February 18, 2013

Letters to the editor: Church puts power in the wrong hands

Benedict XVI's resignation frustrates my plan for an online petition demanding it.

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Pope Benedict XVI prays during an audience with Roman priests Thursday in the Vatican. The papal election process grants authority to “sexist yes-men cardinals” at the expense of elected priests, religious and laity, a reader says.

The Associated Press

Two grounds: The Vatican curia's and Paul VI's thwarting of Vatican II reform implementation procedures have allowed John Paul II's and Benedict XVI's major undoing of Second Vatican Council reforms and what hundreds of theologians have long agreed is a Vatican schism.

Where the council reaffirmed that the pope rules in concert with fellow bishops and with respect for the sense of the faithful, for John Paul II and Benedict XVI the Holy Spirit speaks only to the pope and his curia.

Council reform of the liturgy, approved almost unanimously, is steadily reversed, even to incompetent and unprayable missal translations. Ecumenism has stalled. Engaging the world's great moral challenges has shrunk to pelvic preoccupations. The nuns' Gospel witness is disobedience!

Only yes-men become bishops. Every Vatican whim is law. Indefensible Galileo postures -- on married and women priests, feminism, contraception, divorce and remarriage, and sexual identity -- are requisite. Primacy of conscience is now obedience. Pray, pay and obey or get out. Where the council called for hope, trust,and collaboration, fear rules.

Second, neither John Paul II nor Benedict XVI has declared that meeting the needs of the tens of thousands of victims of clergy and religious sex abuse must, in justice and conformity with the Gospel, take precedence over the church patriarchy's image, protection of bishops' and priests' reputations, immunity of the ordained from accountability, and hanging on to church wealth.

Benedict XVI dismissed the need for healing of 200 abused deaf Milwaukee children to honor their abuser's wish to die without judgment. This abandonment of abuse victims alone disqualifies John Paul II for canonization and disqualifies Benedict XVI to be pope. He and complicit bishops and cardinals must go -- for cause, not incapacity.

Before going, Benedict XVI must change the papal election process to minimize the power of sexist yes-men cardinals by giving a majority vote to elected priests, religious and laity.

William H. Slavick

Portland

Towns should work to set local gun safety standards

In spite of the many accidental shootings, homicides and murder-suicides that happen in Maine, it is amazing how many gun owners don't worry about the risks their guns pose to the community.

When my neighbor was firing along my property line, sending ordnance terrifyingly close to me working in my fields, I tried (unsuccessfully) talking to the neighbor.

Then I called the sheriff's office. They told me that unless the town has a gun safety ordinance, as long as shooters are 300 feet from a residence, they're legal. There are no state setbacks from property lines, gardens, mailboxes or barns.

This neighbor shot right against my property boundary, using a pitifully small pile of rotting sticks as a backstop. He told me to wear orange, so I did, and I would duck and crawl home when I heard gunfire.

Guns aren't the problem -- irresponsible gun owners are. Irresponsible town government is a problem, too.

In Maine, towns can lawfully regulate safer discharge of weapons, and they should. A town gun discharge ordinance regulating target shooting, and safe firing ranges for gun type, can help citizens determine whether shooting they hear is the safe sound of fun or the sound of a crime in progress.

Consider going to your town hall and proposing a gun safety ordinance. Most gun owners in Maine are responsible, and laws don't stop criminals. But laws set the standard.

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