February 17, 2006

Letters to the Editor

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Editorial an affront to America’s laity

Daniel Conway’s editorial “Let’s stop blaming the bishops” in the Jan. 27 issue of The Criterion is an affront to the laity.

I do not believe that any thinking Catholic blames “the bishops for everything that ails the Church.” There are many of us, however, who believe that those bishops who denied, ignored and covered up years of known abuse by Catholic clergy should be held responsible and  made accountable for what they did.

Is there even one bishop who was arrested, suffered personal financial loss or position, or was in any way called to personal account for the criminal act of covering up criminal activity? One usually does not “learn their lesson” when there are no personal consequences. A few apologies and another committee seem woefully inadequate.

Most of us (laity) do support the American bishops in the areas that deserve our support. The abuse situation is not one of those areas. To say, as you have in the editorial, that, “Sometimes, he [the bishop] makes mistakes. If he is faithful to his calling, the bishop learns from his mistakes and carries on,” seems to downplay the importance and the criminal nature of what was done by some bishops in the name of God and Church.

Please, give the faithful of our country more credit. The laity had nothing to do with the cover-up by the bishops.

And, yes, we do need to support one another. But support does not mean ignoring what was done and “going on” as if nothing happened. When we “dumb down” the events of the past, history has shown that the past will be repeated.

-Helen Welter, Indianapolis

Archbishop’s column hits home in Greensburg

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein’s column in the Jan. 27 edition of The Criterion concerning the need for Catholic schools has prompted this letter.

It was a most-needed prod to all of us, in particular those who feel we can no longer support the ever-rising costs of maintaining our schools.

Somehow, we have survived the rising costs of everything else, and we say we want the best for our children, but not necessarily a Catholic education?

At St. Mary Parish in Greensburg, we are in a building planning mode, nothing new as this has been an ongoing project for more than 20 years. Serious talk and study is now in process, but it is mostly about a new church, which we should be looking at—but our school is of 1915 origin with a 1955 addition. It has three floors, 12 classrooms and a gym, structural problems and no air-conditioning. We are getting by, thanks to a dedicated teaching staff working for the lowest salaries in the county.

Some of our people are saying “build the church, and let the city and county educate our children.” The failure of our Catholic school will only further the declining attendance and faith of our mission. Let us all pray for guidance in Catholic education.

-Herb Scheidler, Greensburg


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