Use of war drones signals moral improvement

I was somewhat taken aback by the featured topic on the front page of your Aug. 1 issue regarding “The Ethics of Drones” (News Analysis). Reading the article and comments of the various ethicists, I couldn’t help but think that the same principles apply to the use of bombs, guided missiles, mortars, cannons, etc., as military ethicist Jim Toner states, and the proper use of precisely guided accurate drones actually reduces “collateral” damage.  

Why do drones present different ethical considerations warranting a feature article? The pilot of a bomber aircraft, the gunner of an artillery piece, etc. are all physically removed from the death they cause, and I agree they may be less appreciative of the disastrous impact of their action and the corresponding moral parameters. But it seems to me that the proper use of drones is a moral improvement over so many other weapons historically used in warfare. The statement attributed to Father David Hollenbach, regarding “the safety of American troops is not an issue when weighing the ethics of drones strikes” and reference to “potentially innocent civilians” could stimulate an interesting dialogue among our learned theologians. I’m reminded of the old principles of “unintended consequences” and “twofold effect.” 

War itself is clearly rife with moral difficulties. 

— Ronald C. Meyer, Fort Myers, Fla.

Unabashed truth 

“The Church ... must ... adjust the presentation to ease acceptance of (or at least not hostility to) the message by people generally of good will” (“Capitulation or playing the game: The Vatican and the media,” Aug. 1). Somehow I can’t envision Our Lord turning to his PR man to learn the acceptable way of telling the rich young man to give up all his possessions and follow him. Can you imagine how the media would have had a field day when Jesus admonished the crowd around the adulterous woman, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”? And those poor Pharisees whom Jesus called vipers and whitewashed tombs. 

The mission of the Church is defending the deposit of faith. The message needs to be stated clearly with all truth. It does not need to be schmoozed over to make it acceptable. 

— T.D. Berkenbush, Anchorage, Alaska

Ordination is not a right 

Re “Vatican issues revised priest sex abuse norms” (New Analysis, Aug. 1): 

I have been reading many articles criticizing the Vatican document regarding clerical sex abuse procedures because of the inclusion of “the attempted ordination of women” in the list of grave offences. While this inclusion may not have been the most diplomatic statement the Vatican has ever made, I think there is more to consider here if we put our emotions in check. 

1. Ordination is not a right, an office which we can demand to be admitted to. 

2. Ordination is not the only way we can serve God. To say we feel called to ordination, the key word is “feel.” What we really are saying is we desire ordination. 

Desires may or may not be meritorious. If we truly desire to serve God, we will serve him in any way we can, and sometimes humbly, not in the way we personally desire but on the path he opens to us. 

3. Pride is the nucleus of all sin. We are not in a position to dictate the terms of our own salvation — to say I accept this but I reject that. 

4. We as Catholics believe the Holy Spirit leads the Church. When and if the Holy Spirit wills for there to be ordination of women there will be nothing that can stand in the way. 

— Name Withheld, Posen, Mich. 

Public under pressure 

You quote Father Larry Snyder, Catholic Charities USA president, on his disappointment on the low public response to aid oil-spill victims (This Week, Aug. 8). I respectfully submit that he may have used a poor choice of words when he said: “[People] have kind of exonerated themselves from any need to take part in the relief.” Perhaps if he had taken notice of the increased number of bankruptcies, foreclosures, job losses, etc., he might have stated “many people in this economy are currently unable to take part in relief of the oil-spill victims.” 

Notwithstanding my commentary, the support of this project is a worthy act of charity from those who can afford it. 

— Deacon Marvin Robertson, St. Johns, Mich. 

EWTN: Not just TV 

We were thrilled to see Our Sunday Visitor spotlight the rise of local Catholic radio stations in the United States. 

This is exactly what Mother Angelica had in mind when she went on the air on Sept. 2, 1998, asking the laity to purchase their own radio stations for which she would provide solid Catholic programming free of charge! 

Today, in the United States alone, the EWTN Radio Network has expanded to 140 AM/FM radio affiliates, which reach more than 101 million people. 

Since its inception, EWTN has continued to offer its radio programming network free of charge not only to our existing affiliated stations broadcasting in 35 states, but also to those who are just getting started. 

— Michelle Laque Johnson, Irondale, Ala.