Editor: Outbreaks of measles across the country remind us of the fact that many of our children are inadequately immunized. More than one-quarter of American pre-schoolers are not fully immunized against preventable disease. In 1989, there was a 400 percent increase in the number of measles cases.
Our immunization program is becoming weakened. Inadequate funding, lack of public awareness and barriers preventing access to health care are compounding the problem. Far too many parents are not aware of the necessity of early and regular immunization.
As a past president of the Mary-land Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I believe that im- munizations are the single most cost-effective procedure to protect against potentially life-threatening diseases. Efforts must be intensified to ensure that all children are vaccinated at recommended ages, especially school children.
Efforts must be increased to inform the public and secure adequate funds to purchase these vaccines for local clinics. It is shameful and amazing that a country as rich as ours does such a poor job at immunizing and protecting its children.
Lawrence C. Pakula, M.D.
Mistake of Love
Editor: I have read with great sadness the continuing news reports regarding Archbishop Eugene Marino's relationship with Vickie Long. The typical reaction I've heard from faithful Catholics is, "He was involved with a woman. So what?"
If this warm and gentle man had been an Episcopal or Methodist bishop, his friendship, or even romantic involvement, with a single woman would be accepted as an ordinary part of adult relating. Normal and natural would be the compassion he extended to a confused woman, allegedly wronged. Normal and natural would be his growing affection for an apparently charming personality. Unfortunately, as is becoming increasing clear, this charming personality seems to have a history of prevarication and opportunism.
The views of almost everyone I have spoken with about thsituation agree with the poll taken by Atlanta station WXLA-TV. Those viewers believe, by more than five to one, that the archbishop, not Ms. Long, is the tragic victim.
But will the church bureaucracy learn something from the pain othis kind and loving human being? Will the Vatican be able to see the need and value of human intimacy and affection for all its church workers instead of concentrating on the personal life of one particular bishop? Will the Catholic Church begin to question whether its requirement of mandatory celibacy is detrimental to the emotional lives of its most caring and effective ministers and harmful to the entire Christian body because of the sex-negative message it subtly projects?
The institutional church has matured to the point where it can accept bishops who have had problems with alcohol. Can it equally accept bishops who make a mistake in loving and support them in continuing to lead their dioceses? All human beings make judgment errors. Would that all Christians could be accused of mistakes in loving too much, instead of too little.
Jeanine Gramick, SSND.
The writer is a member of the board of the National Coalition of American Nuns.
Editor: It is with a feeling of deja vu that I read today's headlines about gas prices and the Middle East crisis. Did we not visit this same place in 1973 and 1979? Starting in 1979, I participated in a national energy study which highlighted our tremendous vulnerability to the oil-supplying nations and outlined a long-range plan to deal with the United States' energy needs using domestic resources.
The steps we needed to take back then remain urgent today. Though a successful energy future must be based on increased efficiency -- especially in terms of oil consumption -- conservation will never be enough. We need to once again build nuclear plants to continue to replace oil and to minimize the use of fossil fuels which generate greenhouse gases.
Meanwhile, expanded research and development are needed to bring some of the most promising solar and renewable technologies into the energy mix. Above all, we need a continuing, decades-long commitment to energy self-sufficiency. Our current preoccupation with the immediate strategic issues is necessary and understandable. However, as we put this latest crisis behind us, I hope we will finally deal with the fundamental problem of depending on other, sometimes not-so-friendly
nations, for such a critical commodity as oil.
Theodore M. Besmann.
Oak Ridge, Tenn. Editor: In his Aug. 10 letter, Eugene C. Dunn elaborates on some obscure ancient Egyptian history, which, he claims, should be presented to students in a proposed Afro-centric curriculum. I do not agree.
Time and effort wasted on such dubious historical trivialities deprive students of more crucial information necessary for their success in a contemporary world.
The writer is a professor of mathematics, emeritus, at Howard University.