Issue One: Catholic dogma

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Wuerl's wisdom

In a Washington Post article wisely picked up by the Post-Gazette ("Catholic Dogma Helps All," Jan. 29), Cardinal Donald Wuerl applied wisdom and reason to an overwhelmed country on the edge of despair.

Problems are argued endlessly. Some rules and laws are inflicted upon people. This clutter keeps people busy and helpless. Symptoms of the real problem, a general breakdown of faith, are not addressed. Acceptance of moral decay has created paralysis.

Until we renew the national spirit we will flounder. Guidance of the church in history has restored the spirit of the people in every dark period. The monks saved civilization with books. Universities, hospitals and charitable institutions continue to do so.

The church has reached out to all of good will. Symptoms cannot be addressed without an honest look at the real reasons for suicides, murders, drugs and other bad things. The individual soul needs a purpose. Pope John Paul II said "be not afraid." He led an exemplary life of hard work and taught people to love. Pope Benedict XVI said, "Change yourself," the only one you can change.

Removing crosses and the Ten Commandments, forcing birth control insurance coverage and intruding on the freedom of citizens are wrong. Change one person at a time. If you want a better world, be a better person.

Lukewarm Catholics have justified evil by their actions. You cannot take power and accolades when you go -- only your faith and good works.

LAURETTE CRIBBINS
Ross


'Siege' mentality

Earth to Cardinal Wuerl: The thrust of Vatican II was, among other things, the development of an informed conscience. How does the cardinal explain the church's quick and threatening response to priests worldwide who wish to open an honest discussion concerning church teaching on clerical celebacy, contraception, women's ordination and homosexuality?

Recently, a 92-year-old Milwaukee priest was censured for asking why the celebration of Mass and preaching should remain an exclusively male privilege. When he was asked to explain, he replied that he "was following his conscience" and asked only for the possibility of a discussion.

The church appears to have a "siege" mentality in its relentless protection of doctrine. Anyone daring to express an opinion or raise a question regarding dogma is soon requested to recant or suffer the consequences.

The lack of coherent leadership at all levels -- bishops, cardinals and papacy -- is an overwhelming tragedy for the Catholic church and its members.

MARY LOUISE WALTER
Etna


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