Letters for December 9, 2010

Still not answering for cover-up

Re “Soto speaks” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Feature, December 2):

When I saw the cover, I had high hopes that SN&R had sent Kel Munger or Gustavo Arellano to interview the bishop. Then I saw it was Jeff vonKaenel doing it, and I figured he would just lob softballs. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Mr. vonKaenel asked tough questions.

However, I do think that the big missing piece in this story is some serious questioning about the continued cover-up and excuse making for the Church’s decades-long habit of moving pedophile priests around to avoid discovery and prosecution. There needs to be accountability for this, and the general apologies from the Church hierarchy just don’t cut it. People’s lives were trashed and their spirituality crushed, and the Church’s leadership (including Bishop Soto) needs to take responsibility for it.

Then there’s the question of why the Church insists on blaming gay priests. I was pleased to see that Bishop Soto did not do that, and it increases my respect for him, but other members of the Church’s leadership have continued to equate homosexuality with pedophilia, and that is not only dishonest but actually harmful.

Still, I was impressed that your publisher managed to ask tough questions. I’m sure the bishop was unpleasantly surprised, which makes me glad that SN&R is around.

Jan Kline

God’s love for all people

Re “Soto speaks” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Feature, December 2):

Jeff vonKaenel [said]: “One of the big realms where our readers might be confused about the Catholic Church might be that despite all the Church’s work on social outreach, poverty programs and immigration reform—there’s still a sense that the Church’s opposition to abortion trumps everything else.”

Bishop Soto [replied]: “Oh, that’s not true. In the eyes of the culture, yes. But not for us.”

As a Catholic Christian, I believe that the Church’s desire to bring all people to a deeper understanding of God’s love for us and what that understanding affects in a person’s life is the most important issue for the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church exists at the bidding of Jesus Christ to go into the world and preach the Gospel—the “good news”—of God’s love for all people, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God longs for a personal relationship with each one of us; he is our Father, we are his children. What a relief it is to rest in this truth!

Jan England

Bishop missed the mark

Re “Soto speaks” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Feature, December 2):

Unfortunately, Bishop Soto missed the mark in his responses to the questions regarding the ordination of females. The male priesthood is not a tradition or an aspect of the “culture” of the Catholic Church; it is due to the fundamental nature of the sacrament of Holy Orders, something only God can change.

This is completely different than clerical celibacy, which is a matter of discipline that can be changed by man.

This is not to say women are inferior to men; they have different roles. A woman can no more be ordained a priest than a man can give birth to a child. As Bishop Soto mentioned, the Church has always recognized the extremely valuable and often unique contributions of women throughout history, foremost among them the Blessed Virgin Mary.

With regard to the last question, the standards of morality are defined by God, not by man or cultural norms, and are invariant through all time. The role of the Church is to serve as a moral guidepost, not to attract the most members. It must always fight for every soul it can win for Christ; surrender is not an option. In the end, every individual must make a decision: right or wrong, heaven or hell.

One reason society is in the shape it is today is that the Church had, for many years, essentially given up the fight for souls. The Church itself never changed her teachings, but the priests and bishops, for the most part, stopped teaching them. They told people what they wanted to hear, not what they needed to hear. This was the train wreck. Fortunately, this is starting to change, but there is still a long, long way to go.

Jerry Eckert
Owasso, Okla.

Turning outfor protest

Re “Fire good, gays bad” by Josh Fernandez (SN&R Scene&Heard, December 2):

This is an excellent story. Few other journalists bothered to research the translated lyrics of his songs. If everyone knew what he was singing about, I’m sure more people would have shown up [to protest].

Brandon McElhaney

Fernandez writes filth

Re “Fire good, gays bad” by Josh Fernandez (SN&R Scene&Heard, December 2):

Why, oh why must [Josh] Fernandez always be so crude? And why does SN&R continue to publish his offensive musings?

He could have written an interesting report on homophobia in reggae and rap music. Instead, he focused on the sort of sexual relations that fans might have, in most graphic detail.

Please stop. SN&R will never be taken seriously as long as you give him a forum to spew his filth.

Taylor Martin
via e-mail

Thankful for … the Lakers?

Re “Yes, we’re thankful …” (SN&R Editorial, November 24):

I’m a SoCal transplant from Bakersfield, and I’ve cheered on the Giants and the Kings. So I’m sure it was just an oversight that you failed to mention being thankful for living in the same state as the world champion [Los Angeles] Lakers!

Hal Bopp