Letters

From the week of December 7, 2000

Mark A. Hoffman
Phoenix

Collar ID

Steeple chase: I am an 18-year-old student at St. Mary's High School. I am writing in response to "Strife With Father" (Gilbert Garcia, November 16) because I believe there is a better way to handle this matter. I am very strong in my Catholic faith and beliefs. I feel that the media and Father Saúl Madrid's congregations are taking it to the extreme by presenting to the public any and all mistakes he has made. This clearly is not the Christian way to deal with the situation. His congregation needs to forgive him and concentrate on its faith.

Although it is clear that there are some definite issues to work out in the congregations of St. Anthony's and Immaculate Heart of Mary, they have forgotten what is important, and that is their faith. I am not defending the actions of Father Madrid, but I am recognizing that mistakes are made. There are better ways to deal with conflict, such as moving on and letting Father Madrid and the congregations heal.

To blame one man, Bishop O'Brien, for the actions of 10 other men over an 18-year period is ridiculous. The 10 priests mentioned in the article do not represent the number of priests who are in our communities serving and helping their congregations. Bishop O'Brien has dealt with the issue by stating "like all of us he has apologized. However, I believe he is a dedicated priest and remains committed to the church and service to the people." I agree with Bishop O'Brien and think that the community needs to move on in rebuilding its church.

Holly Castorena
Mesa

Psalm of the South

Black Sabbath: Those folks viewing the reruns of The Andy Griffith Show probably mean well ("Prayberry RFD," Dewey Webb, November 23). And they might see Mayberry as "a timeless microcosm of Christian values -- one whose moral messages are as applicable today." But one thing they won't see are African Americans on the show, despite the fact that African Americans composed a fairly significant proportion of the population of the South. The Andy Griffith Show ran during the years when only whites made it to television, and the people of color of "Mayberry" were rendered "invisible." (The modern viewers really are right when they say, "There's nothing like it on TV today.") And the show's stories during all of its episodes never asked once where these other citizens were or what their situation was, either, for all of the musings about "God's Word." The civil rights movement had not made its social advancements, and we should be reminded that churches were (and are) on both sides of that struggle.

I hope that the modern viewers who are studying the show for "some sort of relational family message" will also take time to wonder about the covert injustice and racial prejudice in the show. If they indeed see Mayberry as that timeless microcosm of Christian values, then they will have missed the larger message. And if they think the civil rights issues are resolved, they should spend some time late at night in west Phoenix smelling the chemicals being dumped into the air adjacent to the communities of color. Those are the "invisible" people of today.

Steve Brittle
Phoenix

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