Church's failings

EDITOR: As a Catholic who actually sits in a pew on Sundays, I am disturbed by Bishop Robert Vasa saying he didn't have "enough information to make any knowledgeable comments" about the priestly abuse scandals that have wracked the church for two decades ("SR bishop looks to future," Feb. 12). Either Vasa was misquoted, taken out of context, or his ignorance is appalling.

How can a man with such high authority profess innocence and suddenly take credit for acting "decisively" with regard to the Rev. John Crews ("Hanna Boys Center head resigns," Thursday)? Once again, the hierarchy has failed to address the systemic problem that they themselves have caused by their own tepid response to years of sexual crimes swirling around them.

Crews, by all accounts an honorable man, may well be the latest victim of the hierarchy's continuing moral lassitude, not just the children. Our local press has accorded Crews more even-handed treatment than his own church.

Somehow this is reminiscent of the musical "Fiddler on the Roof" when the rabbi is asked if there is a prayer for the tsar, and he replies "A prayer for the tsar? May God bless and keep the tsar — far away from us."



Still out there

EDITOR: In response to Wayne Thomas ("Activists gone silent," Letters, Thursday): Not presuming to speak for the others he mentioned, please be assured that Women In Black has been standing on the corner of College and Mendocino avenues in Santa Rosa every Friday from noon to 1 p.m. holding a peaceful, if not always silent, vigil. I know this for a fact because I have joined them there since 2004.



Trampling rights

EDITOR: Richard Salzman ("Tyranny and treason," Letters, Feb. 12) seems confused about the purpose of the Second Amendment. He asks, "What government signs into law its own potential death warrant?" Well, a government that has no choice.

In 1776, Americans rebelled against their lawful government — the British. Fortunately, they had arms equal to the task. Subsequently, Noah Webster wrote in his "Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787," "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed."

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention couldn't get the new constitution approved without a commitment to adopt a Bill of Rights. In short, the Second Amendment was imposed upon our federal government at creation.

Tench Coxe kept contemporaneous notes on the debates over the Bill of Rights and noted: "As civil rulers . . . may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms."

If Congress and the president can trample this part of the Constitution, what parts will they trample in the future?


Santa Rosa

Congress and progress

EDITOR: My 84-year-old mom always files her tax returns in a timely fashion, not because she'll get her refund early or because she likes to pay taxes but because she feels it's her responsibility. Punctuality is important when fulfilling one's responsibilities.

She couldn't this year because she couldn't get tax forms on time. They weren't on time because, unlike mom, Congress never does today what it can put off until tomorrow, and Congress continues to play silly games with the nation's governance. Both parties are culpable in this fiasco. They used to be able to govern — Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill, Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich.

I was able to download the federal tax forms that she needed, but I was unable to successfully download the state tax form because the file was corrupted. This is not surprising when you consider the source. It is also not a surprise that the opposite of progress is Congress.