Lynn was accused of covering up the sexual abuses of priests under his supervision. His defense was that he was following orders from the hierarchy and had no choice. However, he did have a choice. He could and should have called the authorities. He didn't. Instead, he made the choice to obey orders and be a facilitator of child molestation. Lynn betrayed the unique confidence that parents and society have in the clergy when it comes to children. So did the church. As Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said in another context, "The worst enemies are in here, with us - all of us, clergy, religious, and lay - when we live our faith with tepidness, routine, and hypocrisy."
Maybe bail was denied to put the hierarchy on notice that its tolerance of abuse will no longer be tolerated.
Carol Baker, Warrington
Policies hostile to middle class
Twenty years ago, journalists Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele wrote about the loss of industrial jobs in America. Today, I commend The Inquirer for publishing excerpts from the results of their latest research, The Betrayal of the American Dream ("Without a pension's security," Aug. 12). This series has exposed how our elected representatives have aggressively implemented trade policies that caused millions of middle-class Americans to slip into poverty.
The authors document the tragic job loss and the forgotten people who were the victims of government hostility to working Americans. It's obvious that both the Democratic and Republican Parties enforced economic policies that are hostile to 90 percent of us. Why should that 90 percent bother to vote when the candidates of the two major parties are committed to policies that destroy middle-class, living-wage jobs in America? Why should we vote against our own interest?
Eugene Miller, Philadelphia
One sign of the new working world
Pensions were a negotiated benefit, which Social Security was supposed to supplement. Good pensions attracted good workers and helped companies retain the best ones. The elimination of pensions has destroyed the sense of company loyalty.
The consolidation of corporate markets in the last 40 years, through mergers, acquisitions, and corporate malfeasance, has helped to make the worker-employer relationship more adversarial, and this has been reflected in the stagnation of middle-class incomes and in the elimination of pensions. The growing idea that corporations are the same as individuals has left people with limited resources fighting corporate behemoths, in battles that are anything but equal.
Barlett and Steele are pointing out realities that should have been obvious to the public as they saw their hopes dashed and resources diverted - and for which they are told to blame themselves.
Ben Burrows, Elkins Park
Act now to save piece of the dream
The Betrayal Of The American Dream is a powerful but sad story. To all the retirees who are lucky enough to still have retiree health benefits, you need to act now before it's too late. Ask your U.S. congressman and senators to support, if not cosponsor, H.R. 1322. This bill would prevent corporations from ending existing promised health benefits for all retirees and would not cost the taxpayers anything.
Jack Wieckowski, Philadelphia
Inflation killed off pensions
It was inflation that killed the fixed pension, not Congress. For the 10-year period beginning in 1972, the Consumer Price Index rose 86.6 percent, wiping out the purchasing power of millions of retirees' fixed pensions. Coupled with the corporate bankruptcies cited by the authors, employees demanded a better system that gave them control over their benefit dollars. If a worker who earns an average of $44,000 a year contributes 6 percent of his pay to a 401(k) each year, and receives a 6 percent match from his employer, and receives a 4 percent return on the account, he will have $500,000 saved, pre-tax, after 40 years.
Charles Hoffmann, Havertown, email@example.com
Making quality education available
My heartfelt thanks to Baruch Kintisch for "City schools' real problem" (Aug. 9). It is the shortage of resources that keeps our city's schools from performing as well as other schools in the metropolitan area. Not just books, technology, and cultural activities, but resources such as more teachers for smaller classes, more classroom aides, and, above all, the support services that are so desperately needed, such as counselors, behavior specialists, attendance workers, nurses, and outreach workers.
The solution is not in the superintendent, the principals, or the teachers. I myself was a principal and a teacher in Philadelphia, and no one could have tried harder to make quality education available for my students. But that takes money, and a willingness among our legislators to want all children to succeed.
I ask those who bemoan the state of urban education to put their money where their mouths are, to talk to the urban teachers who know what needs to be done, and maybe even to be guided by their various religious backgrounds to care about those who have less than themselves.
Mary McKenna, Philadelphia
Move on to the serious issues
The editorial "TV political ads should educate, not alienate" (Monday) hits on a valid point. There are many real issues that candidates should be addressing, with unemployment and deficit spending high on the list. It would be educational to have a meaningful debate on these issues.
An example of a meaningless diversion is one you cite: Mitt Romney's income-tax returns. You can be confident the IRS looks over his return and that it conforms to the law and regulations. If his investments avoid taxes, that's an intended purpose of tax laws. If Romney took advantage of these laws (or loopholes), he was well within his rights. If politicians are unhappy with the results of their laws, they should change them, not criticize those who take advantage of them.
Let's get on with discussing the serious issues and forget the diversions.
William Gates, West Chester
'American Pie' memories
Clark DeLeon delighted me with "Memory off, heart on" (Aug. 12), about Don McLean's "American Pie." Even though I wasn't a big fan of that particular song, I grew to appreciate it as the years went on. As for McLean, I became a fan very quickly. Why? As a local musician around that time - 1971 and '72 - my girlfriend's girlfriend asked me to play at her wedding. (Many of my friends - guys and girls - were hiring me to do that then, a few years after they graduated from high school.) What songs did she want at the church ceremony? Among others there was Don McLean's "Winterwood," a song I very much liked. Of course, "American Pie" continues to be part of my "cover" repertoire, usually as the closer.
Cletus McBride, Bensalem