Please un­der­stand con­cerns about clergy re­port

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - International -

The Post-Gazette re­ported that the re­lease of a se­cret grand jury re­port, al­leg­ing abuse by Catholic priests and dea­cons, was be­ing op­posed by some as “rid­dled with ‘in­ac­cu­ra­cies and fal­si­ties’” (July 6, “Clergy Claim False Charges in Re­port”). We have not seen the re­port and can­not at­test to its facts, but we un­der­stand that grand jury re­ports can con­tain in­nu­endo and un­sub­stan­ti­ated facts.

There are rea­sons for grand ju­ries to op­er­ate in se­cret. They are not trials. There is no op­por­tu­nity to con­test or re­but charges that may or may not be true. In most states, it is even against the law to re­lease in­for­ma­tion to the pub­lic. Yet they re­main an im­por­tant tool for pros­e­cu­tors to de­ter­mine which al­le­ga­tions might be wor­thy of bring­ing charges and which are not. Grand ju­ries were not cre­ated for the court of pub­lic opin­ion.

While be­ing named in such a re­port is not by it­self an ac­cu­sa­tion, the dam­age to an in­no­cent per­son’s rep­u­ta­tion is con­sid­er­able and pos­si­bly ir­re­versible. This is es­pe­cially true in the case of de­ceased or in­firm per­sons who are no longer able to de­fend them­selves.

The courts are cor­rect to use ex­treme dili­gence to pre­vent such dam­age.

This is a chal­leng­ing and painful time for Catholics and all peo­ple of good­will as we deal with the hor­ren­dous im­pli­ca­tions of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. If the re­port is re­leased, we ask that the Post-Gazette and other me­dia out­lets also use sim­i­lar dili­gence not to im­pugn the rep­u­ta­tion of the in­no­cent along with the guilty. REV. REGIS RYAN

Pres­i­dent Board of Direc­tors As­so­ci­a­tion of Pitts­burgh

Priests McKees Rocks

This let­ter on be­half of the board was also signed by Jim McCarville, vice pres­i­dent; Sis­ter Bar­bara Finch, sec­re­tary; and David Al­eva, trea­surer.

A poor im­pres­sion

This sum­mer marks my 25th year as a trans­plant to Pitts­burgh. I grew up in Cincin­nati, went to col­lege in In­di­ana and lived out­side of Bos­ton for five years. I have come to love the city, its peo­ple, its places, all that it has to of­fer. But last week­end, I was em­bar­rassed.

I took my 82-year-old un­cle to the Duquesne In­cline for the spec­tac­u­lar view of the city. It was a gor­geous week­end. Lots of peo­ple were out, in­clud­ing many other vis­i­tors here for the Pi­rates/Phillies se­ries. There are no re­strooms in the small build­ing at the top of the in­cline, but we were go­ing roundtrip so we were di­rected to the por­ta­ble toi­let in the park­ing lot at the base of the in­cline. One por­ta­ble toi­let. The folks vis­it­ing from Har­ris­burg who were in front of us re­ported that it was filthy and kindly shared their pa­per tow­els.

I called the mayor’s of­fice this week and was di­rected to re­port this to the city’s 311 line, which I did. I was told this is run by the PortAuthor­ity. I’m not sure who is re­spon­si­ble for what, but the bot­tom line is that this ex­pe­ri­ence left a huge neg­a­tive im­pres­sion on many vis­i­tors to our city who would oth­er­wise have only been im­pressed. C’mon, Pitts­burgh,we can do bet­ter! CHRIS McKENNA Franklin Park

A kind­ness salute

I was moved by the last para­graph in Keith Bur­ris’ col­umn (July 8, “We Are in Trou­ble”): It spoke of “the in­ten­tional pur­suit of kind­ness and good­ness ... .” A na­tional spir­i­tual awak­en­ing is some­thing I am not qual­i­fied to ini­ti­ate, but his thoughts gave me an idea. Three con­cepts seemed to in­ter­sect when I read Mr. Bur­ris’ words: 1) where I live, 2) Fred Rogers and 3) the chal­lenge posed inthe col­umn.

I live in a devel­op­ment off of Free­dom Road in Cran­berry that has no stop­light. For the five years I have lived there, I can count on one hand the num­ber of times peo­ple have stopped or slowed down to per­mit me to en­ter the traf­fic flow. Such a sim­ple thing to slow down, a loss of three to four sec­onds in one’s com­mute, but oh so rare. The sec­ond con­cept is Mr. Rogers. We are in the midst of a Fred Rogers resur­gence with spe­cials be­ing aired, trib­utes made and fea­ture-length films cre­ated. Fi­nally the col­umn it­self got me think­ing that kind­nes­sis con­ta­gious.

So here is the plan: Ev­ery per­son in West­ern Penn­syl­va­nia, all 3 mil­lion-plus of us, will com­mit to three acts of kind­ness each day. Dur­ing or at the con­clu­sion of th­ese acts, we will give a “Mis­ter Rogers Salute,” which con­sists of tak­ing one’s right hand, ex­tend­ing both the thumb and first fin­ger and point­ing down­ward, which would ap­pear to the other as a small “r.” The giver will do it as well as the re­ceiver, which would honor the act it­self and, in a small way, pay homage to the legacy of Fred Rogers. With more than 9 mil­lion acts of kind­ness each day, ourarea would be trans­formed. D.W. STECHSCHULTE JR.


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