The more I see and hear of Newt Gingrich, the more I miss Tip O'Neill.
The opinions of Sister Rosemarie Nassif quoted by reporter Frank Somerville Nov. 26 do not exclusively represent the sentiments of the body of Catholic women in Baltimore.
The viewpoint of a section of Catholic women and their male sympathizers, that the church is limiting the role of women, is incongruous with the view of a large portion of Catholic women.
For this reason it was difficult to understand what Mr. Somerville's intentions were in writing the article headlined, "Women will see ceremony as too male."
Surely, he is savvy enough to know that there are Catholic women in Baltimore who do not perceive the ceremony in which Archbishop William Keeler was elevated to the College of Cardinals as "too male."
Why then, I need to ask, did he write the article as though Sister Nassif's views were shared by all women?
Like Sister Nassif, I, too, have a great love for my church, but unlike Sister Nassif my love is for the church that includes an all-male priesthood.
And, I, like many others, found nothing missing at the wonderful ceremony in Rome on Nov. 28.
I wonder if we haven't sold "wisdom" for the price of "folly." As women strive to gain roles that were never meant to be ours, they demean womanhood and its role as life-giver.
In the apostolic letter issued on May 30 of this year in which Pope John Paul II reaffirmed the church's position on an all-male priesthood, we read: "The fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God and mother of the church, received neither the mission proper to the Apostles nor the ministerial priesthood clearly shows that the nonadmission of women to priestly ordination cannot mean that women are of lesser dignity, nor can it be construed as discrimination against them. Rather, it is to be seen as the faithful observance of a plan to be ascribed to the wisdom of the Lord of the universe."
It has been my experience attained through the study of scriptures and the writings of the church together with prayer that "the Lord of the universe" never has and does not relegate women to a second-class position.
It behooves 20th century man (and woman) to seek the wisdom that will enable us to accurately access the various roles in society.
Certainly I must be mistaken. Over $5,000 has been demanded of Ellen Sauerbrey's election inquiry team by the Board of Elections of Montgomery County, and almost that amount by the board of Prince George's County, to copy voting records which are public property?
I would propose that the State Board of Elections pay Mrs. Sauerbrey's team to undertake this Herculean task of cleaning Maryland's Augean stables.
Flag of Honor
Racists prostitute the Confederate flag. They use it as a symbol for bigotry. Critics who fail to differentiate err. They ignore our heritage.
This staunch Unionist points out a vignette from history. In the company of brave men who fought in the Civil War, Joshua Chamberlain stands out.
zTC In a formal ceremony three days after Appomattox, Confederate troops marched up to stack arms and surrender their flag.
The Union officer in charge of the surrender was Joshua Chamberlain, who had won the Medal of Honor at Little Round Top, and had been twice wounded since then.
James M. McPherson in "Battle Cry of Freedom" wrote:
"Leading the Southerners as they marched toward Chamberlain's brigades standing at attention was John Gordon, one of Lee's hardest fighters. First in line of march behind him was the Stonewall Brigade, five regiments containing 210 ragged survivors of four years of war.
"As Gordon approached at the head of these men with his chin dropped, downhearted and dejected, Chamberlain gave a brief order, and a bugle call rang out. Instantly the Union soldiers shifted from order arms to carry arms, the salute of honor.
"Hearing the sound General Gordon looked up in surprise, and with sudden realization turned smartly to Chamberlain, dipped his sword in salute, and ordered his own men to carry arms.
"These enemies in many a bloody battle ended the war not with shame on one side and exultation on the other, but with a mutual salutation and farewell."
Let us cast out the racists, and leave the Confederate flag to a small place of honor in our history.
We are all Americans.
John G. Barry
Children Using Drugs
I share the dismay expressed by Carl Rowan (column, Dec. 19) about increasing drug use among children reported in the "Monitoring the Future" survey.
But the alarming increase in marijuana and LSD use that got the lion's share of the media attention distracts us from more serious problems and from the multiple factors that are part of the explanation.
Mr. Rowan's three-part explanation for increasing marijuana use -- the consensus that the "drug-war" has been lost; insufficient media articles about drug dangers; and "drug-war" political partisanship -- fails to explain the increases in teen-age tobacco and alcohol abuse measures, which are intertwined with other drug use.
For kids, alcohol use is illicit drug use. Alcohol use is a bigger factor than other drug use in the commission of violent crime -- by a factor of roughly two, as reported by prison inmates in describing their drug or alcohol use at the time they committed the crime that landed them in prison.
From a crime-prevention standpoint, as well as a public health perspective, we should be extremely alarmed that, nationwide, 28.2 percent of the high school seniors report that they were drunk at least once in the past two weeks (i.e., consumed five-plus drinks in a row). That figure is a slight increase over the past two years.
And cigarette consumption by those high school seniors who are already addicted (a half pack or more daily) has increased steadily for the past three years to 11.2 percent.
But among the youngest, the data is most shocking. Among eighth graders the prevalence of daily alcohol use doubled between 1991 and 1994, and increased by about a quarter among 10th graders. Daily smokeless tobacco use by eighth graders doubled between 1991 and 1994.
To understand the problem, perhaps we should look at the drug use messages, pro and con, that are directed at children.
First, we should consider the possibility that our drug abuse prevention programs for children are inadequate. The nation's largest drug prevention program is D.A.R.E., also known as D.A.R.E. AMERICA.
This program is used in half of America's schools and is the principal anti-drug program of the Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, which benefited from a half-billion dollars in federal tax dollars in FY 1993 alone. That is, really, a lot of money.
With alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by our children growing dramatically, we might question the effectiveness of the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars we are pouring into the predominant prevention program.
The Department of Justice did ask that question. In September 1994, the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina, under contract for the National Institute of Justice, completed the most thorough analysis of D.A.R.E.
Guess what it found? While there were many positive effects of D.A.R.E., "The smallest immediate effect sizes were for drug use. . ."
Other interactive drug abuse prevention programs were 300 percent more effective than D.A.R.E. when measured for drug use effect. Perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised that teen drug use is going up.
Eric E. Sterling
RF The writer is president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation.
Hooray for Robert Sheer's Perspective article concerning the real Rep. Newt Gingrich (Dec. 11). Finally a courageous writer begins to expose the hypocritical, egotistical loudmouth.
Mr. Gingrich's "family values" include taking divorce papers to his wife's hospital bed for her signature as she was being treated for cancer. What a "loving" and "compassionate" being, eh?
Old "I'm for me" Newt Gingrich's two children probably would be better off in an orphanage than having him around. Oh yeah, that's right, putting the kids into orphanages is Mr. Gingrich's heartfelt "family" advice, isn't it?
Let's see, isn't Mr. Gingrich the draft-dodging, pot-smoking guy who "was caught up in the times" but has absolutely nothing but terrible things to say about President Clinton's actions of those times?
Compassion? No! Hypocrisy? Yes! . . .