Russell Shaw raises an important question: How can we effectively combat addiction when the marketing of intemperance — from alcohol to pornography — is so profitable for so many? It is the love of money that fuels the slavery of addiction.
I lived for years in a community where the illegal drug trade was the mainstay of the local economy. I saw what happens when vice replaced labor as the source of financial prosperity: a downward spiral of misery, crime and helplessness that ends finally in death. Attempts to combat this on the institutional level have failed. As long as the will for change is not present among a majority of the people, tougher laws and stricter enforcement will not change society or transform even one life.
There is only one real solution. God created us for joy and for freedom. As St. Augustine prayed: “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Only friendship with Christ can fill the God-shaped hole in our hearts that we try in vain to patch with our addictions and compulsions.
Re: “Mission vs. distraction” (Editorial, July 23-29).
Your editorial observing that there seems to be “two wings” — the pro-life and social justice camps — in the Church is sad but seemingly true. However, the saddest part of all is to imply that pro-life people are not essentially social-justice people. Pro-life people start with the most basic fact of social justice there is, that all innocent life from conception to death has a right to live.
Those who rightly seek justice for all step over a line when they let their human efforts downgrade, and eventually deny, unchangeable moral doctrine such as that involved with life and marital issues. Of course there are always extremists, but if there are two “camps,” don’t place the blame on the majority of pro-life people.
— Father Jim Smith, Lakeside, Iowa
Re: “The value of a life” (Catholic Journal, July 23-29).
In tears reading this! Such a beautiful tribute and article on Gus Trahin. And yes, “saint of Arcola” is what he will be remembered by. St. Pat’s will always be alive with his presence.
— MaryAnne Skora, via online comment
Re: “Milestones” (This Week, July 9-15).
We were most disappointed in the small mention of the death of Archbishop John R. Quinn of San Francisco. Archbishop Quinn was a magnificent, eloquent and gracious man. He was a true shepherd of his flock during a time of decreasing religious vocations of men and women and increasing homosexuality and proliferation of AIDS. He was instrumental in Pope St. John Paul II’s visit to San Francisco. He also was president of the U.S. bishops’ conference for several years. A greater tribute should have been accorded to him.
— Myrtle and Pat Gunning, Los Gatos, California
Re: “Weathering the crisis” (God Lives, July 23-29).
Yes, there are those priests who actually did commit sexual abuse, but there are those who have been accused who did not. What is easier than to accuse someone of something you say happened years ago. How can anyone prove what they were doing, any time, any place, anywhere, especially years ago?
I truly believe there are those who love to attack the Church and are looking to make big bucks. It goes along with that national American pastime of “Catholic bashing,” which I have witnessed all my 70-plus years of life.
I have a great deal of respect for Msgr. Campion, but I feel a need to respond to this column, as I also have a great deal of respect for priests, who too often are not given the respect they deserve.
— K.M. White, Rhinelander, Wisconsin
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