Non-profit status? of church in question

I am writing in response to "Fortnight for Freedom shows Catholic split." I am among the many Catholics in strong opposition to the bishops' political lobbying. The weekend of June 9-10, the pastor at my church spoke before Mass to announce that cards preaddressed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were in our pews. Each was preprinted with a message in opposition to the provision of the health care law requiring access to contraception for women. We were invited to fill these out and place them in the collection basket.

This explicit political activity and the ongoing lobbying efforts should call into question the church's non-profit status. The bishops are lobbying in state legislatures against state laws to protect themselves from lawsuits arising from their unconscionable handling of sexual abuse allegations. They are now engaged in efforts to overturn federal law. During Mass, we hear tirades about "Obama" with no respectful reference to "President" Obama. The term "Obamacare" is used in a disparaging manner to denigrate health care coverage for all. Enough.

Like Kathy Mang in the June 21 article, I canceled my monthly payment to my parish out of the knowledge that a percentage is funding these political efforts against children and women's health care. I was a member of my parish Finance Committee until resigning last week, so I know my parish needs the money, but I also know that some of it goes to the diocese and my conscience can no longer fund these political activities. The bishops' efforts to distract us from the prosecution of Monsignor William Lynn in Philadelphia and somehow re-establish their moral authority cannot cross the separation of church and state they are so vehemently arguing is being crossed by the health care law. It is time for the attorney general to investigate the non-profit status of the Catholic Church and for those in opposition, in good faith, to withhold funding for these efforts.

Susan Vivian Mangold



Bishops right to fight?infringement of liberty

I take issue with Michael Toner's comment that "This just seems a part and parcel of the hierarchy leaning toward the Republican Party as of late," referring to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' campaign in defense of religious liberty, which appeared in the June 21 article, "Fortnight for Freedom shows Catholic split."

The bishops' objection and response to the most serious infringement on religious liberty (which affects all faiths, not just Catholicism) in our nation's history has nothing to do with a supposed leaning toward the Republican Party. That governmental measures are being instituted to control any ministry or service of any creed, should and must concern every American citizen of every political and religious persuasion.

It happens to be, yes, that the Republican platform does not include support for the Health and Human Services mandate, gay marriage or abortion – and neither does the Catholic Church or its clergy. Conversely, if the Democrats did not support these things and the Republicans did, then the bishops would still preach against them. The church upholding its traditions has nothing to do with a particular party's positions. As St. Augustine said, "Wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it, and right is right even if nobody is doing it." Whether or not those involved are Democrats or Republicans makes no difference.

Brendan Young



Traffic will not deter?fans of Bills, Sabres

Is Rep. Brian Higgins so desperate to show that he can get something done in Western New York that he must turn to fear-mongering the people into believing we will lose the Buffalo Bills and Sabres if a new Peace Bridge and plaza aren't built? People attend sporting events and concerts at the Meadowlands in New Jersey and it takes two hours just to get out of the parking lot. Does this stop people from going to these many sold-out events? I think not! There is bad traffic going in and out of Manhattan daily. Is anyone asking for another bridge to be built there because the traffic is so bad?

Traffic at the Peace Bridge during these events could work in Buffalo's favor. People might come early or leave later to eat before or after the game because of the traffic.

Our congressman also touts thousands of jobs going to Detroit because "they have their act together." The proposed bridge is not a done deal. About 400,000 people have signed a petition trying to get this proposal to a referendum on the ballot for vote. At least in Detroit they are trying to build a bridge away from a residential area where the effects of pollution will not be as great. Maybe Buffalo should learn from Detroit. Maybe Higgins should "get his act together" and build a bridge away from a dense population causing great harm and cost to the health of our community.

Elizabeth A. Martina



Ride for Roswell speaks?volumes about community

Our company recently had the great honor of being one of the sponsors for the Ride for Roswell. Although we have been involved for many years operating a rest stop, this year we increased our participation and were given the opportunity to see firsthand all aspects of the event. Starting with the Roswell Park staff, the legion of volunteers and the 8,000-plus riders, the amount of hard work, pure effort and commitment to the success of this event was overwhelming to us.

With that said, the willingness of this community, from every walk of life, to support this event speaks volumes about the heart and generosity of the people of Western New York. It is truly hard to fathom that last weekend, nearly $3.7 million was raised for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. We applaud everyone who participated in this event in any way and all of the donors who supported it. Yet another reason why we are so proud to be part of this community.

Scott Bieler, Brad Hafner, Bill Loecher, John Wabick

West Herr Automotive Group


Let's hope judge hears? from many on Corasanti

A recent News article quoted Alix Rice's father, when asked what Alix would say about Dr. James Corasanti being found not guilty of the most severe charges, as saying, "She never held grudges. She was not a hateful person. She wanted to see the best in everybody." So do we have the right to be angry and feel betrayed by our criminal justice system when the loudest statements of forgiveness and understanding come from the silenced voice of Alix herself?

In August, Judge Sheila DiTullio will sentence Corasanti for his misdemeanor DWI conviction. One can assume he will have numerous letters from colleagues, family, friends and patients attesting to his good character and citing the contributions he has made to both his profession and community. If you believe Corasanti should receive the severest sentence allowable by law, writing a letter to DiTullio urging her to impose the maximum jail sentence is an opportunity for many voices to be heard in the hopes that the purpose of sentencing is met, i.e., punishing the offender, protecting society and reducing the likelihood of future crimes by the offender.

Mary Reynolds

Little Valley


Move historical houses?and build bridge plaza

It seems Mayor Byron Brown and Rep. Brian Higgins have come to an impasse with regard to the new plaza needed for our bridge. I suggest the following: First, assess the value of each home in question and destroy those houses not worth saving. For the few that are deemed worth saving or have historical value, move them to another place, and then renovate them so they may be either habitable or worth the effort to make them worth showing to the public, with a charge, of course. Then build the new plaza on the cleared space!

Marge McMillen

East Amherst


Buffalo School Board?chooses poorly again

I had a dream! The Buffalo School Board, with clear, unfettered ownership and responsibility for the worst performing school district in New York State, having divested itself of an absentee superintendent who produced no results, finds itself an interim bottom-up leader, Amber Dixon, who begins to make some improvements in spite of a self-serving teachers union.

Wanting more "improvement," the board conducts a nationwide search for a permanent leader. It hires a person who has never been a superintendent and who was let go from a previous position. To get her to come to Buffalo, it has to pay her many more thousands of dollars than Dixon, and allow her to learn all about the school system during her first year. Now all this time the board is fully aware that the State Education Department is concerned about the abysmal graduation rate. The state wants to help so it appoints Judy Elliot, a locally born and trained educator, a national talent, to help guide the system. But the district isn't inclined to accept the input.

When I tried to wake up, Mayor Byron Brown shouted at me that we can't tear down the beautiful West Side homes just to build a bridge.

Craig L. Thrasher

East Aurora


Individual mandate?makes perfect sense

I don't understand the uproar over the "individual mandate." Doesn't the federal government "mandate" that every American, regardless of age, pay a tax on every dollar they make to pay for their health insurance (Medicare) when they turn 65?

Can you imagine what health care costs would be if all seniors had not been mandated to pay for their Medicare insurance? I have heard that 85 percent of a person's lifetime health care costs are incurred six months before they pass away. Who would be footing those bills if we weren't all "mandated" to "buy" Medicare?

Jerry Cappello