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As a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, I would like to respond to a letter that appeared March 16. I find it reprehensible that anyone would attempt to use the exaltation of God's holy name as a pretext for attacking the Roman Catholic Church and its clergy. Is that reverence for the "absolutely and totally invincible, infallible" God who is without blemish?

The intensity of the letter leaves her open to reasoning by fallacy. First, on the legal level: Our American judicial system is based on the belief that one is innocent until proven guilty. If and when guilt would be established, especially in the case of clerical misconduct, retribution should be just and swift.

Most blatant is the fallacy that suggests that, since some have fallen, all are guilty. Consider the absurdity of such logic: Should marriages be banned because some were unfaithful to their vows? Are all married persons evil because some were unfaithful?

This is no argument to tolerate abuse. It is the simple recognition that the people of God are weak and capable of sinning. Two extremes must be avoided: the extreme that condemns all for the failings of the few, and the extreme that makes excuses or avoids confronting evil. It also means that the faithful of Christ have every right to expect that their priests be truly holy, acting with a saintliness proper to the clerical state of life.

As a priest, I can assure the writer that the priests I have the privilege of knowing and working with are holy, dedicated men of goodwill, willing to sacrifice all for the sake of Christ. Unfortunately, one never hears about these people. I guess it's because virtue and fidelity to duty aren't able to grab the headlines like scandal and controversy can.

Pastor Sacred Heart Catholic Church

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