Dear Editor:

Times news columnist Claire Castagnera, writing in the Times News her column, The Generation Gasp, March 23, 2013, shows her disdain for the Pope and all things Catholic.

Due to the nature of her weekly column, Ms. Castagnera's persona is that of a voice of her generation. I follow her column weekly and mostly enjoy her fresh perspective. But not this week. We get it, Claire. You're not one of the 1.2 billion faithful. You seem to go out of your way to disparage the entire institution.

You refer to the successors of St. Peter as "old fogies" sic. You subjectively describe the holy Catholic church as "…one of the oldest and least adaptable institutions in the world." Do you speak as an authority of world institutions and their adaptability? Has the church in its 2000 year history never adapted? What is your perspective? Have Judaism, Islam, or Buddhism adapted more or less than Catholicism? By what definition do you consider Pope Francis as a "progressive guy?"

Do you mean progressive in the sense that some of our politicians describe themselves. I hardly think the Pope fits that description. Are you being sarcastic when you write he doesn't accept resumes from female applicants? Are there no woman employees in the Diocese of Buenos Aires, or the Vatican? How do you know he doesn't confab with nuns? Do you imply that he has never had a give-and-take conversation with a female clergy person?

Granted the church has a rigid stand against homosexual marriage and abortion. Do you expect the newly elected Pope to take a position against that stand? No one is forcing you, Claire, to accept the tenants of a faith you so obviously despise. I don't believe the Pope is trying to recruit you or force his beliefs on you. Nor do I know of any church leader who is obstructing "loving gay couple(s)" from adopting "undereducated" orphans. Yet you communicate with a tone of hostility by describing the spiritual leader of the Catholic world with words like "Haughty," and "medieval."

I find it interesting (maybe shocking coming from your traditionally liberal perspective) that you claim women "need" abortions due to a "… lack of contraception and sex education." Could it be that your views are a bit medieval, Claire? If you honestly believe, as you claim, the Holy Father is aiding an institution that sets up the "… poor and undereducated to have scores of poor; undereducated children," you have no grasp whatsoever of the historical, cultural, and spiritual foundations of the Roman Catholic Church and its prelates. You display only a bigoted stereotypical hatred directed against the church.

This is nothing new. Throughout history there has been no shortage of individuals and skeptics only too eager to point out the inconsistencies of every organized religion. Skepticism is healthy, but with it, there should be no place for your brand of sarcasm. It borders on hatred. Isn't there enough hatred in our amoral secular world? Do you need to pick on a religion and its spiritual leader? Your time would be better spent doing more reading with a particular emphasis on history, religion, and world culture. It might open your eyes to the many positive effects of the belief and worship to a higher being through organized religion.

You may learn that, yes, there are things that are sacred, even to your generation. Either one embraces organized religion, or one don't. It's a personal choice and it should not subject one to ridicule in an op-ed piece. Be free, Ms. Castagnera, to worship at the altar of Planned Parenthood or whatever deity you venerate. It is your right and privilege as a person of the free world. But, as a columnist of a small town newspaper, you should by no means, pretend to be witty and sophisticated enough to take cheap shots at the Pope, or my church.

Francis W. Chickilly

fchickilly@gmail.com