Thanks for the article on Officer Tim McCarthy (“May I have your attention, please . . .” Autumn 2000). How well I remember his words one Saturday afternoon: “Remember, if you have one for the road, you might end up with a police car as a chaser.”
James Loverde ’68
At the last Bengal Bouts fellow champion Leighton Young and I listened to Rich O’Leary’s rationale for banning Edward Hernandez from competition (“Too good for Bengal Bouts”). Perhaps it made sense in this age when a stubbed toe can be the source of a lawsuit, but it left me feeling sad. Things were different in the 1950s when I fought. As a 17-year-old freshman, I was soundly pounded by James McDermott, who had several years of age and experience on me. During one round he hit me with 11 straight jabs to my nose. Afterward he explained the tactics used to whip me and I never lost again, winning two titles and the first Larry Ash trophy for best boxer in the bouts. Back then, no one was allowed to be badly hurt, but we knew the value of fierce competition and how it builds a young man’s resolve. I suspect that decisions such as the Hernandez case have contributed to the low skills level I witnessed this past year at the bouts.
Edward R. Ricciuti ’59
Crimes and misdemeanors
I was left with the same conclusion as Mark Roche (“Crimes and punishment”) when I saw Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors years ago, except I would characterize the suffering of Martin Landau’s character as the effect of his withdrawal from God rather than God’s withdrawal from him.
One may admire Mark Roche’s imaginative interpretation of Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors. However, I am more taken with the view of Immanuel Kant, expressed in “On the Miscarriage of All Philosophical Trials in Theodicy” (1791). There he maintains that “the virtuous man lends to the depraved the characteristics of his own constitution . . . and the depraved . . . laughs at the scrupulousness of the honest who inwardly plague themselves with self-inflicted scruples.”
Charles Conway ’56
Keep the faith
It was encouraging to read that for Paul Wilkes (“Saving Faith”) the Catholic faith is the greatest gift that parents can bestow upon their children. His call to live it echoes the Scripture passage that says faith is useless without works. However, Wilkes falls prey to a common mistake when he criticizes the “Baltimore Catechism generation” for neglecting the spirit of the law, while failing to acknowledge the present generation’s alarming ignorance of it. The inherent challenge for Catholics is not an either/or but a both/and proposition. We must not only know the letter of church teaching, but must also obey it in a spirit of respect and love. This challenge, of course, is not easy, which is why Jesus gave us the gift of himself in what truly defines us as Catholics (yet oddly, is never mentioned by Wilkes) — the seven sacraments and the teaching authority of the church.
Kevin J. FioRito ’87
Elmwood Park, Illinois
When Paul Wilkes suggests that he cannot make his teenagers attend Mass, he is forgetting or ignoring the basic Catholic requirement of attendance and participation in Mass each and every Sunday. I hope he takes his sons to confession before they receive communion after they’ve missed Sunday and Holy Day Masses. I realize, having been a teenager and now raising children of my own, that it isn’t easy to get your kids to Mass each week, especially when the parish priest is less than inspiring. But that does not remove our parental responsibility to make sure that children faithfully attend mass. If we can get teenagers through those difficult years, how much firmer their foundation will be in their faith when the difficulties of adult life truly set in. Mass attendance was always one of the non-negotiables in our household, and I intend to make it so for my children, too. It won’t be easy, but I will be able to tell my family I did what I knew to be the best thing. Who is running Mr. Wilke’s household anyway, the parents or the kids?
Rosemarie L. Tenney ’81
Sherburne, New York
Paul Wilkes’ article reminded me of a special moment I enjoyed this summer at my mother’s home in Ohio. My mother’s family was gathered for a reunion that included my second cousin making her first communion in my mother’s living room, officiated by my uncle. A sunset lit the room and standing all around me were my aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, first cousins and their children. A happiness and peace enveloped me as I looked at my kin and realized the Catholic faith had been lovingly passed from parents to children for three generations. The wonder of this faith moved me to tears.
Susan Lang ’79