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Taking the oath

EDITOR: After reading the article about lay teachers being required to sign a document stating that they would be role models to pupils regarding teachings of the Catholic Church, I felt compelled to write on their behalf.

These teachers are not all Catholics, but they have done a good job of teaching our kids reading, writing and arithmetic. In my opinion, this should not require them to sign an oath of allegiance to the church. These teachers need their jobs and should not be forced to lie in order to keep them.

Role models start in the home. As long as teachers lead a good life (whatever their religion) and pass this along to their students, they are certainly fulfilling their obligation as teachers.

Being a Catholic myself, I would venture to say at least 80 percent of parishioners have failed at one time or another to uphold the rules mentioned in the article ("Diocese requires teachers to follow church doctrine," Feb. 28). No one person could say they were the perfect Catholic role model. I'm a Catholic but not perfect. However, I do feel I am a good Christian and role model.

Teachers, don't let them make liars out of you by forcing you to sign this document.

RUTH AULT

Windsor

Speaking out

EDITOR: Cynthia M. Vrooman ("Catholic teachers left with moral dilemma," Close to Home, Wednesday) advises teachers faced with the "very real moral dilemma" of signing Bishop Robert Vasa's addendum to their contracts: "Follow your conscience."

Good advice, too, for Catholics who silently watch this drama from the sidelines and allow their religion to be defined in ways that are anathema to them. I am not speaking of the conservative Catholics who agree with Vasa but rather those who don't.

Many of these more progressive Catholics use contraception, have dear family and friends who are homosexual and believe in a woman's right to choose.

I was educated by Holy Names nuns, who, fired by the promise of the Vatican II Council, enjoined us to respect ourselves as young women gifted and obligated to live out Christ's love in the action of our lives. My graduating class took their message seriously. We went on to become lawyers, school principals and counselors, doctors, social workers and teachers. Thank goodness our teachers weren't required to sign the bishop's document — or worse — to espouse its exclusionary vision of the church.

There must be a critical mass of Catholics who feel as I do. Where are you?

ANNE MARIE INSULL

Petaluma

Reporting on warming

EDITOR: Thank you for including the story on Page A9 Friday regarding a recent study in the journal Science revealing the Earth is experiencing a record reversal in global temperatures ("Fossil study ties warming to emissions"). According to the report, the Earth was experiencing dramatic cooling for 11,000 years until the 20th century, attributing the reversal to increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

However, I question placing such an important scientific finding on a back page of your paper. Please don't follow the mainstream media tendency to appear biased regarding one of the most critical environmental stories of our time. This should be first-page news.

RON HAYES

Santa Rosa

CPR choices

EDITOR: Your Tuesday editorial leaves truth to be desired ("Our social compact hits a new low"). The chances of an 87-year-old woman surviving CPR are certainly less than 10 percent. If she survived CPR, she would very likely have broken ribs, brain damage and wind up in an intensive care unit with a tube down her throat, fearful and unable to communicate regarding her discomforts. The chances of her being able to return to independent living are less than 1 percent. Please allow a nurse to comfort the living and the dying.

CPR can be helpful in younger, healthy people — Portland, Ore. has increased its all-age survival-to-hospital rate to 30?percent by aggressively teaching CPR to all comers. Your local hospital has frequent CPR classes. There are wonderful survival stories: our own Dr. Scott Chilcott ("True survivors meet rescuers," May 22, 2001). CPR should be started quickly, if it is to be done at all.

Citizens of the North Coast, let your wishes be known and fill out your advance directives form. The politicos and The Press Democrat want to have CPR done on your body. Advance directives can be obtained online, from your hospital or from your physician.

DR. JERRY CONNELL

Santa Rosa

Censoring newsletters

EDITOR: We are currently anchored in Gofo Dulce, Costa Rica, near the border of Costa Rica and Panama and just learned that the city of Santa Rosa intends to censor neighborhood newsletters if a City Council member is named or how they voted is reported ("Newsletter draws city ire over story," Nov. 30).

We have been cruising Central America since October, and we know that is how governments down here control the message and their people. I certainly thought Santa Rosa was better than that. After all the United States is supposed be the home of the free (press). Hooray that the West End neighborhood is not being intimidated and will continue to print council votes on their own dime.

CAROL DEAN

Former councilwoman

Santa Rosa