Protecting the Church's Image

Thanks to Gregory Flannery for writing what many Catholics in this archdiocese have been thinking and saying for years ("Pilarczyk Himself Is the Biggest Scandal," issue of May 31-June 6). Our belov

Thanks to Gregory Flannery for writing what many Catholics in this archdiocese have been thinking and saying for years ("Pilarczyk Himself Is the Biggest Scandal," issue of May 31-June 6). Our beloved archbishop "has no clue" about his culpability and his image.

I speak as a Catholic who has become very disillusioned about the hierarchy. I remember in Catholic elementary school how we were taught to almost worship the ground they walked on. When our pastor — a monsignor — came to visit the classroom, we all stood and bowed to him.

It's so sad. They need badly an infusion of new blood. How about women and married men? Oh my God, we can't do that. And gays?

Oh my God, we can't have them.

Hmmm, that won't leave them with too many priests in a few years. A priest friend of mine said that the number of gay priests in this area is maybe 40-50 percent. And 95 percent of them are good priests, too.

Let me see: When was the last time I went to Mass? Right after they selected the new pope. God love him. He's also busy preaching intolerance.

Thanks again, and keep up the great work!

— David Griesmeyer, Dayton, Ohio

Help the Sheep Too
Regarding Gregory Flannery's piece on Archbishop Pilarczyk ("Pilarczyk Himself Is the Biggest Scandal," issue of May 31-June 6), I can't speak as a Catholic — I'm recovering — only as the spouse of an ardent Catholic. I'm deeply saddened by the additional antics of the archbishop of Cincinnati.

What the archbishop continues to do is to make practicing Catholics feel foolish. Can you imagine having to constantly defend your faith because your so-called leader is not only responsible for egregious mistakes but, what's worse, then has the audacity to ask the pastors of the archdiocese to "please continue to pray for the archdiocese and its shepherds during these difficult times" (per the May 26 issue of The Catholic Telegraph)?

What about the sheep, Archbishop Pilarczyk? What about them?

— Marilyn Schirmer, Hamersville, Ohio

OTR Is a Struggle
The struggle to revitalize Over-the-Rhine is much more complex than CityBeat's characterization of "decent white folk" versus the "unsightly poor" (Porkopolis, issue of May 31-June 6).

First, it's a fiction that development is driving poor people out of OTR. The development threatened by expansion (or relocation) of the Drop Inn Center to 1507 Elm St. will permit a creative developer and resident of OTR to turn vacant buildings into owner-occupied housing — although the project will not be viable and the buildings will remain vacant if the Drop Inn Center locates next to it. Similarly, a 95-unit condo project and an additional 18-unit project would convert vacant buildings into housing. Current plans require a percentage of units to carry price controls, with prices starting under $100,000.

Further, there is a high vacancy rate among Section 8 rental property in OTR. The reason is that low-income tenants are the most frequent victims of crime in the neighborhood. By permitting OTR to become a beacon for vagrants, addicts, dealers and assorted criminals, it has become a place where elderly people who live on Social Security and single mothers with minimum wage jobs live in fear of crack dealers and drug-addicted felons who rule the streets, defecate in the alleys, intimidate the patrons of local businesses and rob, rape, shoot and steal from the people who live and work in OTR — especially the most vulnerable poor.

Any "advocate" for the poor who thinks that being poor means your children should have to live in a neighborhood where the park is full of heroin needles suffers from an overly-romanticized vision of poverty. Life in Cincinnati in 2006 is not a Charles Dickens novel where the downtrodden are all brothers and sisters. Any true advocate for the poor would support efforts to provide mixed-income development in OTR because the result will be a safer, cleaner neighborhood where all children get a real opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.

Why should children in Mount Adams get to play in Eden Park while the children in OTR have to play in a park full of vagrants? Objecting to vagrants pissing on doors, shitting in alleys, passing out intoxicated on public grounds and frightening away the people who work and pay taxes to clean this city is not a classist, race-based battle between "decent white folk" and the "unsightly poor" who are presumably all black in Greg Flannery's world, despite an amazing amount of direct evidence to the contrary. Ask the law-abiding poor of OTR whether they would rather watch "Opera Dogs" or a heroin addict puke on himself, and you'll find that it's not just the "decent white folk" who prefer performing dogs.

Second, the "unsightly poor" who utilize the Drop Inn Center are typically more than un-kept and poor. Homelessness is a result of separate problems: addiction, mental illness and extreme poverty with some aggravating circumstance such as serious physical illness or a laundry list of felony convictions, etc. Lumping all of these problems together and dumping them in one location may provide fodder for the self-righteous advocates of the "unsightly poor," but it's counterproductive to actually helping anyone.

Continuing to concentrate everyone who suffers from these problems in one neighborhood must stop for the benefit of the homeless and the "decent folk" of all races and economic status.

— Mike Morgan, [email protected]

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