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True Believers in Faith and Frailty

April 21, 2002

Re "A Belief So Deep, Priest Scandals Can't Shake It," April 17: May I diffidently suggest that all concerned agree on the following?

* Betrayal of the Catholic Church's ethics, by no matter how many of its priests, obviously doesn't shake the faith of devout lay adherents or, of course, that of blameless clerics. Surely it can be taken for granted that any faith, in any circumstance, survives in the hearts of its followers no matter how many blasphemies are committed against it, or by whom.

* In the current situation, the major crime is, overwhelmingly, the cover-up. Human weakness caused this crisis; to deal with it via concealment and payoff is deliberate wrongdoing by the standards of any faith, to say nothing of the requirements of civil and criminal law.

Norman Hudis

Woodland Hills

*

Twenty-two years ago I left the priesthood in order to get married. In all this time I have been proud of my service as a priest and enjoyed sharing with friends and co-workers about what it was like to be a priest in the difficult yet rewarding life of working in parish ministry.

But for the first time in my life I am embarrassed to tell people that I was a priest. I am angry and feel betrayed by the cardinals and bishops who have allowed the good name and work of priests to be smeared by protecting bad ones. It is as if they believed that the worst priest was more important than the best layman.

And that, I think, is the heart of the problem. They believe that the shepherds of the flock are more important than the sheep. Look at Cardinal Bernard Law, who recently went to Rome to receive advice and consultation about whether he should resign as cardinal of Boston ("Cardinal Is Backed by Vatican," April 17). The opinion of the Vatican is more important to him than the opinion of the people in his diocese.

I will always love the church for the good it brings people, but I can no longer respect these leaders.

Dennis Heney

Huntington Beach

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