Readers Write: (Jan. 4): Marijuana use, the Catholic Church, cellphone safety, Edward Snowden

  • Updated: January 3, 2014 - 6:18 PM

Expend effort reducing poverty, and drug use will decline.


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Reduce poverty, and drug use will decline

A Jan. 3 commentary was headlined “Marijuana use dulls the mind” and argued that marijuana is a gateway drug as well. Both of those statements are also true for alcohol, especially in regard to young users, and alcohol is a legal drug for adults.

I’m neither in favor of nor opposed to marijuana legalization. I do know this, though: If we had spent as much money and time and energy on eliminating poverty and making education better as we have on trying to stop the use of marijuana (including what we’ve spent on drug agencies, prisons and housing prisoners, and on drug enforcement agencies) we would’ve greatly reduced the pockets of poverty in our country. Not only that, but in doing so we would most probably have done a better job of reducing drug use and or crime.

It should be obvious that poverty and lack of education do more to foster drug use than prisons do to stop it. It’s way past time to stop the war on drugs and start a movement to reduce poverty and do much to foster a good education for all of our children.

DON ANDERSON, Minneapolis



Pro-immunity policies appear to be waning

A young Catholic man has accused Archbishop John Nienstedt of touching “his buttocks during a photo session following a confirmation ceremony in 2009,” this paper reported several weeks ago. Although some are stunned by the accusation of abuse and although Nienstedt may very well be exonerated, the charge is not implausible in a general sense. All bishops were once priests whose ranks we now know have included a goodly number credibly accused.

What seems unprecedented in this case is the refusal to process it behind the closed doors of the Chancery Office. When the young man met with Lynette Forbes-Cardey, the coordinator of the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth, she directed him to take his accusation to law enforcement authorities. The directive to contact the police suggests that perhaps, at least here in this archdiocese, church laws that for centuries granted immunity from civil law for Roman Catholic clerics may have finally lost their influence.

In effect until 1983, Church Canons 119-120 called for criminally accused clerics to be tried before a church judge and explicitly forbade taking to civil court a cleric accused of a crime. It was a sacrilege, a mortal or venial sin to do so. The law, however, did allow taking bishops and cardinals to court with permission of the pope and approval of the local bishop for accused priests.

Nienstedt’s accuser should know that under current church law he will neither sin nor need the pope’s permission should he decide to file charges against his own archbishop.



The writer, ordained for the archdiocese in 1957, left the ministry in 1972.



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