A CLASS ACT
In response to John Gehring’s article “Two Steps Back” (June 3): I have known Tony Spence for over thirty years. He was a parishioner at a church where I served and the editor of the Nashville Catholic paper, a job he did successfully under two lesser lights who were his diocesan bishops. Then I followed his subsequent career in Washington and his most recent post at Catholic News Service, where he served admirably. He is an accomplished and polished man, and fair to a point far surpassing even the most patient of men. He has had to endure the complaints of temperamental prelates who became chagrinned when his paper displayed their “large ears” or photos of them from the “wrong” (that is, less flattering) side. All of us who have had to suffer the slings and outrages of the church’s ill-tempered shepherds understand full well what Spence patiently endured, only to be shunted aside like some piece of trash after a lifetime of faithful service. It is as if those responsible for preaching the Gospel of Jesus are unfamiliar with the content of the message.
Rev. Joseph A. Sanches
In reference to Joseph Flipper’s article, “The Beautiful Game” (May 20), my first experience of Diego Maradona was watching little “Irish-Catholic” Aussie boys hurtling to the ground in our church hall, screaming “Maradona” as they mimicked the little genius’s World Cup exploits back in 1986. Watching on TV from the other side of the world, his brilliance with the ball transcended all sense of nationality or politics. Maradona’s fame came just a few years after a war in which Australia’s traditional ally, Britain, had fought Argentina over a group of tiny windswept islands deep in the South Atlantic Ocean. These islands (the “Falklands” to the British; the “Malvinas” to the Argentines) are both a fragment and a reminder of the sweep of the former British Empire, and a powerful spur to national pride on both sides.
An important correction though: It was not Britain that invaded the Falklands back in 1982, as Joseph Flipper suggests, but rather Argentina that invaded and briefly overwhelmed the British citizens who make the Falklands their home. This might explain the English “outrage” when the impish and brilliant Maradona knocked them out of the World Cup with “the hand of God.”
ROGUES & GENTLEMEN
I read with fascination Joseph Flipper’s article, “The Beautiful Game.” I was distantly reminded of Gadamer’s similar description of a phenomenology of play or sport. In that spirit Flipper writes, “Perhaps beauty should be defined as play.” But while reading his thoughtful article I could not shrug off an old rugby take on the question. The difference between the two sports lies in the fact that soccer is a gentlemen’s game played by rogues and rugby a rogue’s game played by gentlemen. I trust there’s a sporting measure of good humor there.
Fr. Kevin Tortorelli, OFM
New York, N. Y.