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Re "Who Will
Care?" by Gail Friedman [Spring 2002]: The number of nurses per
patient has been reduced to dangerous levels, in the name of cost
containment. Nurses often work extra shifts to ensure there is an
RN available. After 16 hours, these nurses are more prone to make
errors, but the hospital is covered because it has an RN on duty.
When the stress gets to be too much, we have burn-out and we lose
these nurses to some other line of work.
The reason patients go the hospital is for nursing care on a 24/7
basis. Those who don't need nursing care go home. Hospitals need
to hire more nurses and do with less profit to make the profession
one that will continue to be attractive to the experienced RN.
B. CAVANAUGH '63, USNRET.
The reason that there are not more males in nursing is that nursing
schools in general make it hard on male students. I have done a
survey of over 300 male nurses across the country. Asked "Do
you feel that males are represented fairly within nursing?"
a clear 68.65% said no. Look over my web site: www.malenurse-magazine.nursing-sites.com
JERRY R. LUCAS, RN
New Albany, Indiana
The article by President William P. Leahy, SJ, ["The Gift," Spring
2002] was a more upbeat reflection on the priesthood and the Society
of Jesus than the book review by Charles R. Morris ["Changed Order"]
in the same issue, which spoke of Jesuit discouragement and confusion.
Even if the Catholic Church resumes the option of marriage for parish
clergy, sees its way to encourage women who feel called to the priesthood,
and continues to have significant roles for laity, I believe there
will always be a place for celibate organizations. The health of
the Society of Jesus resides in a focus on the call of Jesus as
role model, witnessing to his gospel in the sacraments and in individual
life, not merely in compassionate good works.
JANETTE MIDDLETON CRANSHAW MA '81
Congratulations on the Spring issue. It was timely, serious,
helpful. I especially appreciated the piece by Alan Wolfe ["Presence
I do not, however, think readers were well served by Charles Morris's
sad and shallow review of Passionate Uncertainty: Inside the
American Jesuits, by Peter McDonough and Eugene C. Bianchi.
I wonder if you would have published that review if you had seen
what Katarina Schuth, OSF, had to say about the book in the March
25 issue of America magazine. Schuth, who holds the endowed
chair for the Social Scientific Study of Religion at the Divinity
School of St. Thomas University in Minnesota, first pointed out
how the authors' non-random sampling of nearly equal numbers of
present and former Jesuits virtually guaranteed an unreliable final
product. She then questioned the authors' acknowledged first principle
of deliberately downplaying affirmative responses to their survey
questions. Next, she gave examples of how the authors' own ideas
and biases are freely, cheerfully, and confusingly intermingled
with the survey data, and then wondered how the memories of men
who left the order 10, 20, and even 30 years ago can possibly be
relevant to the Jesuits' sense of themselves and their mission today.
JAMES C. O'BRIEN, SJ
Boston College Jesuit Community
Re the special section "Inside the Storm" [Spring 2002]: In the
world of six degrees of separation, it happens that I once knew
Fr. Paul Shanley, the priest accused of raping young boys at a parish
outside Boston. My connection goes back to the late 1970s, when
I was a BC undergraduate and a seminarian. My liberal Catholic friends
and I heard that Fr. Shanley had been fired by the late Cardinal
Medeiros from his street ministry of tending to homeless teenagers,
many of whom were gay.
Shanley gave an unsanctioned speech at O'Connell House to a group
of BC students. As best as I can now recall, his message was that
the Church needed to be more accepting of gays and should minister
to them. After hearing of the speech, BC promptly banned him from
speaking on campus again.
The University had no prescient insight into Shanley's unsavory
activities with children. Instead, I believe that the University,
like the Archdiocese of Boston, was fixed on the theory that practicing
homosexuality is immoral.
That is the part of the story that I remembered when allegations
about Shanley first appeared in the national press. Those articles
mentioned that Shanley had been assigned to a parish called St.
John the Evangelist in Newton, Massachusetts. I did not realize
until more recently, when the news of his arrest came across the
wires, that St. John's went by another name that I knew very well:
St. Jean L'Evangelist.
St. Jean's was a French-Canadian mission parish on its last legs
despite a devoted group of graying parishioners. A kindly old priest
in his mid-seventies named Fr. Frank LeBrun ran it. Fr. LeBrun was
a tolerant and welcoming man who accepted Shanley into St. Jean's
after a number of other pastors had turned him down.
I went to St. Jean's on Sundays to lead music at Mass. Occasionally,
I ran into Shanley at the rectory. He was tall, slender, handsome,
and slightly graying: not the old man extradited from San Diego
There were children in the congregation, though not enough to keep
the elementary school open. But Boston in the 1970s was not a place
that had an easy time integrating its public schools, and St. Jean's,
just outside the city, was something of a haven for the children
of white parents looking for an escape. At the time, the Boston
archdiocese gave those parents a hard time transferring their public
school children to their local Catholic parish school, so as not
to undercut the attempts at public school integration. St. Jean's
flew under the radar screen.
Thinking about Shanley for the first time in 20 years, I wonder
if any of his victims were children whose parents sent them to St.
Jean's in order to avoid having them attend integrated public schools
in Boston. I wonder whether the myopic views of the Boston archdiocese
about homosexuality blinded it to Shanley's real danger. I wonder
why a Church, despite reports of misdeeds, allowed a sexual predator
to operate inside a school for seven years.
Some believe that good will come out of this scandal and that the
Catholic hierarchy will be forced to reform by ordaining women and
married priests. I doubt it. The Church will make cosmetic changes
to root out pederast priests, and a celibate hierarchy will resist
deeper reform with its every fiber.
JACK CROWE '82
Oak Park, Illinois
I am a clinical psychologist who has specialized in treating individuals
traumatized by childhood abuse. James Porter, now an ex-priest,
repeatedly sodomized me when I was 11 years old. When in high school,
I sought pastoral counseling with a priest; on the second meeting
he attempted to fondle me. Parishioners hounded my parents from
their church during the publicity surrounding the Porter trials
and lawsuits against the diocese, accusing their son of being a
Church-basher or of just being in it for the money. When my parents
asked the pastor to intervene, he did nothing.
So I had ambivalent feelings when I read about President William
P. Leahy, SJ, initiating a two-year, special academic focus on the
issue. A part of me shouted, "Hurray, at last, thank God, go Eagles,
leave it to the Jesuits!" Another part of me looked in vain for
any mention of a need to focus on the key issue: an autocratic,
patriarchal, medieval governing structure seriously dissociated
from living life on life's terms. Even now, church authorities are
trying to scapegoat the media, gays, lawyers, Vatican II, American
culture, and the victims. What's the real problem? It's enabling
I strongly encourage other survivors of clerical abuse who are members
of the BC community to speak up. Add your voice to the debate. This
is the best way to heal. And it is also the best way to keep the
debate at Boston College real and not simply cosmetic, insular,
MIKE SULLIVAN '74
Las Vegas, Nevada
Fr. Robert P. Imbelli has it right; the crisis is first about fidelity
to Christ and his proclamation, then about ecclesial structures.
Absent such purification of the inside of the cup on the part of
everyone, efforts at cleansing the outside will only produce even
more desiccated "Catholic Lite."
PAUL J. JOBIN MA '63
Claremont, New Hampshire
The 1824 cure of Mrs. Ann Carbery Mattingly after a novena by her
parish priests at the suggestion of the German priest Prince Alexander
of Hohenlohe ["Wonder bar" by Nancy Lusignan Schultz, Spring 2002]
is more than obscure American Catholic trivia. It is part of the
living tradition of her parish.
Each Thursday after the 12:10 p.m. Mass, that parish—St. Patrick's
Church, in downtown Washington, D.C.—still celebrates a novena
to the Holy Name of Jesus, inspired by Mattingly's sudden cure on
the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus after a seven-year struggle
If you're ever in the nation's capital on a Thursday, join us.
JAMES G. BRUEN JR. JD '73
I just read your article in the Winter 2002 issue on women's boxing
["Get Busy, Girlfriend," by Carlo Rotella]. Thank you for putting
into words what so many feel. Women should have every opportunity
that men do to compete in any sport and make as much as they do.
I am very proud of the trail that Mitzi Jeter has blazed over the
years to make the path of future women boxers a little easier. I'm
sure that before too long, Mitzi will have the title "world champion"
after her name, because she is the best women's boxer in the world.
OK, I'm biased, but that's what cousins are for.