I am proud to be a Catholic. I am proud to be an American Catholic. I am proud of our cardinals, bishops and priests in whom I see Jesus on the altar.
I am proud of the priests who minister to people in the nursing homes, hospitals and prisons; who serve as teachers in our schools and as military chaplains in our armed forces. I am proud of our missionaries all over the world. I am proud to attend Mass every day.
No priest, no Mass. No priest, no sacrament of reconciliation. No priest, no confirmation. No priest, no holy orders.
I am proud of our priest who celebrated 60 years of ordination, of all our good and faithful priests. So pray and give thanks and let our priests lift high the cross. I am proud of Pope John Paul II and my holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Thank you for all your wonderful comments and articles about the 99% of priests who are good and holy.
JOHN TRENTON Altoona, Kansas
The newspapers and TV are valuable sources of information when they are objective. But the media are being unjust to Catholics by their distortion of the priestly sex-abuse scandal. The media have made three errors.
First, there are more than 46,000 priests in the United States alone, and the total of abuse cases extending back for 30 to 40 years is less than 200. This is less than half of 1%. From the statistics I've seen, married Protestant and Jewish clergy have at least the same incidence of sex abuse.
Second, the bishops relied on the psychiatric profession for advice in handling these cases. Many of the same psychiatrists who guided the bishops now accuse the Church of criminal mismanagement. I'm sure there were mistakes made by the bishops, but there were also mistakes made by the psychiatrists.
Third, except for a handful of cases, most of the abuse cases involved homosexuality and pederasty, not pedophilia. The Church teaches that both pederasty and homosexuality are grave disorders. Some people can't help being homosexual or pederasts and need our pity and compassion. But they also teach that homosexual and pederastic activities are very wrong. Whether a person is married or single has no effect on whether they are homosexuals or pederasts. (This celibacy discussion is misguided.)
We have a confused, mixed-up world and the media should build up, and not tear down, the vast majority of priests who dedicate their lives to helping and strengthening our culture.
CURT LAMPKIN Merritt Island, Florida
I am writing in response to your informative Web site (http://www.ncregister.com), which I happened to come across while doing research. With all of the controversy going on today about Catholic priests, I have become a more interested and active parishioner. I was very confused about my religion when the news started broadcasting reports on “Catholic pedophile priests.”
I started researching the topic as soon as it came on the news, but I didn't have as much luck as I had hoped for. Many Web sites blamed Catholics, many newspapers questioned the faith, and many people doubted their religion.
Then I came upon your article “Media Myths Fuel the Clergy Abuse Scandal” (April 7-13). I was finally put to ease, my questions were all answered, and I really do owe a lot of it to you.
There are not many Web sites out there that include important information. Many of the ones today consist of garbage. I would just like to commend you for producing a very informative Web site. As a young Catholic, I know that finding out more about my religion is important, and with the aid of your Web site I can do just that.
ALEXIS HOYT Tempe, Arizona