Letters to the Editor: March 1984
Opus Dei Against the Family?
“By no means…are parents called upon to abandon their child into the hands of the professionals, be they of the Church or the state.” — Silvio Cardinal Oddi, prefect of the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Clergy
“When God enters the picture, parents’ rights cease.” — official Opus Dei directive
Roman Catholic parents discover without fail that an essential part of educating children to adulthood is finding outside sources that corroborate their family values. In every area, including religious instruction, this has become difficult of late, particularly for the “Papist” family — the religiously conservative (though not necessarily politically so) family with loving fidelity to Church, Pope, and Magister-ium.
Unfortunately, recent articles about one of the newly prominent, religiously conservative “outside sources,” Opus Dei (see the National Catholic Reporter, May 27, 1983; New Oxford Review, June 1983; Chicago Sun-Times, June 17, 1983; The Wanderer, July 28, 1983; National Catholic Register, August 1983) have served only to confuse parents in search of this corroboration, by perpetuating the controversy which has surrounded “the Work,” as Opus Dei has been called since its inception in 1928.
Somehow, other newly prominent and equally orthodox movements within the Church (the international Focolare movement and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, to name but two) seem not to have generated such polarized points of view as are being expressed about Opus Dei.
Even so, one has to look long and hard at the recent press to determine exactly where lie the bones of contention. Both sides have thus far really examined only the territory of their own prejudgments, ignoring wider issues, notably parental rights.
None of the recent articles has presented enough objective information about Opus Dei to provide a balanced discussion, one that is long overdue. The late great Catholic layman Frank Sheed said after 50 years of street witness for Catholicism, “All polemic is stained with cheating.” Most articles on “the Work,” both pro and con, have borne out Sheed’s observation, and the ones cited above are no exception.
Almost predictably, the Left knee has had a negative reflex. Peter Hebblethwaite (an English former Jesuit) apparently based his piece in the National Catholic Reporter on the remark of a former member of Opus Dei Fr. Vladimir Felzmann: “To understand Opus Dei, you have to understand Escrivá.”
The result is a gossipy essay that relies heavily on the ad hominem argument to discredit Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei. “[Escrivá] had little use for the Council [Vatican II]…his only interest in it was to see how far it could be exploited.” “Socially, he was discreetly snobbish”; “privately, he did not like John XXIII because he was fat, undistinguished, and of peasant origins.” “Intellectually, Escrivá was narrow, mistrusting books,” and so forth.
Around these remarks is woven a short history of “the Work,” and certainly none of it is calculated to attract people to Opus Dei. What real information there is, and there is some, is buried beneath the author’s prejudices. The recounting of the personal history of a former member does mention internal policies that forbid members from attending their families’ weddings, birthdays, and special occasions of importance, but the topic is not pursued.
Several weeks later came Garry Wills’s syndicated column in the Chicago Sun-Times. He repeated much of the NCR article, adding that Opus Dei is “weird,” and a group whose “devotion is directed to a fanatical obsession with sexual asceticism, anti-intellectual suspicion of modern theology, and reactionary politics.”
He went on to say, “It [Opus] recruits members on condition that they tell no one, even members of the family, they are joining.” Then summing up his attack on Msgr. Escrivá (his prime candidate for Big Brother in 1984) he concludes, “How odd that a Pope should decry Big Brotherism in Poland, while promoting its cause in Rome.” One gets the impression that Wills doesn’t think it odd at a just good ol’ repressive, monolithic, nightmarish, unenlightened Catholicism rearing its ugly head as usual. Something that bad doesn’t deserve a fair shake, and it gets none.
So, what was that Pavlovian twitch of the Right knee? In a short piece in The Wanderer entitled, “Why the Enmity Toward Opus Dei?” Joseph T. Gill expressed the gratitude we all have felt in discovering Opus Dei as a place where “genuine, authentic Catholicism is preached in no uncertain terms,” but only after striking back at Wills in kind: “It is difficult to imagine more ignorance, misinformation, and falsehood could be crammed into a small space”; “Wills falsely and recklessly wrote”; “such malignant nonsense and drivel”; “it is surely to be regretted that Garry Wills chose to descend into the sewer and to unload his venom unfairly.”
Finally: “The Garry Wills’ of this world hate Opus Dei for the same reason their intellectual ancestors hated Christ and put Him to death: it and its priests and lay members are faithful to the teachings of the Father. For the same reason, we love Opus Dei.” Other than an attractive quote from Fr. Andrew Byrne about the general purpose of Opus Dei, there is once again little real news.
Moving upward from the low road of ad hominem vituperation, we find a subtler and more elegant form of reasoning, but polemical as well, and yielding as little real information. In the New Oxford Review, Fr. George William Rutler wrote a beautiful essay, “The Rise of Opus Dei.” Rutler’s prose rose to the high, one might even say, celestial road, and from there his view is magnificent. It would be no surprise if the piece were already reprinted and distributed widely within “the Work.”
To lay bare some of the skeleton of his reasoning, we have this: Opus Dei is like Vatican II: misunderstood, misrepresented, and therefore part of Church tradition; only the Church that defined the God-Man can explain Opus Dei, and the explanation is that it is a Personal Prelature (which has not been explained yet in detail for full members: the Rule has never been published); to accuse Opus Dei of secrecy is to hold Jesus suspect; Christ was dismissed by “logical people” for being controversial; “but to dismiss Opus Dei is to contradict the voice of the modern Popes and architects of Vatican II” (and inferentially to dismiss Christ).
Besides the dicto simpliciter and the false analogy, most of that is argumentum ad verecundian. This (unfair) appeal to reverence or authority is just as irrelevant a manner of reasoning as the ad hominem argument, but rather harder to expose gracefully, while still keeping full appreciation of the surrounding prose.
As for real information, there is next to none. However, Rutler’s suggestion that the future will see Opus Dei as the incarnation of Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium is reassuring. Quite possibly it could turn out to be true, but we’ll have to accept this conclusion too, on faith, not on the power of Rutler’s reasoning.
Finally, we have Carl B. Schmitt’s “The Fruits of Sanctity” in the National Catholic Register, which stresses a point totally ignored by most of Opus Dei’s critics: that sanctity is the entire raison d’être of Opus Dei. He insists that sanctity can only be pursued in terms of human freedom, quoting Msgr. Escrivá many times on that point.
Such personal and wholesome testimony is hard to resist, much less criticize, for Schmitt barely suggests that there is any controversy. That would be quite all right if he didn’t begin with premises that effectively prevent further inquiry. He quotes Msgr. Escrivá: “The only explanation [for the ‘enormous success’ of Opus Dei] is the will of God,” and again as saying, “The only thing that’s important is what God thinks.” Then he continues himself, “no Catholic wants anything to succeed in the Church unless by the will of God.”
The trouble with statements of this type is that you can only believe or disbelieve, accept or reject them. It would be hard to imagine anyone questioning Msgr. Escrivá, “But, how do you know that your success is the will of God?” since everything that exists, including failure and evil, can fall into that category. “We know that our success, the approval by the Pope and the Church, is the will of God,” goes the inferential answer, “because the Pope and the Church have approved of us,” which is, of course, the begging of the whole question.
When there are important questions being asked and few answers being volunteered, parents have learned that begging the question serves the same purpose as stonewalling. And that can excite healthy suspicion as well as some resentment.
Add to that Schmitt’s statement that Opus Dei insists on sound doctrine, which pleases Papist parents enormously. But he gives an unexpected reason for it: “If you are clear and solid on what is necessary, and only on what is necessary, then you are freer than the birds in everything else.” Speaking as a parent/CCD instructor who barely survived the 1960s coping with the imaginative interpretations given to St. Augustine’s “Love and do what you will,” that does not relax my parental vigilance.
Because of the lack of real information coming from official Opus Dei spokesmen as well as from the recent press, it should be clear that more must be said, not less, about Opus Dei and the Papist family. In the saying, care must be taken to avoid fallacious reasoning, because this reasoning does such great disservice to the Truth, to Opus Dei, and eventually to the Church.
What parents need is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, concerning their God-given children and the recruiting methods of Opus Dei, which lead to vocations to “the Work.”
Fr. Andrew Byrne, an Opus Dei priest, wrote to London’s Daily Mail, January 17, 1981: “In some cases when a youngster says he wants to join we do advise them [sic] not to tell their parents. This is because parents do not understand us.”
It is obvious that any policy that deliberately prevents parents from taking part (however badly) in the fundamental decisions of their children will produce immediate controversy as well as long-range emotional chaos within the family group. More to the point, it violates the spirit of Pope John Paul’s Familiaris Consortio: “The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others.”
Failure to acknowledge this fundamental role of parents in today’s world of Planned (“no parental notification”) Parenthood, Moonie-like cults, the North American Man-Boy Lovers Association, and other secular humanists seeking the ruin of Catholic families, borders on malicious mischief.
The acknowledgment by Opus Dei of its recruiting policy is welcome, since it confirms the private experiences of many families, my own included. More should be forthcoming about the corollary practice of “family discretion” within “the Work.” Too often this practice has been interpreted to mean solely “my new family, not my old,” as I heard one full member put it. For it is this slow, unannounced change of fundamental loyalties that can seem so unnecessarily cruel and insensitive to the natural family, rejected (for life?) without explanation. Moreover, Papist family members are intensely reluctant, even when their basic family trust has been violated, to cause scandal to Holy Mother Church by openly criticizing any group so publicly “Catholic.”
Efforts must be made to avoid further misunderstanding between Opus Dei and the Catholic community of families. Anyone who has read Msgr. Escrivá’s handbook of Opus Dei spirituality, The Way, cannot help but be impressed by the depth and profundity of his Catholicism. But it is neither anti-Catholic nor heretical to weigh his insights according to the scales provided by Catholic tradition and doctrine.
How best to understand these, for example:
Maxim 399: “If, to save an earthly life, it is praiseworthy to use force to keep a man from committing suicide, are we not allowed to use the same coercion — ‘holy Coercion’ — in order to save the Lives (with a capital) of so many who are stupidly bent on killing their souls?”
Maxim 941: “Obedience, the sure way. Blind obedience to your superior, the way of sanctity. Obedience in your apostolate, the only way, for in a work of God, the spirit must be to obey or to leave” (my italics).
Maxim 644: “Be silent! Don’t forget that your ideal [your vocation to God through Opus Dei] is like a newly-lit flame. A single breath might be enough to put it out in your heart.”
Maxim 639: “Remain silent, and you will never regret it. Speak, and you often will.”
Maxim 650: “There are many people, holy people, who don’t understand your way. Don’t strive to make them understand. It would be a waste of time and would give rise to indiscretions.”
Is it official Opus Dei policy that “holy coercion” can be used in the pursuit of potential members? Or that “blind obedience” is required?
Is it policy that speaking of one’s vocation to “the Work” is disallowed for the reason that the mere speaking of it will destroy it? How well prepared are the newly accepted members?
Of the “many people, holy people, who don’t understand your way,” how many are parents? Why would it be a “waste of time” to try to explain what is going on to them? And what kind of “indiscretion” is it that a “holy person” cannot understand?
These questions, asked in loving concern and all humility, must be addressed publicly by official spokesmen for Opus Dei. Not to provide answers is to perpetuate a situation in which Catholic parents — as in the Planned Parenthood view — are somehow the natural adversaries of their own God-given children. And that is unacceptable on every level of understanding.
Michael di Sales
Brooklyn, New York
As an admirer of James J. Thompson Jr.’s Christian Classics Revisited series, I regret that Thompson decided to include in his project Jacques Ellul’s L’impossible priere (Dec), a work which surely more properly belongs to some corpus hereticorum.
Impossible Prayer (weakly translated as Prayer and Modern Man) is an attack on the poor — on the poor at prayer, no less. Ellul’s thesis is that all “traditional” and all “spontaneous” prayer is theologically “impossible.” The French lawyer insists that the “only reason” for prayer is that prayer has been “commanded by the Wholly Other.” He thus places a taboo on all prayer that springs from men’s hearts. We are even told that genuine “prayer is the sole act left to our decision which can attack effectively…the religion in man’s heart.”
Almost pharisaically, Ellul assumes the role of an inspector-general, scrutinizing the prayer of his fellows for its allegedly remissive spontaneity. Here is one of his reports: “There is a strange custom in France which consists of inscribing prayers on the votive plaques erected in churches. These graffiti…are often very moving, sometimes funny or astonishing. There are requests by the thousands for success in school examinations, requests to be loved by ‘X,’ or to be healed…. ‘Let me find work before tomorrow so that I can feed my daughter.’ ‘Give me the courage to jump by parachute’ (etc.).”
Our inspector-general’s judgment? “The graffiti reveal indeed the content of individual prayers, and the result is not particularly satisfying!” Too obviously “from the heart,” you see!
Plainly, Ellul has forgotten the sacred truth that no sooner do the poor desire something (as Thomas Aquinas puts it) than God hears them before they put up a prayer: “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will hear” (Isa. 65:24). As Thompson rightly says, quoting Bernanos, “the wish to pray is a prayer itself.”
But Thompson goes on to knock those who “pester the Lord for small comforts and cheap benefactions.” Happily, tradition affirms a more expansive view: “It is lawful to pray for what it is lawful to desire,” writes Augustine. This removes the superfluous and the inordinate from genuine prayer, but not small comforts and benefactions. These we may pray for, as for large benefactions, not in order to change the Divine disposition, but that we may “deserve what Almighty God from eternity has disposed to give” (Gregory).
I agree with Thompson, though, that a great mystery is involved here.
John F. Maguire
Democratic Socialism’s Failure
In reading the NOR, I have come across articles and letters excoriating capitalism and Michael Novak. Simultaneously, the NOR has seemed to oppose totalitarian societies. Perplexed, I awaited NOR’s interpretation of a just economic system — a Christian system, I presumed, that would be unlike any we have seen before. Well, to my chagrin, John C. Cort’s article appeared in the December issue and confirmed my worst suspicions — social justice and the Catholic Worker Movement are properly socialistic.
I simply couldn’t believe what I was reading. Cort stated that property rights are “simply” a matter of human law. But what of God’s Ten Commandments; most notably, the Seventh — “Thou shalt not steal” — and the Tenth — “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods”? Property rights from God, no?
After the obligatory snide remark directed at Novak, Cort attempts to show how democratic socialism is the best system and that it is not totalitarian. And so, he believes essentially that workers should control the workplace. Has he seen what his workers tried to do to Greyhound? And why should entrepreneurs, who provided the work situation through their own creativity and, yes, capital, suddenly just give everything away?
Cort’s analysis of foreign examples of socialism is simplistic. No mention of Israel’s 100 percent inflation rate, or Sweden’s high rate of suicide. (As for France, Cort should speak with my family that actually lives there, and chafes under Mitterand’s socialist tax scheme.)
And so, Cort failed to make his case. He presented no empirical evidence that Democratic socialism would improve society — in fact, all the evidence is to the contrary.
Garden City, New York
JOHN C. CORT REPLIES:
I think Mr. Casanova makes a good point in quoting the Ten Commandments to challenge my reading of Thomas Aquinas that “property rights are a matter of human law, not of divine or natural law.” I should not have put it that way.
Actually, Thomas did not use phrases like “property rights.” Let me quote him directly. But first, two quotes from the Old Testament to balance, not refute, the Commandments cited by Casanova: “Behold, to the Lord your God belong…the earth and all that is in it (Deut. 10:14). And: “It is God’s gift to man that every one should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil” (Eccles. 3:13). (Emphasis added).
From these principles Thomas concludes, “Community of goods…is part of the natural law,” and he defines the natural law as “the participation of the eternal law in rational creatures.” By this law we know that God made the earth and all that is in it for the use of all mankind, as revealed in Deuteronomy and Ecclesiastes above. Thomas concludes, “The distribution of property is a matter not for natural law but, rather, human agreement [humanum condictum].” Once the agreement is made (and note that here there is a kind of democratic assumption of voluntary agreement rather than coercive dictation), then God, by reason of the Seventh and Tenth Commandments cited by Casanova, underwrites that agreement.
This too is oversimplified shorthand. But let us pursue Aquinas further: “The individual holding of possessions is not, therefore, contrary to the natural law; it is what rational beings conclude as an addition to the natural law.” Thomas then gives some of the common sense reasons that rational beings might appeal to in making this addition. We are all aware of them, and I would agree that those who favor social ownership of the means of production, whether public or co-operative, must be sure that the structural arrangements used are as consistent as possible with such considerations, which come down mainly to, “each person takes more trouble to care for something that is his sole responsibility than what is held in common or by many.”
Just as strongly, however, Thomas insists on the natural law of common use. There would seem to be a contradiction here, as Casanova noted, and the seeming contradiction has been the occasion for politically conservative Christians to neglect the latter insistence (common use) and concentrate exclusively on the former (private initiative). In resolving the seeming contradiction, Thomas starts from the following assumption: “For the well-being of the individual two things are necessary: the first and most essential is to act virtuously (it is through virtue, in fact, that we live a good life); the other, and secondary, requirement is rather a means, and lies in a sufficiency of material goods, such as are necessary to virtuous action…. Finally, it is necessary that there be, through the ruler’s sagacity, a sufficiency of those material goods which are indispensable to well-being.”
In that section of the Summa Theologica in which Thomas explains, “to speak quite strictly, it is improper to say that using somebody else’s property taken out of extreme necessity is theft,” he places the two aspects of property in their proper relationship, grounding them solidly in the teaching of Saints Ambrose and Basil, as expressed in Basil’s dictum and quoted in my article: “The coat that hangs in the closet belongs to the poor” (emphasis added).
We are therefore talking, not about charity, but justice. Thomas is not satisfied with welfare programs, necessary as these may be. He wants people to support themselves — hence, full employment. “For the peace of the state it is necessary therefore that the legislator should think out remedies against these reasons for injury done to others. In the case of those who are injured because they are unable to acquire what is necessary for subsistence, there will suffice the remedy of some modest possession, so that through their own labor they can earn their keep for themselves.”
In all probability Thomas was thinking of land, or perhaps a sum sufficient to start a small business. The equivalent today is of course a job. Note that Thomas is saying that if the government does not take care of this, then there is question of injury. Justice has been violated, not just charity.
Much more could be said about the economic and political implications of Thomistic teaching, which is really little more than explanation of the meaning of our Lord’s words in Matthew 25 (“Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the shelterless”), which in turn is explanation of what it means to love our neighbor, which in turn is explanation and proof of what it means to love God. But enough for now.
Let us proceed to Casanova’s more immediate objections to my socialistic tendencies:
(1) The Greyhound strike. Has he noted that about the same time Greyhound was protesting that its drivers’ salaries were excessive and needed to be cut, it gave its chief executive a raise, from S400,000 to $500,000?
(2) Excessive inflation in Israel. Israel has not had a socialist government since 1977. The inflation was a byproduct of the conservative Begin government.
(3) Suicide in Sweden. Recently I visited Sweden and was captivated by the order, beauty, cleanliness, efficiency, prosperity, high employment, and low inflation that characterizes that country now, and has over the years it has been governed by socialists. On my return I revisited New York City and was appalled by the contrast. Such comparisons are not entirely fair, but they are relevant, and Sweden has proved to my own satisfaction that democratic socialism can work.
About the suicide rate: In Sweden most suicides occur on sunny days — the psychology being that if a person feels suicidal on a sunny day, then the sense of despair is all the more compelling than if one feels rotten on a rotten day. Neither Sweden nor any human society is a substitute for the Kingdom of God, nor for the consolation of God’s grace, and, sadly, if one feels rotten in a good country like Sweden, then one must feel rotten indeed. Sweden, like all nations of the modern world, has not been immune to the cancers of atheism, agnosticism, doubt, and despair. Socialism cannot guarantee Thomas’s “good life.” All it can do is do a better job than capitalism of providing that “sufficiency of material goods [for all], such as are necessary to virtuous action.” That is enough for me, and I hope it might be, some day, for Mr. Casanova.
A note to praise Dale Vree’s remarks on the not-generally-praiseworthy Gregory Baum, especially Vree’s first paragraph (Dec.).
One small point: about questions that can be called “social,” I don’t think the Magisterium has ever spoken quite as apodictically as it has about questions of pure faith and personal morality. In those social areas, it isn’t so easy to find an intellectual position that puts a man fairly and squarely into heresy, or a course of action that puts him fairly and squarely into mortal sin, such as might be fully “social,” and not individual. (The rich man who oppresses his employees or tenants is of course an individual sinner.)
But in the great encyclicals most notably, the Magisterium has at least proposed a perspective, a scale of values and priorities, and very much on the lines Vree suggests; and it has done so very emphatically. A good Catholic should therefore seek to go along with it. If he gives it something short of a fully theological “assent of faith,” he is, I think, justifiable. But he’s in a bad way if he opposes it flatly, as so many do who are elsewhere so vocal in their zeal for the Magisterium.
My book on the nuclear weapon approaches completion: with luck, it will succeed in annoying everybody except NOR readers. I find that with very few exceptions, people’s attitudes to that question correlate exactly with their politics and hardly at all with their professed beliefs in faith and morals. (The same is true of people’s responses to such cases as Sacco-Vanzetti and the Rosenbergs. In either case, the same facts are available to all of us. Yet political conservatives interpret them in one sense and political liberals in another. Moral: strong political partisanship — in any sense — is a bad thing. It clouds the judgment.)
But I really write to extend some high-powered four-engined prayers, to you and all your NOR people.
What is the meaning of Juli Loesch’s article, “My Pilgrimage: Coming Home to the Church” (Nov.)? Of the many such journeys that must have been available to you for publication, is it indicative of this magazine’s policy to have presented one that “balances” opposition to abortion with all manner of implicit ugliness toward conservative American values? What does it mean when she compares “the Left with their abortions” to “the Right with their bombs”?
Bombs are, regrettably, weapons, and weapons are, historically, tools of defense or offense, and in our nation’s case, defense. Defense, incidentally against a very real threat. Loesch has drawn a parallel between a country’s right to self-defense and the Left’s murder of unborn babies. At last the NOR has arrived at that intellectual vacuum where such as this can be glibly stated as actual fact. It is not only incorrect, it is a lie. I will not renew my subscription.
For Christmas Glitter
For many years our family has enjoyed the New Oxford Review — it has encouraged us in and taught us our Christian faith.
But with deep regret we received our December issue containing Carl R. Schmahl’s “Samaritan Woman: A Christmas Story.” We love Christmas — even the glitter. Shame on you for giving us a hate-filled Christmas story.
We’ll not let the NOR in our house again.
Ralph & Carmen Bennitt
Religion & Politics
Nowhere in the United States, I think, do religion and politics come together so stimulatingly and so fruitfully as in the New Oxford Review.
Thomas H. Robinson
University of Maryland, Asian Division
The icons of Dorothy Day and Archbishop Romero by Robert Lentz in your December issue were most impressive. You ought to consider making reproductions of them available for sale to your readers.
Ed. Note: Full-color prints (lithographs) of those two icons — as well as of several others, including Dorothy Day and Archbishop Romero — are available from Bridge Building (sponsored by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco).
With this issue of the NOR, Robert Lentz joins our masthead as a staff Artist.
No Ecclesiastical Slant
To the NOR: a most blessed future! I read with joy of your Editor’s and Managing Editor’s reception into the Roman Catholic Church. I hope that the NOR’s becoming a Catholic publication, albeit unofficial, does not reduce the input of articles from reformed and evangelical catholics, Anglicans, and evangelicals. Those of us who desire to read independent, honest intellectual work by Christians who feel a strong identification with the historic, apostolic Church, but are in communion with non-Roman Catholic churches (I am a Lutheran), have few sources that are not with ecclesiastical slant. I have felt none in reading the NOR. I pray this freedom will remain.
Thank you for your work. It is stamped with love, love from the Eternal fount — the triune God.
I want to offer you some encouragement on the decision to make the New Oxford Review a distinctly Roman Catholic journal. I was originally attracted to the NOR because of its willingness to present varying perspectives on our common faith, although i recognized in its pages a deep affection for the Roman Catholic Church.
Now that the choice to become explicitly Catholic has been made, I feel left out in the cold, a little like a kid staring through the window at a party to which he has not been invited. But this is the price we pay for making decisions, isn’t it? Some are inevitably left on the outside.
My hope is that you do not suffer an undue loss of subscribers, and that the Lord whose call you are obeying will smile upon you and make you prosper. Please, for the sake of those who are not called to the Catholic Church, remember that many others look to the NOR for literate pan-Christian thought. Try to remain as open as you can.
Rev. Carl R. Schmahl
First Presbyterian Church of King Ferry
King Ferry, New York
Ed. Note: Will do.
Me Against The World
I was given your name and address by someone who said you are a very understanding magazine with a deep compassion for those who are incarcerated.
I am a prisoner in the Nevada State Prison in desperate need of your help. I feel as though it is me against the world, and no one cares. It is hard for me to admit it, but I am lonely and I honestly need friendship. It is my hope that a few of your readers will be able to relate to my loneliness and will be kind enough to befriend me by writing me.
Edward Lee Jones
Carson City, Nevada
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