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Who's in, who's out?

We totally agree with Kevin Clarke and his position on the Constitution's 14th Amendment ("Born in the U.S.A.," Margin Notes, October). Babies born of illegal immigrants in this country (termed "anchor babies" by some) are U.S. citizens. To believe otherwise tramples on the intent of the 14th Amendment.

As for Bryan Cones' question in The Examined Life, "Will the center hold?" (October), we think perhaps not. Regardless of how one perceives Anne Rice as an author--vampires notwithstanding--we believe she is spot on in her assessment of the hierarchy's positions on gay rights, women, and illegal cover for pedophiles. The denials, ongoing apologies, and profuse pleas for our prayers and forgiveness are at best offensive and demeaning. Where is the true righteousness and human justice in any of this?

Whether Anne Rice or Sheila O'Brien or both leave the church misses the point, which for us is the deliberate conscious divergence of the hierarchy from the legal system.

Georgia and Tom Houle

Mequon, Wis.

I have some difficulty with Cones using Anne Rice as the "not as important" drop-out, and the ordinary-woman-in-the-pew as the more valid one. Both are important. Both are valid. They are not two different "types" leaving for different "reasons." I also have trouble with those who seem relieved that they're gone, as if the church is a club that only certain members should join.

Neither of these women is satanic. Both have valid reasons and reactions. They both represent women like me who still attend Mass, though with a heavy heart.

We are disappointed. We are ashamed of our church. We feel our cardinals, bishops, and pope still don't get it, that apologies and meetings with victims are more public relations moves than mea culpas. And the pedophilia problem is only the tip of the iceberg. We feel it is time for a second reformation.

Carol DeChant

Ocean Ridge, Fla.

There may be a reason that "the center" might not hold out: It may be that, at least when it comes to certain things, there really can't be a "center." Could there have been a "center," or happy medium, or compromise, between the Arian heretics and those who held to the faith? There was a time when even most of the bishops embraced the errors of Arianism. Should or could there have been a center at that time?

Perhaps there also can't be a center in the current climate of the church. There can be disagreements--even saints disagreed sometimes.

But perhaps the better question to ask is: Are many of the theological disagreements today over not only details or spiritual paths or even sins of pastors, but really over issues so fundamental that they involve compromising Christ and his truth?

The question is: Can there really be a legitimate center in today's church? Only after that is answered can we determine if "the center" can hold out.

Dave Phillips

Taylor, Mich.

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Title Annotation:you may be right: letters
Author:Houle, Georgia; Houle, Tom; DeChant, Carol; Phillips, Dave
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Dec 1, 2010
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