- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 22, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A ‘Spiritual Marshall Plan’

The interview with Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington was most enlightening (“Wuerl eyes humanity for illegals,” Nation, March 14). In fact, The Washington Times seems to be the only news source in Washington that is offering a full account of the behind-the-scenes activities leading up to Pope Benedict XVI’s momentous visit, to which all faithful Catholics look forward.

The article shows the dichotomy and disconnect between the worldly issues of the American bishops and the “spiritual Marshall Plan” that Pope Benedict has in store for the church. Of course, the bishops support an immigration amnesty; the subtext to the recent figures from the Pew Center on Religion in America show that the only thing that is giving the American bishops something to shepherd is the faithful who are here illegally. Further, it is a foregone conclusion that to be “pastoral” to Catholics in name only is code for the lack of will on the part of the leadership to do anything about a public double standard.

For example, 60 or 70 years ago, the failure of a public servant in the Archdiocese of Boston to listen to an archbishop on clear moral issues meant public ruin for the politician’s career. Today, Boston is the poster child for unthinkable malfeasance. This describes the leadership in nearly every American diocese as well. In the midst of the mismanagement and incompetence, who now listens to them?

In the Jubilee Year 2000, a good friend of mine and pastor of the Archdiocese, Monsignor Thomas Wells, tragically lost his life. Monsignor Tom had many sayings, one of which was the subject of a published homily. He said, “Fear is useless, what is needed is trust.”

I think this phrase summarizes the goal of Pope Benedict’s spiritual Marshall Plan. In the midst of the massive security restrictions, exclusions of the faithful, giant productions of the Mass with a cast of thousands, and the myopic vision of the church in America, isn’t it a pity that the leadership of the Archdiocese of Washington has forgotten these words so soon?

J.W. MILLER

Hyattsville

Toward a safer District

After reading Robert Levy’s Commentary column regarding the D.C. gun ban, I think it is high time we hold our local leaders’ feet to the fire regarding law enforcement (“At stake in the gun case,” Wednesday).

The arguments before the Supreme Court are indeed about self-defense, but also about keeping innocent citizens safe. Living in Baltimore, as I do, is dangerous enough; the people living in the most dangerous areas of Washington need ways to defend themselves and their families.

If the local government cannot locate and go after violent criminals, it has no choice but to let the citizenry protect themselves.

The problem with most local governments for the past 35 years or so has been that they have lost any incentives to enforce their own laws on criminals the drug kingpins and other violent criminals.

A country that cannot and will not enforce its own laws is a country headed for anarchy and eventually tyranny. The Second Amendment provides a way for the people to help the government in its pursuit against crime. The gun ban has not solved and will not solve the District’s murder rate.

Common sense says the Second Amendment can lead to a safer community. The numbers in the District do not lie.

VICTOR CHAVEZ

Baltimore

Rev. Wright’s speeches

In response to the widespread decrying of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s social vitriol, Sen. Barack Obama gave a profound speech about the ugliness of racism in America (“Obama opens up on society’s racism,” Page 1, Wednesday). The problem is, Mr. Wright also denounced 60 years of American foreign policy, which he suggested justified a counterattack on the World Trade Center something that has nothing to do with racism.

JACKSON SLADE

Knoxville, Tenn.

China’s troubling behavior

In reference to the article “Tibet called plot to ruin Olympics” (World, Wednesday),it is dismaying to see China’s government lay blame and trample media freedoms so close to the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The government has done everything possible to suppress the internal flow of information on its crackdown in Tibet, including shutting down China’s YouTube Web site and the access of journalists, both foreign and domestic, to Tibet.

Chinese journalist Hu Jia arrested last year without trial has been trotted out to have his day in court, or rather to provide a display that will surely intimidate other disobedient journalists.

These events mark the last straw for the international organization Reporters Without Borders, which on March 18 called for a boycott of the Olympic Games.

Indeed, the reach of Beijing’s media restrictions is not limited by national borders. Taiwan journalists are continually barred from covering international meetings such as the World Health Assembly due to China’s objections.

Information about the proceedings in these meetings is crucial to Taiwan’s 23 million citizens, as their government applies to participate in the World Health Organization annually on their behalf.

China cannot become a truly respected member of the international community until its government behaves like a worthwhile neighbor.

PHILIP SHIH

Press officer

Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office

Washington

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