In his article on his trip to Rome (“Buried in History,” Correspondence, January), Jeff Minick comments on the apparent decline of attendance at Mass. Italians for centuries have avoided the Mass, puzzling other Catholics when Italian immigrants began arriving in the United States. Italians expressed their faith mainly in large public processions such as those that became famous in New York’s Little Italy. Some writers attribute this to anticlericalism in protest against the paternalistic Vatican’s activity in Italian politics. For example, Pope Pius XI formed a concordat with Mussolini in hopes of recovering the lost Papal States.
I would like to compliment Scott P. Richert for his perceptive and original article on “Thoroughly Modern Muslims” (View) in the January issue, as well as Chilton Williamson, Jr., for his equally dazzling article “Science and Democracy” (In Our Time) in the December number. Chronicles may be the most valuable and original magazine produced in the United States.