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No generations of wasted lives

Published April 13. 2013 09:03AM

Dear Editor:

Every parent would agree. A father should protect and defend his daughter. Especially if his daughter faces derision for stirring up so much negative emotion among your readers. Jim Castagnera's daughter, Claire, is a mature and intelligent young lady who presents a clever point-counterpoint missive with her father in the Times News's column, The Generation Gasp, valiantly defending her generation's liberal and progressive struggle.

Her father, Jim, pretends to be her generational opposite, but in reality he carries the same torch, in a patronizing and aging hippie sort of way. I believe that Claire is capable of holding and defending her own positions without her daddy's help. I've been reading her editorial for years.

Although I don't always agree with her point of view, I enjoy her writing and applaud her strident literary effort to take a stand and rise above the shallow attitudes demonstrated by many individuals of her cellphone-addicted, functionally illiterate generation. I sincerely believe, with more worldly experience and knowledge, Claire will become an increasingly objective and critical spokesman for her generation, and use her excellent foresight and intelligence to focus on divisive issues in a less judgmental manner. Claire has demonstrated in her last letter that it's possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

On Saturday, March 30th, the Times News printed an article by James Castagnera entitled Pope Francis must provide ObamaCare for the Catholic Soul. According to his Times News bio, Clair's father is a respected lawyer, author, and college professor.

Mr. Castagnera was miffed that some Times News readers have taken issue with his daughter's blatant controversial stance against the Roman Catholic Church, and specifically, Pope Francis I, in her article, Pooped out on the Pope, published March 23rd.

Castagnera is an outspoken liberal writer for the Times News, and has in his most recent editorial taken the role of defender of his daughter's faith.

I have an issue with is Mr. Castagnera's editorial, specifically with its content and tone. He resorts to sarcasm and misinformation to further his anti-Catholic agenda. His views speak volumes of hatred for Catholics, Catholicism, and the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion faithful followers.

What I find most troubling is that he uses his article as a vehicle to further his personal agenda and rehash some old and tired anti-establishment issues. There is nothing original or refreshing here. He brings up the disappearing rain forest as if the pontiff had something to do with it. He preaches the wonders of abortion and birth control, as if these were the solutions to all things that are evil. He proclaims that our president is "…a reformer fixed upon uprooting arcane, harmful, and hopeless past practices in favor of real reform. "

I, for one, would like to see some real world examples of this reform. But that's a topic for another letter. He doesn't convince me that the Pope should be more like Obama. I shudder at that prospect, I would be much more comfortable knowing that he seeks to emulate St. Francis, a "reformer" in every sense of the word.

Mr. Castagnera also rehashed the stereotypical criticisms of the Catholic Church. In support of his argument, the priesthood scandal gets another run here. He writes, "And might these new breeds [sic] of female and happily married male priests be less likely to harbor child molesters..?."

I never knew priests were a breed. Are there breeds of college professors? How about breeds of lawyers? Mr. Castagnera quotes a reader who states, "If he (the Pope) wants the Church 'to be poor', he can start by disposing much of its unnecessary wealth." To that reader, who complains about "too many statues of young boys," in the Vatican. I ask what point is this reader trying to make? Is he trying to be funny? Maybe the real question is why does Mr. Castagnera bring this up? What is he trying to infer?

Perhaps in another letter this reader could convince us that The Louvre Museum should sell the Mona Lisa to raise money for French peasants. Should we raid every museum, church, and temple in the world and "dispose" of their art collections to rectify world poverty. Or should we just sell the Catholic ones? How about if our Library of Congress sells all of its artifacts to build affordable housing for the poor in this country? How about if China converted the Forbidden City into low cost condos? It sounds ridiculous and it is, so why does he cite it in his editorial? It is illogical and offensive, and does nothing to further his argument.

"Fresh from China," Mr. Castagnera attempts to give his Times News readers a lesson in the People's Republic sociology. He lauds the Chinese for their "quixotic" one-child-per-couple policy as a serious attempt at bringing population growth under control. Upon reading this, I can't help but think about China's not too distant past under the leadership of Chairman Mao. During his 27 year regime, 70 million people perished under imprisonment and government sponsored starvation.

Would Mr. Castagnera also describe this act as quixotic? It would be interesting to know how many of his students were made aware of this footnote in history. It seems our good professor could use a history lesson of his own if he wants to convince us readers that China's policies are the vanguard of population control.

I have been a reader and subscriber of the Times News for many years. I must say that I have never read an editorial, in this case two editorials, that were so blatantly opinionated, critical, and offensive to one single religion (in this case Catholicism). It seems obvious that the Castagneras clearly have an ax to grind. What it is, your readers will probably never know.

Why the editors of Times News have allowed themselves to become a vehicle for their wrath is beyond me. This is not objective and responsible journalism. Mr. Castagnera continues to believe that the whole world needs more abortions and birth control, and blames the church for its woes. It is his brand of social engineering with a focus on death and that corrupts the very meaning of family.

With his minimal knowledge of Pope Francis I, he seeks to characterize the man, the institution, and its followers as anathema to the progressive world of liberal academics like himself. Individuals who seem to think that it's OK to assault and insult the beliefs and traditions held by so many decent people. He makes the sarcastic statement that: Central and South America are bastions of Catholicism whose members keep producing "more and more little Catholics" - generations of overcrowded, wasted lives. (His words, not mine).

Does he pretend to be the arbitrator of which lives are wasted, and which are useful? Mr. Castagnera is entitled to his point of view. He might even be able to influence some of his impressionable students during their trips to China. But we Times News readers are not his students. We can't cancel his class, only our subscriptions.

Francis W. Chickilly

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