Santa Clara University

Santa Clara Magazine

Letters

SCM Summer 2008 cover
Heart of the matter

I am very proud to call Santa Clara a Catholic university. The article “No simple highway” by Juan Velasco [Summer 2008 SCM] illustrates just what SCU means to the world searching for purpose, meaning, and understanding. Jesus taught us to carry out the beatitudes. His principle message was love—agape; and Jesus admonishes us sinners not to cast the stones. He’ll separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s where prayer takes priority.

Santa Clara’s Catholicism has grown from my era, 1951-55. It has a clearer understanding of the titration of justice and mercy. Jon Sobrino, Leonardo Boff, and Gustavo Gutierrez have constantly repeated the essence of liberation theology found in the poetry of Óscar Romero: “The world does not say: Blessed are the poor. The world says: Blessed are the rich. You are worth as much as you have. But Christ says: Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, because they do not put their trust in what is so transitory. Blessed are the poor, for they know that their riches are in the One who being rich made himself poor in order to enrich us with his poverty, teaching us the Christian’s true wisdom.”

And now it is the Jesuit University of Central America that has opened up the heart of Santa Clara’s student body. This is the true Catholicism I see at Santa Clara U. The white crosses are keeping us on the highway.

THOMAS M. WHALING '55
Laguna Hills, Calif.




There's hope yet

Mike Keithley ’72 has been blind since birth. I am his wife, and I read to him. I want to thank John Heath for his excellent article “Waiting for the nastiness” [in the Summer 2008 issue]. Having been an avid reader all my life, I agree with John fully! Thank God the Jesuits are still front runners in the effort toward enlightenment! There is hope with people like John Heath around.

STAR KEITHLEY
Mountain View




Best mag ever

I have been receiving Santa Clara Magazine for well over a decade. However, I wanted you to know that the Summer 2008 issue is by far the finest and best written collection of articles in the years I’ve been reading your publication.

Though now retired, I enjoy keeping up with my past services as a director of the SCU business board. I went to Stanford (years ago), but I found serving on your board one of my most satisfying volunteer duties.

Thank you, and keep up the good work and literary scholarship.

GERALD BLUM
Fresno




A prisoner's dilemma

I was deeply touched by the article “For I was in prison and you visited me” in the Summer 2008 issue. The benefits that the the Chowchilla Family Express program provides to relatives or someone close to an inmate are truly amazing.

People who don’t know anyone in a state prison have a tendency to stay segregated from this world. Many of us don’t think about the contributions that we can make to help families stay connected during this journey. I myself had been segregated from this world until last year, when my cousin, who is in his early 40s, was incarcerated with a 30-year sentence. Since his sentencing, we have maintained constant communication through mail, and he reminds me of the positive impact that my letters have on his life.

He is at the California State Prison of Pleasant Valley in Coalinga. He has three boys, ages 19, 12, and 8, who have had a difficult time adjusting to a lifestyle that does not allow them to live with their father. This past year has brought them several challenges, which have manifested in lack of motivation to go to school and hanging around crowds potentially affiliated with gangs. Unfortunately, my cousin’s ex-wife has not been successful in reaching out to resources that could provide assistance. As of July, my cousin has not seen his children in over a year, and I know that he dreams of the day that he can seem them, even if it might be through a glass window.

As I read the article, I thought of my cousin and wanted to congratulate Eric DeBode and the Chowchilla Family Express program for making many dreams come true by allowing loved ones to stay connected. You have inspired me to make an effort to visit my cousin more often and to obtain the mother’s permission for my cousin’s children to see their father—who loves them very deeply. My hat goes off to everyone who makes the program successful.

CLAUDIA VÁSQUEZ '00
San Jose




If women should rule the world

Dee Dee Myers’ thesis [in “Stand Up: Why women should rule the world,” Summer 2008 SCM], that outcomes would be better if more women were in charge, was still running through my mind when I attended a funeral Mass at the Jesuit Center in Los Gatos in June. The Mass was for Gerry Phelan, S.J., who was a beginning scholastic at SCU 50 years ago when I was in my senior year and female students were only a couple years behind me.

There wasn’t a single woman in the funeral program, though Gerry’s sister, a member of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (RSHJ), was present. Several of us in attendance were part of a prayer-group that included Fr. Gerry, meeting monthly for almost 20 years, and we rather expected there would be an opening in the service for us to voice our remembrances.

Like Fr. Gerry, I, too, had a relative in the RSHJ—an aunt—and when she died the funeral service was partly a Mass and mostly like an Irish wake, where we all sat around recalling all manner of stories about her.

It’s high time the aging priests take a note from the aging nuns. It would only be right—fulfillment of their committed task—to educate the whole man. Blessings!

ROBERT DALEY '58
Campbell


Despite her nuanced claims to the contrary, Dee Dee Myers embraces matriarchy. So simple: Save the world by having women rule the world. How can Myers, educated to deal with a complex world with objectivity and tolerance, espouse such nonsense? I would have expected her to at least promote a gender-neutral “collaborative-dynamic” hierarchy.

DON DELAY MBA '79
San Jose


I was disappointed in the article on Dee Dee Myers. I applauded her efforts when she tore down walls between the sexes in her advancement to White House press secretary. However, she seems intent on building those walls back up with her book, Why Women Should Rule the World. I’m sure the title is a marketing gimmick to sell books, but I think Myers may actually believe it.

Let’s consider some of the negatives that might be associated with a women-controlled world:
1) Men’s haircuts jump from $8 to $55 as economic policy;
2) Bunco becomes an Olympic sport;
3) Sales of new clothing rise dramatically as male-led domestic chores become obsolete;
4) The U.S. Constitution is rewritten to require 100 percent approval of all decisions in order not to offend anyone.

Clearly, the above are poorly worded generalities (humorous or not), but so too are the assertions from Myers that bringing more women into the process “makes businesses more profitable” and “there would be people who would work harder to try to find common ground.” Sounds like Myers has spent too much time using politicians' words and forgot how to formulate her own.

CHRIS FLEISCHER '92
Cary, N.C.


Contrary to Dee Dee Myers' assumption that she was part of the first coed floor at SCU, Paul Totah '79 and I both remember that 4th floor Swig hall, where we lived, was the first truly coed floor—in 1977. The floor was populated with a 50-50 male to female ratio and it was actually a pretty mellow floor. John Privett, S.J., was the resident faculty/Jesuit. Thanks for setting the record straight.

DOUG SALIN '77
San Francicso