I’m willing to bet that the Rev. John M. Bauer’s commentary “ ‘Lover’s quarrel’ with my church must continue” (Opinion Exchange, Nov. 18) about the Catholic Church could have been written by most Catholics like me today. Like Father Bauer I, too, grew up in the Catholic Church. I also love the prayers, the rituals and the Mass. I have a strong sense of comfort, familiarity and of being home when I’m in a Catholic Church. My heart has been broken, too, by the leadership of the Catholic Church for its failure to stamp out this demonic child abuse that continues to plague it. I refuse to be driven out of the church I love because of failed leadership. I love the Lord and I love being Catholic. I choose to stay and fight for the church I love like Father Bauer.
I’m thinking of the story about the guy at the beach who is throwing starfish that have washed up on the beach back into the water. Someone watching this guy throwing starfish back in the water asks him, “There are so many starfish laying on the beach, how do you know you are making a difference with what you are doing?” The guy throwing the starfish picks up another fish, throws it back into the water says to the man, “It makes a difference to that one.” I choose to stay and fight for the church I love as it makes a difference to me.
Bob Doyle, Savage
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As a member of the Basilica of St. Mary’s diverse parish family, I want to shout out an amen to the words of our pastor, John Bauer.
Worshiping and volunteering at the Basilica, I am constantly humbled and inspired by the generous goodness of our faith community. They reinforce the challenging understanding brought home to us during Vatican II: The hierarchy is not the church. We are the church. It is up to us to keep calling it to task, to broaden its perspective by the equal inclusion of women and by being open to new insights constantly being offered by experts in matters both secular and religious.
For some of us, it’s not “love me or leave me,” it’s love me and help us become the best we can be as a church.
Mary Ritten, Minneapolis
POLITICIANS AND COVID
A few have seen the light. Maybe.
I would never wish a COVID diagnosis on anyone, ever. I find it disturbing that Nick Zerwas, a former state legislator from Elk River, came forward and has declared that now is the time to be serious about our response to the virus (“New curbs on bars, gyms, dining out,” front page, Nov. 18). He states that he was against mitigation efforts earlier this year. Now, I understand the purpose of his latest declaration as an effort by Gov. Tim Walz’s administration to get more people who have not been complying with social distancing and mask-wearing to do so when one of their own has changed his mind. But I am deeply disturbed that it’s only his own diagnosis and suffering that have changed his mind. Perhaps if he and oh-so-many others had supported mitigation efforts earlier, we wouldn’t be in this situation now.
Here’s a message to Zerwas’ loyal supporters and those who oppose further rules: If the new restrictions are going to massively change the way you’ve been living your social life lately, it’s quite likely you’re the reason we’re going to get more restrictions. Please be safe, everyone!
Laurie Tralle, Lino Lakes
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Regarding “Gazelka says virus lessons learned” (Nov. 18): Is this the same Sen. Paul Gazelka who repeatedly complains about COVID-19 restrictions? The same Gazelka who objects to public-health-based decisions made by Walz? The same Gazelka who knows individuals will take personal responsibility and make good decisions about their own health and the health of the people around them?
There is a balance between individual rights and the need for cooperation for our common good. Gazelka demonstrates why it’s appropriate and consistent with American values to have some rules that make us aware of the needs of others. Emergency orders during a national pandemic is one of those times.
Sen. Gazelka, please remember this chapter when you comment on Walz’s COVID-19 orders. You made a mistake. I appreciate your seeing that. I hope you see that others will make similar mistakes and endanger the people around them.
Emergency rules to help us deal with COVID-19 are reasonable. Please support those rules in the Senate.
Thomas Klein, Richfield
We can’t last much longer
When COVID-19 hit last March, Congress was quick to approve a federal aid package to help small businesses. It was a lifesaver, enabling our business, Two Bettys Green Cleaning, to retain staff while we were closed during lockdown. Once we returned to cleaning, the aid allowed us to give paid sick leave to hourly employees who had to quarantine due to symptoms, a positive COVID diagnosis or to care for a sick loved one.
Congress had promised more help to follow this summer or fall. Two Bettys was counting on this aid to help us break even this year, retain staff and continue offering paid sick leave. We were confident that with another round of aid, we could weather the third COVID surge and flu season.
But, despite the promises, so far there’s been nothing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stopped all relief for hard-hit small businesses.
There are over half a million small businesses in Minnesota, employing 46.9% of Minnesota workers. With the third surge upon us and without an extension to the aid, many of these businesses have no choice but to again furlough or let people go. If McConnell wants workers to continue earning paychecks and small businesses like mine to survive until the spring, leaders need to provide additional relief to those of us on the front lines. Main Street businesses can’t wait any longer.
Anna Tsantir, Minneapolis
Treat health workers as veterans
The new national fund for families of health care workers who died of COVID-19 is a great idea (“Fund to help families of health workers killed by COVID,” Nov. 17).
The “war on COVID-19” analogy raises ideas for broader support related to this issue. A federal agency should be created to provide support to the front-line “troops” fighting in the COVID-19 “war.” Health care workers engaged in the care of COVID-19 victims are surely among its “veterans.” We should also consider other at-risk workers such as first responders, mortuary workers, grocery workers and delivery workers as veterans.
Support might entail: lifetime, free health coverage for these veterans and their immediate families (including care for permanent disabilities from the disease); funeral and other “last costs” expenses; mental health care for PTSD and other related conditions suffered; financial support for veterans whose earning capacity takes a hit from contracting COVID through service.
Costly? You bet. But if looked at as an investment as well as thanks, plus indebtedness recognition, significant offsetting financial returns could likely be identified for the economy at large. Money spent on these services and support goes into the daily transactions of the consumer economy where each dollar spent is “replayed” again and again. Each replay creates income to sellers and tax revenue. Agency measurement of this should be mandated. Let’s get past the “sticker shock” and look down the road for all the returns as well.
I’m sure much of the above also applies for military veterans. Others can better discuss how support for them should be improved.
Robert Sykes, Hopkins
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