CatholicismAndrew Greeley (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 25...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 07, 1993

Catholicism

Andrew Greeley (Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 25) succeeds only in confusing moral issues, including what we mean by a "good Catholic," for that is not necessarily the same as a "good person."

That should be obvious even to non-Catholics if we simply substitute "racism" for the "sexual immorality" which preoccupies Greeley in his article. A Catholic who is also a racist is, simply, a "bad Catholic." Period.

Does that mean also that he or she is a "bad person" -- a sinner in the process of separating self from God, perhaps forever? Not necessarily, for a "bad person" is one who (1) basically knows or should know the evil of certain acts, (2) at the same time has a basic inner freedom (a capacity successfully to resist such acts if he or she really wanted to), and (3) nonetheless goes ahead and deliberately pursues them.

Thus that famous anti-Semite, Adolf Hitler, was a "bad Catholic." what degree and with what finality he wound up also a "bad person," only God knows.

Our limited insight allows that Hitler possibly may have been only a basically insane person gone to full bloom. Indeed, one of the first signs of a "good Catholic" is one's willingness to recognize that one has been also a "bad Catholic" (one who fails morally in some ways) -- or, even though one has blinded one's self to it, has been a "bad person" -- an actual, deliberate sinner.

The "Act of Contrition" at least implies that I am willing -- indeed positively desire -- to have any self-inducted blindness on moral issues healed and my heart brought to repentance. Until we come to that total acceptance of truth (even about our own moral failures), we will not be able to bear the sight of the ultimate Truth, "God in the face."

The church warns racists of that, as she warns all who make a place in their lives for any other immorality -- including contraceptive substitutes for the one and only authentically human sexual act. Greeley's growing confusion on this and a number of other facts changes nothing of that warning.

Rev. John J. Kelly

Glen Burnie

Tasteless Cartoon

Occasionally the media make errors in judgment or taste. I'd like to address what I feel to be one of these occasions.

The editorial cartoon Aug. 19 [by Mike Peters of the Dayton Daily News] referring to the Israeli Supreme Court and John Demjanjuk was downright offensive and at best in very bad taste.

As a student of history and more especially of World War II, I find no humor in the nightmare of the Holocaust.

Let me say that I am not to be taken as merely another Zionist agitator.

I am not, nor are any of my family, Jewish. I do, however, share deeply the pain, suffering and horror of my Jewish brethren and the agonizing memories of the murder of millions of fellow human beings. As a Christian and a member of the human race, I can do nothing less.

I feel strongly that the memory of the horror perpetrated by the Nazi monsters and permitted to continue by spineless politicians should not be sullied by such silly, mindless prattle of an insensitive political cartoonist as Mike Peters seems to be. Ivan the terrible is and was deserving of the title, whether he is in fact John Demjanjuk or someone else.

As a reader of The Sun for over 40 years, let me state unequivocally my objections to such a terrible blot on mankind being trivialized by such a tasteless piece of nonsense.

Such trash is beneath the dignity and quality of such an honored and valuable journal.

David Manning

Baltimore

No Deadbeat

Your newspaper's effort to embarrass the doctors owing federal student loans accomplished its goal by providing inaccurate, misleading and incomplete information.

I cannot speak for each name on the list but I am certain that others have situations similar to ours.

My husband does indeed owe the federal government the figure stated which, by the way, includes a substantial amount of interest. However, he has been making regular payments toward that debt and is not the deadbeat portrayed in your article.

Many people are of the opinion that those entering the medical professional are earning huge sums of money, and that is not necessarily the case.

When I met my husband four years ago, he was earning less as a dentist than I was as an administrative assistant.

Mortgage, utilities, automobile, dental lab fees, health, life and malpractice insurance (which are not contributed to by his employer), day care, taxes and other necessities of life leave little extra for monthly student loans, which amount to over one and a half times our house payment.

We even sought the federal government's assistance in locating openings in public service programs in an effort to repay a portion of the debt, but there were no positions available for the dental profession.

We live in a middle-income home, drive a nine-year-old automobile, have no savings account, take camping trips as vacations, pack lunches and eat dinners at home and don't even have cable TV.

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