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Proposed: Thou Shalt Not Spin, or Steal E-Mail

April 10, 2002

Re "Mahony E-Mails Cite Fears Over Scandals," April 6: Your coverage of the Los Angeles Archdiocese and Cardinal Roger Mahony went over the top. The Fresno woman's charge merits nothing more than back-page coverage until she comes up with something more substantial than she has produced so far. At this stage, her unsubstantiated charge is nothing more than an allegation by a perhaps deranged woman.

The e-mails actually are helpful to the cardinal, as I read the one that you printed in full. His instructions to his attorney were about as clear as he could get without being disrespectful. If there are only eight priests involved, the story has gotten about as much ink as it deserves.

George W. Carlyle

Newport Beach

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I read with growing disgust your article on the contents of Cardinal Mahony's e-mail. Disgust with the cardinal? No, that came a long time ago. This disgust was with radio station KFI and The Times for stooping to such a low of publishing the contents of stolen e-mail, much of which appeared to contain privileged attorney-client communications. This definitely is a classic example of yellow journalism at its very worst. And Steve Lopez would be a lot more believable if his pen were not dipped in quite so much vitriol when he writes about the cardinal.

William. H. Scannell

Santa Ana

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Those who would place the blame for the scandal now raging within the Catholic Church upon the media, in particular The Times (''Catholics Grapple with Mixed Feelings on Church Scandals,'' April 8), are as misdirected as were Richard Nixon's Oval Office minions when they attempted to pressure the Washington Post not to publish stories about the growing Watergate scandal. Then, as now, the press was doing nothing more than what the Oval Office or the Catholic hierarchy should have been doing--publicizing, policing and prosecuting the evil within.

If media critics want to vent their collective anger, they need only consider the genesis of the current problem within the church: criminal activity quickly followed by denial, blame-shifting, stonewalling, half-truths, obstruction of justice, incompetence, the payment of hush money, silence and an overarching disregard for the welfare of innocent victims.

Ed Borowiec

Long Beach

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I maintain complete trust and confidence in Cardinal Mahony. I believe he is a just leader of my Catholic Church in Los Angeles. I shall continue always to be faithful to the teachings of my church, and I will now even increase my tithing to my church.

My faith is deeply rooted in Jesus Christ. I believe the holy spirit will heal my Catholic Church and allow my church to be cleansed of the sins of the few priests who have betrayed their own very sacred and holy vows. Vows made to God! My faith is unwavering, and I shall try even harder to be a better man and to pray for my church. And I shall strive to be even more compassionate to every individual hurt by the misdeeds of the few. And I shall pray for forgiveness for those priests who have sinned and who have been disobedient to church and civil laws.

Daniel W. Disney

Malibu

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Re "The Church Must Exorcise the Demon of Celibacy," Opinion, April 7: Now that the subject of married priests has surfaced on such a wide scale, it seems that the very nature of the job description, requiring family counseling, would be an obvious benefit to members of the Catholic community. St. Peter and the other married priests of their time could relate to family problems as well as spiritual turmoil among the members of their flock.

Members of the Catholic hierarchy who drew up the celibacy laws of the second Lateran Council in 1139 certainly were not being Christlike, considering that Christ appointed Peter, who was married, to be the first pope. Greed reared its ugly head and has never released its stranglehold.

Pat Ostrye

Monrovia

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