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Archbishop Lori should accept Md. Catholics' tradition of religious toleration and diversity

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I hope that newly appointed Archbishop William E. Lori understands that Marylanders take pride in religious toleration ("Outspoken bishop to lead Baltimore Archdiocese," March 21). Yet some aspects of Archbishop Lori's background are cause for concern.

Archbishop Lori's attempt to keep documents related to the priest sex-abuse scandal in Bridgeport out of the hands of the civil authorities is particularly disturbing. And his high profile in the bishops' crusade against a rule requiring health insurance companies to provide contraceptives indicates that he is willing to waste time on an issue that really doesn't make sense to the many practicing Catholics who don't feel that our religious liberties are being violated.

Your article quotes one woman who called Archbishop Lori "a terrific, traditional Catholic." This is basically code for "reactionary." The tea party Catholics identify Archbishop Lori as one of their own.

It is important for Archbishop Lori to realize that many Maryland Catholics do not identify with these those Catholics, yet we support the Church financially and in other ways.

Maryland Catholics are concerned about the priest shortage and the refusal of the American hierarchy to deal with this issue in a realistic way that would include changing the qualifications for ordination.

Some of us are also concerned that some bishops seem to have a problem dealing with women. We don't expect women to be treated as inferiors by the bishops. We do expect that Catholic women who espouse more liberal and progressive policies will be treated as well as more conservative women of faith.

The Church must be inclusive. Also, civic leaders must understand that Archbishop Lori will not speak or represent all Catholics in Maryland. The actions of many members of the American hierarchy have convinced us they are wrong on some important issues and that they don't always represent our values.

Any reader of history realizes that the Church has always had problem bishops. I certainly hope that Archbishop Lori will attempt to understand the concerns of all Catholics and not just those who agree with him on every issue.

Edward McCarey McDonnell, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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