Dear Editor,

I wish to make several comments about Ms. Castagnera's column in the 3/23/13 issue of the TIMES NEWS which she entitled "Pooped out on the Pope."

Clearly she used her column and your newspaper to mount a vicious attack against Pope Francis and the Catholic Church which he now shepherds as its universal Pastor. She is certainly entitled to express her personal opinions and I'm sure many would agree wholeheartedly with her and wish that she had gone even further in criticizing the Church and its leaders.

Admittedly, much criticism is justified and even needed; but it is pointless and counterproductive unless it is constructive criticism. Having said that, what surprised me and alarmed me most of all is the obvious bitterness and outright disdain that underlies her words. Ms. Castagnera is not just expressing her thoughts which she no doubt has the right to do in a responsible manner, but she is revealing to us a deep-seated hostility in these matters that reaches a level that frightens me because it militates against any objectivity, clear thinking and a search for truth.

We all have our strong convictions and equally strong feelings that arise from them, but I want to think that most people at least try to keep their convictions open to revision and their feelings under the control of the highest and noblest tendencies of our humanity, not the lowest. This is especially necessary when approaching and discussing any person's cherished religious beliefs and practices. Respect and humility are needed, not rancor and contempt. Without them our words and deeds unite us with those who perpetuate and spread darkness rather than light.

Jim Gmitter

Lehighton

jamcar1@verizon.net [1]