Unlike with politics, unity is now likely

As a non-Catholic who nonetheless respects the tradition as to the hope it offers to followers, I see a similarity between the new pope and our president, who both have come into their positions under troubled times and are dealing with abuses, financial problems and the dissatisfaction of many of their constituents. One important difference is that Catholics will now, for the most part, unite with Pope Francis rather than work against him, unlike obstructionist political parties that do not accept the results of an election. The difference is our most political leaders are influenced by money, whereas the clergy as a whole are not motivated by earthly riches.

This pope may do more for our Western Hemisphere than any of our vaunted political leaders.

Marshall Burke, Hudson, Wis.
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In his first remarks after being elected, Pope Francis said: "Let there be brotherhood among us." I hope that we as Muslims and Christians can unite and establish the brotherhood to which the pope alluded.

Abdul Naseer M.K., Minneapolis
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I think David Pence ("Why the church's band of brothers must hold fast to the ancient faith," March 13) has confused God with renaissance paintings. God is not some fatherly figure with a long beard. We assign a gender to God because our language is limited and because belief and understanding of God developed within highly patriarchal societies. Men were in charge, so God was male. The early church was not a "band of brothers," it was a band of believers, Greek and Jew, slave and free person, male and female (Galatians 3:28). The boys club developed as the Christian movement became part of the male-dominated Roman culture (the Cardinals are still wearing Roman garb).

This practicing Catholic does not consider gay marriage or female ordination an oxymoron, but rather two of many critical issues the church faces. The Catholic Church is more than the hierarchy; it is all the people, and it is time to hear all of the voices.

Maura Fitzgerald, Minneapolis


The only factors should be science and numbers

What makes the opinion of any Ojibwe citizen any more valuable than that of an Italian-American, African-American or any other? Answer: Nothing. ("What we regard coldly as 'wolf management' should include tribes' perspectives," March 13.)

Wildlife-management science is the only thing that should determine how this resource is managed. We have a moose and deer population in northern Minnesota that is plummeting due to an overpopulation of wolves. I have nothing against the wolves. I want a sustainable population of them to exist. I enjoy listening to them and recognize them as necessary part of the ecosystem.

The current growth of the wolf population is not sustainable. I feel the same way about moose and deer. If they were overpopulated, I would recommend hunts to reduce their population. We need to acknowledge that we are at the top of the food chain and have management responsibilities over wildlife. Don't whine to me about "brother wolf" and your spiritual relationship. It has no place in this discussion.

Jay Huyck, Maple Grove

Southeastern Minn. town draws the line

I want to personally thank the brave and insightful folks in St. Charles, Minn., for the decision they made to hold the frac sand industry at bay. I was appalled by the attitude exhibited by an investor in the March 14 article "Frac sand partners pull out." Minnesotans don't need to have their environment held hostage to profits. If Wisconsin wants it, we can all add it to the list of why we are thankful not to be living there.

Let's work together to create economic opportunities that can replace the short-term mining dollars with long-term sustainable options in southeastern Minnesota, a land of beauty and opportunity. I know that as a minimum I can spend my tourist dollars in the region, as I have been doing for decades and look forward to continuing to do.

Laurie Stammer, Buffalo, Minn.
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Thank you, St. Charles, for doing the brave and right thing.

Tim Cady, Buffalo, Minn.
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Sad! They need the jobs! Another case of the few who stymie growth for the majority.

Jim Farrell, Bloomington


Quest for traction has gone too far

Another quarter-inch of snow, and it's everywhere! Not enough to even consider plowing, but we have been gritted again.

Gently winding streets without street parking or sidewalks; gentle curbs and 20 mile-per-hour speed limits — where only occasionally will a four-wheel drive, antilock-braking-system-and-stability-control-equipped SUV meet another — and we get tons of grit many times a winter.

How much time and expense does it take to mine, transport and distribute this stuff? How much does it cost for the authorities to then try (the operative word) to clean it up in the spring? How much time is involved removing it from our drives, garages, houses, cars and dogs? Have we saved one errant vehicle from going a couple of feet into a lawn? How many times do I drop 50 pounds of accumulated grit in my garbage after it rains during the summer?

The plows do exceptional work. Enough! Keep the grit on the main roads where it belongs.

George Arthur, West Lakeland Township