- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It was with sadness that I read Mr. Di Stefano’s punitive evaluation of the Catholic Church’s probe of ACORN’s misuse of Catholic Charity funds (“Catholic Church and ACORN,” Mailbox, Tuesday).

The Catholic Church throughout the centuries has followed to the best of their ability, the Lord Jesus’ mandate to feed the poor and aid the disenfranchised.

In the United States, the path of Catholic response to Jesus’ mandate has played out in a much less violent environment and created a more positive and elevating result. Thanks in large part to Irish emphasis on church and education, the Catholic Church supplied vast numbers of (disadvantaged) immigrants and their children and grandchildren an excellent education. The large number of teaching nuns and the respect the laity had for their church created an education system par excellence.

Today we have an enormous influx of Hispanic immigrants who thirst for the same education as their Catholic predecessors. It was my privilege to teach at a Riverdale, Md. Catholic parish and greet Hispanic families as they moved into the parish. I was uplifted by their respect for the pastor and the church and wished all these families could afford a Catholic education at their parish school. Unfortunately, they would not pay as our immigrant parents paid, $5 per child per month. Today our children are financially disenfranchised. It was with sadness we watched the school population dwindle and without the financial resources to help our new parish students, the school closed.

No, Mr. Di Stefano, I do not look to castigate those who are trying to help. I appreciate the Catholic Church and I wish the Conference of Catholic Bishops who meet this month in Baltimore all the blessings and enlightenment they deserve.

THERESE MADDEN STRINGFELLOW

Greenbelt

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