"Sins of the Fathers" implies that if Catholic priests were free to marry, it would solve the problem of pedophilia which the medical community has determined is an incurable illness [March 29]. Pedophiles exist in all walks of life, yet Catholic priests get the headlines, even though just a tiny percentage have committed this shameful offense. Choosing to live the vow of chastity is a gift of one's total self to God and has no relevance whatsoever to pedophilia.
Mary Anne Kevil, LA GRANGE, KY., U.S.
The doctrine of celibacy is older than Christianity, starting with hermits and ascetics who alienated themselves from society and thought they could become closer to divinity by eschewing sex. It was hundreds of years later, with the rise of monasteries and convents, that the Catholic Church made celibacy an official doctrine and requirement for the priesthood and for nuns. Since those far-off days the doctrine has led to all kinds of secret sins being committed by the priesthood, usually against adults, but also against children. Instead of the Pope making heart-rending apologies for the crimes of priests, he should be having a good hard look at this archaic doctrine and seriously considering its abandonment.
Jay Nauss, GLEN APLIN, AUSTRALIA
The church, like any other institution, is part of society and the faults and sins of its members reflect society at large. Nowadays, we and our children can easily access pornography with a click of our mouse. Video games very often have violent and explicit content. Priests, like other human beings, live in a world where sex is ubiquitous. It is painful for me to learn of the acts of some priests, but the sins of a few cannot be the reason to abandon the church and forget what Christ has preached.
Carlos Barcia, MURCIA, SPAIN
The issues addressed in "The Prescription Gender Gap" which questions the benefits to women of statins merit context [March 29]. Heart disease and stroke remain the No. 1 and 3 killers of Americans, including women. Statin therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment regimen that includes lifestyle modification is highly effective for both men and women and is in part responsible for the recent 30% decline in deaths due to heart disease and stroke. It is correct that more women should be enrolled in clinical trials, side effects of any therapy are real, and not all persons receive the same degree of benefit from statins. But the benefit is real and far outweighs any risk. We would advise a discussion with one's health care provider before discontinuing or modifying any life-sustaining or disease-prevention therapy.
Clyde W. Yancy, President, American Heart Association, DALLAS
Ralph Brindis, President, American College of Cardiology, WASHINGTON
Last October I was prescribed a statin for high cholesterol. After four pills, I was struck by excruciating muscle cramps in my right hip and thigh. After weeks of pain medication and three epidurals, the pain finally subsided. Occasionally it threatens to recur. None of the doctors I saw believed the problem was related to statins. I knew it was. Thank you for the confirmation.
Marolyn Caldwell, MANHATTAN, KANS., U.S.
Down with the Man
Christopher Hayes' article "The Twilight of the Elites" is a fantastic reminder of the hubris of supposed experts [March 22]. Since the financial crisis started, many consultants, fund managers and other privileged executives have proved to be glorified charlatans. Perhaps, like the Roman generals of old, they should keep lackeys on hand, tasked to repeatedly remind them of their fragile human mortality.
Rafael Pintos-López, MICHELAGO, AUSTRALIA