Letter to the Editor: Critiquing perverse values


To the Editor:
The June 29, 2023 Catholic Messenger Editorial, “Christ calls us to compassion not ridicule,” makes a persuasive case. But upon reflection I remain less than half persuaded. 

I do believe it wise to repent of the enjoyment one might get from seeing memes ridiculing the rich people who were lost on a submarine that was visiting the sunken Titanic. And yet I also notice that the prophets of the Judeo-Christian tradition were not fearful of offense when they critiqued the perverse values in their community. There is no indication, for example, that Jesus showed special compassion for the rich man who walked away sad because Jesus bluntly told him to give away his riches in order to enter Heaven. Jesus did express special compassion and admiration for poor people like Lazarus, as well as the widow at the temple offering what little she had. 

Accordingly, I believe we can be forgiven for our lack of special feelings for the few rich people risking their lives for amusement, especially if we are considering, as the editorial does, the many more lives lost with the sinking of a refugee boat near Greece.

I think there is a prophetic message here: small amounts of rich people should not be more newsworthy than large amounts of poor people. I find it ridiculous that our news agencies would even choose to focus on the novelty situation of tragic adventure more than the ordinary situation of an ongoing refugee crisis. I think it is a sign of a healthy Christian society that people are willing to critique these perverse values.  


Tadd Ruetenik

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