John C. Corts September column, Behind the Tempting Grape, was one of the best and most timely pieces Ive read in the NOR. He gave factual evidence on a topic which greatly needs publicity.
Among the many items in the NOR which Ive greatly valued was Martin Youngs letter entitled A Vietnam Veteran Responds to Fr. Fessio (July-Aug.). His reply to Fessio was almost as good as the original column by Christopher Derrick which Fessio criticized.
A Jewish View
I guess Im one of the few Jewish readers you have. I enjoy your articles and, although I do not accept Christianity, I do share and love the ethical teachings of Jesus, such as the Sermon on the Mount, and I admire the compassion Jesus showed for the poor, the aged, the ill, and the unfortunates of society.
One of the chief reasons I cannot accept Catholicism is your belief that Jesus was God. In our faith our major prayer is the Shma, or Hear Oh Israel, the Lord the God, the Lord is One. I also have great difficulty in believing Marys Immaculate Conception, as well as some of the miracles Jesus performed.
Some of my arguments with the Church go back to Pope Pius XII, who was silent as the proverbial sphinx while the terrible Holocaust was going on during the Second World War. I lost 45 relatives in concentration camps. Also, while acting as papal nuncio in Munich in the 1920s, he (then known as Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli) was very sympathetic to the Nazi cause and donated funds to the Nazi Party. How different that Pope was from the teachings of Jesus!
On the positive side, I (a Deist Jew) very much liked Pope John XXIII, who made every effort to liberalize the Church and to finally absolve the Jewish people of the death of Jesus. I admire the Catholic Church for its excellence in education and for the posture taken by the American bishops on so many social causes, especially the growing problems of poverty and homelessness. The Catholic Church leads all other churches on social issues. The Catholic Church has a tremendously good education system for children from kindergarten through high school. I admire the equality of dress which Catholic schools stipulate for girl students. I also pay my respects to the great American Catholic hospitals, where I have received merciful care from the sisters.
My major problem with the Church, or rather with the Vatican, is that it refuses to recognize the state of Israel. After all the suffering and agony of the Jewish people, the pope still refuses to admit that the Jewish people have a right to the land God willed to them.
Nevertheless, I very much enjoy the NOR. Keep up the good work!
Upper Darby, Pennsylvania
Nose Against the Windowpane
I loved David Hartmans article about his Protestant nose being on the Catholic windowpane (Sept.). My nose has been in that position for some time. The Rev. Hartmans discussion was wonderfully balanced and sane, and it was just what I hoped for and needed.
More generally: the reviews by James J. Thompson Jr. are priceless. I have read many books because of his recommendation.
Hampton, South Carolina