Letters to the Editor

In defense of the Notre Dame I know

As someone who is impressed with Angelus week after week, I was gravely disappointed in Robert Brennan’s column in the October 7 issue, “Thoughts on a South Bend conversion.”  The article was ostensibly about the Catholic conversion of Notre Dame’s football coach, but the piece actually said nothing about the man. Instead, it took a series of cheap shots at the university, questioning its Catholic charism.   As the father of a young man who attends Mass every week of his own accord — one who graduated this spring from Notre Dame along with 12 of his Loyola High School classmates — I can assure your readers that the Catholic faith is alive and well at Our Lady’s university.  — Dr. Patrick Whelan, Corpus Christi, Pacific Palisades

It’s true: Amazon’s ‘Rings of Power’ has a philosophy problem

As the first season of “The Rings of Power” winds down, I find that Stefano Rebeggiani’s assessment of the series in the Sept. 23 issue has proven correct: None of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “aesthetic and philosophical impact” is anywhere to be found in the show. Whereas there was still some hope for future character development and a deepening of “Tolkienian themes” in the first two episodes, that is now gone. The series’ shallow characters seem to stumble from episode to episode while major plot holes go unexplained. Perhaps our society is no longer able to ponder the existential questions that formed the heart of Tolkien’s mythology. — Laura Carey, Playa del Rey

Don’t judge ‘Rings of Power’ so quickly

I was expecting to agree strongly with Stefano Rebeggiani’s review of “The Rings of Power” in the Sept. 23 issue, but I find myself defending the show. As I read it, the review argues that the show is failing to exhibit Tolkien’s philosophy, and where it does, waters it down to the point of cliché. I believe that judgment is premature. One indispensable element of Tolkien’s “philosophy” is that the story always comes first. If we had a clear sense of the “moral of the story” after roughly three hours of the planned 50, we would be in flagrant violation of that central principle. As for the argument that the similarities between the Second Age of Middle Earth and today’s world “are too obvious to be ignored”: The more the show stays within its own world, the better. Any attempt at allegory will undoubtedly be of the Trump-is-Sauron variety. Its absence thus far has been one of the show’s redeeming (or at least non-damning) qualities. — Andy Lessard, St. Therese Church, Alhambra

An anniversary worth celebrating

I was delighted to read Angelus’ coverage of the 30th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)in the Sept. 23 issue.  The Archdiocese of Los Angeles enjoys an important connection to the CCC: the future Cardinal William Levada served on the commission that St. Pope John Paul II established to compile the text. Levada was first a priest and later an auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles.  I am not so sure about the claim that the CCC risks becoming some kind of a “sacred relic.” But I do wonder how many Catholic religious leaders and instructors are very familiar with its contents. People often look for answers without realizing that they may be found in the CCC.  Archbishop José H. Gomez stated rightly in his article that “the catechism is a great witness to our hope in Jesus Christ.” Therefore, I echo the voice heard by St. Augustine: “Pick up and read.” — Msgr. Laurence J. Spiteri, Vatican City

Even Giants fans can appreciate Vin’s faith

I appreciated the wonderful cover story on the life and Catholic faith of Vin Scully in the Aug. 26 issue.  I live with about 70 other Jesuits from around the western U.S. at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California, in the Bay Area. Obviously, many of us are San Francisco Giants fans (there are some Dodgers fans, too). Tom Hoffarth’s article was truly magnificent and brought him to life. We truly enjoyed it. Bravo on a job very well done, and many blessings to you and your work.  — Carlos A. Sevilla, S.J., bishop emeritus of Yakima, Los Gatos

A call to less arms

I often disagree with Father Ron Rolheiser’s columns, but I thought “Disarmed and Dangerous,” in the Sept. 9 issue, was exceptionally good. I feel strongly that it isn’t compatible with Christianity to carry weapons. I’m not even sure that it’s suitable for Christians to fight in wars, even with “just war” theory. I realize this is a difficult problem, and there is no perfect answer. I am horrified that a couple of my friends own guns. I’m more horrified at the number of self-righteous people stocking assault weapons, with the intent of taking over the government. The worst are those who still insist that the “right to bear arms” means that every nutcase, every emotionally volatile teenager who wants to own a deadly weapon has the right to do so. It’s not very likely the Founding Fathers of this country would have foreseen such madness. — Marilyn Boussaid, St. James Church, Redondo Beach


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