Unanswered questions about child poverty

“Stemming the rising tide of child poverty” (News Analysis, July 11) leaves a few unanswered questions that I think are important for your readers to understand and upon which to reflect. 

First, it quotes Catholic Campaign for Human Development Executive Director Ralph McCloud’s speculation of the various factors contributing to poverty, especially child poverty in our nation today. Not once does he mention the moral failures of the adults in poverty situations or what they could be or ought to be doing, if anything, to mitigate their own plight. 

Second, he mentions “polarization in large metropolitan areas.” What does this mean? He doesn’t say, or else his elaboration wasn’t recorded by the writer. As someone who is concerned about my community, I’d like to know how to help. He also seems to pick on the affluent, and suggests that those who choose to live in safer areas of town away from the consequences of the high crime rates that usually accompany areas stricken with poverty are somehow disconnected from the problem of poverty. 

Last, but not least, what does the “ideological spectrum” have to do with combating poverty in our nation? I would suggest that most, if not all, people across the entire “ideological spectrum” — if asked — would answer that they would wish that no one (child or otherwise) would suffer want or need in a society such as ours, where we clearly have the means to reduce/eliminate poverty overnight. What we lack is only the will, and perhaps the agreement among those of us with the means to help on how to attack it.  

— Ed Murphy, Saint Louis, Mo.

History lesson

I sincerely appreciated the article on the history of the Catholic Church (“Faith and freedom,” July 4). 

I have been studying the beginnings of the Church in America. It gives one great pause to think of the priests and bishops ministering to the Catholics, both Native American and settlers, throughout the huge dioceses of that time. They had to undergo such trials and sacrifices as they traveled on horseback through the wilderness, relying totally on God. Their love for the Church and the desire to share it with others is such a wonderful example to all of us. 

— Kathy Vickrey, Warren, Ind.

Wise energy use 

Re “Healing the hole in the Gulf — and in our hearts” (Faith, July 11). 

While I do not deny there may have been gross negligence on the part of BP, this will be decided in court. I do not deny either that we, in the United States, live in a very wasteful society. The cars we drive are much larger than needed; the air conditioning is set at too low a temperature; we drive when we could walk or use public transport; many times there is a television or radio on as long as someone is awake. These are but a few of the excessive uses of energy. 

However, I do not believe that we can completely turn the clock back on the modern way of life. We will continue to need sources of energy. Therefore it is not a question of not obtaining sources of energy, but of doing the best we know how to obtain it with as little damage as possible to the environment and then using it as economically as possible. 

— Evelyn Mazzucco, Des Plaines, Ill.

Alternate explanation 

Re Joseph Keenan’s letter to the editor (“Small pool of candidates,” July 18). 

While I don’t dispute his numbers, I believe his conclusions are in error. It is my understanding that in the Protestant denominations where ministers are allowed to marry and women are allowed to be ministers, there is a still a shortage of clergy.  

I believe that more likely reasons for a shortage of priests are a desire among young men to pursue more lucrative vocations, and an unwillingness on the part of parents and other adults to encourage young men to pursue a religious vocation.  

And I also believe that it is ultimately not in the hands of the hierarchy, but in the hands of God, so we should all continue to pray for an increase in vocations. 

— Carrie Bowler, Springfield, Mass. 

Running the numbers 

“Empty Pulpits” (Editorial, June 27) was an interesting, but incomplete, discussion concerning numbers of priests and numbers of Catholics, with one group going down and the other coming up rapidly. The part concerning how many priests will be available in the future is probably quite accurate. But the number of Catholics leaves a question unanswered, although it was covered in the In Focus section concerning “Dispensing Divine Life” (May 9). 

The very low percentage of Catholics who practice their faith makes it seem oxymoronic to worry about the huge numbers that have to be served when the majority don’t go to church consistently, which makes it clear that the majority of Catholics do not practice what they are supposed to believe. 

— Father Richard Kosterman, Antigo, Wis.


Re “Are we ready to die rather than not celebrate the Mass?” (Openers, July 11). 

At age 92, I often miss Mass but have access to EWTN and its TV recording where they give a special prayer for those who stay at home. It is wonderful, but nothing can take the place of the Real Presence of Jesus. 

— June Gallagher, via email