Let’s hope a clever mind is redirected

The 9-year-old boy who caught a flight to Las Vegas is no doubt crafty and precocious (“Father tearfully pleads for help for young stowaway,” Oct. 10). Nevertheless, at his tender age, he should be in school, minding his studies — not stealing cars or conning restaurant staffers and catching flights out of state. Under proper guidance, this boy most likely has the ability to accomplish most anything he would set his mind to do. And even though the boy is currently getting himself into trouble, this may be his way of getting the attention that he craves. He’s already heading down the wrong path, one that could lead to juvenile delinquency and maybe even prison. Let’s hope he gets some psychological help so that he can mature and develop into a well-adjusted, law-abiding member of society.

JOANN LEE FRANK, Clearwater, Fla.

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The news conference by the father of the 9-year-old was heartbreaking. Clearly this is a highly intelligent, challenging child for whom the parents had already sought help from the school and police. To see the father’s shame as he hid his identity and sobbed demonstrates that he feels ashamed and blamed for his child’s actions despite his best efforts to parent this child.

I urge him to hold his head high. People should not judge this family without walking in their shoes. I hope this family does get the help it needs and that this child can be steered into a life of using his intelligence for good. He may be the person who cures cancer some day.

Lynne Ploetz, Hanover, Minn.



Respect the laity — and account for the money

As a lifelong local Catholic, I’d like to express my support for Jennifer Haselberger’s conscientious stand to prevent sex abuse in our archdiocese. She and the rest of us Catholics are victims of the clericalism that Pope Francis is trying to remove from our church. Archbishop John Nienstedt fosters a view in which the ordained clergy are deemed special. In that clerical view, the church is their church, and the rest of us are just clients. This is not the view of Pope Francis, who wants the church to be “a community of God’s people, and priests, pastors and bishops.”

In the archdiocesan office, Haselberger’s considered opinions were dismissed as naive, and she was labeled as disgruntled. As a laywoman, she was not truly accepted as a peer. In clericalism, the clerics just dismiss the opinions of anyone who disagrees with them. The best way to move our archdiocese closer to the vision of Pope Francis is to have more independent nonclerics with strong conscience in archdiocesan leadership. A good start toward this would be to reinstate Haselberger, and to listen to her with more respect.

EDWARD WALSH, Bloomington

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The grave concern in the archdiocese is not solely about establishing a task force to ensure “Safe Environment and Ministerial Standards,” which admittedly is tremendously important. The grave concern now is also about ensuring financial transparency. If we, as parishioners, have been forced to spend more than a quarter of a million dollars each year to fund and sustain priests who have been proven to be sexual predators of our children, then we deserve a full accounting of this gross mismanagement.

The stakes have been raised. The archdiocese “must” also establish a task force of laypeople to investigate this mismanagement of our money and to oversee the proper handling of millions of dollars of funds solicited from our weekly contributions, as assessments, that in turn fund the archdiocese. To restore any semblance of trust, this is a nonnegotiable.




Tunnel opponents must think of the big picture

Environmental concerns by Minneapolis officials about digging tunnels for rail transit in the Kenilworth corridor are misplaced. The larger, long-term threat to nearby lakes and trees is from changing rainfall patterns related to the irreversible loss of global ice caps. Rejection of the two-tunnel Southwest light-rail compromise will directly result in millions of additional commutes in automobiles emitting greenhouse gases from their tailpipes.

Sometimes delaying a project while trying to make it better is in itself harmful. Let’s hope city leaders will consider the global consequences of their votes.

RICHARD ADAIR, Minneapolis



Progress, but moms still bear the burden

Small wonder that moms are “more fatigued, fulfilled than dads” (Oct. 9). In a scholarly paper presented fully 10 years ago, I pointed out that, despite the importance of family meals to family cohesiveness and children’s development, they occur less and less. When they do, by and large, it is women who prepare them. This despite the belief by both sexes that meal preparation should be “equally shared.”

Many men now participate in meal preparation, child care and other traditionally female roles. I see it — and applaud it — in my neighborhood. But gender roles need to continue to change for reasons of justice, family coherence and child development.

MIRIAM MEYERS, Minneapolis