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Church has yet to end cover-up in abuse cases

Dan Rodricks appropriately describes the sense that many of us had when Cardinal William H. Keeler's recent disclosures gave us "the creeps," ( "Cardinal's cleaning of the closet leaves traces of doubt," Sept. 30.)

But "the creeps" we get should not be over concern for the reputations of ex-priests, but over the real probability that the culture of the church still allows predators to live in our midst.

Had Cardinal Keeler and his brother bishops not hidden sexual offenders in the priesthood long enough for many cases to be outside the statute of limitations, the disclosure of all abuse claims against priests and ex-priests might not be necessary.

But now parents need this information to protect their children, and victims of abuse need the information to gain strength to break their own shame and silence about being terrorized at a young age.

Indeed, as more information becomes public, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) receives daily new contacts from victims who had thought they were the only ones who experienced this trauma. And based on the priests' names published in Baltimore, I imagine we will receive new contacts in Maryland from victims who thought they were the only ones abused by these "men of God."

In light of the crimes and cover-up that continue to unfold nationally, Cardinal Keeler and his brother bishops ought to reveal all case files and relevant personnel files and allow independent reviews of all these files.

All Cardinal Keeler did was allow us a peek into the closet. The closet is still dark and secret, which leaves far more than traces of doubt.

Mark Vincent Serrano

Leesburg, Va.

The writer is a SNAP board member.

Church will survive critics and insults

How insulting Dan Rodricks is to my religion and my church ("Cardinal's cleaning of the closet leaves traces of doubt," Sept. 30).

My church has survived the betrayal of Judas and some morally corrupt popes, and prayerfully will survive critics such as Mr. Rodricks. But we don't need writers like him to suggest to our spiritual leaders the criteria for priesthood.

Paul M. Schaefer


N.J. court chooses politics over law

It is obvious that neither the New Jersey Supreme Court nor the Democratic Party has any interest in obeying the law in the Sen. Robert Torricelli case ("Torricelli can be replaced on N.J. ballot, court rules," Oct. 3).

Not only would replacing him on the ballot affect the votes already cast by military and absentee voters, but the state Supreme Court's decision also would set aside the primary election. Mr. Torricelli did not put his name on the general election ballot, the voters of New Jersey did.

Is the new strategy in elections going to be that if your party's candidate is behind in the polls, you can remove that person's name and replace it with someone else's?

The judges in this case have been shameless in supporting their party instead of the law.

Carl Bice

Bel Air

Appeals court speaks for panel of judges

The Sun's editorial "City Council's future" (Oct. 2) and article "Appeals court voids council's election plan" (Oct. 1) describes the action taken by the Court of Appeals imprecisely -- e.g. "Court of Appeals John C. Eldridge has given ... " and "ordered election officials."

Although some may not notice the mistake, it is an important feature of our legal system that cases of significant legal impact filed in the appellate courts receive careful consideration by more than one judge. In fact, seven judges hear all cases argued in the Court of Appeals.

The orders and opinions issued by the court represent the views of all the judges, not a single judge.

Sally W. Rankin


Anti-war remarks self-serving, disloyal

Norman Solomon's column was dead wrong ("Drown out drums of war with the sound of dialogue," Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 3).

While no one questions the right of congressmen to visit Baghdad and say what they found, few Americans are heartened by the spectacle of a U.S. congressman on Iraqi soil suggesting that Saddam Hussein is more trustworthy than the president. And suggesting, as the representatives did, that Mr. Bush would lie to foment a war with Iraq is hardly the kind of brave diplomacy the current crisis needs.

Mr. Solomon claims these congressmen behaved as good Americans trying to prevent an unnecessary war. But to most of us, their comments were totally inappropriate, self-serving and unpatriotic.

David Kross


Lift the sanctions that kill Iraqis

Looking beyond today, America must begin thinking about how to win the support of the Iraqi people in promoting peace and justice. The most critical thing we could do is to decouple our struggle with Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people by lifting the sanctions.

We have known for more than 10 years that we are killing and crippling Iraqi children by imposing sanctions.

It is time to stop the sanctions, or simply announce that our contention that ours is a war against Mr. Hussein, and not the Iraqi people, is a lie.

H. Edward Schmidt


Race-based voting is part of politics

The headline on a Sept. 22 letter asked the question, "Where is the outrage?" in response to Del. Lisa Gladden's primary victory over veteran state Sen. Barbara Hoffman.

In America, voters still get to choose their representatives. The "outrage" here is for the writer, a Baltimore County resident, to try to set the "profile" for a state senator for a district in Baltimore City that is about 70 percent black.

If the writer thinks Del. Howard P. Rawlings would have faced a lesser battle in a 70 percent white district, he is woefully naive.

Historically, group dynamics are part of American politics. And in the race for governor, both candidates are making an effort to attract the "black vote" and the "Jewish vote."

If the writer is suggesting that the black voters of Baltimore are unfair, I would remind him that Baltimore has a black majority and, in the last mayoral election, voted overwhelmingly for a part-time Irish bandleader named Martin O'Malley.

J. Allen Jones


Ehrlich Democrats betray principles

I am sickened by the number of bumper stickers around town that read "Another Democrat for Ehrlich."

If these people can vote for someone who disagrees with their party on the environment, gun control, reproductive choice and education, why were they Democrats in the first place?

Carrie Montague


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