Zero tolerance is intended for children's safety It's a...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 25, 2002

Zero tolerance is intended for children's safety

It's a shame reporter John Rivera seems to have interviewed mostly priests for his article about sexual abuse by Catholic clerics ("A new prayer for forgiveness," Aug. 18).

Had he talked with victims of clergy sexual abuse or parishioners, he would have learned what truly motivates us: The genuine desire to keep kids safe.

Zero tolerance is not about punishing priests. It's about protecting kids.

Survey after survey indicates that most Catholics want molesters out of churches. That doesn't make them vengeful or unforgiving. It makes them smart and prudent parents.

Mr. Rivera's article sadly misrepresents the goals and motives of those who have bravely and steadfastly worked to make the Catholic Church a safer place for everyone.

David Clohessy

St. Louis, Mo.

The writer is national director of the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

The Aug. 18 Sun Journal article on the abuse of minors by priests considers the issue of Christian forgiveness.

The piece is headed by a citation from the Gospel of Matthew on how often a Christian is to forgive another: "Jesus answered, `Not seven times, I tell you, but 70 times seven times.'"

And thus I would be willing to receive, on my knees, truly repentant and reformed priests -- even those who have abused children -- that is, to forgive them as fellow pilgrims in life. But to receive them again in positions of ministry? That is a different question.

Let the commentator, who cites part of Matthew, look at the rest of the same section in in which the saying on forgiveness is recounted: "Anyone who welcomes one little child welcomes me. But anyone who is the downfall of one of these little ones that have faith in me would be better drowned in the depths of the sea with a millstone around his neck."

The disciplining of priests is not a question of forgiveness alone. It is scarcely un-Christian for bishops or superiors of religious communities to refuse, as a general policy, to reinstate fallen priests as ministers.

James Butzow

Towson

Ehrlich misses point of women's choice

The Sun's article discussing Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s views on abortion leaves many of us who support the right to choose concerned ("Abortion questions raised in campaign," Aug. 18).

Mr. Ehrlich states that he will respect the compromise represented by Maryland's funding of abortions for Medicaid recipients although he feels that it encourages behavior that he opposes.

Such a stand is demeaning and unrealistic and makes me fear that he fails to understand the issues at hand.

So determined are most women to proceed when they decide to terminate a pregnancy that they will risk their lives to do so. Thus, the percentage of women that have induced abortions now is essentially that same as it was before Roe vs. Wade.

Reducing abortion is accomplished by teaching about family planning and providing proper contraception, not putting financial pressure on people who are often desperate and resolute.

Dr. Nelson G. Goodman

Annapolis

Townsend's views conflict with church

Practicing Catholics should raise an eyebrow when Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend openly admits that she is unequivocally in favor of abortion ("Abortion questions raised in campaign," Aug. 18).

Her admission should draw critical responses from all Catholics who believe her stated position is contradictory to church teachings.

In an era in which it has become customary to compromise beliefs for expediency, the Catholic Church has a responsibility to state its disapproval of any Catholic who supports abortion rights. And no Catholic should retreat into the protective and comfortable shadows of silence.

Carl LaVerghetta

Ellicott City

Don't leap into war against the Iraqis

My prayer is that we think long and hard before we entertain an attack on Iraq. There must be another way of solving our problems ("Top GOP figures dissent over Iraq," Aug. 16).

I have to agree with others who have expressed deep concern regarding the opening up of what would be an irreversible scene of more devastation.

Rose Mary Schulte

Baltimore

Kerouac's papers are Irsay's now

The Sun not unexpectedly depicted Jim Irsay as a jerk and a philistine who might dare sully a supposedly invaluable manuscript ("On a freewheeling ride with Colts' owner," Aug. 18).

You would think that the "real" researchers who want to see Jack Kerouac's doodling in the margins have never heard of photocopying or scanning the entire scroll, which would enable them to peruse it to their hearts' content.

This is not the Gutenberg Bible or a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci manuscript -- it is a typewritten pile of papers that are not even 50 years old.

Mr. Irsay may be a spoiled rich kid, but he was willing to part with real money for the scroll and has every right to do what he wants to with it -- including unrolling it on his kitchen counter and reading it by candle light while eating a pizza and drinking a beer. It is, after all, his property.

Tony Jordan

Baltimore

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