Younger generations too wired to gadgets to read books

While reading “Read all about it” (Eye on Culture, Feb. 6), I was halfway through the article when, with pen in hand, I scribbled out “because they’re too busy listening to their iPods.” 

The city of Boston showed a marked decline in readership (a city with more students per square block than many others). I walk by these throngs of students each day, on the street corners, on the public transit system, walking to class and, of course, sitting in coffee shops. All I see are wires coming out of their ears. It doesn’t surprise me at all that reading in America has declined precipitously with the rise in iPods, iPhones, iPads, iCantstandit. How can one read, reflect, meditate or even think when one is constantly bombarded with musical notes and lyrics screaming about how difficult life is, full of trials and dysfunction? If only we could re-instill the joy of reading to Generation X, Y, Z ... Zero. I could go on with my observations, but that would be TMTR (too much to read). 

— Dee Bruno, Boston, Mass.

Pro-life penance 

Re Russell Shaw’s column (“Why pro-lifers vote for pro-choice pols,” Jan. 30).  

He approaches the situation from a logical standpoint. However, the spiritual nature of the situation is that Satan doesn’t just purposefully cloud these issues by using language (“right to choose”), but he also clouds the minds of Catholics to clearly see these issues. 

Part of the answer isn’t just to make a better argument, but to treat it as a spiritual weakness. There isn’t a clear, single strategy from the hierarchy on this issue. A national effort of faith, fasting, prayer and penance by the Church has never been done and would correct it.  

— Michael D. Warner, Farmington, Mich.

Loving all neighbors 

It seems as though Russell Shaw has a difficult time figuring out why Catholics vote as they do. As you stated, there are many pro-life Catholics who do not vote for the candidates you would like for them to vote for. There are thousands and possibly millions of good Catholics whosay, “I firmly believe all the sacred truths that the Holy Catholic Church believes and teaches.” To them this means that to be pro-life one must love their neighbors from the moment of conception until natural death.  

About 10 years ago, a group of us brought in guest speakers on Sunday afternoon to talk on current ways of loving our neighbors. The last speaker was a nun who was an advocate of social justice. After addressing a couple of other issues she turned to immigrants and their need to be able to get a driver’s license more easily. Almost immediately a lady in the front row started shouting: “Why don’t they learn the English language? Maybe they could get one then.” Each time the speaker tried to explain her position, the shouting resumed. The intruding lady held leadership positions in both the county pro-life movement and the Republican Party.  

When the thousands and thousands of good Catholics see this kind of verbal abuse continuing with no guidance from the Church leadership, it makes them feel that you and many of the bishops are sympathetic to the views of the Sadducees and Pharisees in wanting to define the greatest commandment. In doing so, it relegates all the other commandments and the other “sacred truths” to being pro-choice issues.  

— Raymond Schmitz, Seneca, Kan.

Gift of faith 

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan authored a moving article that built a strong argument for Catholic schools and their contribution to the Catholic Church and to the United States (“Why Catholic schools matter,” Jan. 30). 

But looking at it from a different angle, the article could be titled “Catholic schools don’t matter.” 

As the pastor emeritus of the largest Catholic parish in the western suburbs of Chicago, I am deeply puzzled why so many Catholic young people and teens do not have enough interest in their faith to bring them to Mass. 

Recently, I had lunch with a couple of Catholic mothers. Both were outstanding Catholics. Both had sent their children to the parish school. And both were very unhappy that their adult children attended Mass rarely. 

The mothers could not blame themselves. Their children knew the value their moms put on their Catholic faith. And yet it meant too little for them to be considered practicing Catholics.

My puzzlement is: What happened to the gift of faith?  

— Father Charles Gallagher, Chicago, Ill.

Educational interference 

Father Ronald Nuzzi points out that Catholic schools are good for the country (“Forming future Church and civic leaders,” Jan. 30). I certainly agree! However, I strongly oppose any funding from the government. Just look what is happening in public schools ... sex education that promotes contraceptives, homosexual behavior and abortion. 

It is very important that Catholic schools remain free of any interference. I would urge the religious organizations (now involved with social concerns) to return to the task of teaching. Let the laity work on social issues and the religious spread the Gospel. Some new orders are doing just that.  

The topic of Catholic school funding needs to be extensively studied by members of the parish, as well as the community. Civic groups, businesses, etc., have often contributed to local Catholic schools without any strings attached.  

— Eileen O’Brien, Kalamazoo, Mich.