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Pope Benedict XVI failed as leader of a troubled church

Thursday, February 21, 2013
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Pope Benedict XVI failed as leader of a troubled church

Pope Benedict’s XVI humility in stepping down is certainly to be respected and admired [Feb. 12 Gazette]. The man is 85 years old, and he knows he lacks the stamina to cope with the stresses and demands of his post.

As a scholar in his area of expertise, he is considered brilliant. His three books on the life of Jesus were praised by theologians across the board. On some worldly issues regarding poverty, capitalism and the environment he also demonstrated an enlightened perspective.

Unfortunately, as a leader of a church in crisis, he was, arguably, an abject failure. During his papacy, and even before that as [a] Prefect for the Doctrine of the Faith, he did far too little to stem the scourge of sexual abuse, overruled any meaningful discussion of birth control, homosexuality or gay marriage, and silenced theologians who raised questions posed by contemporary life.

Despite the worldwide priest shortage, he rejected any discussion of a married clergy or the ordination of women. Most recently, the Vatican called American nuns on the carpet for their emphasis on issues of social justice, censured a highly respected American theologian who is a nun, and expelled a Maryknoll priest who refused orders to recant his support for the ordination of women.

What is equally troubling, he perpetuated John Paul II’s practice of appointing only like-minded, strongly conservative bishops and cardinals so the likelihood of the next pope returning to the legacy of John XXIII and again “opening the windows” of the church to the winds of change and a greater role for the clergy and laity is utterly remote.

For those of us who love our faith, but not the institutional church, we may need to return to the early manner of worship which gave our faith a foundation. Sadly, the institutional church appears destined to wither to a shadow of itself continuing to insist that all wisdom emanates from the Vatican.

Robert K. Corliss

Schenectady

Greenhouse grant great, but more money needed

Your Feb. 18 editorial,“Great use for greenhouse,” recognizes the hard work and collaboration that resulted in the Schenectady community winning a $189,500 grant from the AstraZeneca Health Care Foundation.

However, this grant alone does not solve the need of the greenhouse for capital funds to renovate and upgrade the old facility to fully support programs and be more energy-efficient; or the ongoing need for both operating funds and volunteer involvement.

To those ends, the Friends of the Central Park Greenhouse continue our effort to raise funds to preserve this unique facility. The AstraZeneca grant demonstrates the important role that the Central Park greenhouse and adjoining horticultural center can play in promoting both healthy eating, and healthy living and an environmentally sustaining lifestyle. That makes it all the more important that the community continue to support our efforts and learn how more families can participate and benefit.

To learn more about the Friends of the Central Park Greenhouse, please visit: www.cceschenectady.org.

Gary Hughes

Schenectady

The writer is a county legislator.

More laws aren’t the answer to gun problem

Gov. Cuomo’s bid to win points via his knee-jerk reaction to shootings in schools, while avoiding the normal democratic process to produce laws, raises the question of whether someone of this dictatorial bent is suitable for the presidency of a true democracy. Therefore, a review of the history of proscriptive laws in the United States is in order.

How effective was the prohibition of access to alcohol in the 1900s? What really happened was the spawning of an underground alcohol economy with gang wars and multiple murders that got so bad, the law was repealed.

We now have laws prohibiting drug trafficking resulting in an underground economy, with gang wars and multiple murders in the United States, Mexico and South America. We have laws against the hiring of illegal immigrants and the widespread use of illegal immigrant labor.

Why politicians continue thinking they can control public behavior by writing words on paper really calls into question their grasp on reality. In spite of all our gun laws, the truth is that anyone can get a handgun at any time just by contacting the right people. Criminals know that.

As with alcohol and drugs, blaming inanimate objects while failing to address the role of the active agents is easy, but it is not going to solve anything.

To paraphrase Shakespeare: The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the guns (alcohol, drugs) but in ourselves. Until we take some action in our homes, churches, schools, TV programming and wherever else possible to restore the idea of personal responsibility for our behavior, things will get worse.

C.J. Guare

Scotia

Mayor Johnson not a king, and shouldn’t act like one

Considering Mayor Scott Johnson’s politically biased and unbalanced approach in his appointments to Saratoga Springs’ Comprehensive Review Plan Committee, one must wonder if he understands the meaning of bipartisanship and appreciates that elections have consequences

The mayor and Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco are the minority on the City Council, yet they behave as if they are the majority. The mayor is fortunate to have three commissioners who are enthusiastically dedicated to working with the mayor to plan for the future of our unique “city in the country.”

Commissioners Michele Maddigan, John Franck and Chris Mattiesen represent an open-minded, inspired and supportive component of the City Council — a blessing for any mayor.

So why does the mayor suppress, ignore and bypass his fellow commissioners, not only as practice and policy, but especially now when considering appointments to this important board? Why has the mayor made a unilateral decision picking prospective members of the Review Committee exclusive of council discussion and debate?

The citizens of Saratoga Springs would like to view our mayor as an honorable, principled and inspired council member, but when he behaves as an imperialistic, tyrannical, myopic party boss, he challenges our faith in his fidelity as a public servant.

Michael O’Dunne

Saratoga Springs

Targets of drone strikes deserve due process

Re Ron Helie’s Feb. 16 letter: “Don’t cry for traitors targeted by U.S. gov’t”: There is no justification for any individual person to try, convict and kill an American citizen, ever!

We all have the right to a fair trial by a jury of our peers. I want that right for me, so I respect it for all Americans. I do think these people deserve to be executed, but we cannot keep giving up our rights little by little.

The government at all levels is not there to babysit and dictate to the people. It exists to provide a stable and lawful environment for all Americans to live their lives.

Robert Todt

Amsterdam

Letter writer wrong, McLoughlin’s the man

Re: Sandra Natale’s Feb. 15 letter on John McLoughlin’s Gazette column, I must say that I suspect she’s in the minority with her negative opinion.

Both members of my household look forward to Mr. McLoughlin’s “scribblings,” as do many of our friends.

Sorry, Ms. Natale, the real waste of space was your missive.

Dennis McClune

Schenectady

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comments

February 21, 2013
6:47 a.m.
Phils2008 says...

C.J, liberals have always lived, and will continue to live in an alternate reality. Their philosophy is simple. If you only do what we say things will be great. They think with emotion not logic, reason or reality. That is why they are easily lead to support impulsive laws and regulations that are inanely stupid. They choose to be ignorant and the battle to get them to rationally think was lost a long time ago.

February 21, 2013
3:21 p.m.
fjcjr says...

C.J. Guare's letter is a good one. He cites good examples of why passing new laws to regulate public behavior is a waste of time and energy. Prohibition and the War on Drugs have been abysmal failures that as he notes have only created other crime. It's curious how seemingly intelligent people can think that these new laws will actually have a positive effect. Criminals by definition do not obey laws, and a person that is willing to kill will not be dissuaded by the threat of severe punishment. When will our legislators try some common sense?

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