No media welcome mat

Pope Benedict arrives for his first papal visit to the United States. The Star Tribune covers it by running an Associated Press article with 35 column inches of written copy (plus some pictures). The first 28 of those 35 inches deal with sexual abuse by Catholic clergy over the past half-century. Only the last 7 inches refer to other aspects of the pope's visit.

Some Americans feel the media are anti-Catholic. Where in the world might they ever get such an idea?


Say more, please

Aboard "Shepherd I" on his way to the United States, Pope Benedict said he is ashamed of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Ashamed? That is the vocabulary of a victim. When the perpetrator speaks and acts as a victim, beware! It appears the Vatican continues to proceed as if this sexual-abuse scandal is more the fault of the media than abusive priests and complicit bishops and cardinals.

As a political and religious figure, the pope is obliged to offer a sincere apology to the families and victims of clergy sexual abuse. His predecessor, John Paul II, apologized to Muslims for the Crusades, Jews for anti-Semitism, Orthodox Christians for the sacking of Constantinople, Italians for the Vatican's associations with the Mafia and to scientists for the persecution of Galileo. John Paul II issued 90 statements of contrition.

Why can't this pope say, "I am deeply sorry for the wounds so many of you have suffered at the hands of your trusted pastors, teachers and religious leaders and the ensuing cover-ups and denials by church officials. I humbly ask forgiveness?" Does he not know that amends for grave sin and moral failures are required before harmony can be reestablished? I believe his failure to admit wrong-doing and apologize for this injustice from within the organization renders the pope impotent to call for justice and moral order in the world.

From the first sighting of the white smoke indicating a pope had been chosen, Vatican spokespersons were telling people to give Benedict a chance. Well, here's another chance for His Holiness.



But first, the money

The Metropolitan Airports Commission says it's open to compromise on Northwest Airlines' loan repayments to Minnesota? That's our money they're talking about!

Do the mortgage lenders compromise on mortgages in foreclosure? Most likely not. Times are tough; the state can't afford to allow a "compromise."


Better service, maybe

Time will tell if the Delta acquisition of Northwest is good for consumers or not, and I am truly saddened that many jobs will most likely leave this area. My hope is that residents of this area will no longer be held hostage by an arrogant airline and pay higher fares with bad service and that gates will be opened to competitors with employees who actually like their jobs and enjoy flying.



Contents may vary

Katherine Kersten is right (column, April 16). The glass is half full -- even in the economic recession of 2008 -- though I would argue that the Dalai Lama expressed this philosophy somewhat more elegantly when he said, "Happiness is wanting what you have."

Still, maybe I feel like I know Kersten too well. I can't, in other words, escape the nagging feeling that she means for this philosophy, this "glass half full" attitude, to guide some of us but not others. I mean, is she prepared to come to the next public hearing and tell a roomful of antitax zealots who can't bear to pay another penny that the glass is half full? That "life is good," even in the face of a 25-cent sales tax on $100?

"Hardship is relative," she says. Clearly. And on Kersten's relative scale, I can't help but think that paying one's taxes is relatively harder than losing one's job or home or falling off a freeway bridge into the Mississippi River. So pardon me, but when I want an attitude adjustment, I'll take the Dalai Lama or anybody whose empathy is not driven by a political agenda.


lending crisis

A mortgage isn't magic

Here's a lesson I hope comes out of the mortgage lending crisis: If the only way you can afford the house is with an adjustable-rate or interest-only loan, you can't afford the house.



Plentiful but careless

The clear implication of John Gunyou's April 16 column, "Uprooting the future," is that the state is not spending enough money in its current budget to address state needs. I beg to differ.

Moreover, I am not aware of any past legislative sessions that have not maxed out the state's bonding capacity during the even-year bonding session. The state's economy grows larger and so does its debt. The real issue is how the money is being spent. The last bonding bill was full of crystal palaces for the 'U' and hockey rinks for favored places rather than more roads, bridges and transit. If the state needs more money, it should start by allocating existing resources more carefully.



Required in the city

In response to your April 13 article about grocery bags: I use cloth bags, string bags, and I even bring back and reuse the produce aisle bags many times over. But I have to occasionally get paper bags because the city of Minneapolis recycling program requires us to bag our bottles, plastics and cans. I hope our solid-waste system will figure out another way to collect these items.



'Elite' credentials

Regarding the controversy about Barack Obama's words about the working class: Who is the real elitist? The son and grandson of admirals, who sailed into the Naval Academy as a third-generation legacy? The lawyer who made partner, less for her billable hours than her membership on several influential boards? Or the minority kid brought up by a single parent?

It would be interesting to hear the candidates discuss the word openly together, rather than abusing it through out-of-context campaign commercials.


Pot and kettle?

George Will complaining about condescension (Opinion Exchange, April 15) is like Paris Hilton complaining that her dress is on too tight.