Appreciation for Cardinal Wuerl’s essay on ‘Amoris Laetitia’ 

Re: “Seeing the many rich facets” (Essay, Feb. 19-25).

I want to applaud Cardinal Donald Wuerl for seeking to help everyone — clergy and laity alike — to understand the beauty of Amoris Laetitia, how it is structured, what is does and does not state, and the truths and pastoral needs it proclaims. His gentle explanation of where and how “confusion” might occur is generous in its compassion. May we all continue to pray to the Holy Spirit for the truth to be revealed in each lay or ordained member’s conscience and understanding; for this is God’s Church, and he leads it through his chosen human beings.

Kathy Bitschenauer, via online comment


Re: “Catholics respond to border wall, travel ban” (News Analysis, Feb. 12-18).

As a cradle Catholic, I am disappointed in the quotes from the cardinals and the bishops on the immigration issue. They imply that Catholic Church teaching promotes open borders allowing immigrants in without restraint. This is not true. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 2241, speaks to the responsibility of government to protect its citizens, even while welcoming the stranger. St. Thomas Aquinas in “Summa Theologiae” also explains how immigration should be handled. When Church leaders use words like “not rational acts” and encourage people to misuse the idea of “sanctuary,” this is a problem. Sanctuary is for innocent persons, not for harboring criminals. How did we get so far from right reasoning?

Sandra A. Fischer, Broadview Heights, Ohio

There seems to be a lot of misinformation about what President Trump is trying to do in regard to refugees. We are talking about a three-month pause, not an outright ban as some are suggesting. He is the president of the United States. He is trying to keep us safe. He has more information available to him than we do. I fought terror in Iraq. I did so for three years and couldn’t come home to my family. I tend to give President Trump the benefit of the doubt here.

Cassie Smith , Marshall, Michigan

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin was quoted as having said or written that building walls is “irrational.” I submit that the cardinal made a poor choice of words.

Our homes are enclosed in walls to keep out intruders, vermin and inclement weather. Our doorways and windows are enclosed with screen wire to keep flies out of our soup. Our churches have not only walls but safes, tabernacles, to protect what is most sacred to us. Each of these is eminently rational use of walls or barriers.

National walls, necessary to keep out those without citizenship rights who enter without appropriate permission, are not less rational.

If the morality of walls is questioned, that is another topic, but one that must be proved and not simply assumed.

Edward A. Rohde, St. Louis

‘The Young Pope’

Re: “HBO’s foul stench” (Catholic Journal, Feb. 19-25).

Glad I don’t have cable. I think we’ll stick with basic local family-based programs. Thanks for the warning!

Carolann Martinez, via online comment

Death penalty

Re: “A life and death issue” (God Lives, Feb. 5-11).

Msgr. Owen F. Campion’s article concerning the death penalty was well presented. He states that, “executions are moral only if all else fails to protect the people.” This is consistent with the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “If, however, nonlethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means” (No. 2267). Capital punishment should be used only in rare cases and not for deterrence and not for revenge. Capital punishment should be available in the rare case, such as when an aggressor is in isolation (even extreme isolation) but is still able to trigger or cause the deaths of others.

M.P. Smyth, Finksburg, Maryland
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