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Chuch can have no voice until women are given equal status

On Sunday morning, a letter from Cardinal Sean O’Malley was read at Catholic worshiping communities in response to the horrific sexual abuse issue in Pennsylvania. In this letter, the cardinal stated that the church will need help from the laity to come through this ongoing situation — this, after years of ignoring ongoing complaints to the hierarchy about the abuse experienced by the laity’s children.

It is my opinion that before the church has a right to ask for help from the laity, the men of the church in positions of power must give the laity equal status. In particular, women who feel the call to ministry must be ordained to priesthood, raised up as bishops, cardinals, and yes, even pope. Lay people need to be included on committees at the highest level in equal proportions to clergy in all dioceses across the globe. Only then can a request for help from the lay people of the church be legitimate.

Joanne M. Hogan

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Byfield

Celibacy is a failed experiment

After reading about allegations of sexual crimes committed by Pennsylvania priests over generations, following the Boston Globe Spotlight series published 16 years ago, I wonder what it will take for the Catholic Church finally to declare celibacy a failed experiment (“Church covered up sex abuse, jury says,” Page A1, Aug. 15). As human beings, we are inherently sexual, and no orthodoxy, religion, or position can take that away. No other modern religion requires celibacy, and leaders in every other major religion are permitted to marry (I would argue that it makes them better able to serve and minister to people).

Celibacy for priests in the Catholic Church only began in the 12th century to prevent wealth from being passed on to heirs; there is nothing in the Bible that requires it. I wonder how much suffering has to be endured before this outdated and cruel practice ends.

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Cathy Putnam

Concord

An abiding faith in the church

In light of the latest news about the sexual abuse of children, by priests in Pennsylvania decades ago, I think any reasonable person might question how the Catholic Church can claim to be an instrument of God. However, let me offer some reasons why I still maintain this belief.

First, Catholic teaching, in a simplified sense, is that to be a good person we need grace and our own effort. Anyone who avoids the means of grace or does not make an effort is going to sin, which will offend God and hurt others. This applies to everyone, whether they are in some so-called consecrated state of life or not.

Second, let’s not forget that sexual abuse of children by adults is committed by public school teachers, coaches, scout leaders, camp counselors, medical staff, family members, etc.

Third, the tremendous amount of good for society that the Catholic Church has done and continues to do is greatly overlooked. Before people in religious orders left everything in order to serve others, health care and education were only for families of royalty. There are countless Catholic organizations that have helped many of the neediest people throughout the world and still do. How often do the media do a story on this? Not too often, because it is not really news. It is so common that it is almost taken for granted.

Chris Michaels

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Park Ridge, Ill.