Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: March 19

Pett cartoon accurate reflection of church reality

Joel Pett's depiction of Catholic priests condemning contraception reflects serious concerns voiced by many in our community.

Mike Allen of the Lexington diocese likens contraception to communism. His attacks on decent Catholics are sanctimonious and lacking in compassion. He ascribes malintent when none exists, saying that people who use birth control regard fertility as a disease and have devalued their marriages.

Nowhere does he show compassion for those who have more children than they can feed, women who would die if they endure another pregnancy or those who choose to refrain from taking part in overpopulation and yet honor their marriage with intimacy.

He smears teachers and journalists in an argument that tries to minimize clergy sexual abuse of children by equating it with bias in journalism. His claim that teachers' abuse of children exceeds that of the clergy's is slanderous and misses the point.

Nowhere does he take responsibility for the massive, international cover-up of abuse the church perpetuated. Allen seems to think that two wrongs make a right. By attacking teachers and journalists, with nothing more than smoke and mirrors, he creates more cover-up.

He participates in minimizing the rampant, pervasive sexual abuse of innocent children. Minimizing and blaming are part of denial, of covering up, of creating a climate of secrecy for more abuse.

Susan Schweder Bell

Licensed marriage and family therapist


Joel Pett had a cartoon showing a Catholic priest judging birth control but then showed the priest looking lustfully toward a young boy with his mother.

Pett received some harsh criticism for that cartoon. A good cartoon should reflect current events and be poignant, open the eyes of people and, like a good picture, should be worth a thousand words.

The cartoon was timely and reflected in our society what Catholic priests have brought out in the open about their church. Prosecutors all over the world have dealt with these issues. In the United States, prosecutors have tried to use the RICO laws to show that the Catholic Church is a corrupt organization. I commend Pett for his bravery and good journalism.

I find it all the more ironic that in a later issue of the paper, there appeared yet another story from Philadelphia headlined, "Jurors being seated in priest trial; 2 accused of rape and 1 of cover-up," It is amazing how much sex abuse goes on within the Catholic Church. Thank you, Joel Pett, for keeping this in the forefront of the attention of our society. Maybe this will save a young boy from sexual abuse.

Timothy McAlpin


Mike Allen, director of family life ministries for the Lexington diocese has complained that it's unfair to focus on child rape carried out by Catholic clergy, because it is of "recent vintage." I am at a loss to fathom the mitigating qualities of this recency, but I agree on some level with Allen. As horrible as these rapes are, genocide is far more horrible.

Consider the 1941 pastoral letter of Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac: "God, who directs the destiny of nations and controls the hearts of Kings, has given us Ante Pavelic and moved the leader of a friendly and allied people, Adolf Hitler, to use his victorious troops to disperse our oppressors ... Glory be to God, our gratitude to Adolf Hitler ..."

Stepinac was in conference with Pope Pius XII before and after issuance of the letter; Ante Pavelic murdered nearly 1 million people.

Many Catholic clergy were implicated in the Rwandan genocide. In 2006, the Rev. Athanase Seromba was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the 1994 massacre of 2,000 Tutsis. They had taken refuge in a church building. Seromba ordered the building razed by bulldozers, burying the screaming Tutsi people alive.

The presumption of Catholic clergy in attempting to dictate the meaning of our sexuality is bizarre, but of very little significance compared to genocide. Cover-up of child rape is horrible, but murder is even worse. Allen's efforts might be better devoted to seeking redemption for the church's past atrocity rather than seeking to peer into our bedrooms.

Kendrick VanZant


Mike Allen's condemnation of Joel Pett's cartoon depicting a Catholic bishop denying a woman's need for contraception while leering at her son is just about the most fanciful thing I have ever read.

The fact that Allen fails to mention is that women have no power or influence on the Catholic Church's position on contraception. Celibate men get to make these decisions for them — the same supposedly celibate men who have a well-documented history of sexually abusing women and children.

So no, I don't think Pett's cartoon was a bigoted attack on Catholicism. I think Pett's cartoon was right on target.

Anna Wientjes


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