Sept. 17 Letters to the Editor

Posted Sept. 16, 2009, at 7:34 p.m.

Ask a priest

In response to “Defining Catholicism,” a recent letter by Wayne Moore: It is true that we are free in the United States to believe what we choose to believe, but that does not hold true in the Catholic Church if you wish to declare that you are a true Catholic. The church is not a democracy or a republic — it is a church.

The Catholic Church has taught continuously that certain behaviors are considered to be grave evils: Abortion, for instance, is one of these. The Catholic Church believes that you must follow the teaching of Scripture and the church and not base your conscience on your own feelings or popular opinion.

Thus, one cannot support behaviors that go against the teaching of the church and be considered a Catholic in good standing.

On the other hand, the church does not close its doors to someone wishing to enter, regardless of their current beliefs. How could a church that follows the teachings of Christ turn away either saints or sinners? I encourage anyone interested in the faith to learn about it from an ordained priest of the church or the Catechism and not from me or Mr. Moore. The problem I have with Mr. Moore’s letter is that he may be misleading folks to believe the Catholic Church supports his vision of what it means to be Catholic.

Joyce Traenkner

Old Town

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‘Marriage’ distortions

Let’s be fair and sensible and not fall for scare tactics and wild exaggerations. Those appear to be all that opponents of same-sex marriage think they have going for them as they try to convince people to cancel marriage equality for our lesbian and gay residents. They want us to believe that same-sex marriage will lead to all sorts of terrible things.

But same-sex marriages have been happening for years now in Canada, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and South Africa. In this country they take place in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Iowa. Being surrounded by territory where marriage equality exists, we certainly would have noticed if things were falling apart because of it.

Many gays and lesbians want to marry someone they love for the same reason different-sex couples do: public recognition that this is our most important relationship, plus significant legal and financial advantages.

The marriage equality law was passed by a large majority of the legislators whom we have chosen to represent us. It explicitly exempts churches from any requirement to perform same-sex marriages. It is sad, therefore, that certain churches are taking the lead in trying to revoke the law and so force all of us to be limited by their narrow religious belief about homosexuality. It’s even sadder to see them stoop to outright inventions about horrible things that will happen if we don’t take equality away from gay people. Don’t fall for it.

On Nov. 3 vote no on question 1.

Peter and Phyllis Rees

Trenton

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Universal coverage

Congress and President Obama are working on legislation to give citizens universal health care. Virtually all of Europe has publicly sponsored universal health care for all citizens. I hope Congress passes legislation to give the same to all citizens of the United States.

Universal health care (socialized medicine, as called by some) seems to be viewed as untenable or an ugly term and that would make it undemocratic.

The U.S. in 2009 has some 47 million citizens without health insurance. Health care systems vary according to the extent of government involvement in providing care, ranging from nationalized health care systems (such as the U.K. and Sweden) to decentralized private or nonprofit institutions (as in Germany and France). Universal health care is implemented in all industrialized countries, with the exception of the United States. Germany’s universal health care dates back to 1883.

The six New England states, plus New York and New Jersey comprise a population of 42 million-plus people. There are 47 million people in U.S. without health care; just imagine what life would be if the 42 million people on the east coast were uninsured.? Evidently there are too many millionaire senators beholden to the corporate giants that feed their monetary greed. Every American should have health care coverage, and everyone should have basic benefits.

Nat Crowley Sr.

Stockton Springs

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