Real scandal is loss of commitment seriousness

Re: “Bishops behaving badly, even 10 years after scandal start” (OSV, Jan. 22): 

I still am shocked, even after 10 years of it, at the lack of attention to the real problem of errant clerics. Their real crime, and sin, has been the breaking of their vows. How this can continually be overlooked, even by the media, escapes me! It is the great leveler of what is wrong with our society: The lack of commitment ... in marriage, in family life, in sexual ethics, in life in general; the great problem of our time is lack of individual concern over making a solemn vow and then breaking it. 

The results are legion: abortion, sexual abuse, dissolution of marriage, increasing loss of faith, secularism in society; all stem from this one scourge. Yet no one seems to be seeing it ... and certainly no one is calling attention to it as the central cause of our “modern” ills! I pray that people will re-discover the sacredness of a solemn promise; that people in all tracks of life will refrain from making a vow they cannot keep. 

Dan Hogan, East Machias, Me.

Problem of evil

Re: “When the problem of evil intrudes on Christmas joy” (OSV, Jan. 8): 

The loss of “holy innocents” on Christmas 2011 finds both families and communities mourning in unison; crying together, “Why?” “She was only 9 years old.” Further questions — haunting, flagellating, unanswerable — continue: “If only I’d not had flu.” “If only we had family nearby to help us.” 

Meanwhile, another woman (and estranged husband) asks similar questions in the fire-loss of three young daughters and her parents. “If only we hadn’t lit a fire in the fireplace.” 

Life’s unfolding doesn’t always contain perfect conclusions. In faith we often bow to unknowns. Under Herod’s rule, what did parents understand of slaughtered first-born sons? 

We pray that peace will surpass inadequate answers. We pray that love expressed in communal kindness — gestures and word — will portray the love of a God-Father who surely grieves also. 

Jesus’ own invitation may salve our pain: “Let the little children come unto me.” 

Bretta Ribbing, Manchester, Mo.

Ethical gambling

I wanted to comment on the “ethical investing” In Focus in the Jan. 8 edition. 

You write: Publicly-traded gambling companies “generally won’t be found in a screened Catholic portfolio,” because they “profit from adult entertainment and gambling.” I have to respectfully disagree with this sentiment! 

I am a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Las Vegas; and I am also employed full-time by a publicly traded casino. 

Isn’t it being hypocritical to state that we shouldn’t buy stock in a casino company, when MANY Catholic churches have bingo and casino nights as a source of fundraising? Casino companies are not “evil empires” to be avoided; at least here in Vegas, they pay a decent, living wage with excellent benefits to their employees. 

Granted, there are those among us who suffer from gambling problems/addictions; we as a Church should assist them in obtaining the needed professional help. But to make a statement that Catholics shouldn’t buy stock in casino companies is a little extreme. 

Deacon Patrick S. Cater, Las Vegas, Nev.

Maternity coverage?

Re: “In Conscience debate, who’s stepping on whose toes?” (Jan. 1): 

Brian Fraga’s article reflects the dangerous path our country is going. 

According to the article, the Department of Health and Human Services considers the inclusion of women’s “preventive services” — contraceptives and sterilization — necessary in private insurance plans. 

What about maternity coverage? I’m presently “shopping” for new health insurance due to a tremendous premium increase this year, and NOT ONE plan that I have been offered includes maternity coverage! It must be added separately, and at a high price! 

Contraception is a choice; maternity is a woman’s right! If something should be mandatory in every health plan, it should be maternity coverage, to ensure the safety and well being of the mother and her child. 

Bishops need to unite and stand strong on this issue, remaining faithful to our Founding Father and Lord Jesus Christ. 

Yakaly Fernández, Marietta, Ga.

Young St. Joseph

I felt only chagrin when I saw your Christmas cover, portraying St. Joseph as an old man with Mary, his young wife. Perhaps medieval artists could not conceive of a young Joseph living a chaste, celibate life.  

The young chaste St. Joseph is the model all men today need. So many young men and older men have been grievously wounded by pornography on the Internet and on the sewer pipe commonly called the television. 

Father John Doyle, Mountain Iron, Minn. 

Hispanic Population

Re “Bishops write open letter to illegal immigrants” (Jan. 1): 

The U.S. bishops cannot in good conscience say they support the provisions of DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act while doing all they can to defeat candidates who support the DREAM Act. Out of honor and honesty, they owe more to the U.S. Hispanic population. 

Ed Dwyer, via e-mail