Church and state
Re “An unapologetic Catholic voice,” April 12
I began reading the article on Archbishop Jose Gomez with admiration, but ended in horror.
Gomez has taken admirable positions in favor of some human rights. But then he endorsed a federal constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage and "assailed President Obama's healthcare reform package, largely because he felt it would increase the number of abortions" -- mistakenly, I believe.
But this is merely Catholic orthodoxy. What is terrifying is Gomez's apparent approval of the views of Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, reported in the article as having given a speech "arguing that the very notion of the separation of church and state is wrong."
The "notion"? The "notion" that is in our Constitution, the highest law of our land?
What other "notions" can we look forward to the Catholic Church -- or its spokesmen (I guess I can safely say "men" here) -- arguing to be wrong?
Anyone chosen to take over as leader of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles must be "concerned about doctrinal purity," as Loyola professor Father Thomas P. Rausch put it in The Times, and should insist that Catholics adhere to church teachings on abortion and other issues.
It's hard to tell if Rausch agrees this is a good thing, but at Priests for Life, we applaud the selection of Archbishop Gomez to lead Catholics in "laid-back Southern California."
To have someone with an unambiguous commitment to life leading the nation's largest diocese can only help our cause, which is saving the lives of thousands of babies every day.
Also, a bishop has every right, indeed an obligation, to inject the church into national debates. Pope Benedict XVI has given us a clear mandate to do so.
Father Frank Pavone
Staten Island, N.Y.
The writer is national director of Priests for Life.
Boyle has made a difference
Re “Homeboys’ hero,” Opinion, April 10
Kudos to The Times and Patt Morrison for reminding us that one person truly can make a difference, that not all priests are pedophiles and that the solution to gangs is not to lock people up and throw away the key.
Even an atheist can appreciate the work of Father Gregory Boyle as a "man of the cloth."
Close your eyes, take a deep breath and imagine for a minute or two what the world would be like if Boyle were pope.
Patricia van Hartesveldt
Meddling in Israeli politics
Re “Don’t go there,” Opinion, April 12
Saying that America has meddled in Israeli politics is specious. It's like saying that a police officer thwarting a holdup is meddling in the affairs of the bandit.
Israel has subjected the Palestinian Arabs to a brutal 42-year occupation that America has continuously tried to stop. Urging and advising has had no effect, so supporting Israeli politicians who might do the right thing while opposing those who likely would not is in order.
Calling this meddling is insulting to the country that supports Israel financially, diplomatically and militarily. I resent the author's accusation.
Aaron David Miller is absolutely right that the meddling in Israeli electoral politics will be counterproductive and ineffective. His reasoning is not sound, however. All we hear about now is the peace process, not peace.
The problem is on the other side. What Palestinian Arab leader is willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and acknowledge that the Palestinian "right of return" is dead? Miller knows that former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and later Ehud Olmert each offered the best deal that an Israeli government could, and they were rejected.
Peace will come when the Arabs give up their notions of destroying Israel either militarily or demographically.
Until then, it doesn't matter which political party controls the White House or who leads the Israeli government.
Healthcare, by the numbers
Re “Health premiums likely to rise more,” April 13
The projected rise in health premiums could have easily been prevented if Congress had created a more rational healthcare system that included protections for the general public.
Having Medicare cover the total population would have been the simplest way, considering that Medicare's overhead and administrative costs are much lower than those of most private insurers.
Short of that, a "public option" would have created a competitive system that would have made it impossible for private insurers to arbitrarily raise rates to unaffordable levels.
Congress created neither of these systems thanks to the medical care industry's lobbyists. Is corruption limited to Third World countries, or is it present at the highest levels of our government too?
Insurance companies are businesses that expect to earn a profit.
The profit margin for the industry is very low -- about 3%, according to a study by the American Enterprise Institute.