As a traditional Catholic (we're still around) I appreciated Dale Brumfield's Back Page (“Divinity Abuse,” May 5) on the attack journalism used against the Roman Catholic Church in recent weeks. After all, if investigative reporters still exist anymore they may want to head to the White House where our safe-schools czar, Kevin Jennings, is chomping at the bit to get to our little ones. An advocate for the abolition of age of consent laws, inspired by Harry Hay, the now-deceased supporter and keynote speaker at many NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) conventions and gung-ho on sex education starting in kindergarten, Jennings is in a position to implement his programs in the public school system. That's a lot of children.
The cover story in the same issue (“The Anarchists Next Door”) couldn't be a better fit with Brumfield's piece. The Dorothy Day Catholic worker movement grew out of the 1930s “green revolution” — an anarchical Marxist ideology. The church, already under attack at that point from those in the birth-control and eugenics movements, would never be the same. Day's social-justice theme was a stroke of genius. It led to the present-day vitriol and rampant anti-Catholic sentiment evident everywhere today.
I am shocked at your May 5 Back Page. As a Catholic, I'm grateful to the many individuals who have worked tirelessly to finally shed some light on this important issue in our church. While I welcome a difference of opinion, this piece is too flawed to merit serious consideration. The author complains of “[p]oorly investigated journalistic hit pieces,” but he serves up exactly that. His column is bogged down in ad hominem attacks, straw men, red herrings, big lies, distortions, innuendo, false equivalencies and other logical fallacies. In the end it's the same a-few-bad-apples argument and kill-the-messenger technique employed by many clerics over the last several decades, thereby creating exactly the scandal we're discussing. Even some Vatican insiders have recently begun to distance themselves from this kind of thinking. We need to focus on the message rather than the messenger, on the beam in our own eye rather than the speck in the other's, on the causes of coverup rather than the efforts to reveal. Really, what were you thinking when you published this?
This last issue had two articles that I found as far apart as any two articles could possibly be. The first, on the down side, is Amy Biegelsen's cover story on the life and times of the Frankel-Streits. It was poorly done and filled with misleading information, hastily reached conclusions and shallow. These people are not to be commended but rather pitied. They may have strong convictions but have accomplished nothing meaningful, contributed little to society and, in fact, are users of the system they claim to distain. They live off the largess of society and I am sorry that my tax money pays them $700 a month for food stamps. They are educated and capable of working for a living. There are many people who cannot and deserve this help.
On the opposite side of the table is the Back Page editorial by Dale Brumfield (“Divinity Abuse”). Fact-filled and well written, it tells a compelling story of truth about the Catholic Church and its role in the child-abuse scandal. They made many mistakes and have admitted so. They are paying a fearsome price in emotional turmoil, anguish as well as financially. No one can wipe out the effect of the past abuses and coverups. The church is trying to move forward in a positive way and make changes that can help it stop future occurrences of these terrible things.
John Lo Re
Let's get one thing straight: The Catholic Church does not teach anarchism but rather respect for the rule of law. In a democratic society, there are lawful ways to make known one's discontent with whatever it is you don't like. Breaking the law by sneaking onto an air base and banging on B-52s is not one of them. Isaiah 2:4 was OK back in 700 BC, beating plowshares into pruning hooks and not learning war any more, but in today's America there are folks with weapons of mass destruction who are aiming to kill us. It is the government's job to see that this doesn't happen.
Bill ought to consider seriously doing positive things to keep America safe, like joining the Marine Corps. There are plenty of Catholics in the Marines who would welcome him into the fold and show him first hand why we have B-52s. Sue could join the nurse corps and tend those wounded while protecting her so-called parting-of-the-waters philosophy. Then Sister Anne Montgomery of hammering-warhead-nose-cone fame could exult in righteous praise for Bill and Sue who would be making a similar sacrifice to that of many of our brave men and women in the service of our country.
There are radical Catholics, for sure. There are radical Baptists and Methodists and Episcopalians too, but being radical doesn't mean you are holier than law-abiding citizens. Please don't hook them up with the Catholic Church. To do so would be blasphemous.