Letters

Letters from the issue of Thursday, July 21, 2005

Sins of the Father

Family friend: I read "Altar Ego" and was blown away by it (Robert Nelson, July 7). My goodness, your writer is one of the bravest souls I know. His style of writing keeps everyone panting for more.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving poor Irene a voice from the grave.

And, Robert, thank you so terribly much for your compassion, your dedication, and for a tremendous showing of what good journalism is about. If you were here, I would hug you silly. God bless you, my friend.
Noemi Ponce-Sigler, cousin of murder victim Irene Garza, Edinburg, Texas

Safe harbor: Unbelievable what the Roman Catholic Church was doing all those years. We had no idea. Rehabilitate a priest who has murdered a young woman! Now that takes the cake.

I rarely read a story about bad priests anymore, because I feel I have read all there is to say. I know that so many members of the priesthood are pedophiles. And I know about the cover-up from the pope down.

But what I didn't know was that the church harbored murderers. And I use the plural, because we don't know how many times this has happened.

I just can't get over it! The church hierarchy actually thought it could fix a serial sexual abuser priest who killed somebody. What kind of twisted logic is that?

My eyes almost popped out when I read that the priest who was giving Feit therapy in the monastery told him to go up behind young women "as a test" and see if he could bring himself not to rape or murder them. Did it occur to this Father Emmanuel that Feit might commit still another crime? For all we know, he did. The church would never let on.

This story makes me think the church hasn't got an ounce of decency. It makes me question everything the new pope does.
George Barrera, Dallas

Conscience-stricken: I just read the article about the ex-priest. All I can say is wow! My mouth dropped open when I read this. This is incredible. I can't believe that John Feit can walk on this Earth, have a family of his own and wake up in the morning with no care in the world. I say a white lie to my husband about how much I spend at Circles Records down the street and feel guilty.

I enjoy reading the stories that New Times puts out. They are all based on facts. You and other staff members don't hold back any punches.
Rosemary Bolnado, Phoenix

Is excommunication in your future?: That is an amazing story on John Feit. I've printed copies for all my family -- even the Catholics. As always, brilliant writing by Robert Nelson.
Jason Schock, Falls City, Nebraska

Priests gone bad: I am sick and tired of reading stories about priests gone bad. Do the media have a fascination with such stories? These articles make it seem that all priests are bad, and nothing could be further from the truth!

I started out as an altar boy in the church back home in Chicago and have been a faithful Catholic ever since. I have never encountered a pedophile priest, much less a murdering priest. Sometimes I think the media just make this stuff up to make the church look bad and to sell papers.

You may think I'm crazy to say this, but there are a lot of Catholic haters out there. Except for possibly Jews, Catholics are the most picked-on religious group. And all these stories about bad apples in the barrel aren't helping things.
Bill Krause, Peoria

Out for justice: Poor Irene Garza! The girl goes to the church to find counsel and peace and winds up murdered by a man of the cloth. And then, the priest's supervisor knows full well what went on and does nothing for 40-plus years. If you hadn't presented so many indisputable facts, I would think this could be the makings of a Hollywood movie. Pure fiction, and nothing more.

What I want to know is, how does this ex-priest live with himself? I remember how the priest who counseled him in the monastery said the murderer seemed unfazed by what he had done. That he had no remorse. Maybe that explains how he can just start over in Phoenix and act like nothing happened.

If this guy gets prosecuted -- and if there's a God in heaven, he will -- it will be reminiscent of those Nazi war-crimes trials. That is, where somebody hunts down some murdering Nazi decades after atrocities were committed and forces justice to happen. In this case, it was Irene Garza's cousin who wouldn't let the killer get away with it.
Lacie Grant, via the Internet

Triumph of the spirit: Thank God for Noemi Ponce-Sigler! I'm sure Irene Garza is looking down from heaven and smiling. Without the door-knocking by Irene's cousin, Noemi, Irene's story never would have been told 45 years later.

If John Feit is arrested for murder, it will be Noemi's doing. She just wouldn't let the case drop, and that is what it takes when the Catholic Church is there blocking investigators' efforts. What a brave woman! I just hope that McAllen DA Rene Guerra comes around and takes this case seriously, or that the feds take it over and bring Feit to trial.

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