Correspondence

CORRESPONDENCE The essence is true Washington, D.C. To the Editors: With regard to Graham Greene's letter [October 23] about my "lies" in retelling his story about Padre Pio: I have checked...

...Certainly I would not wish I had had more husbands, more money, or fewer children...
...There were days when I could have put three of the darlings in the washer and two in the dryer...
...In my very earthy yet somehow unworldly daily life, the word of God came alive just as the old books said it would...
...To the Editors: Like many of the "liberal" readers and writers of Commonweal, I feel uncomfortable with the church's pronouncements on sexual matters and rather anxious to disassociate myself from conservative views and viewers...
...In public, I find the most acceptable social ploy is to knock the pope (historically an orthodox sport), concede the Inquisition, and change the subject...
...After all, nobody excommunicated those legendary Catholic kings and queens notorious for their bastards and playmates...
...Maybe it's also time for the liberals to admit a connection between the rejection of the sexual (Continued on page 687) CORRESPONDENCE (Continued from page 642) taboos and the brutalization of the underprivileged young in New York City, where the best that the educational system proposes to offer an eleven-year-old girl is a condom or an abortion...
...To the Editors: With regard to Graham Greene's letter [October 23] about my "lies" in retelling his story about Padre Pio: I have checked with the person to whom Greene told the story twenty years ago, Mr...
...Oddly, just last week, while reading Philip Ziegler's biography of the late Diana Cooper, I came across a mention of the exact same story, told to Cooper by Greene...
...Perhaps I'm not alone, either, in a certain ambivalence...
...Greene is attempting to disassociate himself from a story he has, quite obviously, told to a number of people, I cannot say...
...But with this triumphant peroration, I betray my own life...
...I was, to be sure, in error in some of the details...
...Avarice, for example, was considered a worse sin than lechery, and yet how many priests have given everything to the poor...
...Existentially, pragmatically, it all worked together, so that I came to believe (like the present pope) that capitalism and contraception are expressions of the same materialism...
...And if I were to be convinced today that there is no God and that the church is a fraud, I would not regret those years of striving for the only goal worth the striving...
...I recognize that capitalism and contraception are here to stay, and that only a fool takes God with her to the bank or the bedroom...
...Of course it wasn't all sweetness and light...
...In most times and places, I continue professorially, the clergy have wisely refrained from questioning the laity too closely about their sexual practices...
...I recognize, too, that in the providence of God all is not lost...
...But once in, having decided to swallow the whole thing, I discovered it was a whole...
...I enunciate social arguments that my personal history belies...
...But never for a minute did I wish one of them unborn...
...Popes do come and go, and it may be time for the conservatives to rejoice that some bright, honest young Catholics are staying in the church and bringing up their two children to be as Catholic as they can be...
...He confirms the basic facts, to wit, that Greene told him he had traveled to Padre Pio's village and had a strange, quasi-supernatural encounter with one of Pio's priests...
...A folly, if you like but just possibly full of grace, like giving all to the poor...
...Indeed, some of them were both devout and generous, and they didn't expect God or the church to be stricter about sex than about other sins...
...RUTH AMES GELBER...
...And even if it's too late, I'd like to ask Catholic conservatives and liberals alike to stop talking about childbearing as though it were a disease...
...My time has passed...
...Even at twenty-five, with Thomas More and Francis of Assisi beckoning me in, the church's views on birth control kept me out...
...Not for one embarrassing moment do I come out of the closet and confess that the happiest years of my life were spent trying to practice what the pope is preaching, and that in the fifteen years I stayed home with one husband and five children, I did not feel repressed, oppressed, or depressed...
...Sometimes I find myself explaining, in my most reasonable, Commonweal editorial voice, that popes come and go, and that as the ban against usury went, so will that against, say, contraception...
...CHRISTOPHER BUCKLEY Admitting connections New York, N.Y...
...Everything from washing dishes to making love became beautiful under God...
...It's not that I could claim in an Apologia pro Vita Mea that I didn't know better, that I was brainwashed by a Catholic childhood...
...But the essence of the story is true...
...On the contrary, by the time I was one-and-twenty, I had assimilated all the modern world's better answers...
...Why Mr...
...Peter Glenville, the British director...

Vol. 114 • November 1987 • No. 20


 
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