Readers’ Responses Jan/Feb 2020

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Readers respond to our print, web and social media posts

I take issue with the response in the November/December Maryknoll magazine criticizing the late Maryknoll Father Vincent Capodanno, who was killed during the Vietnam War. The writer says that to be Christ-like, Father Capodanno “would have had to tell the soldiers to fight for freedom but not kill or maim for freedom, and like Jesus, he would have had to remind the soldiers that those who use the sword will perish by the sword.”

If wars were fought according to this writer’s philosophy, we all would be speaking German or Japanese today. As a veteran of the fighting in the Korean War, I can attest that the Korean people are grateful that the United Nations coalition was successful in holding off the Chinese and North Koreans, thus maintaining the people’s freedom.

Wars fought for just and moral purposes are necessary for the preservation of individual rights. This means killing and maiming when necessary for the greater good. There would be no freedom without the sacrifice made on the battlefield.

Father Capodanno is both a saint and a hero as were the other heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in all our wars.
John M. Hegarty
Nanuet, New York

In the July/August 2019 issue of Maryknoll magazine, a reader strongly disagreed with a writer earlier this year who had stated that “God and Allah are the same.” The reader goes on to say that “Allah is a vengeful God, non-forgiving unless you ‘submit, submit, submit’ ” The word Muslim (which applies to those who embrace the religion of Islam) literally means “one who submits (to God).” It’s correct, therefore, to say that Muslims are challenged to submit to the will of God.

Christians are also challenged by our Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, in which we accept (submit to) the will of God. Regarding vengeance, it’s interesting to note that each of the 114 verses in the Quran (the pivotal holy book of Islam, which Muslims accept as the revealed word of God) begins with the statement, “In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” It’s important to understand how the magisterium respects Islam by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Part One, Chapter Three, Article 9, Paragraph 3. III.).

On Feb. 4, 2019, Pope Francis met with a Muslim leader and jointly signed a declaration “as a clarion call for robust dialogue that leads to peace.”
Peter Murray
Brookfield, Wisconsin

The last few issues of Maryknoll magazine have had several articles and letters regarding immigration. We all have a different perspective. Mine is from over 25 years of annual mission trips to Central and South America, mostly Guatemala. These began in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 1992. There I met Maryknoll Brother Alexander Walsh when I worked with women and children at Amanecer shelter.

About a year later I began trips to Guatemala, where, after a few years, I began to realize that the U.S. government and U.S. corporations are in large part the cause of many distressing issues within that country. Having been a flag-waving patriot, I found this to be unsettling and confusing.

In Guatemala, we overthrew a democratically elected government in the 1950s to protect the interests of U.S. fruit companies. The fruit companies basically took over the country and its land. A 40-year civil war resulted, with 250,000 Guatemalans killed. The United States and the fruit companies won out. That’s why they can ship fruit from Central America, sell it cheap and still make money. It’s much the same with clothing sweatshops, gold mines, coffee, etc. Most Guatemalans live on less than $2 a day.

I was in Guatemala again last March. The month before, 90 percent of the immigrants crossing our southern border came from there. During our trip, an older Mayan man spoke to us about suppression and injustice. He said in his native tongue through an interpreter that the troubles began 500 years ago with the Spanish conquistadors. However, the struggles of the last 100 years are mainly attributable to U.S. actions and companies.

Immigration is not the problem. Immigration is a symptom of the problem. The injustice that our country and our companies have caused is the root of the problem. Give the Guatemalans back their land, pay just wages, forgive their foreign debt and stop stealing their resources. Then they would be happy to stay in their beautiful country instead of being forced to leave.
Dr. Thomas Gelhaus, D.D.S.
Owen, Wisconsin

I am a Maryknoll subscriber. Please consider putting the prayer “Spiritual Adoption of Unborn Human Life” into your magazine. This was written by Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who was the spokesperson for Catholic America in the mid-20th century. His television programs “Life is Worth Living” and “The Fulton Sheen Program” were viewed by millions.

May God shower blessings on the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and add more holy missionaries. For more information on “Spiritual Adoption of Unborn Human Life” go on the web to
Ronald J. Stack
Leland, North Carolina

Editor’s note: Thank you for your suggestion and your support for Maryknoll’s missions. All human life is precious, and we as Christians should seek to defend it whenever it is threatened—whether by abortion, weapons of war, political oppression, poverty, hunger or any other cause. Be assured that Maryknollers pray for the protection of all human life from conception to natural death, that reverence for life and the sanctity of each individual may become a reality in today’s world.

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