To the Editors

Well written

Brian Doyle's "Flagrant Foul" (December 7) was most touching. I finished it with eyes a bit wet and a prayer in my heart for Tom Crotty. It is a pleasure to come across something so well written.

New York, N.Y.

Part of us died

I just read Brian Doyle's "Flagrant Foul," in the December 7 issue of Commonweal.

It touched me very deeply. I identified quite personally with it. One Sunday morning several years ago, I sat with my freshly poured cup of coffee (happy that I had attended Saturday evening Mass) and read through our town's newpaper. As I reached the obituary section, I scanned the names (my habit since I work for my church) and the name of my inseparable and best friend from high school screamed out at me. I felt as if someone had punched me in the chest. We had become separated by time and family commitments for many years, but at that moment I was once again an innocent fifteen-year-old who looked forward to nothing more than the next school dance and which boy had recently caught my eye, and sharing all of that with my friend.

Whether it is a sorrow for the loss of our friend or the sudden impact of our own mortality, or just the shock that someone once so vital and funny and full of life is no longer with us, it is a part of ourselves that has died along with them.

Thank you, Brian Doyle, for so eloquently sharing a story that to me certainly seemed gleaned from my own memories and feelings.

Lansing, Ill.

Garvey's Islam

The insouciance with which John Garvey comments on an Islam which he confesses not to understand offers a telling commentary on our presumed superiority ("Making Nice with Muslims," December 7). From someone whom I have known and respected, and read with profit over the years, this column testifies to the way "even the mighty can fall" in attempting an assessment of Islam while failing to grasp the moment of self-reflection--a fair description of much American media coverage but hardly expected from John Garvey.

To take as exemplary of Islam the kind of tract he does is tantamount to presuming that anti-Catholic diatribes reveal typical Protestant attitudes. Or to present verses plucked from the Holy Qur'an as justifying hating Jews or Christians is to overlook canonical Muslim ways of subordinating certain verses to others. Yet most telling of all is his innocent observation that "the Bible contains bloody passages and justifications for murderous acts, but I know that this is not Judaism or Christianity."

Why not presume the same for the rich tradition of Islam? Or why not ask how many Jews or Christians know what to do with these passages? "A word for the Amalecites, please!" How many yeshiva students of a certain stripe are treated to a steady diet of Joshua and Judges, with scant attention to the prophets? How many evangelical Christians fail to distinguish God's unequivocal promises to the people Israel as God's own from the heavily conditioned ones regarding the land--so freighted with stipulations that it becomes problematic for any believer to rest easily in eretz Israel? And how many Christians have read these narratives to countenance holy wars, like the Crusaders' systematic extermination of Jews, Muslims, and Orthodox Christians when they took over Jerusalem?

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

To the Editors


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?