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Crisis in the U.S. Catholic Church

June 20, 2003

When I was a seminarian in the 1960s, I was told that the worst sin was for a member of the clergy to give scandal to the faithful. For the past two years, practicing Catholics (as I am) have been "treated" to a weekly smorgasbord of the most disgusting behavior by some of the highest-ranking clerics in the church. Names like Egan, Law and Mahony are now joined by Bishop Thomas O'Brien and this disgraceful incident in Arizona ("Phoenix Bishop Arrested in Fatal Hit-and-Run," June 17).

The pope has offered no leadership and adds fodder for the cannons of those who already despise the Catholic Church. For my part, I continue to practice my faith, but in the last two years I have not contributed one penny to the collection plate and will continue to withhold any financial support until some sanity and decent examples are shown. I urge my fellow Catholics to do the same until reason is returned.

Cy Jackson

Rialto

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As a practicing Catholic, I think the faith is good but the administration of the church needs reform. The Catholic Church isn't going to change until some bishops are indicted, convicted and jailed for harboring criminals and obstructing justice.

Frank Keating wasn't diplomatic as head of the abuse panel, but the bishops apparently still are covering up in some areas. If Jesus were here today he would do to the church as he did in turning over the tables of the money changers in the temple and in saying, of the Pharisees and scribes, "Do what they say but do not imitate what they do for they do not practice what they preach."

Les Gapay

Palm Springs

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The forced resignation of Keating from the Catholic Church's National Review Board indicates that the bishops want control over those who are supposed to oversee their activities regarding sexual abuse. Public criticism of Keating by Cardinals Roger Mahony and Edward Egan and Bishop John J. Myers for speaking the truth proves that the only words we will hear from the panel are what the bishops will allow its members to say. Secrecy was the cause of the scandal. Secrecy will continue. Why am I not surprised?

Anthony R. Stojak

Montgomery, Ala.

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