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Letters to the Editor - Dec. 8

December 10, 2010

Who's losing faith in the direction of the Catholic Church?

To the editor:

I was surprised and alarmed to read the column that appeared in the Dec. 1 Herald-Mail titled "Losing faith in direction of the Catholic Church," written by Bonnie Erbe.

Erbe unfairly and erroneously attacked a broad spectrum of issues concerning the Catholic Church. Her statement that more educated parishioners have left the church is totally false. That the church has receded as a religious and cultural force is also false.

The Catholic Church is a dominant force around the globe in protecting and advancing the rights of human life, the poor and the disenfranchised. Does the church have problems? Most certainly. Are some churches being closed? Yes. There are no longer enough priests to have at least one per parish, especially in cities that have churches located geographically close together, often in what used to be small ethnic neighborhoods.

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Catholic schools also are struggling to keep afloat. We are having the same challenges as the rest of the institutions in this country — how to do more with less in the face of increasing economic pressures.

To say that the church is collapsing is an utter falsehood. The church is facing issues head-on and is actively and creatively working to continue to thrive and to meet the spiritual needs of its participants.

Does our church have specific teachings or dogma? Yes. Can it be called dictatorial? I guess so, if anyone wants to refer to our leadership in those terms. I prefer to think of our leaders as God's messengers and our shepherds. Are the messengers perfect? No. Is the message perfect? Yes.

Erbe states that the pope looks to the past for spiritual guidance instead of referring to the past, but simultaneously peering into the future. Where does she get this information? Perhaps she needs to read some of the pope's writings and she will learn how present- and future-oriented he is, and also how very intelligent, sensitive and wise.

Saying that as elderly parishioners die off they take the church's message with them is not my experience at all. My experience, and what I see happening in my church on Sunday morning, is a church full of people of all ages — babies wiggling, crying, laughing, and being passed around and hugged; children, teens, young adults, middle-aged adults and older parishioners all worshipping together in unity and with enthusiasm and joy.

Erbe's statement that the church is sending a message that says, in essence, "Follow my rules or go to hell," is absolutely false. I believe the message of the church is, "Jesus is here for you. He loves you unconditionally as you are. He wants to scoop you up in His arms, heal your hurts and help you grow into the person He created you to be. Come experience the love and the joy that are part of belonging to a vibrant Christian community."

We all need to keep in mind that a column is an opinion of one person. We need to do our own research in order to decide whether to integrate into ourselves any of its contents.

Virginia Emerson

Clear Spring

People need to take responsibility for their actions

To the editor:

Why is it many people do not take responsibility for problems that are self-induced?

If a person decides to have eight children, should they not first think of how he or she will support them? When I indulge myself and become obese, am I not responsible for future health problems?

Those of us who have used common sense and avoided many self-induced problems, have very little sympathy for those who do not. Why should we be burdened to have our tax money educate children of those with large families, especially immigrants, and give them free health care? And you would think a person in business would have covered the cost of their services to provide funds for health care for their families.

On the subject of obesity, it will be the primary cause of poor health in the future. Should we deny health care to those who are grossly obese? Should we expect those people employed in the health care system and law enforcement to be of a healthy weight? I think so.

It's time for people to stop and think how will their actions affect my future. Just a thought.

Tom Wilhelm

Williamsport


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