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

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


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.

It’s not safe for neighbors to be discharging high-caliber weapons into paper targets without a sand backstop, or to target shoot after dark, or to send “celebratory” shots straight up in the air. Making these behaviors criminal will encourage more responsible gun ownership.

Please make sure gun safety is on your town’s agenda. Now’s the time!

Jenny Ruth Yasi


Snow doesn’t keep carrier from timely paper delivery

I write to commend and thank my newspaper carrier, who faithfully (and most unexpectedly!) delivered the Press Herald to my door on the Saturday of the storm through 32 inches of snow. Honor is due.

Ellen D. Murphy


Presidential energy policy hinders growth at local level

I see all the figures on unemployment and the crime rate going up and wonder whether the rich politicians have any idea as to what could be done.

President Obama has a war on coal. Thousands of miners are unemployed, and the cost of one of the prime sources of electricity is far too high as a result of his energy policy.

No new drilling in the Gulf, no pipeline permit from Canada. The cost of heating oil has gone from $1.89 per gallon in January 2007 to $3.50 in January 2013. Gasoline is now approaching $4 a gallon.

Home heating costs have doubled, and transportation costs have doubled.

These costs are also on towns and cities for heating their buildings and schools, plus busing students, plowing and maintaining roads and operating police cruisers.

This is also passed on to the state level with all their buildings and transportation, road maintenance, asphalt and concrete. Plus this cost increase goes up to the federal level, affecting buildings, transportation, Postal Service deliveries, etc.

I have lived through the so-called dirty air, but covering Maine and New Hampshire on the road as a salesman, I have seen the prosperous communities of Lincoln, Groveton, Berlin and Gorham, N.H., and Lincoln, the Millinockets and Madawaska, Maine.

There were happy, proud, employed people in these communities, and now with Environmental Protection Agency rulings and mandates, they are ghost towns. These regulations have come from people who probably never worked for an hourly wage.

If we had the good fortune to have these mandates removed, we would have more employment and lower energy costs; less welfare and more jobs; more spendable income, less crime and more money to reduce the national debt.

Bucky Buchanan