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Are Apologies Enough?

I enjoyed reading your cover story, but the cover caption was cheap sensationalism [June 7]. In the article, Pope Benedict XVI foresees a genuine and humbled church cleansed by repentance for its horrible sins. Benedict is trying to be genuine in the world's largest institution. Give him credit for trying to be a good leader.

David Kunkler, RUSHVILLE, OHIO

I am not a victim of pedophilia, but I almost was. In 1963, when I was 13, a priest at my parish attempted to abuse me, but somehow I managed the courage to not allow it. I realize that the Catholic Church is moving very slowly in the proper direction. Yet will it ever get to total empathy for the victims? Probably not, because protecting the church precludes this, and that will always be its first priority.

Dale F. Klco, LAKE WORTH, FLA.

The Catholic Church wants to have it both ways. On the one hand, it claims the authority to instruct people on moral issues and even insert its teachings into civil law because the church represents Christ on earth. But when the church sins grievously, as with the abuse scandal, it explains it by saying the church is composed of fallible people. Which is it?

Erskine White, NASHVILLE

What caused so many good men to allow so much harm? The bishops live in and are leaders of a male-dominated, authoritarian institution that demands protection--and even love--no matter its faults. Its hierarchy is unlikely to surrender power. Thus it is unlikely that the institution will become democratic, that priests will marry and that women will become priests.

Gerald H. Paske, WICHITA, KANS.

Many of us faithful Catholics have been sickened by and have railed against the way the sex-abuse issue was handled. We continue to strive for hierarchical accountability and reform. But we remain somehow Catholics. This may seem contradictory, but it demonstrates that our faith is far deeper than trust in the Pope or the hierarchy.

David E. Pasinski, FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y.

The child-abuse scandals were a horrible breach of trust and an assault on innocence. It's also true that the popular media are exploiting the church's self-inflicted wounds to further an agenda that trends toward a sort of secular nihilism.

Jacques Williams, MORGANTOWN, W.VA.

I am a cradle Catholic. My faith in God and belief in the Eucharist have not changed because of the sex-abuse scandals, but my trust in my church has been decimated. I no longer believe in the infallibility of the Pope or have respect for the church's hierarchy. The clergy--everyone from the local parish priest up to and including Benedict XVI--needs to understand that we in the pews have had it with the claims of media persecution and with hiding behind the Vatican. I want--I need--to hear my Pope stand up and take responsibility for the heinous actions of his priests and lay out the plan for purging the church of all child molesters, which must begin and end with reporting any and all allegations of abuse directly to local authorities. Failure to do so will result in an exodus from the church, and I will be at the head of the line.

Patty Kerr, TOMS RIVER, N.J.

That's Not What I Call Libertarianism

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