In all the articles written so far on clerical abuse, there are really no reasons given for the high number of Roman Catholic priests who are accused of pedophile behavior. There may be a number of reasons. One to look at is obligatory celibacy. To be a priest, one has to accept the fact that celibacy becomes a lifetime requirement. In Australia in 2014, the Truth, Justice and Healing Council stated that obligatory celibacy was a major cause of the problems in the priesthood. This study was reported in the National Catholic Reporter in January 2015.

Celibacy itself is not the issue. It is the obligatory nature of the commitment. Who is willing to make this sacrifice? It appears that many who go to the seminary are immature and have little experience relating to women. They are not comfortable with women, in general. They have personal problems with their sexuality, and being a priest is a good place to avoid intimacy and not be questioned. They realize that they can express their sexual feelings by satisfying their attraction to younger, innocent children and not be caught, or that if they are caught, it will be covered up to avoid scandal for Mother Church.

Pedophile behavior is an addiction. Professional counselors did not recognize this as they tried to address those priests who were finally sent for treatment and sent them back to be reassigned.

Thomas Christian, Avon, Minn.

The writer is a retired criminal-justice specialist.

• • •

Whenever the Catholic Church has a negative headline, two suggestions that are almost always raised are that the church should ordain women and abolish mandatory celibacy (Readers Write, Aug. 24). There is, however, little evidence to suggest that either of these ideas would solve the problems that led to the current sex abuse scandal.

Let’s look at celibacy. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, 34 percent of all child sex abuse is perpetrated by family members, and nearly 70 percent of abusers are married. Additionally, numerous psychological studies have confirmed that absence of sexual intimacy is not a contributing factor to either pedophilia or child abuse.

But what about ordaining women? According to a 2004 study by John Jay College, the percentage of (male) Catholic priests alleged to have sexually abused minors since 1950 (about 4 percent) was not found to be any higher than that of other Christian denominations, and considerably less than that of public school teachers (greater than 9 percent).

The facts are clear: The presence of women or married men does not stop depraved individuals from abusing children.

Patrick Freese, St. Louis Park


Fund supplies instead. That would do some good.

If the current so-called leadership of the federal Department of Education were in charge of overpopulation, it would open fertility clinics. If it were in charge of the obesity epidemic, it would pass out free ice-cream coupons, and if it were in charge of school education, it would divert federal funding to arm schoolteachers. Unfortunately, it is in charge of school education, and that is exactly what it is moving to do (“DeVos eyes federal funds for school guns,” Aug. 24).

In 2018, 16 state legislatures voted against proposals to put guns in schools. There is zero evidence that approving these proposals would help, and there is much to expound upon the detrimental effects to the teaching profession. In my career, I have been certified to teach in three states, and I cannot imagine taking a firearms class to meet the requirements for teaching. Schools are underfunded, and many are begging for Wi-Fi connections and textbooks. To divert more funding for this poorly-thought-out idea is outrageous both in the money that it diverts from the real goals of education and the way it will scare away those who otherwise might choose this noble profession as their career.

Karen I. Shragg, Bloomington


Admonishing a supporter — wanna see where that leads?

A typical Democrat ends a request by a bank teller if there was anything she (the teller) could help with by replying “get rid of President Trump” (“ ‘Support our president’ comes after ‘speak truth to power,’ ” Readers Write, Aug. 24). She worries about how many other misinformed tellers there might be.

I think when I go to Home Depot, Byerlys, Costco or the voting booth, I will wear a “Make America Great Again” hat. I think I’ll shove it down their throats whether they like it or not. Trust me, lady, I am not misinformed.

Tom Shelton, New Brighton


Debating the notion that ‘one illegal immigrant is all it takes’

This is in response to the Aug. 24 letter “One illegal immigrant is all it takes.” The letter writer is entitled to his opinion, but to state that all liberals “want to make it easier for criminals to enter this country while simultaneously restricting the ability of American citizens to protect themselves” is a gross generalization and overstatement made to pit one group of people against another. I consider myself a progressive, and I certainly don’t want to make it easier for criminals to enter this country illegally or legally! Nor do I want to take firearms away from responsible gun owners. What I do want to see are laws and policies that make it possible for more people to come to this country for seasonal or short-term work or to immigrate here with the intention of becoming a U.S. citizen.

The pathway to getting a work permit in the U.S. is ridiculously difficult, and to come here permanently is nearly impossible. The conservatives are in power and have promised to fix our broken immigration system. So far, I see no progress. As long as we make it so difficult for people to immigrate here or work in this country legally, we will continue to see thousands of people trying to do so illegally. Numerous economic studies tell us we need immigration to bolster our labor force. To do that, we must find an accessible and fair process for people to legally work and live here. Let’s start with the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) “kids.” Certainly, those in political power can find a pathway to citizenship for a group of adults in whom we have invested so much already.

Gayle Ober, Mendota Heights

• • •

I consider myself a liberal, but I think the rural writer of the Aug. 24 letter hit on some good points. On both sides of each issue, absolute stances or expectations like “ban all guns” and “end all illegal immigration” are unrealistic, and anecdotal evidence of such stances is misleading. Also, we must acknowledge that, because the writer lives in Sleepy Eye, Minn., and I live in Minneapolis, we are bound to have different views on national issues.

We need to get out of our political echo chambers and find common and objective ways to develop our voting decisions. I challenge him and my liberal friends and neighbors to somehow do that together. Political candidates and leaders must address the concerns beyond their partisan bases, which include loud, divisive extremists. More Americans from both sides must agree on and trust some common sources of facts and statistics. I’m somewhat optimistic about that because the letter writer and I obviously both read the Star Tribune.

D.C. Smith, Minneapolis