Letters • March 23, 2020


Noteworthy anniversaries

As people around the world celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Catholics are reminded of another milestone. In May, the Church will mark the fifth anniversary of “Laudato Si’,” Pope Francis’ sweeping call to action addressed to all people to protect the environment of “our common home.”

“Laudato Si'” addresses the damage to our planet rooted in human action and makes clear that caring for our planet is an essential, not optional, part of our Christian obligation.

The Holy Father also focuses on the social justice implications of environmental damage. He notes that “everyday experience and scientific research show that the gravest effects of all attacks on the environment are suffered by the poorest.”

In this country, pursuing environmental justice requires us to focus not only on poverty, but on race. Our everyday experience bears this out. Recall the images of suffering from Hurricane Katrina. Think about who is living closest to polluted areas.

Scientific studies over the years have demonstrated that flood plains have high populations of black and Latino residents and that more than half of all people who live near hazardous waste are people of color.

As recently as 2018, the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment concluded that people of color are more likely to live near facilities that pollute and to breathe polluted air.

Pope Francis has called us to action. We must remedy the environmental damage to our common home and make choices about how we allocate environmental risk. As we do so, let us focus on impacts on communities of color and ensure that people from those communities shape those decisions.

– Rosann Bocciarelli, Henrico

How to deal with Catholic Vote, others

Regarding Catholic Vote and its tactics (Catholic Virginian, March 9):The best way for the Church to deal with organizations like Catholic Vote, Church Militant and the Lepanto Institute is to teach and live, publicly and privately, Catholic faith and morals as universal principals. These principles are binding on all mankind, public and private, because all persons are created by God.

Catholic Vote and others exist because the collection of official and lay Church voices no longer form consciences in a clear way. An example is how a Catholic candidate for vice president could be proud of his Catholic conscience to support public health care but have it silent about abortion in the public arena.

The Church, if it wants to stop these organizations, should live in a way that it gives them no purpose to exist. Not taking your cell phone to church, as the article suggests, is a silly proposal that remedies nothing.

– Anthony Rago, Newport News

‘Offended, scared’ by tracking

Re: “Big Catholic Brother could be watching you” (Catholic Virginian, March 9): I’m wholly offended and scared that someone, anyone, believes that tracking my every move is an opportunity to sell me a candidate or a brand of beer and that it is OK.

In China that amounts to prison. (Ask the millions of Uighers in internment camps for their Moslem beliefs). Easy to find if they’re in mosques and arrest them.

If the information is so important, ask the diocese for access. Buy the mailing list from parishes. At least then I can say no. And we know who has it.

I’ll be writing my senator to stop this abuse of my privacy from this man and any other app that already does this.

I’d remind our readers that this information would include your children’s whereabouts.

By the way, how do we know this gentleman won’t then sell this info to others with fewer scruples?

– Steve Restaino, Chesapeake

Incarceration rates reflect crime rates

Re: The letter of Margaret Rittenhouse of North Chesterfield (Catholic Virginian, March 9):

Throughout her letter, Rittenhouse seeks to say that the unfortunately high poverty and crime rates among the African American population are due to discriminatory legislation and systematic racism.

Now I would like to make it clear, racism is wrong and irreconcilable with the teachings of Holy Mother Church. Whatever I say here shouldn’t be misconstrued or perhaps lead the reader to believe I’m a racist myself.

Rittenhouse unjustly blames the criminal justice system for the disproportionately high amount of blacks who are incarcerated. I understand that blacks account for 12% of the adult population and also comprise 33% of the jailed population, but this isn’t due to any racist legislation.

It’s due to the fact that the African American community commits disproportionately higher rates of crimes compared to other demographic groups. Incarceration rates can’t be racist if they reflect actual crime rates.

The problem here isn’t “racist” lawmakers or politicians. It’s the culture of fatherlessness, teen pregnancies and crime.

– Jack Rowett, Newport News

No letters on politicians

I’m sitting here reading the CV and cannot believe that you published the last two letters in the March 9 edition. We’re now going to read letters in each edition in support of politicians?

These should have no place in this newspaper. Letters should be limited to the good and the bad of ideas and policies — not the endorsement or defense of specific politicians.

– Bernard Caton, Richmond

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