February 9, 2007

Letters to the Editor

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Addressing poverty is no easy task

I read Father Larry Snyder’s column in the Jan. 26 issue of The Criterion with interest.

As president of Catholic Charities USA, he is passionate about addressing America’s poverty. I was particularly pleased with his comment that a “short-term response, however generous, is not enough to deal with long-term challenges.”

Father Snyder’s column was rather light on specifics, however. Does he merely desire to take more money from honest, hard-working Americans and re-create the failed Great Society Programs from 40 years ago, or is Father Snyder truly willing to help promote fundamental changes in American society?

For example, is Father Snyder serious about providing low-income children the opportunity to attend the school of their choice, be it private, public or parochial?

If so, then he must be willing to take on the mighty teachers’ unions who dominate state capitols.

Statistics show that single parenthood is highly correlative with the level of poverty in a community, and nearly 40 percent of American children today are born to unwed mothers. Is Father Snyder serious about repealing no-fault divorce laws in order to strengthen the bond of marriage? If so, then he must be willing to fight against militant feminists and the domestic relations industry and the sums of money they derive from the current system.

Finally, and perhaps most important, is Father Snyder prepared to require the poor to do their part and learn the capital virtues of chastity, temperance and diligence?

While the Church has a preferential option for the poor, the poor are all too often idealized by the dominant intellectuals in America. In my profession, I work with the poor on an almost daily basis.

I applaud Father Snyder’s efforts to fight poverty in America, but I question whether he is truly prepared to address poverty’s long-term challenges.

- Carlos F. Lam, Indianapolis

Pastor was teacher, devoted priest

I was so pleased to read Father Dan Armstrong’s obituary that appeared in the Jan. 26 issue of The Criterion.

Unfortunately, I was away on vacation when he passed away and coudn’t attend his wake and funeral.

I had the unique privilege of knowing and working for Father Armstrong during his pastorate at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Bedford, and he was also a great friend to all my family. Once you were his friend, you were one forever.

We will miss him, and our prayer is that our good Almighty God welcomes his faithful servant into paradise because he was a great teacher and devoted priest.

- Linda Fitzpatrick, Bedford

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