Ombudsman Jack Lessenberry s recent column about Toledo Catholic Diocese officials challenging the objectivity of The Blade s religion editor, David Yonke, left me wondering if this isn t this another example of shoot the messenger used as a tactical diversion.
Do diocesan officials really think that no one remembers when their public relations director publicly discredited Jane Doe s allegations against now-convicted murderer Gerald Robinson after she spoke up?
Do Catholic church leaders really think no one remembers their smear campaign alleging violations of confidentiality against their own review board s psychologist, who went to law enforcement to report crimes?
What about the church official sanctioned by the state social worker licensing board for publicly challenging a survivor and youth minister s stability in working with kids after he spoke up?
What s Jane Doe need to make her complaint viable? Credibility.
What s the hallmark of a psychologist s profession? Confidentiality.
What s paramount when working with kids? Stability.
What s required of journalists? Objectivity.
When diocesan officials attack the character of the messenger, it s the cheapest damage control available.
Why? Because it shifts, even if only momentarily, the focus away from the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal and cover-up by top diocesan officials that has spanned decades. Let s not forget the two no-knock search warrants executed on the bishop s office when church leaders cried victim and foul play.
Aren t three books, one documentary, and two docu-dramas illuminating sex crimes against local kids, cover-up, and collusion much more telling?
How does discrediting every person who dares to speak the truth about the sex crimes and cover-up within my diocese protect kids or negate what s still happening?
Claudia Yvonne Vercellotti
Co-DirectorToledo SNAP Chapter
Toledo Catholic Diocese spokesman Sally Oberski is upset again. The last time she was upset The Blade reported that the Revs. Frank Murd and Tim Kummerer were arrested for public indecency in the 1990s.
She wasn t upset that these priests had been secretly working around children with few people knowing of their arrests. She wasn t upset that Father Murd had admitted engaging in sexual activity in a public place.
Come to think of it. Ms. Oberski is never publicly upset about the crimes or sexual misconduct committed by priests. She never publicly discusses the immorality of their conduct. She never discusses how these priests have broken their promises of celibacy, betrayed their positions of trust, and harmed people.
But she is upset again and has resorted to the tired old tactic of blaming the messenger. Usually she is upset with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and other advocates. Now she is upset with The Blade s religion editor, David Yonke.
Who s she kidding? Ms. Oberski s job is defending the indefensible and amounts to little more than spinning clergy sexual crimes and misconduct.
In the case of Father Kummerer, she used her position to plead that priests who are arrested for public indecency don t deserve humiliation. In the case of Father Murd, she reminded us that despite his admission he may be returned to ministry. Last year, she used her position to remind us that the Rev. David Nuss did not violate the Dallas Charter because his sexual misconduct did not involve a child.
When will Ms. Oberski stop blaming the messenger and starting using her position to do some good?
Recently, Barack Obama said he was ashamed that foreign visitors who vacation here speak several languages. I had noticed that too, but never felt inclined to learn Spanish as he admonished us to. On his recent trip, do you suppose he conversed in Arabic while in Iraq and Afghanistan or German when visiting there? You would think, as with all politicians, he would lead by example.
Gerald E. Wojcik
Two years ago, Sen. Barack Obama said leave Iraq because we have lost.
Now, President Bush says leave Iraq because we have won.
Most of the media report this as Mr. Bush having come around to Mr. Obama s position. All we need is Lewis Carroll s byline.
Go back in time. Things in Iraq were going badly; Osama bin Laden declared it the central front in his war against the West; al-Qaeda was winning, and sectarian violence was rampant. John McCain said surge in more troops and use new counterinsurgency tactics. In other words, win the war. Barak Obama said pull out. In other words, surrender.
Fast forward to the present. Mr. McCain was right. Al-Qaeda has been routed: over 90 percent are killed or captured. Civilian and military casualties are vastly reduced.
Sectarian violence is nonexistent. The economy is booming. There is great political progress: 15 of 18 benchmarks mandated by our Congress have been achieved.
Mr. Obama was wrong. Yet he said recently that, knowing what he knows now, he d oppose the surge again.
Even now, Mr. Obama does not believe that we should win in Iraq. We should get out, he says, regardless of anything.
Afghanistan is more important, he says. We should send more troops there.
Has he ever looked at a map? With the world s second-greatest oil reserves our enemies Iran and Syria to the east and west and the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the south, Iraq is the most strategically important country in the Middle East. And Baghdad, for centuries the capital of the Caliphate, is of incalculable historical and cultural importance throughout the Islamic world.
NATO is running the show in Afghanistan. Why doesn t Mr. Obama try to persuade our precious European allies to bear more of the burden there?
Maintaining the dearly bought victories our troops have won in Iraq requires a commander-in-chief with sound judgment. Mr. Obama has not learned from his mistakes. He is unfit for the presidency.
Michael O Brien
Regarding a July 24 letter to the Reader s Forum in The Blade, the writer must have been bitten by the same rattlesnake he thinks bit Phil Gramm, the Republican ex-senator from Texas. He says, Just remember that all of this happened on the Republican watch. Does he fail to remember that we have a Democratic Senate and House that block anything the Republicans attempt to bring to the floor?
Maybe he should put the blame where it belongs, on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic cohorts.
The only thing worse than the way the networks baby Sen. Barack Obama would be for a middle-class working individual to run for president. I believe the networks are fairly certain Mr. Obama will be elected and they want to be on the in with him. They want to be what they consider insiders in the millionaire s club hopefully being the first to obtain interviews and breaking information.
No matter who wins, they will only come in second to the real winner money.
Recently I saw a John McCain political ad on TV that referred
to him as a maverick. Do we really want a maverick for
president? Who knows. Maybe he will pick a cowboy as a running
mate to keep him roped in.
ROBERT J. KAYE
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