CATHOLIC CHURCH

That’s a lot of money not going to the needy

Regarding “$8.8M paid out for clergy abuses” (Feb. 14): You do realize, don’t you, that the money is not coming out of the corporate profits of an entity selling cigarettes or bath soap or electronic components, but from the pockets of mothers and fathers, children and singles who gave, and give, their dollars for the work of Christ in this world?

It is $8.8 million less for the hungry and needy and poor; for people in pain; for people who have messed up in their lives and need healing, and for the spread of a faith that has been, and is, the hope and guidance of millions.

And as for the lawyers who get their percentage — how eager are they to dig deeper into these pockets?

A little perspective is in order.

LEONARD FREEMAN, Long Lake

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Of the $8.8 million amount, $1.7 million is paying for the living expenses of priests who have been abusive. The archdiocese says it is required under church law to care for priests who have been removed from the ministry.

Yes, care for priests who are no longer able to serve due to age or health issues, but the archdiocese should not provide living expenses for priests who have perpetrated evil against vulnerable children. Prison care for abusive clergy may be appropriate, but at minimum they should be expelled from the priesthood and left on their own to provide for themselves.

Parishioners’ offerings are meant for the glory of God. Note to church leaders: Change the law. Stop protecting and providing for those who use their position of trust and leadership to harm innocent children.

NANCY JOHNSON, Northfield

• • •

If a sexual assault were alleged to have occurred at 3M, would it be the company’s job to determine guilt or innocence? What is it, then, that makes the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis think that it is somehow different when it comes to cooperating with authorities in matters of crimes that potentially rise to the level of a felony? (“Archbishop ordered to testify,” Feb. 12.) Perhaps it is the notion that its central office in Rome has traditionally viewed every piece of property it owns throughout the world as sovereign property of the sovereign nation of the Vatican.

An allegation of sexual abuse on an Indian reservation is investigated not by state, federal or county authorities. It is investigated by the sovereign Indian nation. What the Catholic Church has traditionally failed to realize is that, in America, its property does not have the legal status of an independent nation. Nor does it have a law enforcement branch with the resources required to investigate crimes.

As such, a Ramsey County judge should never have had to issue an order for the deposition of Archbishop John Nienstedt.

JOHN A. MATTSEN, New Brighton

 

HWY. 212 INCIDENT

From here, it looks like police did their jobs

Bonnie and Clyde of Hwy. 212 earned their fate early in their spree (“Couple shot to death by police had knife,” Feb. 13). The police do not have explaining to do (Readers Write, Feb. 14). We know that no one should ever flee law enforcement. We know that people who do are extremely dangerous — to every bystander and every driver in the vicinity — until it’s over. To say the least, it is a reminder of how difficult it is to be an officer of the law trying to protect and serve … and save. And that doing exactly the best thing is a great challenge.

Now we also know the vehicle was stolen. No, I do not expect police to calmly approach known dangerous criminals in the midst of their crime spree with a priority of protecting the criminal from injury. In that situation, the primary mission of the police is to protect the public and the officers from further crimes.

ROBERT PERSCHMANN, Chaska

 

COMING OUT

Why it’s an important action in our society

A Feb. 14 letter writer proudly took our time to formally announce that he is “a heterosexual Caucasian.” He then wrote disdainfully about NFL prospect Michael Sam’s public acknowledgment that he is gay. (By the way, Sam made no announcement about his race.)

The letter writer wondered whether he himself will get national news coverage with his brave declaration, and he polished off his sarcastic commentary by asking: “Who cares what your sexual orientation is?”

A serious answer would acknowledge that our letter writer will attract little attention when he appears publicly with a female companion, but that Sam would stir up excited headlines if he showed up with a male date without preparing us.

Sam’s honesty will help calm the public as he goes on to live his life authentically. And his courage will place one more paver on the road to the acceptance we all seek as the person we are — not the person who lives tightly within social and moral guidelines that have been set by an ignorant power structure.

SHAWN GILBERT, Bloomington

• • •

Fewer than two years ago, the Republican-led Minnesota House and Senate worked very hard to deny rights to gay people in our state Constitution. Sexual orientation obviously mattered very much to them at that time. Fortunately, their bigoted efforts were defeated, especially since so many people now do not seem to care about Michael Sam’s being gay.

JEFF FRASER, Richfield