Can the Catholic Church Save Itself?
Can the Catholic Church save itself? No. Only God can save it [RELIGION, April 1]. For 2,000 years, God has been rescuing the Roman Catholic Church from the excesses of the human condition, be it the imperialism of Constantine, pillaging during the Crusades, murder in the Inquisition, the selling of indulgences, sexual debauchery by priests and Popes, or institutional cover-ups. The church is and always has been a reflection of people, warts and all. Let's not defame the good name of the vast majority of its priests and, by inference, the collective body because of the decadence of the few. RUSSELL C. SMEDS Collinsville, Ill.
Not one of the church leaders quoted in your article spoke of the real outrage: the continued cover-up by church authorities to protect their own misguided interests. One wonders how a prelate could sleep at night, never mind continue to administer the sacraments, after transferring a child molester to a whole new group of unsuspecting children. A mea culpa from these leaders is long overdue--as is God's vengeance. BOB METHELIS Montville, N.J.
Although I am not a Catholic, I'm convinced that the church can "save itself." It has survived worse. Now is the time to support our good Catholic neighbors and tell them we love them. JACK WILLIAMS Fallbrook, Calif.
There was little in your report that addressed the fact that most priests serve with integrity. You quoted clinical psychologist Thomas Plante as saying "about 5% of the Catholic clergy have had involvement with minors." If this is true, then why don't the other 95% deserve more than a fleeting mention? The majority of Catholic priests are innocent and have done nothing wrong. JOHN CIESLA Fort Lewis, Wash.
Pedophilia is about power and control. The damage to a child from sexual abuse is forever; some victims never heal. CYNTHIA STINE Garland, Texas
As members of the order of the servants of Mary, we appreciate your concern. But save your tears. The Catholic Church will survive. We have the word of our founder, Jesus Christ: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Although evil personified is trying, it will not succeed. AUDREY JAURON CELESTE LAWLER Omaha, Neb.
Can we save the Church? who cares? The question is, Can we save the children? Let's be clear. This is not "sex abuse"; it is child abuse, plain and simple. And crimes against children are the worst kind. The victims are defenseless and never deserve it. Never. GORDON GUNDERSON Port Orchard, Wash.
I am deeply saddened by the reports of child abuse by Catholic priests, but my faith has not been shaken. My faith is not based on the idea that every priest is perfect. My faith is in God and in a church that does far more good than evil. And my faith remains strong. I continue to pray for the victims of the abuse, for the abusers and for the church as a whole. EMILY ENGEL Gainesville, Fla.
The Issue of Celibacy