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April 12, 2010

An Analogy That Hurts

Wow! Your editorial “Toyota in Reverse” (3/22) could serve as an analogy to the issues with our institutionalized Catholic Church and its structure. Just substitute church, clergy, bishops and hierarchy for Toyota, executives and the like and you have a pertinent definition and description of the mess we are in with our church and its leaders.

When the American problem of sexual abuse surfaced in 2002, Rome, the magisterium, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and prelates throughout the world dismissed it as a reflection of the liberal, secularized standards of the United States, then of Ireland, Germany and now the Netherlands.

Analogous to Toyota, the players are different but the process is the same. I would label it deceit, possibly corruption. Toyota is an organization in turmoil caused by unethical and immoral actions throughout the corporate executive structure, including the chief executive officer.

The Catholic Church likewise has perpetrated immoral and unethical actions by its “executives” and needs to come before a universal lay congress (we the people), to explain how they allowed this problem to continue, how they enabled it and, most important, what specific actions will be taken to expunge the perpetrators from their executive responsibilities. Instead of rewarding clerics with plush assignments in Rome, I recommend they all be sent to Haiti to minister to the flock—with lay oversight, of course, to ensure they never repeat their tragic past.

Edward Wade

Gloucester, Mass.

Those Who Had Ears to Hear

Re “Women and Parents Needed,” (Current Comment, 3/29): Everywhere that I read about continuing revelations of sexual abuse by clergy members in our church, I am hearing the language, often verbatim, used by Voice of the Faithful when we organized in 2002. We spoke about the many factors contributing to the abuse and its coverup: clericalism, a culture of secrecy, the institutionalized absence of female voices in decision-making positions, etc. V.O.T.F., made up of the eucharistic ministers, lectors and other volunteers who collectively lent vibrancy and longevity to the church for decades, was banned from meeting on church property. That was a common parish and/or diocesan response across the United States. The organization has been vilified in one way and another, on one blog after another, frequently abetted by ordained members of our church. I think it is important for readers to take note: The laity do have a voice and have used it. It is time for the laity to listen to one another and hope that sooner than later the patriarchy will do the same.

Peggie L. Thorp

Founding Editor, Voice of the Faithful

Boston, Mass.

Equality of the Sexes

Re “Women and Parents Needed,” (Current Comment, 3/29): We can hypothesize that a greater female presence, not at a subordinate level, would have been able to rip the veil of masculine secrecy that in the past often covered the denunciation of these misdeeds with silence. It is impossible to test such assertions, but I find them of doubtful validity. Women in power have shown themselves no more virtuous than men.

Church government needs serious reform, beginning with decentralization of authority along the lines of the Orthodox churches; but women bishops, for example, would probably behave very much like men bishops.

T. P. Farrelly

Seattle, Wash.

New Life and Energy

Thanks to the Rev. William D. Karg for his article, “Retirement Ministry” (3/22). It sounds as if he is keeping very busy. But do not wait for ideas from the dioceses, for they won’t come. I will be 77 years old in a couple of weeks and have been retired for close to two years. I suggest that a priest should begin preparation for retirement about a year in advance.

It is interesting and rather fun to live now like “normal” people. Now I must pay for my food, utilities, the maintenance of my home, laundry, house cleaning, keeping the outside of the house presentable and preparation of my own meals. I did not realize how spoiled I was, for the parish took care of all of these aspects of life for my almost 49 years of priesthood.

There are plenty of priestly challenges out here in retirement. All we have to do is get in touch with a couple of pastors who need help. I find myself busier than I want to be at times. A good bishop friend of mine encourages me to learn to say no once in a while.

But being pastorally involved fulfills and energizes me, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I find myself praying more, relaxing more, reading more, enjoying the arts and preparing for the last segment of my life, which has been an exciting journey so far. Don’t be afraid of retirement.

(Rev.) Joe Annese

Henderson, Nev.


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