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Letters published 18 April, 2007

Soldier finds life's mysteries in Iraq -- and Middlefield: I read this article ["Amish Girls Gone Wild," March 14] and found it very interesting, as I sit here in my office at Camp Anaconda, Iraq.

I don't agree with those who think the Amish are intolerant because they choose to live a different lifestyle. See the world, and you'll learn that everyone chooses their own lifestyle. That's blatantly disrespectful -- who are we to judge? Come over to the Middle East, and you'll experience things you never thought possible.

When I get home in November, I am going to do a road trip and visit this bar and meet some Amish women, buy them some beers, and get to know them because I find them interesting and mysterious.

Scott Johnson

Clinton Township, Michigan

The Naked Truth

Next up -- nudie shuffleboard! You may recall that in January I wrote to complain bitterly that nude pictures of the hot chicks from Punch's "Getting Naked for Chicken" piece ["First Punch," January 10] did not appear on your blog site, despite Punch's implications to the contrary [Letters, January 24].

The article "Gutter Balls" [April 4] also implied that naked photos of the story's subjects would appear on your blog, and, in fact, they did.

It was horrible. These people look like me. I realize this was done to punish me for having had the audacity to complain previously.

I hereby promise that I'll never complain about the lack of naked pictures -- or anything else -- ever again. Honest. I'll read your paper every week and keep quiet. Just never post or publish pictures like that again.

Dave Johnson

Sheffield Lake

Grave Trespasses

Pilla & gang -- even the dead are rolling: This article ["The Scum Always Rises," April 4] only reinforced my distrust of Pilla and the gang downtown.

It is a shame when I have to perform all the care for the graves of my relatives at Calvary Cemetery. The place is poorly cared for -- potholes everywhere, and graves are not trimmed, the excuse being there is no money. This is the reward that good Catholics get for praying, paying, and obeying. My cousin recently moved his father out of there to a better-cared-for cemetery.

My dad is in a secular cemetery (grave blessed) along with others from our church. The average grave costs a thousand more than in a secular cemetery. Rome sent us an accountant (Richard Lennon) to make things profitable for Rome.

As for the cooked books, that is the norm in the local parishes. Some -- but not all -- pastors have three sets of books: one for the IRS, another for the diocese, and one with the truthful figures. It was funny during Pilla's reign that a lot of new churches were built.

Still a Catholic, but holding the bucks back. And not listening to downtown very much at all.

David Rozman

Solon

Trickle-down sin trumps Church economics: With regard to the article on the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, I have to say many things have now enlightened me. It's like a huge puzzle you have a hard time putting together. Suddenly, pieces start falling into place.

As a lifelong Catholic, I've been struggling with my faith concerning one priest. But after reading this article, I now realize it's most likely a trickle-down effect. It would be really interesting to know what the smaller parishes within the diocese are doing with their finances. But from what I understand, it's none of the parishioners' business.

I guess they will answer to God when the time comes.

Robin Martin

Painesville Township

Judas Priests, at a parish near you: Whatever happened to truth? Confessionals are not to flush away recurring sins. I hope there truly is a heaven and hell, and guilty parties truly spend eternity with those whom they have served. When lawyers are involved to keep the truth from emerging, it is time for Christ to swing the sword of justice. All this money spent on so few, while so many need help. So many struggling parishes.

If these men are guilty, it truly shows that Satan is alive in their hearts. Two thousand and seven years of struggle undermined in one lifetime. If there are priests who are aware of injustices, I beseech you to speak up, as Christ would expect. Follow your hearts and not instructions of diocese officials.

Dave Kasl

Cleveland

The Holy See-No-Evil: I think the Catholic Church is reading the same playbook across the nation. The plays are not working, and it's time to write a new playbook called Corruption at the Top.

The Diocese of San Diego was caught hiding assets a couple years ago. One would not expect this from a faith-based institution, but it shows the complicity of the parishes of San Diego. This behavior is replicated time after time around the country, but not until the last minute do they take action. And that action is always stalling or prolonging. I would be embarrassed to show my face if I were bishop of any diocese.

I'm a Catholic in San Diego. I am not proud of my religion and do not support the bishops' decisions. Moreover, I resent some of the bishops' tactics and stand against the use of the P.R. firms they hide behind, that we have to pay for from the basket. The Catholic Church has failed us and will not listen to us.

I don't know how the Church plans to settle these issues. But the history of the church says this: It tells the media one thing and does the opposite. But the Church ultimately is hurting its flock.

People don't want to tee off on the Church's head. Can I offer an idea? How about letting the flock in on all the documents pertaining to the Catholic Church on a worldwide level?

Paul Livingston

San Diego, California

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