CATHOLIC CHURCH

If it’s a target, there’s a pretty good reason

The “barrage of headlines” Katherine Kersten bemoans in her May 28 commentary (“Clergy sex abuse is serious, but church is a target, too”) is driven by two facts: There has been plenty of news to report, and people are interested in reading about it. Kersten throws sand in her readers’ eyes by pointing out that pedophilia is not exclusive to the Catholic Church. True enough. But by setting itself up as the final authority on morality while simultaneously covering up serious crimes, the church has made itself a ripe target.

Its teachings on “abortion, contraception, premarital chastity and same-sex marriage” are all, at their core, about controlling sexual behavior. But if the pedophile priest scandal teaches us anything (and it should teach us a lot of things), it is that human sexuality cannot be easily contained. The actions of many obviously noncelibate priests make this clear.

The church wants us to believe that the only acceptable expression of sexuality is for procreation within marriage. This is dangerous nonsense. Unattainable standards are harmful because they make good people feel badly about themselves when they “fail.” Then their natural desires tend to come out sideways.

Instead of getting defensive and pushing back against journalists and lawyers, Kersten might consider that they are doing her and all devout Catholics a service by helping to root out a cancer that eats away at the body of Christ.

Karl Glotzbach, St. Louis Park

• • •

Leave it to Kersten to spin the tragedy of clerical abuse into a right-wing conspiracy theory. Her not-so-subtle implication that the DFL Party is trying to dismantle the last remaining bastion of conservatism in Minnesota through this litigation is flawed in two ways: 1) It’s hinged on a financial connection between Jeff Anderson and the DFL that is not nearly as sinister as Kersten is portraying it to be, and 2) Kersten implies that the Catholic Church is representative of her own political orientation. The church is bigger than that. It has its own unique set of ethical and social mores that transcend party lines. Far be it from me to claim the church for progressivism, but perhaps Kersten ought to read Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father’s “manifesto,” of sorts, touching on the perils of unregulated capitalism and social inequality.

In short, Kersten’s argument that the DFL is trying to dismantle the church (a metonym for conservatism in her mind) relies on a tenuous connection between an attorney who goes after pedophiles for a living and the public record of his political contributions. In addition, she flattens the church’s unique ethical and social positions by claiming, in so many words, that they represent her political beliefs and not those of others.

Logan McMillen, Edina

• • •

Thank you to Kersten for stating my thoughts so clearly. When the Legislature lifted the statute of limitations in 2013, I knew what would happen.

I thank God continually for my Catholic faith and all the graces he gives me. I thank God for all the holy clergy in my life, past and current. I pray daily for all who think they can ignore the Ten Commandments, that they will come to know the love of God and start to live moral lives.

Mary Lou Monighan, Plymouth

 

SUBSIDIES

Oh, so stadiums are cool but not hospitals?

For the last decade, the Star Tribune has advocated providing hundreds of millions of dollars in public financing for sports stadiums. Now it tells the city of Edina to reject the request of Fairview Health Systems for a $2 million grant for emergency-room renovations at Fairvew Southdale in order to prevent “a public aid arms race” (editorial, May 24).

Each year Fairview Health provides hundreds of millions of dollars for patient care for which it is not reimbursed, including emergency-room care for patients without adequate insurance. See the Fairview Community Benefit Report.

On the Star Tribune list of priorities, however, it appears that entertainment rates far above health care.

Michael W. McNabb, Lakeville

• • •

I read the excellent editorial about Fairview seeking millions of dollars from the city of Edina to help fund the Southdale expansion. The phrase “unmitigated gall” comes to mind. In 2005, Fairview was forced into a monitoring receivership by the Minnesota attorney general’s office because of outrageous bill-collection practices. In 2011 (as reported by newspapers and television), Fairview cut a backroom deal to get Medicaid funding it wasn’t entitled to for the Amplatz Children’s Hospital. In 2012, the attorney general again took Fairview to task for bill-collection practices that can only be described as horrific. In 2013, Fairview tried to merge its assets with those of Sanford Health. This included the University of Minnesota Hospital, which Fairview manages. That’s quite a résumé — or, more appropriately, quite a rap sheet for an organization seeking a taxpayer handout.

The notion of charity for a multibillion-dollar organization such as Fairview, which is itself anything but charitable, should offend every taxpayer. What Fairview deserves and what taxpayers need is a serious reconsideration of its tax-exempt status.

David Feinwachs, St. Paul

 

NICOLLET MALL

There’s a forest, all right. It’s underfoot.

Our $50 million Nicollet Mall renovation featuring a “woodsy” feel sounds great. Lovely. One problem: Utility lines under the mall are so dense that limited space remains for trees to take root. Unless we dig out the lines and hang them from a clothesline above (visualize “Oh! Calcutta!”), the trees will struggle and likely wither. The result could be as disappointing as the once spectacular and bubbling, and now lifeless, fountains at Peavey Plaza.

Frederick Winston, Wayzata