I am sick and tired of people complaining about the war in Afghanistan. It seems as if the citizens of this great land are forgetting why we are there. It seems as if citizens of this great land cannot stand a long engagement overseas. I am very disappointed.
I am one of the "few" citizens left, I guess, who support both our troops and the war in Afghanistan. People often ask, why are we wasting money and time and our troops' lives in that nation? I will answer that question easily. We are there because of the crimes that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, when more than 3,000 Americans were murdered by terrorists, sponsored by their leaders in Afghanistan. It seems like this nation is forgetting the victims of 9/11 already.
I hope the good citizens of America realize that we need to continue this war until the job is done. The job being: to kill Osama bin Laden or to find out he is officially dead.
No due process
Regarding "St. Vincent Bars Priest, Professor" (Dec. 4): The authoritarian/dictatorship is alive and well in the Catholic Church. The fact that the Rev. Mark Gruber was removed from ministry without due process is evidence that the church hierarchy has abandoned the reforms of the Second Vatican Council by restoring an Inquisition structure of governance.
He deserves better
I am a practicing optometrist in Rockford, Ill. At West Mifflin North High School in the early 1970s, Mark Gruber was my best friend and confidant. Now, Father Mark Gruber is fighting to save the reputation that has been destroyed in a few days, after a lifetime of building an army of love and support ("St. Vincent Bars Priest, Professor," Dec. 4).
While your article in the Post-Gazette was much more level-headed than the sensational articles in the Tribune-Review, I hope you will consider looking a little deeper into the controversy. The St. Vincent College alumni and faculty message boards have been flooded with the details and accusations that suggest that Father Mark has been framed for protesting too loudly about the college administration. Alumni and students have posted the details about how Father Gruber kept his computer outside his office "always logged on in his name." Mark did not have the administrators' rights to do things on the computer he has been accused of.
Any story involving priests and nude pictures will immediately stir the emotions of the public, who have been inundated with stories of pedophiles as priests. Father Mark has more integrity in his little finger than the entire administration of the college has.
Don't be another "cog in the wheel" that brought this fine man down. Ask the right questions. Mark will have his day in civil court if he needs one, but the damage done in the media can only be undone by you, the media, asking the right questions. Mark deserves this.
KENNETH R. MINARIK, O.D.
Unfair to priest
There were three outrages associated with the Dec. 4 article concerning the Rev. Mark Gruber. First, St. Vincent College and the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg grossly mishandled what, at most, is a personnel matter that should have remained private and confidential.
Father Gruber disputes the allegations against him, and an investigation by objective third parties found no evidence that a crime was committed. There was absolutely no reason for either the college or the diocese to publicly discuss the matter through its spokesman or to revoke his priestly faculties, especially given the risk that St. Vincent's president was acting punitively against Father Gruber based on disagreements over the direction of the college.
As a Catholic myself, I view this as another disappointing example of poor judgment by Catholic institutions, which intentionally turned a blind eye to decades of child abuse and now overcompensate in a situation clouded by doubt and where there is no victim (other than Father Gruber). It's no wonder the Catholic Church is having difficulty recruiting priests if this is how they are treated by leadership.
Second, there was no reason for the Post-Gazette to publish this "story" given that no crime was committed. One must wonder whether the Post-Gazette is aspiring to run tabloid stories that appeal to prurient interests. Third, the Post-Gazette exacerbated its bad judgment by publishing a photo of Father Gruber, the sole purpose of which could only be to cause further embarrassment.
I know Father Gruber. He is an exceedingly intelligent, insightful and dedicated priest. I believe in Father Gruber and hope he succeeds in a civil suit against all who contributed to this outrage.
JOHN K. GISLESON
Upper St. Clair
Closed for safety
In response to the letter "Senseless PennDOT" (Dec. 8): The lane the writer referred to had to be closed for safety reasons. This is an area where longwall mining has gone under the interstate and now the pavement is prone to rapid subsidence. To ensure motorists' safety, we had to close one lane and reduce the maximum speed to 45 mph on the open lane while we monitor the pavement for movement.
This is a recurring situation in southwestern Pennsylvania because of longwall mining. We announced the closure ahead of time and posted information about the closure on the 511 travelers service, available by calling 511 or visiting www.pa511.com.
We are sorry for the inconvenience, but we must put the safety of the traveling public first while these deep mining operations are continuing.
JOSEPH J. SZCZUR
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
In a land of plenty?
Recently, I have received numerous requests for money to feed hungry Americans. Can someone explain to me why in America do we have so many "hungry Americans"?
The abortion-Holy Communion debate has reached the streets of Pittsburgh. This is regrettable -- not because abortion is not a recognized evil nor because Communion is not a revered part of Catholic life. It is because two of them have been drawn together in what will inevitably be a seriously divisive issue.
Abortion is in the public eye and is certainly a Christian issue. The same is true of capital punishment, artificial insemination and substance abuse. The church's position is clearly one of opposition. But the decisions of the human conscience are not always open to human discussion and not always a matter of public discourse. This could lead to endless moral controversy over countless issues. To deny Communion would bring us back to the day when we denied Christian burial to a "public sinner."
Marriage is in no way an exception here. When a priest is prevented from presiding over the marriage of a previously married person, it is because his hands are tied. By reason of a prior commitment, the couple cannot marry within the church; hence the priest cannot preside. But this is a public position, which is today widely recognized.
People who are publicly at odds with the church should abstain from Communion, or should at least seek pastoral guidance. But the decision remains one of the individual; it is not a matter of public discourse.
REV. ROLAND FALEY
Those who kill police should be put to death
I am writing to ask my elected representatives, when are we going to show our men and women in blue that we are behind them 100 percent? As a retired Pittsburgh police officer and relative of one of the Pittsburgh police officers killed in the line of duty on April 4, I think it's about time to draft a bill that makes the death penalty mandatory for anyone who is convicted of killing a police officer in the line of duty without any exceptions.
In a time when professional athletes make millions for playing a game, police officers put their lives on the line every day to protect citizens. They don't complain about being paid poor salaries or having to work on Christmas or on their kids' birthdays; they just do their jobs. Then you see some politicians who show up to support the police only when it's politically correct to help their careers when the cameras are on.
I don't care if you are a liberal or conservative, a Democrat or Republican. It shouldn't matter; it's about doing what is right. So I ask my local politicians to introduce such a bill. People are tired of the criminals having all the rights. We will start holding our local politicians responsible for how their votes affect us in the future.