Letters – October 26, 2017

| October 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

Urban missionaries?

Compliments to The Catholic Spirit on its publications of Jason Adkins’ columns and, most recently, “Combating racial disparities” (Sept. 28). The column includes these observations: Racism cannot be fully eradicated by public policy; primary factors contributing to socioeconomic disparities are education, criminal justice and the family; those impacted are categorized by skin color, ethnicity or race; and black children’s family instability is an important part of the U.S. stratification story.

I offer some further observations: The primary, and ranked, factors are the family, education and criminal justice; generalizations overlook a socioeconomic continuum within each of the skin color, ethnicity and race categories; and America’s “racial” issues principally relate to those who are both slave descendants and multi-generational welfare dependents, the majority of whom live in big cities and, by some definitions, live within “another world.”

Catholic missionary priests have historically evangelized within the “underdeveloped world” and influenced the spirituality and culture of millions. America’s inner big cities are in desperate need of an equivalent commitment of missionaries — call them “urban missionaries.”

Gene Delaune
St. John the Baptist, New Brighton

Engaging lay leadership

In “Unfinished” (Oct. 12), Father Lachowitzer gives a heartfelt insight into the long path of healing from the sexual abuse crisis that lies ahead of our local Catholic community. He rightly points out that it goes beyond the legal and compensation issues. It goes to the heart of our community. As such, it needs to actively involve us in the lay community. If we remain as spectators to the court proceedings and the other efforts of the archdiocese to address this issue, we will be shirking our “responsibility to bring the light of Christ” to this darkness. How can the archdiocese engage us in the lay community to answer Father Lachowitzer’s call to participate in this healing process? One step is to create a structure through which we in the lay community can select representatives who can lead us laity in addressing this and other relevant archdiocesan issues.

Ed Walsh
St. Joan of Arc, Minneapolis

Transgender considerations

Transgender therapy is rightly the province of scientific research and the medical community and not of ideological conservative religious groups, like those Jonathan Liedl relies on in “Switching Sexes? Transgender ideology and the Church” (Sept. 28). Jason Adkins, director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, contends that humans are created male or female, disregarding the fact of intersex and the issue of transgender. Liedl discredits the American Psychiatric Association and turns to a single psychiatrist, Dr. Paul McHugh, a Catholic whose critique of transgender therapy ran in “The New Atlantis,” a journal unassociated with the medical profession. Liedl references The American College of Pediatricians, a far right Christian group that the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled “an anti-LGBT hate group,” that has protested same-sex adoption, that claims — without evidence — a strong link between abortion and breast cancer, and that is frequently quoted in Breitbart. Catholics deserve a more balanced discussion of a complex condition.

Mary Ellen Jordan
Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis

In response to “Switching sexes?” (Sept. 28), Joe Kruse submitted a letter (Oct. 12) calling out any criticism of the transgender movement as antithetical to the pro-life work of the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth. Pope Francis, a champion of the unborn, as well as the environment, the immigrant and the poor, has sharply criticized gender ideology on a number of occasions, calling it antithetical to human dignity. Pope Francis explains that our bodies and our planet are both gifts to be received, not mere material to manipulate as we please. In “Laudato Si’,” the pope states, “[T]hinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.” The earth is not ours to plunder and our bodies are not ours to mutilate. The pro-life ethos that undergirds the Catholic response to gender ideology would never condone the direct harm of anyone, let alone someone who is confused about their sexual identity. In fact, a pro-life response to gender ideology must be to teach others that the human body — whether it’s ours or someone else’s — is a gift from God deserving of respect and dignity. The Church has no choice but to reject the ideology of gender if it wants to show real love to those who have fallen under its spell.

Alexa Kuwata
St. Mark, St. Paul

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Category: From Readers