert Jordan via email