The year in letters 2013: The Catholic Church

  • Updated: December 31, 2013 - 6:23 PM

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Keeping the faith

I would propose one question to all who do not understand Catholics like me, who are committed to remaining Catholic no matter what happens within the church: If math teachers throughout the state of Minnesota were accused of some kind of serious wrongdoing, would you stop believing that five plus five equals 10?

Abuse by priests is deeply wrong and disturbing. Abuse by anyone is deeply wrong and disturbing. But it doesn’t change Catholicism, nor what many of us believe. The church needs us now more than ever. I will be at mass on Sunday, and I will hold my head high, never embarrassed of my faith. There is no force great enough to take that away from me.


Guilty knowledge

During my stint as a public schoolteacher, I was obligated by law to make authorities aware of any suspected child abuse. Not doing so could/should have cost me my job. Now that the list of accused clergy has been made public, those in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who did not report what they knew should resign or be dismissed.

The abusing priests are not the only ones who are guilty. The church personnel who transferred abusing priests, ignored the pleas of victims, failed to cooperate fully with law enforcement and did not live up to the words they preach are as guilty as the abusing priests. Making the list public does not absolve them of their roles as accessories to the crimes allegedly committed by those on the list.

GEORGE LARSON, Minneapolis

More lists to come?

The court order requiring the archdiocese to make public a list of priests accused of sexual abuse — going back to the 1950s — opens a whole new era of transparency. Perhaps we can now expect that school districts and teachers unions, police departments and police unions, government offices and their employee unions — even the courts — will be required to turn over their lists of sexual-predator-members they’ve protected, transferred or otherwise hidden from the public.

LOREN PECORE, Northfield, Minn.

For the love of Christ

Maybe criticism of Pope Francis is a sign he is heading in the right direction? Conservatives want Francis to fit into a nice little Catholic box, just as the Pharisees wanted Jesus to conform to their idea of a Jew. Jesus confounded everyone by mingling with lepers and talking to prostitutes. He healed them. He loved them. He didn’t read the Ten Commandments and tell them how awful they were.

Being a Christian (and a former Catholic), I am in awe of what one man, in a very beleaguered religious post, has done to spread the love of Jesus in such a short time.

JENNIE MENKE, Watertown, Minn.

Tough coverage is paper’s role

I disagree with the letter writers who complain that the paper’s coverage of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has been distorted, unfair and lacking in respect. We’re talking about possible criminal activity — both on the part of the priests accused of abuse and on the part of a church hierarchy that has long tried to cover up — and we’re not just talking about a few isolated cases.

One of the duties of a free press is to bring to light wrongdoing on the part of people in authority, be they politicians, government officials, CEOs or church leaders. The paper would be falling short in its responsibilities if it did not cover the scandal fully.


    With the help of news researchers Sandy Date and John Wareham, we’ve compiled excerpts of letters to the editor on topics that drew the most response last year. Enjoy, and keep sharing — in 250 words or fewer — by using the “Submit a letter or commentary” link or via e-mail to

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