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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



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 leaders)?

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.

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.

Dunwoody, Georgia


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 to BC.

Why not feature alumni who are making a contribution in the way they were taught at BC—who are peacemakers or are working with the poor?

Vienna, Virginia


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.

Stamford, Connecticut



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.

Phoenix, Arizona


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.

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.

Andover, Massachusetts


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."

Hingham, Massachusetts


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.

Winnipeg, Manitoba



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 his life.

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."

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.

Norwood, Massachusetts



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 "one-way traffic."

Brookline, Massachusetts



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.

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.

Marlboro, New Jersey


Correction: 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.

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