I love Archbishop Timothy Dolan and rejoiced at his election as president of the USCCB, and I certainly share his passion for the need for good Catholic schools (“Why Catholic schools matter,” Jan. 30), but I’m afraid that what must be faced first is that many of our Catholic schools (grammar, high school and college) are “Catholic” in name only, and even work against the mission of the Catholic Church. These cannot and should not be supported by anyone in the Church without real reform. 

The sisters in the grammar school in my area teach “The Universe Story” (a syncretism of science and the teachings of various religions) as the core of the school’s religious education; the sisters in the high school instruct their students: “If you think something is right, then it’s right,” thus nurturing the “dictatorship of relativism” Pope Benedict XVI is so concerned about. 

One also must question the “success” Catholic schools have had in training citizens when those standing most in opposition to the Church’s teaching on essential matters like abortion and homosexual “marriage” are these graduates of “Catholic” schools. Perhaps they have gained material success and notoriety, but have they truly had success in the Faith? 

Honesty and responsibility to the Church and our children requires a hard look at just what is being taught at “Catholic” schools and how it complies with the mission of the Church; therein we may find reason for “Catholic” schools decline. Only with this clear knowledge and the commitment to reform will they make any real ascent. 

— James Kurt, via email

Gay subculture 

Re “Weighing the pros and the cons of a married priesthood” (Openers, Feb. 13). 

Your comment “even if the data pretty convincingly shows that sex abuse of minors takes place far more commonly in families, and occurs just as often in church communities with married ministers” does not tell the whole story. Most kids are part of a family; of course, most sex abuse occurs in a family setting. 

In the Catholic Church, the great majority of abused children were boys between the age of 11-17. This is ephebophilia, not pedophilia, and is homosexual activity in the Church. Sexual abuse that is committed in churches with married clergy show a much higher instance of girls being the targets. 

A married priesthood would do much to change the subculture that has developed. It is true it would also create many new problems; every solution has its drawbacks. The Church must get out of its schizophrenic condition of forbidding homosexuals in the priesthood on the one hand, and yet having so much of the priesthood made up of homosexuals on the other. 

— Jim Roth, Ridgefield, Wash.

Divided attention 

While the question of a married priesthood seems to have been settled at the highest level, I can just imagine my priest, Father Mark Zacker of Corpus Christi parish in Colorado Springs, having a wife and family. Either the parish or his family would suffer because Father Mark devotes tons of time to his priestly duties. If he’s not hearing confessions, he’s meeting with groups or individuals. If he’s not saying Mass, he’s planning one. I wouldn’t begrudge Father Mark a wife, but the stress and strain of his absence from home would test the strongest marriage. 

— Jere Joiner, Divide, Colo.

Protecting all life 

Re “Both sides are wrong” (Letters to the Editor, Feb. 13). Quite a contrast on the page this week. It’s plain to see the good lady from Chicago is working to end abortion in a sane, peaceful and prayerful manner. It would seem the gentleman from Minnesota may be a supporter or member of a party that supports “a woman’s right to choose.” 

The basic human right is the right to life, period! The reason that the abortion issue has not gone away is that many good people are informed and willing to get involved by helping unwed mothers and sponsoring adoptions, supporting crisis abortion alternatives and by becoming active in the pro-life movement.  

A properly formed conscience goes the distance in determining right from wrong. Then, occasionally, a priest or bishop may even overlook the political and financial pressure and actually present the Catholic Church’s instruction on the subject! Brothers and sisters take a timely stand endorsed by the Catholic Church — enter the good fight for life and be a good example for all to see. 

The “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics” would be a good reference to review the five nonnegotiables before any election. All five have to do with protecting life at any stage of life. 

— Steven Gasper, San Antonio, Texas

Pro-life evangelization 

Re “Why pro-lifers vote for pro-choice politicians” (Essay, Jan. 30). 

Not once did Russell Shaw mention the most obvious reality — namely, that if a majority of Catholics were to resolve not to vote for pro-choice politicians, then abortion would come to a sudden and well-deserved demise. 

It is true, as Shaw suggests, that “education” is needed. He should have said that evangelization of Catholics is what we desperately need. 

— John Jones, Mission, Texas