William Levada of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which… (David Paul Morris / Getty…)
Re "Vatican says nuns' group must reform," April 20
Thousands of women who have given up marriage and money to work tirelessly to help the poor, the sick and the needy — just as Jesus asked them to — are being blasted for doing so. Just because they show Scriptural leadership and love rather than meekly pushing someone else's political agenda, they are being vilified by male Roman Catholic Church leaders.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we see remarkable, devout female leaders — Deborah, Miriam, Esther, Mary, Martha, Lydia and many more come to mind. Then there is the greatly praised woman in Proverbs 31 who was into real estate, crafts, commerce and helping the needy, besides being a beloved and respected wife and mother.
The men in the Vatican are the ones who need to reform and take their orders and priorities from God as shown in the Bible, not from internal politics.
Bonnie Compton Hanson
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious has been put on notice by the Vatican for promoting radical feminist themes. In fact, these themes are in agreement with the opinions and convictions of many Roman Catholics in the United States.
These nuns are in touch with American Catholics far more than the Vatican officials who challenge them. If the Vatican would take note of Catholic experiences and thinking today, it would enter serious dialogue with these nuns, who are in fact capable leaders in touch with Catholic sentiment.
This unfair report on the part of the Vatican is being used to justify unnecessary reforms. Moderate Catholics need to come together and support our nuns and sisters, who are well educated and sound pastoral leaders.
Robert E. Doud
Guidance on graduation rates
Re "A too-high graduation bar," Editorial, April 19
I understand your point: If so few students clear the learning bar, things must change. But the world is not changing. Kids in many other nations are expected to perform at higher levels, while we are falling behind.
Perhaps it is time to provide good trade-school education. Electricians, plumbers and mechanics can all make good livings.
Though it is not politically correct to point this out, we also need to realize that educating the children of illegal immigrants has brought down the L.A. Unified School District. What other country attempts anything like this?
Many parents who can afford to pull their children out of L.A. Unified do so, creating a two-tiered system. This, in turn, undermines the public schools — so only a minority are qualified to enter a four-year college.
So the L.A. Unified board wants to raise the graduation rate and lower the dropout rate. Here is a simple solution:
Require all eighth-grade students to take an entrance examination — similar to the exit exam — that clearly separates those who have a chance of graduating from those who don't. Remove those who fail. This would save tax money, and because dropouts get only menial jobs, it is better that they get accustomed to them sooner.
Oh, and having retired from public school teaching, I am available for a seat on the board.
Mark Stephen Mrotek
Death penalty's deterrence factor
Re "Does death penalty deter? It's still unclear, panel says," April 19
It's a funny thing, this "deterrence" business. Laws are violated every day. Why is it that the only form of punishment that ever causes any controversy regarding deterrence is the death penalty?
And whoever said that deterrence is the only reason for punishment?
The death penalty does deter, even though no one in California has been executed for a long time. Why else would criminals fight so hard, including making plea deals, to avoid death row? If the death penalty was enforced, we would see a drop in violent crimes. Even criminals have a strong desire to live.
Rather than eliminate the death penalty, we need to change it so that the appeals process takes much less time than it does now.
UC's way works
Re "43% more non-Californians are offered admission to UC," April 18
When Higher Education Policy Institute President Patrick Callan criticizes the University of California system's increase in nonresident student enrollment, he seems to not understand the importance of the core teaching resources of the state universities.
In recent years, the state funding that supports the universities' resident enrollment has been cut by unprecedented amounts. UC could have responded by laying off teaching staff. Generally, non-tenured faculty — the most cost-effective teaching resource at the universities and often among the best teachers — are let go.