September 16, 2011

Letters to the Editor

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Newspaper questioned about policy concerning letters to the editor

Shame on The Criterion for publishing an unsigned letter to the editor containing damning political opinion. I refer to the letter in the Sept. 9 issue regarding the 10th anniversary of 9/11 signed merely “Pax Christi Indianapolis Membership.”

The writers harshly criticized our nation’s actions in combating terrorism following that act of war, suggesting we were as ruthless and uncaring as the perpetrators. That criticism detracted substantially from a number of good points contained in the letter.

As the editor and publisher of a newspaper, it was my insistence that to gain publication, letter writers must agree to identify themselves and stand personally behind their thoughts.

Who exactly is Pax Christi? Who composed the letter? And are the thoughts expressed those of the entire body of Pax Christi?

I respect the right of expression by everyone. But the execution of that right demands accountability, in particular when others are harshly criticized.

- Jerry L. Cosby, Retired publisher, The Spotlight newspaper, Indianapolis

(Editor’s note: Pax Christi USA is a national Catholic organization that advocates for peace and social justice. The Indianapolis chapter was formed last year to promote those values. The letter printed contained more than a dozen signatures, including those of Susan Blackwell, Carl Rising-Moore, Providence Sister Patty Wallace, Wesley Bremer, Fran Quigley, Mary Jo Matheny, Mary Ann Verkamp, Terri Morris Downs, Stephen A. Lich, Providence Sister Susan Dinnin, Rosalie Kramer, Stephen Kramer, Jeanne G. Hidalgo, Franciscan Sister Norma Rocklage, and Val and Ed Fillenworth. Due to space constraints and because of our familiarity with the organization and its mission, The Criterion did not publish all the signatories in the Sept. 9 issue.)

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