Letters | Infallibility, race & representation, a messy faith

TO ERR IS HUMAN

Regarding “It’s Nothing Personal” (February 12): My academic credentials come nowhere near my longtime friend George Wilson’s; however, I can’t allow that to keep me from saying that I find incredible the very concept of church infallibility, whether personal or institutional.

I cannot, for example, accept as fact the “immaculate conception” of the mother of Jesus, not when it is in reality a myth built upon a more ancient myth. I see no way around that conundrum: take away the Adam and Eve story and all its impossible ramifications, and how can we then speak about the universal transmission of an “original sin” of two mythical persons and the privilege of immunity or exception granted to Mary?

It seems to me that the church is as fallible as it is human—always has been and always will be—and that it is time for us to be done with such claims. The Divine Spirit, in and around all of us, will get us through our misunderstandings and mistakes, and that seems more than sufficient to me.

Rev. Richard G. Rento, STL
Lavallette, N.J.

 

PRAISE FOR OUR PRESIDENT

This is in response to Mollie Wilson O’Reilly’s column (“Obama the Other,” February 26). As a Caucasian I’ve been well aware over the years of how African Americans have been viewed by others of my race. Fifty-odd years ago I sat in a day room and watched television with blacks and whites in my military unit; cowboys, Indians, and various fictional families entertained us with their antics and adventures. It was, of course, a world populated almost entirely by white people. At the time I wondered why African Americans even wanted to watch shows that so little represented them and their lives. It’s a simple anecdote, but serves as a backdrop to our current racial troubles, and perhaps why President Obama is viewed the way he is. To me he has always been measured, fair, and reasonable. I admire how he has run his administration. I believe history will view him with respect and admiration for his accomplishments and the grace he has shown, despite the disrespect he has had to endure.

Tom McNall
Coldwater, Mich.

 

A COMPLICATED CONVERT

I really enjoyed Abigail Woods-Ferreira’s book review of Jack Mulder Jr.’s What Does It Mean to Be Catholic? (February 26). I am also a convert—fifteen years this Easter Vigil. Woods-Ferreira’s remarks about the “interior debate” resonated with me. In fact, she’s the only other convert I’ve run into who’s described an experience similar to my own. Her “debate” was between Lutheranism and Catholicism; mine has been between Anglicanism and Catholicism—along with Carl Jung, the odd Buddhist, and others. As Woods-Ferreira notes, “Catholicism is messier than Mulder wants to admit.” But, as she also comments, “Catholicism...embrace(s) the full richness, diversity, and complexity of both the church’s theology and the faith experience of many Catholics.” Me, too. Rich, diverse, complex, and messy. I fit right in!

Andrea C. Rowson
San Diego, Calif.

Published in the March 25, 2016 issue: 
Tags

Please email comments to letters@commonwealmagazine.org and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Must Reads

Politics
Culture
Books