Your Sept. 4 article "A Married Priesthood?" ably lays out most aspects of the case for optional celibacy for those who desire to serve as priests in the Roman Catholic Church. One aspect of the priest shortage that it does not address, however, is the failure of the Catholic bishops of the United States to assume a prophetic role. Few Catholic bishops are willing to make the argument to the Vatican that the Milwaukee priests made to the American bishops. More than 160 priests in Milwaukee signed a petition asking that celibacy be optional because there are not enough priests to serve Catholics today, and, in the years to come, the situation will get much worse. The bishops know this fact better than the priests do. Regrettably, because they try to stay on the right side of the pope and the Curia, they keep quiet.
Sooner or later Catholic bishops must address the problem of the priest shortage that endangers the church.
Eileen P. Flynn
Beach Haven, N.J.
People who argue that there should be a married priesthood (even priests) do not understand the sacrament of the priesthood. I believe every human being is created by God for one purpose: either to pour themselves out totally in supernatural union with God for His people; or to pour themselves out totally in supernatural union in the sacrament of marriage. A person who attempts to do both fails at both and cannot achieve the fullness of either sacrament.
I believe the attempt to force a married priesthood is nothing less than a direct attack on the supremacy of the Catholic Church from within. It is a symptom of the illness of our society and culture. I join those faithful who completely oppose it.
Regarding your Sept 3 editorial "Taxing Alabama": As a native Alabamian, I have watched with anger and sadness as my home county northeast of Birmingham was clear-cut and strip mined over the past 20 years. At the same time, Alabama politicians were elected on pro-business tax-abatement platforms that dumped the burden of paying for essential social services on city and county governments, which, in turn, passed it on to their citizens in the form of regressive sales taxes. Gov. Bob Riley's proposed tax plan may not be popular with Alabama citizens, but until that state's business, industrial, manufacturing, mining, and personal property owners are made to pay their fair share of tax revenues, Alabama will continue to be a society that values greed and the "quick buck" over long-term investment in its most valuable of natural resources: its citizenry.
Regarding Freda Lewkowicz's Aug. 20 Opinion "A not-so-bright beauty fad": What the writer is probably unaware of is that there is no home-bleaching product that does not contain a warning to the effect that patients should consult with their dentists to determine if bleaching is appropriate. The attempt to whiten her teeth probably triggered the dormant need for dental attention.
To my knowledge, there are no studies that "prove that whitening may be more harmful than consumers think." Millions of patients have had their teeth whitened without incident. There is no mass recall of whitening products in the news and no known class-action suit, as would be expected if the writer is correct.
I am certainly guilty, but not penitent, for having contributed to the fad by brightening hundreds of smiles. Sometimes my world smiles back at me, and I am grateful.
John Chao, D.D.S.
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