Catholics celebrate pope's remarks | Sept. 23
Papal remarks echo nuns' stand
What screams at you from Pope Francis' interview in America is that he is reiterating almost verbatim everything for which U.S. nuns of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious have been being investigated the past four years.
The investigation (a "doctrinal assessment," in the words of the Vatican) resulted in the finding that nuns need male oversight, a finding that Pope Benedict XVI corroborated and Pope Francis confirmed. It is now common wisdom that the motivation for this "investigation" was that the U.S. Women Religious departed from the stance of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops by supporting the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act, a position that the bishops opposed, claiming the act would provide financing for abortions, a charge that LCWR and other Catholics contested.
The dialogue between the Vatican and the LCWR continues to take place in secret. Perhaps the nuns have agreed to this secrecy because they sense, once again, the power of the Holy Spirit working through the church and in particular through the amazing and compelling Pope Francis.
Jeanne Fischer Zylstra, Temple Terrace
Mercenary military | Sept. 20, letter
The choice to serve
Our military today is made up mostly of the poor and middle class, people who have far fewer options in life. After World War II and the Korean War, those brave returning vets came home to jobs. Today if your choice is: a) McDonald's, b) the military, or c) possibly being homeless, is it any wonder so many pick the military?
Many join the military for college benefits, as that's the only way they can afford it. My son-in-law is a career military man, and in exchange for his dangerous job he gets good benefits and good pay. I don't see anything wrong with that.
And as far as just up and leaving, my daughter tried to leave after 14 years of service and her discharge took a whole year. It was delay after delay. Why, no one said. But I suspect it was due to stop-loss. For that whole year we sweated it out wondering if her unit would be sent on her fourth deployment.
During World War II and Korea we had a draft. Those who served were a cross-section of all of America, not just a cross-section of the poor and middle class. If we truly want to end all wars, bring back the draft. If the idle rich are asked to serve and give the same sacrifice as the poor and middle class, there will never be another war, I can guarantee it.
Christine Jamesson, Clearwater
D.C. shootings raise security red flags Sept. 20, editorial
Start by checking for guns
It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to profile people who may at some future time become unhinged or go over the edge. I cannot comprehend, however, how someone can bring a shotgun into a secure Navy base. Something should definitely be done to address this, and that is where the prime emphasis should be.
John Francy, Clearwater
Mental illness raised no flags | Sept. 18
Note drugs' side effects
The front-page headline reads that Aaron Alexis' "Mental illness raised no red flags." Alexis was put on Trazodone on Aug. 23. It didn't take long before the warning label on the medication came true.
It reads: "Tell the doctor immediately if you notice worsening depression/other psychiatric conditions, unusual behavior changes (including possible suicidal thoughts/attempts), or other mental/mood changes (including new/worsening anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, irritability, hostile/angry feelings, impulsive actions, severe restlessness, very rapid speech)."
Alexis certainly had unusual behavior changes, committed an impulsive action, experienced "hostile/angry feelings" and had an "other psychiatric condition."
I would like to see an investigation into all the mass murders that have occurred, noting exactly what psychiatric drugs the perpetrators were on, listing all their side effects. The investigation might show that the "cure" is really the problem.
Elyse Van Breemen, Clearwater
McCain rips Putin as quasi-dictator Sept. 20
Problems of our own
John McCain calls Russia a "failed petro-state." What are we? Our infrastructure is decayed, our government has stagnated, and our population is violent and drug-riddled. Right now, I think we're failing. How does that saying go? People in glass houses …
We are a country that, despite a roaring mandate for gun ownership background checks, has a Congress who ignored their constituents and voted against such a bill. This is only one small indication of a House/Senate who are doing little more than infighting.
Further, it is not our job to defend international law. Who gave us that crown? Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan should be lessons learned. They gave us no victories and we have devastated those countries with our guns and bombs. We caused the death and maiming of thousands and thousands of young American men and women, not to mention the absolute destruction of local populations.
Worst of all, McCain is locked into the Republican war on America. Their goals: no health insurance, no debt ceiling, sequestration, no compromise, no working together, no restrictions on gun ownership, and a stalled and ineffective Congress that has been called "the worst in decades." But we're "better" than Russia.
Personally, and I am a rabid American, my vote's with Vladimir Putin.
Robin Sterling, St. Petersburg
Teacher guilty of sex with student | Sept. 19
It's not an 'affair'
It is time for the Times and other media to stop reporting adult female sex offenders as having "affairs" with their young male victims. Ethel Anderson has been found guilty of abusing a 12-year-old boy over an extended period and yet the Times reported this abuse as a "sexual affair."
Under no circumstances would the Times or any other reputable media outlet characterize this kind of abuse by a male perpetrator on a female victim as any kind of "affair."
Barbara Ann Leavine, Temple Terrace