Re: “African-American bishop reflects on country’s racial divide” (Openers, Jan. 18).

Although I didn’t read all of Bishop Edward K. Braxton’s letter, I did read most of it and found it to be heartfelt and thought-provoking. In my opinion, while African-Americans have suffered discrimination and brutality much more often than people of other races in our nation, other people (for instance disabled people) have also been treated brutally (and still often are treated inhumanely).

I recently wrote a letter to my local newspaper citing Bishop Braxton’s experience. His words are compelling and a great call for us to reflect on the racial divide in our nation. However, I also pointed out that at times, police officers are portrayed as enemies. Of course, some commit acts of violence, but overall, I think the great majority of officers do their difficult jobs as best as they can to protect and serve we civilians. Yet, should all men and women who serve in law enforcement now be seen as enemies with targets on their backs? It’s a shame that our nation still has so far to go in terms of racial reconciliation.

Tim Donovan, via online comment

Cohabitation

Re: “Saying ‘I do’ as peers say ‘I don’t’” (Faith, Jan. 11).

Your article devotes several paragraphs to the subject of cohabitation (a man and woman living together before marriage). The only reason given in the article for not doing this is “cohabitation doesn’t work very well.” No mention is made of the fact that cohabitation is a mortal sin.

Ralph Marson, Center Line, Michigan

‘Unjust aggressor’

Re: “Ends and means” (Editorial, Dec. 28).

In the editorial, “torture” as a means to an end is addressed. However, in the discussion in the editorial, there is no mention of the critical doctrine regarding the unjust aggressor. This doctrine is described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm” (No. 2265). There are various moral means available to render an unjust aggressor “unable to cause harm,” from incarceration to the use of arms for self-defense or in a just war situation.

Eliminating “enhanced interrogation methods,” capital punishment and the prison at Guantanamo Bay (which isolates terrorists and minimizes the harm they do to innocent people), may be in opposition to the doctrine that addresses the unjust aggressor in the Catechism. These eliminations would aid the unjust aggressor while denying the protections needed to safeguard the lives of innocent victims. Such eliminations are supported by a significant number of the hierarchy — from the Vatican down to the diocesan level and much of the Catholic media.

M.P. Smyth, Finksburg, Maryland

God and man

Re: “Who can get to heaven?” (Pastoral Answers, Dec. 28).

Msgr. Charles Pope responded to a question asking how Jesus can be God and man at the same time. My question is this: “Why did he have to come down to earth?” I believe God had to come down to earth to live like a human, to feel what humans feel and how they are led astray by the evil one on earth, and to bring humans back to himself. God, as Jesus, showed us the way to himself. As a human, he knew how hard it was for humans to fight the evil one. He himself, as Jesus, was tempted. But because he was God, he never fell into the devil’s trap.

So I can see Jesus, as man and God at the same time.

Leonore Garza, Torrance, California

Clear commentary

Re: “Our bodies, which are a gift from God, reveal that we are to be committed lovers who treasure new life” (In Focus, Jan. 4)

Beautifully done. Very simple, clear and attractive comment on Chapter 3 of the preparatory catechesis!

Kevin Aldrich, via online comment
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