May 27, 2011

Letters to the Editor

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Lack of print coverage of theologians’ letter to Boehner a troubling oversight

I checked out the May 20 issue of The Criterion for an article on the 70 Catholic theologians’ letter to House Speaker John Boehner on the occasion of his commencement address at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Their letter pointed out that Republican legislation this session does not square with the attitude toward the poor and needy contained in the 120-year-old Catholic social tradition since “Rerum Novarum” and with the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church prepared at the request of Blessed John Paul II in 2004.

Inattention to the theologians’ letter also indicates your unconcern that much of the proposed or pending legislation violates the U.S. bishops’ 2007 statement on the Church’s concern for the poor and needy. To make matters worse, Speaker Boehner is one of our own—a Catholic and a graduate of a Catholic university, Xavier University in Cincinnati.

Yes, I know that you reported the theologians’ letter in an obscure corner of the Criterion Online Edition,, on May 12, making it a matter of lesser importance.

No print coverage opens The Criterion to the charge of lack of political fairhandedness because of the kind of coverage given other political issues over the last several months.

Front pages reported the bishops’ and others’ unfair criticism of the University of Notre Dame inviting President Barack Obama to address graduates.

You also reported the bishops’ partisan claim that Obamacare was pro-abortion—despite the president’s statement that the Hyde Amendment stands, and his confirmation of existing federal policy prohibiting abortion funding.

Catholic moral teaching and social policy should influence public policy. Right now, your judgment on editing and your not informing the newspaper reader does not indicate your agreement.

- James J. Divita, Professor Emeritus of History, Marian University, Indianapolis

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