Church leaders must act to protect children

Re: “Vigilance is needed” (Editorial, March 13).

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown released a statement indicating that they are cooperating with the authorities and will continue to do so.

“This is a painful and difficult time in our Diocesan Church,” Bishop Mark L. Bartchak said in a statement released Tuesday. “I deeply regret any harm that has come to children, and I urge the faithful to join me in praying for the victims of abuse.”

It’s always a “painful and difficult time” for the Church. What about the painful, horrific, tormented, anxiety and depression-filled lives of the victims? Church leadership is always regretting “the harm that has come to children.” Why didn’t the leadership act to protect the children when they had the opportunity and moral responsibility to do so at the time of the sexual assaults? Well, of course everyone needs prayers, including the victims. What the victims and potential future victims need more than anything is action, honor, compassion, integrity and accountability on the part of Church leadership when they become aware of credible allegations of clergy sexual abuse.

Nothing is more important than the innocence and protection of the mind, body, spirit and soul of the children and young adults in parishes from sexual abuse and predation.

Michael Skiendzielewski, via online comment

Lockwood’s column

Re: “Back to its roots” (Catholic Journal, March 6).

Thanks for keeping Robert P. Lockwood’s column, “Catholic Journal,” in your newspaper.

He more than anyone else in the Catholic media seems able to speak plainly about the issues of the day, without making things more complicated than they need to be. Being a Catholic is oftentimes difficult, but it is never complicated.

Kevin Mahar, via email

Election 2016

Re: “Life issues, religious freedom should be key in upcoming election” (Letters to the editor, Feb. 28).

I strongly oppose capital punishment. Although it must be excruciatingly difficult for the loved ones of murder victims to bear, killing the murderer won’t bring back the dead man.

I also strongly support more stringent gun control. Although criminals will always find a way to get their hands on guns, I think there’s so much gun violence in our nation that gun control laws are eminently reasonable.

I also support reasonable, prudent government assistance to the many people in the United States who are in need.

Having said that, I do agree with letter-writer John du Toit that abortion, embryonic stem-cell research and euthanasia should be the priority issues when we vote. Of course, I’m assuming that the candidate in question is responsible in other ways (lives a good life and doesn’t hold offensive views, such as being hostile to immigrants, and so on).

The 2016 presidential election will be crucial in ensuring that our nation is put back on the right path.

Tim Donovan, via online comment

Presidential race

Re: “I wish for a presidential candidate who …” (Openers, Jan. 3).

Thank you for your beautiful column! You provide a very inspiring list of qualities a Catholic would desire in a presidential candidate.

We agree that neither the Democratic Party candidates nor the Republican Party candidates are fully in accord with Catholic social teachings.

The right to life is primary, because without life, one cannot enjoy any of the other rights. But, as you say, other issues such as support for sacramental marriage, religious liberty, economic justice, care for the poor and vulnerable, care for the environment, and national security are also important. As long-standing subscribers to OSV, we appreciate your faithful discussion of Catholic views on public issues.

David and Marianne Bovee, via online comment
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