ICritic of the pontiff has an ax to grind In the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 25, 2006

ICritic of the pontiff has an ax to grind

In the article "Pope needs to refocus, critics say" (Sept. 20), The Sun was remiss in not disclosing the obvious bias of Pope Benedict XVI's featured detractor.

Father Thomas J. Reese, who is quoted in the article as saying the pontiff lacks "street smarts" and is a "German academic who hasn't realized yet he's a pope," has more than a little motivation for launching such a preposterous attack on the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Readers should know that Father Reese is the former editor of America magazine, the Jesuit publication that, during his tenure, was well known as a forum for dissident Catholics.

Under the direction of Cardinal Ratzinger, the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith applied considerable pressure to Father Reese for publishing articles promoting heterodox points of view on topics such as homosexuality and the ordination of women to the priesthood.

After Cardinal Ratzinger's elevation to the papacy, Father Reese resigned his post as editor in May 2005, a decision in no small part a result of his history with the current pope.

One cannot help but wonder if Father Reese is motivated by lingering resentment.

How else can we explain such undignified and sophomoric statements from an otherwise well-educated cleric?

Louie Verrecchio

Hampstead

The pope's apology really rings hollow

Liz F. Kay's article "Pope needs to refocus, critics say" (Sept. 20) did not acknowledge a few simple facts about Pope Benedict XVI's recent faux pas.

It is not the pope's lack of street smarts, as the article suggests, that led to his outrageous remarks.

I think the pope meant what he said. But shame on him - he hid behind a Byzantine emperor to give his own prejudices an academic gloss.

Unless he is asleep at the papal wheel, this pontiff must know that it doesn't take much to incite Muslim extremists or wound the sensitivities of Muslim moderates today.

Beleaguered by the West's swagger, assaulted by the West's obsession with self-preservation and besieged by the West's claim to moral superiority for inventing the concepts of liberty and equality, Muslims all over the world have responded with mass hysteria to remarks more innocuous than the pope's comments.

And surely the pope did not think that he could invite Muslims to a civilized inter-faith dialogue by reciting, uncontested, the arbitrary and noxious anti-Muslim words of a Byzantine Christian emperor.

In my opinion, the pontiff deep down believes that Christianity was spawned by a kind, gentle and rational God, whereas Islam is the product of a militant prophet with evil intent.

The pontiff's apology, therefore, is a cowardly sham.

By the same token, Muslim extremists who burn him in effigy and dream of seizing global power in the name of Islam practice the deceit of despots and the lunacy of intolerance.

This is no template for peace.

Usha Nellore

Bel Air

Execution of Evans isn't the atrocity

Within several months of Vernon L. Evans Jr.'s premeditated attack on would-be witnesses, I moved to within one-quarter mile of the crime scene. This is a neighborhood I have called home for the past 23 years.

Mr. Evans' effort to silence and intimidate those working to stop the violent drug trade was a brutal and heartless crime.

The deaths sent a powerful message to those who "Believe" in Baltimore.

As an individual trained in monitoring patients experiencing pain, and recovering from anesthesia, I believe the execution of Mr. Evans could be safely and painlessly administered ("Lethal injection training faulted," Sept. 20).

I would be willing to volunteer my time to participate if given the opportunity.

I sympathize with the victims of the crime, not the killer.

Matthew Klein

Pikesville

The writer is a registered nurse.

Punish vote judges who didn't show up

The election workers who didn't report for work on primary day should never be permitted to work another election in Maryland. An example needs to be made of those who took their responsibilities so lightly.

The Sun's editorial "In search of decent judges" (Sept. 15) offered some excellent ideas for ways the elections boards can recruit suitable judges.

Our general election must not be another fiasco. And that can still be prevented.

Genevieve Mason

Baltimore

Encourage students to work at the polls

I read with interest the comments of Baltimore County elections Director Jacqueline McDaniel regarding her attempt to utilize computer-savvy high school students age 17 and older as election volunteers ("State first to use poll equipment," Sept. 16).

She was stymied, the article says, because privacy laws prohibited county schools from releasing students' names and home addresses.

But it seems to me that there is a win-win solution here.

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