Thank you for John Wilkins’s moving piece on suffering (“Hope Without Illusion,” August 15). Suffering has always been a mystery to me. Indeed, it has been a difficult stumbling block—particularly the suffering of children. I used to beg God for an answer. Then one night at Eucharistic adoration, it dawned on me that there is “no ‘Christian answer’ to suffering,” as Wilkins put it. I looked upon the cross and saw a just man suffering and dying for no reason. Why? Christ came, stripped of everything, out of love—not to explain suffering or to give a reason for suffering or to justify suffering. He came to suffer with us. We are one with him in our suffering so that we may rise with him in new life. Just as he did, so we must do. That was consolation beyond all my belief. We are never alone. And as Christ is with us, we must be with all who suffer, so that they never feel alone.

Houston, Tex.



I appreciated Fr. Andrew Greeley’s article “Signs of Life” (August 15). Much of what he writes of his experiences in Tucson and Chicago is reflected in my own parish, St. Joseph’s Church in Odenton, Maryland.

“Catholics in good standing” are not the only ones who attend Catholic services. Many non-Catholics believe what the church teaches and have gone to church even though they have never been formally accepted into the church. They believe in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and want to receive Communion. Such desire can be a product of “mixed” marriages.

Baltimore, Md.


I have one small but important correction to make regarding Gerald J. Beyer’s article, “Yes You Can” (June 20). Responding to my article “Two Cheers for John McCain” (May 9), Beyer writes that I have fallen into the “fallacy” of assuming that a Catholic must vote for John McCain this November. I said no such thing. Rather, I argued that there is no logically consistent way for a prolife Catholic to vote for “the presidential candidate of a party committed to the preservation and extension of abortion rights.” This is not the same as saying prolife Catholics must vote for McCain. I plan to vote for McCain, and I urge readers to do the same. But there are many ways you can avoid voting for Barack Obama: you can vote for McCain; or you can vote on Election Day but leave the presidential line blank; or you can write in a name. (If you choose the last option, I recommend the name Paul Baumann.)

Newport, R.I.



Three cheers for Commonweal! David R. Carlin’s “Two Cheers for John McCain” (May 9) called readers to take another look at traditional Catholic morality vis-à-vis the U.S. political environment. Some letter writers found his conclusions unacceptable. I found them refreshing. As a long-time supporter of Commonweal’s editorial positions, I was delighted to read a piece by someone with a different perspective. I’m looking forward to more from Carlin after the November elections.

Attleboro, Mass.



In Luke Timothy Johnson’s review of What the Gospels Meant, What Paul Meant, and What Jesus Meant, he seems to say that Garry Wills simply did not know enough to do the job of writing about the meaning of Jesus, Paul, and the Gospels (“What Wills Misunderstood,” May 23). A turf dispute between scholars is one thing, but a religion accessible only to New Testament scholars is not Christianity.

Canberra, Australia

Also by this author

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Published in the 2008-09-12 issue: View Contents
© 2024 Commonweal Magazine. All rights reserved. Design by Point Five. Site by Deck Fifty.