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Priest’s ‘two sides’ didn’t emerge clearly
I’m not Catholic and have no particular reason to defend the Catholic Church, but I’m among the Rev. Kevin McDonough’s many friends and admirers. The Oct. 27 profile “Two sides of priest emerge amid scandal” was a classic in false journalistic balance. On the one hand, we have his decades of tremendous service to the community, especially the poor, to which thousands of people could attest. On the other side we have … what, exactly?
It is not clear, in the three very different cases the Star Tribune describes, what he should have done but didn’t, given what he knew at the time. What is clear is that he took on the utterly thankless and risky task of sorting through charges of sexual misconduct by priests, including charges of noncriminal sexual activity not involving children. Reasonable minds may differ on how these cases should have been handled, but let’s not pretend the right choices in such situations are always obvious, especially when the evidence is uncertain. The church’s atrocious history of covering up priest sex crimes makes it all too easy to assume more coverups and to ignore the difficulty of making real-time judgments based on actual evidence.
BARBARA FREESE, St. Paul
Young men must learn empathy early, often
I want to believe that the majority of young high school and college men would not take advantage of someone who is incapacitated by alcohol consumption or physically weaker than they are (“No, really, college women: Stop getting drunk,” Oct. 27). However, I think if we take a deeper look into the lives of the young men who have been caught doing just that, we would see similarities in parenting styles and a household culture that encourages getting what you want by any means possible, a sense of undeserved entitlement, and a disregard for life deemed inferior or weak. As a result, the ever-important traits of empathy and delayed gratification are never learned or put into practice. While females may be genetically designed to exhibit these traits, young boys perhaps need more consistent and effective role modeling from adult men who are their fathers, teachers, coaches, bosses and neighbors in order to stave off the desire to emulate the ridiculously vulgar behavior of celebrities and sports figures. As for young women, let’s help them develop a healthy self-respect through their formative years so they don’t choose to risk their safety or dignity in order to gain dubious attention, desire or acceptance from their male counterparts.
ANNE MARIE DOMINGUEZ, Plymouth
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.