Parents want bishop to act | Jan. 15
Sacrament is not open to public
For two days in a row there were articles regarding the guidance of a priest to adolescents in the sacrament of penance, or reconciliation. Readers must understand that this sacrament is sealed from the public and therefore the priest has no means to explain or defend himself.
Additionally, one should understand the gravity of the sexual sins possible in today's world. Catholics are taught that sin can be committed from thoughts, words, deeds or omission. Critical in the confessional is the identification of the type of sin, such as the viewing of pornography; or the commission of a sexual act, either alone or with others.
Because the priest functions as our Lord in confession, he must know the nature of the sin and if it is a habitual occurrence. Questions to the person who is asking for forgiveness may be necessary to make the confession valid.
Appropriate action should be taken by parents if unusual details beyond what is relevant are asked of the child, and any complaints should be reported to the priest and to the bishop of the diocese. The involvement of the media and other groups can be a violation of the sacredness of the sacrament.
Finally, to bring up the past transgressions of Father Joseph Waters and to rehash other priests' criminal acts in the same vein as a parental concern with confession is not pertinent or fair in reporting an incident that has yet to be proven as a criminal act.
As the mother of a large Catholic family, I have had the privilege of knowing many good and holy priests who have assisted my children in making a truthful and heartfelt confession.
Jana Carpenter, Clearwater
Right to speak up
I applaud these children for speaking up about something that clearly made them uncomfortable. They were right to speak to their parents, and bravo to the parents for listening and acting.
Diane McKenzie, Palm Harbor
Florida Retirement System
Remove pension manager
As a Republican and a Florida taxpayer, I agree that the state pension fund needs to be actuarially sound or else all will suffer the consequences. Although the revenue side of the equation is key, I think the management side is even more important. For this reason, I believe that State Board of Administration executive director Ash Williams should be removed.
We would be better served to place pension assets in a collection of indexed stock and bond mutual funds rather than into expensive hedge funds and private investment deals. The SBA staff has been playing fast and loose with other people's money.
The Florida Retirement System could overcome its potential funding shortfall if there was only one beneficiary class and one retirement formula used for all classes of retirees — whether politicians, judges, police, or regular state employees.
Finally, I cannot understand why Republicans would consider a state employee payroll tax to "fix" the pension fund. This seems to fly in the face of the "no new taxes" pledge.
Kent Fast, Tampa
Why 'Chinese mothers' are superior | Jan. 15
Doing your best
I admire the Chinese standards of excellence as shown by Amy Chua's philosophy. However, if A's are the norm, anyone receiving an A-minus or lower then feels like a failure. Realistically, no one bats 1.000 all the time, probably not even Amy Chua.
I am happy for the success of her children, although I consider that their achievement may be a result of high IQ and not just a strict upbringing. Everyone doesn't have the potential to be a doctor or rocket scientist.
That said, we should all strive to be the best that we can while allowing grace for mistakes.
Carl E. Graham, Largo
Baby Doc is back in Haiti | Jan. 17
As a descendent of Haitians, I am outraged that Jean-Claude Duvalier was allowed to step on Haitian soil after the atrocities he and his father brought upon the Haitian population over decades.
Haiti needs an understanding, disciplined, patient leader — not the return of the Tonton Macoutes with their license to kill, torture and extort.
Laurent Vallat, Trinity
An almighty list of expectations | Jan. 16
Humility and devotion
Thank you for such a well-written article about Father David Toups.
We are later-in-life converts who arrived at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Spring Hill shortly after Father Toups was assigned there. He was under the wing of our then-pastor, also a very holy man , Father John Cippel.
Father Toups was amazing. He was so intelligent and wise for one so young. In his own quest for holiness he is neither judgmental or pious to others.
His humility and devotion to God are the perfect example of what the future generation of priests can aspire to.
It is a joy to watch him grow.
A little side note: We have seen him reading a book while jogging!
Mr. and Mrs. Ed Schoonover, Spring Hill
Beatification of John Paul II
It's nice to know that the late pope could heal, even without a medical degree. If he actually had these powers, why didn't he use them to heal the priests who were abusing children?
Mike Terrill, Zephyrhills