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Consequences of papal visit to BaltimoreIn his...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Consequences of papal visit to Baltimore

In his Perspective piece of Oct. 1, a retired priest, Father Joseph Gallagher, professed to be worried about the consequences of the pope's visit to Baltimore.

Marylanders, he warned in so many words, could be so dazzled by the majesty of the papacy and so sucked in by the pope's charisma, that they would be transformed into blind sheep willing to follow him anywhere, trampling over the real truth to get there.

For starters, Father Gallagher forgot that we Americans are by character an iconoclastic lot who historically have been repelled by, and not drawn to, those who broadcast too strong a scent of authoritarianism, whether political or religious.

On the other hand, we are a people who struggle daily to apply our idealism and spirituality to our lives and who admire the same traits in our heroes -- those who have proven the strength of their convictions through a lifetime sacrifice of blood, sweat and toil in standing up for them.

Like Billy Graham and Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II is such a religious hero, judging by his unrivaled popularity in America and around the world. In admiring these great spiritual leaders, Americans have clearly shown they can think on their own as to whether they completely agree with their heroes' religious convictions.

No idolatrous cults have sprung up from the heartland in which any of these leaders have supplemented Jesus Christ as the God to whom each of them has humbly devoted their lives in worship and service.

Stephen Beard

Davidsonville

Just a note of moral support for the Rev. Joseph Gallagher on his "Holy Father, holy truth." (Perspective, Oct. 1).

It must have taken a great deal of courage (and pain as well) to write with such clarity and insight into the current situation within the Roman Catholic Church.

It was indeed a well thought-out and intelligent assessment of the worries that have been plaguing many thinking Catholics.

Cecelia Wasiljov

Baltimore

World is leaving the city behind

The Sun has reported on several events that embody the escalating plight of the city. These include the fact that Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. will no longer maintain a corporate headquarters in Baltimore, the imminent move of the Washington Bullets to a new arena in downtown Washington (with no more games scheduled at the Baltimore Arena), and the possibility that the Lucas Collection, one of Baltimore's greatest treasurers, will be scattered to the winds. These three items point to the same trend. The world is leaving Baltimore behind.

This is not the first time this century that Baltimore's cause has seemed so hopeless. However, in prior times, the city had a number of factors working in its favor, including cohesive families and neighborhoods, quality public education, a

concerned federal government and a spirit of public-private cooperation. Each of these assets has deteriorated over time.

Still, there remains one possible salvation for the city. Baltimore has at its disposal all the assets necessary to be a major international gateway. With access to a major port, airport and sophisticated labor force, Baltimore can and should be a magnet fTC for international firms seeking entry into the vast American marketplace.

The fact that Baltimore is the cheapest major city on the East Coast should also work in its favor. A concerted international strategy would pay tremendous dividends to a city which has little else in its favor.

Anirban Basu

Baltimore

Crab conservation measures needed

When the Chesapeake Bay Foundation proposed a crab sanctuary in waters deeper than 40 feet, I -- as a weekend crabber and sometime conservationist -- applauded.

I very seldom crab in waters greater than five feet deep at a dock on a bay tributary.

But when the Maryland Department of Natural Resources adopted regulations designed to relieve some crabbing pressure, I suddenly discovered my family would also be part of the solution.

I hope other waterfront recreational crabbers can share the view of our reduction in crabbing days as a real and symbolic measure to reduce crab catches and allow more of the breeding stock to survive.

So far, the commercial crabbers appear to be giving up some real income, while we're only giving up crabbing on Monday through Thursday, when most of us don't crab anyway.

By uniting in support of the regulations, recreational crabbers can become part of a large political constituency for conservation. The real measure of our influence, of course, will be tested in Virginia, where conservation is less politically popular.

If sponge crabs (females preparing to spawn in spring) continue to be dredged up through the winter in Virginia waters, the issue of conservation -- and, of course, a viable future population of crabs -- will disappear.

Supporters of restrained crabbing aren't "crab huggers." We love to catch them, kill them and eat them. And we want to make sure we can continue to do that in the future.

David Kirby

Baltimore

Gambling story sounds too good

In reference to the Sept. 29 article, "Md. casinos would be a gamble with profits," I would like to say the reported benefits to Maryland's economy sound too good to be true -- and they are!

I'm a native of Louisiana, where for years the virtues of gambling were fed to folks. Finally, the state legislators ignored laws they had passed in order to allow "gaming" (not gambling) in the state.

Now there is a grass-roots movement to kick out the gaming interests, clear out or convict the indicted politicians who fell to gambling's temptation and begin healing the social wounds gaming has inflicted upon Louisiana's traditionally hard-working citizens.

When I talk to my sister in Louisiana, she relates story after story of lives ruined by gambling and its corrupting influences. Now, after a brief romance with gaming, Louisiana's voters long for the days when natural gas and crude oil -- not lemons and cherries -- were the kings of their economy.

Marylanders have the opportunity to learn from Louisiana's experiences. But will we have the courage to say no?

Jim Waggoner

Ocean Pines

Male genes are root of violence

I am writing regarding Gregory Kane's Sept. 30 column on the Queenstown conference of scientists researching a possible link between genetics and violence.

Mr. Kane rightfully shares criticism of black male violence with the white male population, where much of it historically belongs, but he fails to get to the root of the problem. No matter which society, which class, which race or religion, the statistics on violence bear out the truth: The purveyors of violence in the world are, by and large, males.

Did the researchers in Queenstown overlook this obvious link between genetics and violence? Probably not.

Mr. Kane should be offended not so much as a black man, but as a man, period. But given the staggering statistics proving the pervasiveness of male violence, his protest would ring hollow, wouldn't it? Far better to retreat to the myopic sanctuary of black victim-hood than to admit that, regardless of race, his own gender group of males might be responsible for much of the suffering in the world.

Pam Yeckley

Baltimore

'O. J' is going to replace 'weasel'

It keeps going through my mind that the familiar colloquialism, he "weaseled" his way out of it, will soon be replaced by he "O. J.'d" himself out of it.

Stephanie Kimmons

Phoenix

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