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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

We owe so much to dedicated nuns

Where would the Catholic Church be now if it weren't for the nuns and women religious? For hundreds of years, they have been in the forefront of carrying out Christ's mission here on earth, and have been teaching all Catholics what it means to be a true Christian. Who more than they live the example of St. Francis of Assisi?

"Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light."

They have always given totally of themselves and sacrificed to go out to the poorest of the poor all over the world -- to places where few would go. Nuns are well-educated women who have established schools, hospitals and missions on every continent, not just in the United States. These hundreds of establishments are well beyond what most people are aware of.

Were it not for the millions of students they have educated and taught the faith, where would the church be? They have clearly conveyed the official Church teaching. We and the church owe so much to these fine women; and I, along with all the men and women they have taught, will be eternally grateful.

These intelligent and strong women have managed their orders very well over the years. The Vatican does not need to question their actions or interfere. Is the all-male church leadership feeling intimidated these days by the strength of these women? They are the cornerstone.

Claire Pennell-Hall



Right-to-life issues critically important

In response to the article on the assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, I think that using the word "crackdown" in the title and "accused" and "witch hunt" slant the story against the assessment.

First, for those who feel strongly about this issue, please read the document. Simply Google "Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious." This is a document, not a trial where people are accused. It is not a sting operation where there is a crackdown. The assessment is of the leadership of the various religious orders, not the groups of sisters themselves. It begins by gratefully acknowledging the incredible contributions religious sisters have made in the United States through the decades and still continue to do, as mentioned in the article.

The Leadership Conference was formed by the Vatican and is part of the institutional church. Many of the religious leaders are very influential and people view them as speaking for the church. The assessment has gone on since 2008 as a way of evaluating this influence.

The sister quoted in the article remarked that within the conference there is not much to discuss in terms of pro-life teaching. The assessment notes a great deal of positive work on social justice issues, but a silence from the conference on the right to life from conception to natural death. There's danger in silence about such a crucial issue, so one hope is that some agreement can be reached about speaking out on life. That is one of several areas covered.

What can we do? First, pray for the proceedings and then become better informed through Catholic as well as secular websites. Also resolve to enter into any discussions with charity and clarity.

Mary Roaldi



Nuns are living Gospel of Christ

Could this be "the straw that breaks the camel's back" or do we have to continue to watch Pope Benedict XVI and the U.S. Catholic Bishops sink the ship of the all-male hierarchy of the Catholic Church? This time they may have just done themselves in.

Respect is universal for the nuns who have dedicated their lives to living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have put up with an all-male hierarchy that won't allow them to become part, citing obedience to them, not to Jesus. In the early church, women were also the decision makers. Of course, that was not public knowledge. Now the pope and the bishops feel the need to force the nuns to pay more attention to their favorite issues: abortion, homosexuality and birth control.

According to the findings of a demeaning inquisition of all of the orders, the nuns have been spending too much of their time on social justice and poverty issues! You would think the male hierarchy would prefer to stay as far away as possible from sexual issues in light of the horrendous pedophilia scandal that is still rocking the church today. One has to wonder if the patriarchal system that appears to be grasping for power and control may be the cause of this fixation with sex.

I am not here to judge their motives, but I am here to voice loudly my support and respect for those good women, and I am far from being alone. This is not over and my guess is that they may end up wishing they had not forced this issue upon us. At least the hard-working nuns will find out how much they are treasured by Catholics all over this country.

Judy Fitzgerald



Doctor ignored law on texting, driving

The defense team for Dr. James Corasanti has stated the defendant was not texting at the "moment" the victim, Alexandria Rice, was run down. After seeing that he had sent 81 texts that day and seven after 11 p.m., and having a logical mind, I can only speculate that he was in the process of typing yet another text but struck Alexandria before he could hit "send." The defense has also made a big deal about Alix texting her father -- within the two minutes before the crash -- but as far as I know, it is not against the law to text while skateboarding!

The evidence shows this man blatantly ignored the law by texting and talking on his cellphone while driving, and it was this poor girl's misfortune to have been the one in his path that night as he drove his death machine. He was obviously proficient in the use of his cellphone; how ironic he didn't use it call for help but left Alix there alone, critically injured. Then he fled the scene and worried only about protecting himself. He is a doctor; he took an oath. But apparently it meant nothing to him that tragic night.

Peggy Belliotti



Rice family deserves sympathy, not doctor

In response to the letter writer not wanting us to condemn Dr. James Corasanti before the legal system can work, please consider his actions after the accident. After his vehicle hit an "object" on the road, creating considerable damage to his car, he chose to drive home and hide his vehicle. There was no concern as to what he hit. Any caring person would stop to see if he had injured an animal, no less another human being.

When his wife informed him there was an ambulance at the scene, he again chose to run from his home, telling his neighbors he had "ruined his life and career." He did not turn himself in to authorities until he was persuaded to do so by his neighbors five hours after the accident.

The fact that he saved lives as a well-paid physician has little bearing on the case. He chose not to take responsibility for his actions until he had no choice, turning what started as an unfortunate accident into a public spectacle. My sympathy is with the Rice family. This is not about "class warfare" or "the wisdom of the mob." People are not outraged because of his actions until the time of the accident, but because he, especially as a physician, had so little regard for another human being afterward. Not once has there been mention of his empathy for the victim or remorse for his actions. Corasanti made his bed; let him be judged fairly by a court of his peers.

Charlene Hodgson



Let's hope silly class is not credit-bearing

When I was in college, we used to accuse students who were looking for an easy class in which they were sure to get an "A" of taking "Basket Weaving 101." After reading The News article, "A walk on the wild side," I see that students at Canisius College have an alternative to basket weaving in the "Animal Enrichment" course. Dancing for the zoo animals to entertain them? I hope this isn't a credit-bearing course!

Julie B. Hewitt



Ridiculous course is an embarrassment

I am a member of the Buffalo Zoo and a graduate of Canisius College. Sending students as part of a school project over to the zoo to entertain the animals, singing, dancing, etc., to help the animals pass the day is a new high in folly. I'm embarrassed, and so should both institutions.

George Kunz



Put new Bills stadium near a Thruway exit

I have been a Bills season-ticket holder for more than 23 years. Everyone talks about how a new football stadium would improve the Buffalo area economy. Really? We cannot get a second international bridge built at the Canadian border that would improve the economy 2 4/7 in Western New York. Then who is to say that people could agree on where to put this new stadium and what it would look like?

So, should we build a new football stadium in downtown Buffalo, with its very old infrastructure and close to the waterfront? No! The first football stadium was not built in downtown Buffalo all those years ago, for the same reasons that are still here today. It needs to be built as a dome stadium, in the wide open spaces, near the New York State Thruway, where many different sports and activities could use this new dome stadium year round. It should be built in Batavia.

David Sayles

Niagara Falls


Cuomo needs to ban fracking in New York

It's inspiring to see political leaders do what's right for their state. On May 4, the Vermont legislature voted to ban shale gas drilling ("fracking") from its state and to prohibit the import of toxic fracking waste from other states. We need to see the same kind of leadership in New York.

Over the last four years, oil and gas companies have clearly demonstrated in Pennsylvania that they cannot frack without leaving a trail of ravaged forests, polluted streams, sickened families and contaminated drinking water in their wake.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo needs to learn from our neighbors. Fracking cannot be done safely and must be banned from New York.

David VanLuven


Environment New York