March 19, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Francis provides hope for humanity
Although I’m not a Roman Catholic, I am a believer and I was deeply offended that the editorial in The Times not only denigrated and disparaged the entire process of Pope Francis’ election but seemed written to play to a supposed gallery of nonbelievers (chuckle, chuckle) [“Pople Francis and the House of Cardinals,” Opinion, March 18].
I believe the Roman Catholic Church, having existed for more than 2,000 years despite some incredible scandals — not excluding the horrific ones of the last 30 years or so — deserves a little more acknowledgment, especially for its choice of Francis, whose election created several firsts for a pope, and who has seemed to stir many, including non-churchgoers and nonbelievers to a new hope for humanity.
Moreover, I think your cleverness may have unwittingly revealed how enslaved we are to our present cutthroat economic and political systems, in both our language and in reality. For instance, the use of such language as “The House of Cardinals” (Congress?), “pre-emptive strike” (referring to the 2012 Republican primaries, or corporate raider tactics?), “awareness of market share” (referring to Latin America’s large Catholic population), “branding” (product promotion strategy), “vested bureaucracy” (the federal government?) and “new CEOs.”
Perhaps Pope Francis’ election may in fact shake up all our religious institutions a little, so that we might once again espouse and aspire to a global human community of mutual respect and compassion.
–Rev. Dick Gillett, Seattle
March 19, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Growth out of orthodoxy
The article regarding Seattle Catholics and the election of Pope Francis begins with the repeatedly mistaken assumption among the progressive Catholic community that our new pope should conform to their thinking, with strong hopes that the city-culture will emerge triumphant [“Seattle Catholics toast new pope,” page one, March 14].
As laymen we take no vow of obedience, but we should have a solid understanding of what and why the church teaches. As a convert who grew up in the Seattle area, I have seen very little evidence of this, hence a bafflement of orthodoxy. Vitality and growth springs from this orthodoxy; others disperse.
–Michael Acheson, Port Angeles
De-emphasis on misogyny, homophobia?
Do progressive Catholics (the large majority of the laity in North America) find a ray of hope that Pope Francis will finally address the myriad serious problems that afflict the church [“Pope of many firsts,” page one, March 14]?
I find it refreshing that the new pope will continue to prioritize service to the poor as he has done in Argentina. I hope that means a marked de-emphasis on the church’s obsession with the “pelvic issues” of gender and sexuality. Perhaps that de-emphasis will create space for respectful, faith-informed dialogue on women priests, married priests, contraception, sexual abuse and the full participation of gay, lesbian and transgender persons in the church.
At the heart of the church’s dysfunction is its outdated, discredited misogyny — the fear of the feminine and disrespect for women. Were women and married clergy to comprise the majority of the clergy and hierarchy, does anyone think that the sexual-abuse crisis and cover-up could have occurred? Misogyny and homophobia are two sides of the same coin; without resolving the former, the latter cannot be addressed.
It will take time, but Pope Francis’ Jesuit values of academic rigor and service to the poor do give me some hope for much-needed church reform and revitalization.
–Leo N. Egashira, Seattle
February 27, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Resignation came too late
Pope Benedict XVI (Ratzinger) has finally secured his place in history with his resignation [”Pope’s dramatic move shifts church to future,” page one, Feb. 12]. The sad thing, however, is that he is resigning too late.
When the sex-abuse scandal widened to include German Bavaria and his possible involvement in covering it up when he was a German cardinal, he should have followed Nixon’s example and resigned then. Instead, his mediocre papacy blamed the accusers, the victims themselves, the media — in fact, almost anyone — in a lame attempt to try and deflect opinion from the church’s failings and his own personal failings.
By resigning, he has defined his legacy. He has defined the church as an institution of old men trying to hang on to power by any means necessary. He did not have the integrity to resign earlier, and he does not have the integrity or the moral authority to tell Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles to stay home. At least the cardinal from Great Britain has that going for himself.
The Catholic Church, in fact, has lost all moral authority. World leaders used to go to Rome to see the Pope. It was what you did! When was the last time a world leader visited the Pope?
–Thomas P. Maskal, Ellensburg
March 22, 2009 at 5:03 PM
“Buy one, get one free”
The Associated Press
Editor, The Times:
Regarding your editorial about the Pope’s position on condoms ["Pope Benedict's unfortunate message," Opinion, March 20], I say, Amen.
Now, tell him — and while you’re at it, all the school directors — that we need to install condom dispensers right next to (or included in) the apple machines. If we can sell “forbidden fruit” for a profit, surely we can give away something that will guard against the spread of this 21st-century plague, AIDS.
How about: “Buy one, get one free.”
– Del Lawrence, Bellevue
February 7, 2009 at 10:41 AM
Doddering and foolish
As a lifelong practicing Roman Catholic, I am at a loss to understand — much less explain to non-Catholics — Pope Benedict’s decision to reinstate England’s Bishop Richard Williamson, a notorious Holocaust denier ["Vatican orders bishop to retract Holocaust denial," News, Feb. 5].
Williamson has more recently claimed 9/11 was instigated by the U.S. government as an excuse to invade Afghanistan.
In one fell swoop, the pope has sadly managed to offend the worldwide Jewish community, as well as the entire United States. In light of the Catholic Church’s recent acknowledgment of its horrible treatment of Jews over the past two millennia and the fact that U.S. Catholics are the biggest financial supporters of the Vatican, he appears doddering and foolish in the extreme, to put it kindly.
As a layman, I am considerably removed from the pope and his inner circle, but I do feel compelled to apologize for him to Jews, as well as non-Catholics, home and abroad.
– Raymond Egan, Steilacoom
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