Why did it take so long to get to transparency?

It seems incredible and alarming that, given the hypersensitivity that communities have toward the presence of sexual predators in their midst, we are only now going to learn the identity of some of the worst offenders among priests (“Abusive priests to be named,” Dec. 3). Offenders who not only operated with impunity in places of worship for decades, but also employed the subterfuge that they were “men of God.”

GENE CASE, Andover

Pope Francis

Let’s stop using labels and hear the gospel

Columnists E.J. Dionne (“A pope who afflicts the comfortable,” Dec. 2) and Russ Douthat (“The right way to understand this pope,” Dec. 3) keep bringing up the left and right, liberalism and conservatism, in their writings about Pope Francis. Why do we need to pigeonhole so many things as left or right? Could Pope Francis simply be preaching according to scripture? I’m sure Jesus is not a fan of aborting fetuses any more than he is of me putting money in a 401(k) for my retirement while my fellow human beings are starving today.

GARTH GIDEON, Becker, Minn.



Don’t forget damage done by burning wood

The Dec. 2 editorial, “State will miss goal of cutting emissions,” was compelling enough to blast climate change deniers out of their complacency. Its conclusion that, “Minnesota must make up for lost time on climate issues” was dead on.

Though carbon emissions from power plants reportedly are down, emissions from “other sources” still present a significant problem, yet they are virtually ignored. According to Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) figures, residential carbon emissions have risen 22 percent, far more than industrial and all other categories shown. It may surprise many to learn that residential wood combustion is the culprit. As a major source of fine soot particulates, it is Minnesota’s largest single contributor to total black carbon emissions, according to the MPCA.

Given what continued climate change will mean to business, public health and the planet, isn’t it time to swap “recreational pollution” for cleaner alternatives? We as individuals have the power to slow climate change by stopping our burning of wood.


The writer is founder of Take Back the Air, Minneapolis.


Rehab helps patients regain strength, hope

What a great article on rehab for cancer patients (“After chemo — aerobics and a 5K?”). Last May I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy at Regions Hospital’s Cancer Care Center. My doctors took a pro-active approach to surgical recovery, scheduling me for a consultation with a physiatrist. The physiatrist discussed ways to minimize or prevent possible long-term effects of the mastectomy and node dissection.

I was the referred to physical and occupational therapy for an evaluation and exercise program designed to regain my strength and range of motion.

Cancer and cancer surgery sometimes made me feel I had lost too much self-determination. Rehab offers an opportunity to bring some of that power back and use it in the most positive way possible.

SUE McCALL, St. Paul


Play might be painful, but that’s the point

The writer of the Nov. 30 letter that denounced the Guthrie Theater’s presentation of “Born Yesterday” for its slapstick portrayal of bullying implies that the subject should be off-limits in a comedic drama. It should be noted that abhorrent human behavior has always been fodder for both stage and screen comedies, where characters such as bullies are normally cast as a vilified antagonist. While these portrayals have the potential to illicit painful emotions in some, their purpose is most often to ridicule their flawed characters.

Perhaps the most well-known modern archetype is Biff Tannen, who terrifies his youthful peers and is rewarded with a lifetime of negative consequences in the film “Back to the Future.” The use of comedy is an effective tool for conveying a variety of social and political topics while both entertaining and informing the audience. Repressive regimes recognize the danger posed by this medium, and regularly imprison or even execute those whose only crime is satirizing their government. In a free democracy, a moment of discomfort for some does not merit any suppression, however well-meaning, of this invaluable form of expression.

DAN EITTREIM, Minneapolis


MOA officials should have laughed it off

It’s laughable listening to Mall of America officials describe why they were upset about a man tossing $1,000 in dollar bills from above the mall’s rotunda. They claim someone could have been hurt in the chaos.

If that’s the case, why does MOA encourage Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping, where people are historically known to plunder one another in search of the best deals? Why does MOA host book signings, concerts and appearances by celebrities that draw such large crowds that people are packed together like sardines and unable to move?

If one were to review Minnesota’s disorderly conduct statute, he would find that the man’s actions violated no part of it. Hopefully, he will seize his day in court and win. Shame on Mall of America for acting so petty. Perhaps officials there are simply jealous that a lone shopper created a better public relations stunt than they did.