Correspondence

CORRESPONDENCE God's design Wausau, Wis. To the Editors: Your March 27 issue could be subtitled, "Here We Go Again." It boggles the imagination to wonder what the Catholic church would be...

...Worcester, MA 01610...
...To the Editors: Of the "Instruction on Respect for Human Life...
...You also articulated well the deficiencies in its approach...
...Vocation is a key idea in the document as it is in natural moral law...
...SCOTT SHAEFFER-DUFFY Radical implications Philadelphia, Pa...
...Jameson implies, they are not the owners of the money, merely the conduits through which someone else's money flows...
...Have you forgotten that Archbishop James Hickey of Washington, a perfect example of our problem, is accurately quoted as saying, "There is no right [within the church] to public dissent...
...Too many of us today are educated beyond that time...
...It must be quarreled with, and that must be done with great force...
...If Rome cannot honestly approach a question of faith and morals, and too often here for example the evidence shows it cannot, the time to be filled with quarrelsomeness is now...
...Two millennia of Catholic social thought make it quite clear I do not have an unqualified right to property, even to my own pension funds particularly if the price of enjoying them may be the grinding poverty of a substantial fraction of those now living on this planet...
...In redesigning our fertility, in either the avoiding or achieving mode, we begin to unravel the threads of the "seamless garment" ethic...
...Otherwise an "Instruction" becomes nothing more than a casual opinion...
...Today, there are budding signs of change in society's views...
...The combination of the fire and our jail terms has forced us to appeal for help...
...Preposterous...
...By this Lindbeck means that shared practices of interpretation and response shape our experiences of the world in profound ways...
...The "Instruction," in addition to nearly downplaying adoption and other forms of service, fruitfulness, and generativity, provides no such vision for couples to reflect upon...
...To the Editors: Regarding your March 27 editorial on the Vatican's recent "Instruction" on human life, I believe you did an excellent job delineating the structural and tonal problems with the document...
...But as Dr...
...It is tempting to treat them as self-seeking or uncaring and they may be but that is largely irrelevant...
...Nevertheless, a thorough understanding of the problem requires an analysis of the impact on what Dr...
...c/o 112 Woodland St...
...But, as I have tried briefly to suggest, this is a too narrow, and ultimately unhistorical, way of understanding the priority of language to experience in Christian life...
...We are praying for a miracle which will return us to our work soon...
...To a significant extent, ownership of these funds must be vested in the American people, and probably a substantial fraction of it is derived from our pension funds...
...What if the church had challenged the sexual myths of our culture by proclaiming that the connection between sexual intercourse and an emotionally close, loving relationship has evolved as the essential factor in the fulfillment of our human sexuality that sex without this connection is empty and unsatisfying...
...True, but, I would submit, only partly...
...The church is questioning the appropriateness of alleviating the suffering of barrenness through the manufacturing of children...
...H. CARROLL SHEEHY, JR...
...In 1977,82.2 percent of Citicorp's earnings were from its international operations, and between 1977 and 1982 the ten largest banks obtained 48 percent of their earnings from international operations and the third-world loans paid above the average return...
...Important strands of Christian tradition, not least the Catholic, have strongly emphasized that concern with the good of this present world is integral to a faithful response to grace...
...The superiority of one interpretation to the other cannot be based on claims to superior purity alone...
...And that does not take into account the inability of many even to begin to develop an alternative...
...It is because of this vocation that "marriage possesses specific goods and values in its union and in procreation which cannot be likened to those existing in lower forms of life...
...That would be to lose the point of the post-liberal approach, which is to return us, without conceptual trump cards, to the church as a community of interpretation and even argument...
...Donations can be sent to: Sts...
...That is, how do couples situate questions about their fertility within the context of their relationship with God...
...1:27-28) and relational (Gen...
...I refer to the matter of the ownership of the money loaned...
...Increasingly, commitment is being recognized as a crucial factor in aiding the growth of emotional closeness...
...We do not exist to serve it...
...This means that something that could be done by following natural, biological processes is not to be dona in humans because of their vocation to share in God's work...
...Listing these debts with our assets may be illusory, but still it seems to preserve the current functioning of the pension system...
...365 However, Giurlanda begins to conflate this general point which, if his theory is correct, must actually be a recognition that our contemporary cultural situation is precisely one of standing within several communities of discourse with Hauerwas's answer to his own question...
...Jameson passes over in silence...
...But where does the church stand today...
...I do not believe our call is so much to prevent such suffering, but to help carry each other's burdens, including barrenness...
...In two sentences the Instruc(continued on page 364) 338: CORRESPONDENCE (Continued from page 338) tion asserts that it takes its criteria for what can be done not only from its notion of man and woman's nature but also from its notion of their vocation...
...Francis and Therese Catholic Worker...
...Indeed, much of the New Testament, as well as the tradition of the church, can be seen as a continuing effort at interpretation...
...But few gained greatly from these profits, for wealth in the U.S...
...Request for help Worcester, Mass...
...And possibly relegating church officialdom itself to irrelevancy...
...Throughout history the results of this type of action have been painful to the church, driving many away from the home that should be theirs, driving a wedge between man and his love of God...
...is highly concentrated...
...Through the eyes of faith, I think we are called to endure some of the cards which life deals us, and to frame such experiences within the Pascal Mystery...
...So profound that there can be no division in principle between criteria or conditions or meaning, the task usually allotted to philosophy, and the substance of a particular interpretation, with "substance" the usually accepted contribution of theology...
...In other words, the meaning of "knowledge" and even "reason" depends upon the practical relationships and attitudes normative for a given community...
...Nought remains But vindictiveness here amid the strong And there amid the weak an impotent rage...
...For each of us has most likely benefited in some way from the debt game...
...The document emphasized the danger of viewing children as products for consumption...
...I don't know...
...Christians have since the beginning asked over and over again the normative meaning of Christ's acts of suffering love...
...Genetic engineering is on the horizon...
...On April 1, we suffered a terrible fire which left our entire community of nine adults and one infant homeless...
...Only one cannot, as Giurlanda suggests, found the interpretive thesis in a privileged way by means of post-liberal philosophy...
...The Vatican's "Instruction," however imperfect it may be, is pointing toward the social and theological meaning of the use of technology in solving human problems...
...The Holy See exists to serve us...
...Neither is Hauerwas's position entailed in any simple way by the biblical narrative in itself...
...He is quite correct, I believe, in his contention that what he terms "post-liberal" theology is going to change the traditional questions of theology and of philosophy as well...
...A part of this latest "Instruction" cannot...
...The international banks are remote, seemingly impersonal, and perhaps evoke a faintly sinister image...
...The good news is that only 25 percent of their assets are in stocks, and of course the share in bank stocks would be substantially less...
...The downside of this is seen in Citicorp's estimate that its profits may fall by $ 1 billion this year because of a $2.5 billion second-quarter write off after the Brazilian suspension of interest payments...
...It is certainly true, however, that pension holdings have increased their share of wealth, from around 5 percent in 1955 to an estimated 39 percent in 1987...
...5:2833...
...He must be told our church is a democratic church and always has been despite the inability of much of the prelacy to understand it is...
...The church's history is full of efforts to claim a new revelation or a privileged recovery of the purity of an original one with results of something far less, alas, than the coming of the Peaceable Kingdom...
...Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger needs to be reminded he cannot manage his office as summarily as some of his predecessors did...
...The priority of language to experience is a very significant theological and philosophical proposition, and the interpretive argument put forward by Hauerwas is a serious and important one...
...It boggles the imagination to wonder what the Catholic church would be like today if, in 1969, officialdom had affirmed that the creation account describes two distinct aspects of human sexuality, procreative (Gen...
...I will alter one of his sentences in order to make my point: "The individualism of our culture, the assumption that happiness lies in the satisfaction of desire, the unwillingness to question desire itself, all stand in the way of an appreciation of the cross of infertility.'' When a human desire is proclaimed as a right, if there is a way, then there is an entrepreneurial will to solve the problem...
...But this interpretive effort has not resulted in smooth unanimity, or anything like consensus around Hauerwas's position...
...Heaney asks an elaboration on my statement,' 'probably .. . you and I are to blame as well...
...You write, "Those who are dissatisfied with the Vatican 'Instruction' are under the obligation to develop an alternative...
...One central issue not well articulated in the document, is the relationship of faith and fertility...
...ROBERT P. HEANEY The author replies: Mr...
...This is not to rule Hauerwas's interpretation out of consideration, but it is a reminder that, like it or not, the meaning of the texts normative for Christians is significantly bound up with the whole history of the Christian community's struggles over interpretation, that is, with its tradition...
...To the Editors: The Sts...
...This conclusion, as Giurlanda points out, has quite radical implications for biblical religion, which stands upon its interpretation of texts canonical for the community of believers...
...There is no longer room in our church for prelates who act and decree in secrecy...
...As Giurlanda presents it, "postliberal" theology has implications that conceive the church in pure contraposition to a corrupt world...
...This line of reasoning is certainly not relying on a "notion of biological nature," as the editorial states, but on a much fuller notion of the human person, who is touched "in the body and through the body," and who is also called "to share in a special way in his mystery of personal communion and in his work as Creator and Father.'' JERRY BRACKEN, C.P...
...In thinking about third-world debt, we might do better to place it in the context of the Hardy quote used by Keynes in his The Economic Consequences of the Peace: Observe that all wide sight and self-command Deserts these throngs now driven to demonry By the Immanent Unrecking...
...Most of us have so little sense of personal affluence that we are inclined to think it's someone else's money at stake...
...John Garvey's excellent column in the same issue contains an indirect response...
...CHARLES BALSAM A question of means Philadelphia, Pa...
...Quarrelsomeness now Las Vegas, Nev...
...Giurlanda writes well when he says that, according to this post-liberal view, "the philosophical problem of truth" becomes inseparably tied to the way particular communities live out their understandings of life's meaning and ends...
...Granted the technology, it is a difficult question for many to answer...
...you write ["What Comes Naturally," March 27], "It views morality as a matter of articulating laws, and these laws are found inscribed in the natural form of marital intercourse...
...Rather those who produce the "Instruction" are under an obligation to do so fairly, honestly, and in the open...
...Some sexology experts now recognize that emotionally close loving, not pleasure, is the key to sexual satisfaction...
...The church is still hung up on preserving the connection between sexual intercourse and procreation as the connection essential to God's design, thereby relegating to irrelevancy both the connection between relational sex and committed loving and the connection between procreation and a committed love relationship...
...And then affirmed, boldly and courageously, the conviction held by so many of the faithful that God's design for human sexuality is violated when either procreation or relational sex is separated from ongoing, committed loving...
...Several points should be made: To the extent that we (individually or through our pension plans) have stocks in banks, we have certainly benefited from the loans to the third world, for the major banks' profits in the late 1970s swelled precisely because of those loans...
...now we are headed toward the polar opposite manufacturing children or renting wombs at any cost...
...We may, de facto, be caught in the equivalent of a large pyramid scheme, in which those who have retired in the past were able to get out with their investment intact, but those who retire in the future may not...
...The "post-liberal" theologians Giurlanda discusses share a common focus on what one of them, George Lindbeck, calls the priority of language to experience...
...This conclusion certainly makes compelling Stanley Hauerwas's question of how to communicate beyond one's own linguistic community, once the communal basis of knowledge is recognized...
...But it does have a single word "quarrelsomeness' ' which it hopes not to be and would have been more forceful if it had been...
...Any solution to this problem that will be workable will require an analysis and understanding of this other side of the question both from considerations of equity and of political practicability...
...However, by plunging the reader in medias res of the post-liberal conversation, Giurlanda also speeds us to an over-hasty agreement with one particular post-liberal position, that advanced by Stanley Hauerwas...
...There can be little question about the importance of the third-world debt...
...But for Hauerwas's interpretation of the Christian "foundation story," this answer entails a choice between the church, conceived as this community of witness, and the "world...
...As one who has in the past struggled with infertility, I believe we have to ask a hard question: Do we have an absolute right to a child...
...Since then, I and another Catholic Worker have been to court for prayer witnesses against a local nuclear weapons manufacturer...
...KENNETH JAMESON...
...However, neither the benefits nor the costs have been large, for most of us...
...Until our fire, we gave shelter to the homeless, offered food to those in need, prayed together daily, had meetings for clarification of thought, printed an eight-page newspaper, and took part in peace vigils and civil disobedience...
...Francis and Therese Catholic Worker House needs your help...
...The conclusion is that all of us in pension programs benefited from the loans, and should bear some of the costs...
...If it is not, then there is no Trinity for there is no Holy Spirit...
...MARILYN KRAMER Faith & fertility Beaumont, Tex...
...A potential new home exists right across the street, but we need $65,000 to buy and repair it...
...What one should have liked to learn from an economist would have been a better analysis of the structure of this situation, i.e., what fraction of this mass of undoubtedly bad debts represents "assets" now being held by our pension funds, and what fraction of our pension funds has effectively been invested in the third world...
...For example, the top 1 percent of wealth holders have over 25 percent of the total wealth...
...Would that functioning be seriously disrupted by writing them off...
...As a society, we already go to a destructive extreme in avoiding children...
...WILLIAM M. SULLIVAN Owning the loans Omaha, Neb...
...Jameson calls "the lender of last resort...
...To the Editors: Kenneth Jameson's "Mortgaging a House of Cards" [February 22] was disappointing...
...To the Editors: Paul Giurlanda's important article ["The Challenge of PostLiberal Theology," January 30] calls attention to an emerging body of theological reflection...
...How so...
...Hauerwas's answer is that the Christstory of suffering, loving response to others provides, for Christians, the normative way toward the eschatological universal of human community, a way realized by fidelity to this response...
...But there is an aspect of the problem that, except for a glancing allusion to "the lenders of last resort," Dr...
...And what would be the impact on our own personal financial futures of writing it all off as bad debt...
...But that is probably not true...
...I don't, of course, know whether this is true, because I don't know the importance of this third-world debt for our pension funds...
...Forthis reason one cannot use means and follow methods which could be licit in the transmission of the life of plants and animals...
...To the Editors: The editorial, ["What Comes Naturally," March 27] is fascinating, confusing, and confused...
...2:18-25) and had affirmed that committed loving is the essential element that makes the man/ woman sexual relationship like Christ's relationship with the church (Eph...
...The theology of "NO" can no longer be tolerated, unless it can defend itself...
...While this position is consistent with recognition of the priority of language to experience, it is by no means entailed by it...
...I do not for a moment suggest that my property rights are not highly qualified by the needs of my brothers and sisters...
...it is not necessarily violated when procreative and relational sex are separated...
...Of much greater concern to pension plan participants should be the unfunded portion of their plans and the inadequacies of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation...
...The church's answer (No) is difficult to swallow, especially in a country that currently functions in part, on the notion of the supremacy of individual rights, constitutional or otherwise...

Vol. 114 • June 1987 • No. 11


 
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