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On the eve of war with Iraq, the last thing I want to see staring
at me from the cover of Boston College Magazine (Winter 2003)
is a picture of George Bush. How about a picture of the majority
of the world's people who call this war unjust (including our Church
JEN GUTMANN TYNE '92
East Orland, Maine
How very sad that you chose a cover which, rather than focusing
on and honoring alumnus Ambassador Nicholas Burns or his boss, Secretary
of State Colin Powell, presents President Bush, who has shattered
many of this country's long-standing alliances, scrapped its treaties,
ravaged environmental programs, devastated our economy, and looted
the treasury in providing benefits for his millionaire friends.
I've always been proud to display your publication. But this one
has conveniently "lost" its cover.
JANET T. ALEXANDER MS '80
Peru, New York
I was disgusted to see the picture of George W. Bush on the cover
of BCM and offended by the prominence given to a politician
who stole a presidential election (thank you, Justice Scalia) and
who has ordered military forces into an immoral and illegal war.
I am sure that wealthy Boston College conservative alumni will laud
you for the choice, but having worked for years with underserved,
vulnerable populations, I protest.
CLAIRE GRIFFIN FRANCELL '57
While it is laudable that a BC alumnus is NATO ambassador, why did
you feature the president in full face view on the cover of the
Winter 2003 issue? This is the president who has started an unjust
war, according to the Jesuitical philosophy. He has no connection
Why not feature alumni who are making a contribution in the way
they were taught at BC—who are peacemakers or are working with
RITA L. AILINGER '61
Thank you for putting Nicholas Burns on the cover with
President Bush and Secretary Powell. It is always heartening and
edifying to read about fellow BC graduates who have achieved such
great success. I am sure you have received some feedback from readers
who disagree with our president and this war. However, the overwhelming
(but silent) majority thinks it is wonderful—and timely—that you
put the president on your cover.
STEVE LEE '95
What a thrill to see an article by George Weigel ("Fidelity
Crisis," Winter 2003) in your magazine. He so clearly illustrates
that the current crisis in our Church is at its core "an insufficiency
of saints, a deficit in sanctity."
I essentially lost my faith during my four years at Boston College,
primarily because of the culture of dissent that exists there. Of
course, I was so poorly catechized to begin with that I had no real
knowledge of what I was rejecting. Like Boston College itself, your
magazine has too often been a forum for dissent.
LEILA HABRA MILLER '89
I have just finished George Weigel's "Fidelity Crisis,"
and James O'Toole's "´Number One'" (Winter 2003) is a
rather good antidote. O'Toole shows what happened to the Boston
Archdiocese when it was taken over by leaders who espoused Weigel's
pre-Vatican II ecclesiology. I lived through Vatican II at an Archdiocese
of Boston seminary. If the Church officials who agreed with Weigel
had triumphed, the council would have defined Mary as the Mother
of the Church and gone home. Weigel quotes the laity as not following
Humanae Vitae, but he completely ignores Paul VI's refusal
to use the findings of the lay commission on responsible parenthood
(what do the laity know about married life?).
Chastity may not have caused the current crisis. However, Church
leaders' fear of sexual maturity, combined with the clergy's adolescent
approach to human sexuality, certainly contributed to it. Weigel's
theoretical article completely contradicts everything I experienced
in the real Church. Clergy who fell in love and wanted to marry
consenting adult women were cast out with dispatch. And women who
wanted the Church to return to its earlier use of lady church servants
were labeled misguided. What the Church was left with, in too many
cases, were child-like priests who obeyed every whim of the hierarchy
but could not control their sexual impulses, usually against young
boys, and a hierarchy whose only concern was to please Rome and
so wound up playing musical chairs with the sexual predators.
I would strongly suggest to Mr. Weigel that the "conservative"
side was very much responsible for the current mess.
RONALD A. SARNO '65, MA 66
Ridgewood, New Jersey
I was happily surprised to see George Weigel's essay, as I had long
believed that Boston College grew lighter and lighter with each
passing decade so far as Catholicism was concerned. Perhaps a new
prevailing orthodoxy is just around the corner. I shall not hold
my breath but will keep my fingers crossed.
GEORGE D. LEMAITRE '55
In "Fidelity Crisis," the author's solution to the calamity
engulfing our Church is to recommend that Catholics work harder
and keep all the rules, even the tough ones like Humanae Vitae.
Be a radically better Christian—this sounds so reasonable and appealing.
However, at its core this advice, like Humanae Vitae, is
legalism. Both Jesus and St. Paul sternly rebuked religious authorities
who heaped unnecessary spiritual burdens on the backs of the faithful.
To claim that those assigned to bear this burden created a "climate
of dissent" that contributed to the clerical scandal is to
blame the victim. Both the failure to prevent this widespread scandal
and Humanae Vitae originated in the Vatican.
If the "culture of dissent" means resisting a spiritually
legalistic orientation to our faith, then count me among those whom
Mr. Weigel calls the "Catholic Lite."
STEPHEN G. HURLEY '67
Allow me to point out a small—but alas, all too typical—mistake,
in George Weigel's otherwise admirable article. It is not the case
that the Roman Catholic Church was the only Christian community
not to divide during the War between the States. Not, at any rate,
unless one is willing to deny the description "Christian community"
to the Episcopal Church.
In "Natural Selection" (Winter 2003), Garry Wills makes
the statement, "When Jesus and Pilate talked to each other,
they spoke in Koine Greek, because Pilate didn't understand Aramaic
and Jesus didn't understand Latin." The inference is that Jesus
spoke Aramaic, Pilate spoke Latin, and Jesus, being God, was not
capable of speaking Latin. Oh? I find that there are even priests
who believe that Jesus did not understand one thing or another throughout
Wills also quotes from 1 Corinthians 9:5, regarding Paul's wife
traveling with him. I checked the passage in my Douay-Rheims Bible,
and it reads, "Have we not the power to carry about a woman,
a sister, as well as the rest of the apostles and the bretheren
of the Lord, and Cephas?" No mention of a wife. In fact, there
is a notation regarding this passage that reads, "Some erroneous
translators have corrupted this text by rendering it, ´a sister,
a wife': whereas it is certain St. Paul had no wife (Chapter 7,
verses 7, 8) and that he only speaks of such devout women, as, according
to custom of the Jewish nation, waited upon the preachers of the
gospel, and supplied them with necessaries."
WILLIAM F. O'MEARA '48
South Hadley, Massachusetts
In "Natural Selection," Garry Wills wrote: "And Jesus
didn't understand Latin." God is a perfect being and there
is nothing in this world that He cannot do.
BERTRAND SHANNON '50
BCM has done well by publishing Larry Wolff's "Lost
Generation" (Winter 2003). It has not done so well on another
score. The nice "German" store pictured on page 23 is
Swedish. The lettering on the store—"Sko & Bekl▄dnads Magasin"—is
Swedish for "shoe and clothing store." Still in doubt?
Look at the street sign—"enriktad trafik"—Swedish for
I just came across Susan Miller's "Das Encyclopedia" in
the Summer 2002 issue. You might be interested to know that in addition
to one of Boston College's faculty being involved in publication
of The Nibelungenlied Tradition, a graduate was, as well—namely
me. I was a co-editor.
FRANK GENTRY '63
University Park, Pennsylvania
I am one among many, I am certain, who mourn the passing of Professor
Richard Hughes of BC's Honors Program and English department. Hughes
was the first lay dean of A&S (known then simply as "the College"),
a mentor, writer, traveler, and family man.
I can remember one evening we spent with a group of faculty, administration,
staff, and students at a production of Les Misérables,
in downtown Boston. As the actors from the ramparts onstage implored
us through song, "Join in our crusade—who will be strong and
stand with me?" Professor Hughes leapt to his feet in the aisle,
thrusting his walking stick into the air, proclaiming, "I'm
with you!" as the intermission lights rose.
Richard Hughes spoke softly and carried a simple stick, one which
supported a grand character. I will miss him.
R. MICHAEL WIRIN '89
Marlboro, New Jersey
In "The Diplomat" by Charles Trueheart (Winter 2003),
it was stated that Greece is not a member of NATO. In fact, Greece
has been a member of NATO since 1952.