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BCM welcomes letters from readers. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and must be signed to be published. Our fax number is (617) 552-2441; our e-mail address is bcm@bc.edu


Let me take issue with Dennis Hale's suggestion that ordinary citizens are for the most part incapable of understanding the finer points of complex matters that come before the courts ("All Rise," Summer 2005). In cases where voir dire has been used to dumb down the panel, that may be true. However, I am convinced that most sitting judges have no firmer grasp of complex issues than most ordinary citizens do. Consider the recent decision regarding New London, Connecticut, property owners; or Roe v. Wade. I prefer the jury system under the guidance of judges, because judges may be smarter than I am when it comes to law but precious little else.

Robert N. Sillars, Jr., P'82

Wilmington, North Carolina


I was struck by Dean R. Hoge's description of two different views of the priesthood in "Facts and Figures: The State of the Priesthood" (Summer 2005). While I certainly agree that there are many Catholics today who find the cultic priest attractive, I am not one of them.

The cultic priest has driven me from the organized Catholic Church. After almost 30 years as an active member of my parish, I have left the parish and I have no desire to return. I do not wish to be a part of an organization that elevates intolerant individuals. Hoge is correct that the cultic priest feels he now has the upper hand. There is no question where the sympathies of Church authorities lie.

Tom Proulx '70

Norwalk, Connecticut

Re "Identity Crisis" by William Bole (Summer 2005): Is it possible that the cultic model of the priesthood is now in vogue because those who believe in the servant-leader model have either left the priesthood or have shied away from entering it? Fr. Donald Cozzens of John Carroll University's religious studies department shared his ideas on where the vocations have gone, in that university's Fall 2004 magazine. He described interviewing many "faith-filled, gospel-inspired" young men who were involved in service and finding that all had thought seriously about the priesthood but felt too strong a pull to marriage and family life to enter the seminary. As long as the Church does not allow priests to marry, it will probably continue to attract men who identify with the cultic model.

Jan Fortado

Ipswich, Massachusetts


There is much discussion of women priests and married priests in the future of the Catholic Church, but none about the huge number of excommunicated Catholics. I went through 16 years of wonderful Catholic education, got married to a wonderful Catholic lady, had two beautiful boys, and, after 12 years of marriage, I chose to get divorced. My mother pleaded with me to get an annulment, the most humiliating law of the Church, and I just couldn't do that to my boys.

My most difficult moments were when my mother and sister passed away and I couldn't receive Holy Communion at their funerals. Many Catholics have said to me, "Who really cares, just blend in and no one will know." Well, 16 years of education won't let me do that until the Church says it is okay.

Are there other alumni who have the same concerns, or am I just alone out here?

Bob Doherty '67

Unionville, Ontario


I am deeply concerned about a phrase that William Bole used in "Identity Crisis." I quote from a sentence about clerical sexual abuse of children: "what has sometimes been portrayed (italic added) as cover-ups by bishops."

I was sexually abused by the infamous Fr. Porter and participated in the first wave of lawsuits against the Church in the early 1990s. Sean Patrick O'Malley, OFM Cap, then bishop of Fall River, Massachusetts, now archbishop of Boston, issued a written apology to the survivors as part of the settlement: "We apologize for what you experienced, or thought (italic added) you experienced."

Both O'Malley and Bole use ambiguous language that obscures and denies the truth. You don't "think" you were raped and sodomized by God's representative on earth. And "coverup" is not a portrayal, but an accurate statement of the facts. Language matters.

J. M. Sullivan '74

Las Vegas, Nevada

I would like to express my appreciation for your Summer 2005 articles "Starting Center" by Stephen Gawlik (Linden Lane) and "Identity Crisis" by William Bole, which clarify their positions as American Catholic instead of Roman Catholic. Sometimes I worry that the casual observer might mistake what goes on at Boston College (right-hearted but often wrongheaded) as "Catholic" in the traditionally understood reference to the universal Church.

Catherine Ryan '96

Arlington, Massachusetts


I was quite surprised when I saw Ann Coulter's picture in the magazine ("Visitors Gallery," Summer 2005), taken when she was a speaker last November. In fact, I was surprised to learn that she would set foot in Massachusetts, since she considers those of us who live here to be "pond scum" (her words).

Is Boston College moving to the right? I would appreciate learning what the topic of her speech was.

Thomas F. Lucas, DDS, '70

Arlington, Massachusetts

Editor's note: Ann Coulter's topic was "How to talk to a liberal (if you must)." The speech was sponsored by the College Republicans.


I would be remiss if I did not tell you I appreciated your Spring 2005 article, "Whose Life?" written by Lisa Sowle Cahill, Jon D. Fuller MD, SJ, James Keenan, SJ, and John J. Paris, SJ. Raised Catholic, I am a nurse who worked with very ill and dying patients for years in the Boston area.

I always looked to the ethical teachings of the Catholic Church not only as a guide for myself, but as an informed source I could call upon in order to help patients and their loved ones reach a resolution to their personal dilemmas in a peaceful and loving manner. Please—make this article available to health care workers and to laypeople far and wide.

Marie Boucher Athy

Tucson, Arizona


Wilbur Davis, the dining services employee who died last February (Linden Lane, Spring 2005), did not share time on campus with me, but he did with my son Kevin. Kevin was in the Class of 2000. He passed away from cardiac arrest while playing a basketball game at the Rec Plex in January 1997. Of the many cards and letters we received from the BC community, one that stood out was from Wilbur. It stated: "To all of Kevin's loving family, I Wilbur Davis and my co-workers at Boston College Dining Services who knew Kevin will dearly miss him. May God keep Kevin in his joyful and happy moods, which he has shown us here at Boston College."

My family will mourn Wilbur and hope that our remembering will comfort the Davis family the way Wilbur's words comforted us.

Christian H. Eidt '66

Norwalk, Connecticut

Editor's note: The painting reproduced on page 8 of the Summer issue does not, as was indicated, appear in the McMullen Museum of Art's exhibit, The Power of Conversation: Jewish Women and Their Salons. Readers still have time to view the actual exhibit, which closes on December 4.


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