Catholicism isn't 'grocery store' doctrineIt's so refreshing...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Catholicism isn't 'grocery store' doctrine

It's so refreshing to see Catholic students expressing "Catholic" ideas as in your Oct. 2 article about Our Lady of Mt. Carmel school in Essex. On the contrary, I find it distressing that there are students attending Catholic schools who do not espouse Catholic ideals. Since when did the Catholic Church become a democracy? Perhaps these students don't realize it now, but it is the orthodoxy/doctrines of the Catholic Church that provides them with a solid base with which to understand why the Catholic Church teaches what it does and why we should believe it. If they want the Catholic Church to be like a grocery store in which they can pick and choose what they like and don't like, then they are in the wrong church.

I began my schooling right after Vatican II when schools began to change I was taught little doctrine, hardly any Catechism, and as an adult I paid for it.

Now that I am a parent, sending my children to Catholic school, I have had to relearn my faith so that I can pass it on to my children. Through readings from orthodox priests (the late Bishop Fulton Sheen, Father Robert Fox, Pope John Paul II and others), Vatican documents, etc., I am able to tell them why the Catholic Church and faith are so beautiful, why I believe it, and why it is the one, true church. I just hope it's not too late for those students of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Mary R. Zaepfel

Eldersburg

Beyond reasonable doubt is paramount

In the aftermath of the O.J. Simpson trial, something very important came out of this trial that is being ignored: the role of DNA in the criminal justice system. I am a Caucasian male who fully concurs with the verdict that guilt beyond a reasonable doubt was not proved in this case. I have discussed this case almost daily for a year with my friends and co-workers, many of whom only knew of this trial from what was reported in this newspaper.

What was reported in this newspaper was the most biased reporting that I have seen. Your reporters wrote with the assumption that Mr. Simpson was guilty and only saw the case through that perspective.

Defense attorneys made some very valid points about how DNA should be collected, interpreted and used. Barry Scheck proved to me that the collection methods used in this case were suspect. I have always had a problem with how a data base with 400 items can allow a prosecutor to say that the chances of a blood match are 1 in 18 million. To me, they are 1 in 401. While the press is trying its best to make this a racial debate the bottom line is that reasonable doubt did exist. Yes, I think O.J. probably did it. However, I have very reasonable doubt and the laws of our land say if there is reasonable doubt the verdict must be not guilty.

Steven Davidson

New Windsor

State's approach to crime is backward

I am reading the article, "Get Tough on Crime Without Going Broke" (The Sun, Sept. 27), and I would like for Maryland Attorney General Joseph Curran to have my opinion on the issue.

I think that Mr. Curran, as well as everyone else involved with such issues, are looking at the prison, crime and inmate issue backward.

For example, Mr. Curran says that, putting inmates to work will "teach them job skills, discipline and self-esteem, thereby decreasing their chances of returning to crime upon release. Those inmates who succeed in these programs would be better prepared for responsible jobs upon release."

First, once a person is in prison, his chances for a responsible job ceases with his prison record. All job applications ask if you have ever been arrested for a felony. If you answer "yes," you may as well leave without completing the application; you won't be hired.

Second, stop thinking how to get tough on crime after the crime has been committed. Help to educate people before they find it necessary to turn to crime. In the Sept. 26 Sun, columnist Michael Olesker stated that, "in eight years, the state of Maryland has spent $465 million to build 12,000 new prison beds, and another $200 million on local jails, which are holding 10,000 inmates beyond the 21,000 in state prisons. And yet Maryland still has some of the most overcrowded lockups in the

country."

So, according to those figures, Maryland is now able to house 43,000 inmates. Have you ever added that up? According to the statements constantly in the news, it cost $30,000 per year to house each inmate. So $30,000 per year times 43,000 inmates equals $1.29 billion per year to house inmates in the state of Maryland. Add the planned and existing cells together and you get almost $2 billion. That amount of money could educate thousands of people before they find it necessary to use crime as a means of survival.

Third, many inmates in jails should not be there. Simple crimes should not carry a bond which is too high to be made by the person. On the other hand, the biggest crime today is the state's plea bargain. They strike a deal with a real criminal and let him go with six to 18 months (or 10 years instead of life for an actual murder). That is not justice.

Lee T. Barnes

Westminster

Farmland Preservation Program is county's last hope for sanity, control

"If you don't like what your neighbor is doing with his land, buy it!"

That is a favorite theme of Realtors and developers who are investing heavily in the development of farmland in Carroll County. But, it could also be a rallying cry for all citizens such as those who are lamenting development in Union Bridge.

In a time when the future of Carroll County seems to be out of the hands of taxpayers and firmly in the hands of planners and developers, there is still one hope for returning sanity and control and that is the Farmland Preservation Program.

From the first, Carroll was the leading county in the nation with the number of acres protected by bought easements, but recently two other areas in America have moved ahead. I am suggesting that our legislators make every effort in the next session to provide a new and more reliable source of funding for this program. In addition, funds from the budget excess from last year should be ear marked for preservation before it is squandered With recent devastating floods in the Midwest, the benefit of farming land that must be protected by levees is questionable and this will make farmland in Maryland, and especially Carroll County, more valuable. Planners years ago stated that in order to maintain a healthy farm economy in the county, it would take 100,000 acres dedicated to farming. According to Bill Powell, director of the program in the county, with proper funding the goal can be reached. Many farmers have applied to participate in the program but over the years have become discouraged and dropped out. Studies in Pennsylvania and in particular nearby Adams County have shown that for every dollar collected in revenue, $1.10 is spent in services. Land held in preservation requires only 6 cents for every dollar collected. This explains why my real estate taxes have increased 100 percent since 1970.

It also explains why a group of citizens in Wisconsin voted to increase the taxes in their area and apply the money to farm preservation. I suggested in a letter to the commissioners in 1984 that citizens in Carroll County would probably support a second bond issue equal to the amount being considered to build new schools. This would be used to buy easements on land and thus reduce the future need for schools.

Many friends who graduated with me from Manchester High were farm kids and have already reapted the harvest sown by developers who have "discovered" Carroll County. This is good and I am happy for them, but had this program been available to their parents and fully funded, perhaps today in Manchester, Whispering Valley, Holland Hills, Blevins Claim and many other developments would still be planted in corn, soybeans and wheat and the new elementary school planned on Black's farm would not be needed today.

Vince DePalmer

Manchester

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