Pastor's removal is an affront to parishioners I am a...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 05, 2002

Pastor's removal is an affront to parishioners

I am a lifetime parishioner at St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church. I was taught to respect authority, especially that of the church. But the decision by the archdiocese to force the resignation of the Rev. Thomas R. Malia as pastor of Star of the Sea and Holy Cross Church has greatly damaged, if not destroyed, my respect for the church's policymakers in their ivory tower on Cathedral Street ("Dozens picket archdiocese over priest's resignation," June 27).

The archdiocese appears to be using high-handed tactics in removing a priest from his ministry without considering the many wonderful things he had done in the past three years for the Federal Hill-South Baltimore community.

If Father Tom used less than the best judgment in temporarily hiring Robert Gee, knowing his past as a convicted sex offender -- and Father Tom has said his action was inappropriate, how can anyone explain the severe penalty of forced resignation unless he is being made a scapegoat by the Archdiocese to comply with the new "get tough" sexual abuse policy of the church nationally?

Father Malia is a special man of God, a caring pastor who has reached out to the entire community to bring many new people into the church. He has begun the restoration of both historic church buildings. He has made the parish councils more effective so the views of the congregation are always considered. He has directed the parishes in new and expanding liturgical and social programs and touched us with his intelligence, his wit, his compassion, his goodness.

This decision, made from a distance, is just plain wrong. Cardinal William Keeler and his administration must realize there is disappointment, frustration and anger in our neighborhood because of Father Malia's unwise dismissal, which is obviously more political than spiritual.

They should reconsider their decision and, in the Catholic spirit of compassion and justice, let Father Malia stay with us, where he belongs.

Donald Fay

Baltimore

I was sickened by the recent revelations of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, but I am even more saddened by the forced resignation of the Rev. Thomas R. Malia.

Father Malia is a wonderful priest who made a very poor hiring decision. But his removal is another example of the Catholic hierarchy dictating their own policy and not consulting the very parishioners it is meant to serve.

I hope the bishops will reconsider their decision and re-instate Father Malia. Otherwise, they will only multiply the damage already done to the Catholic community.

Michele H. Kesler

Baltimore

Townsend's record inspires no faith

I was amused by The Sun's editorial on the so-called "coup" gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend scored when she announced retired Adm. Charles R. Larson as her running mate ("The Townsend team," June 28).

While Admiral Larson's military career is indeed noteworthy, are we to presume that his selection provides sufficient gravitas to compensate for the lieutenant governor's lack of experience and administrative skills?

While the editorial correctly asserts the need for reassuring leadership "in the enduring atmosphere of Sept. 11," one must question whether the lieutenant governor could ever inspire such confidence.

Terry M. Klima

Perry Hall

Generalizations add fuel to Mideast fire

Like Mona Charen, I am very dismayed by the support Palestinian suicide bombers apparently enjoy among their people. But to overgeneralize about the Palestinians as Ms. Charen did in her column, "Powell road leads only to disaster" (Opinion*Commentary, June 24), with such statements as "They cheered, let's not forget, at the image of the World Trade Center burning" and "They are now a nation of terrorists" is irresponsible.

Such claims only add fuel to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bob Jacobson

Pikesville

Estate tax sustains important values

I find discussions of "the death tax" amusing. So far as I know the tax has always been 100 percent ("You can't take it with you"). If Congress can really alter this tax, I wish it would take up the aging process next, and please hurry.

But, like all important issues, those surrounding the estate or inheritance tax come down to values. The values that support the continuation of the tax are equal opportunity, the work ethic and the capitalist ideal of competition.

Inherited wealth erodes the work ethic, and withdraws itself from open competition.

Since ours is not a perfect world, we compromise in this matter. A husband and wife can, at the present, leave $2 million without any federal tax. If you have more than that, surely you are clever enough to have a lawyer and can bequeath much more without taxation.

Thomas D. Goodrich

Wilmington, Del.

Rewriting a pledge, rewriting our history

Maybe we should be less concerned with the wording of the Pledge of Allegiance and more worried about our ignorance of American history.

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