February 29-March7, 2008

A Generosity of Spirit

Rabbi Irwin Kula’s February 22 opinion article on the Tridentine Mass is a welcome voice of reason on this issue (“Enough Tridentine Mass Hysteria”). As a Catholic I have heard and read many disparaging comments, both within and without the Church, about the petition in the Good Friday prayers calling for Jews to convert to Christianity.

And to be honest, I, too, have strongly criticized this attitude, which seems to denigrate Jewish faith, and wish that it had been deleted from the pre-Vatican II liturgy now being allowed.

It should be noted that the vast majority of Catholics have been using the revised version of the Good Friday prayers that omit such offensive references. We are all children of God, and I support Kula’s appeal for a humble absolutism that recognizes the deeper truth that religion should embrace all with genuine love and compassion.

I thank Kula for his generosity of spirit.

Phyllis Townley
New York, N.Y.

Guided by Ingenuity

Opinion columnist David Klinghoffer uses an 18th century parable about a maze to make his case for how doubt has deleteriously affected our lives: “There are many paths leading to the goal and they all seem equally likely to lead us there. But only one really does” (“Plagued by the Widespread Virus of Doubt,” February 15). As Klinghoffer recounts it, there is an appointed guide, ancestral tradition, coaching us through the maze to the right path to the goal.

We live, however, in the 21st century. We can put the coordinates of the goal into a GPS device and get the most direct, quickest path there.

Given the choice between the two, I will select human sense and ingenuity over the appointed guide every time.

Cecil Feldman
Bronx, N.Y.

Too Easy on Protestants

Opinion writer Reverend David Greenhaw is on the right track, but he is way, way too easy on his liberal Christian brethren — and especially on his fellow clergymen — when he oh so gently chides them for occasionally letting their sympathy for the Palestinians become antipathy toward Israelis (“A Plea From the Pulpit for Balance,” February 15).

Why too easy? The liberal Protestant clergy in the United States has a habit of spewing out one-sided moral diatribes against Israel. Time and time again — either out of ignorance, white liberal guilt or political correctness — we have seen such men and women in the forefront of anti-Israel movements, such as the divestment campaigns that are once again raging in several denominations.

In fact, a fashionable, knee-jerk anti-Israel sentiment, aided and abetted by some clergy, is now de rigueur in many liberal Protestant circles, as Greenhaw ruefully admits. It is sadly ironic that Israel’s most loyal Christian friends are now the right-wing evangelicals, a group with whom most American Jews disagree on just about everything else, and that some liberal Protestants, once allies, have become Israel’s de facto enemies.

Jonathan Segal
Menlo Park, Calif.
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February 29-March7, 2008

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