Valley News Forum for May 15, 2023: Not so priestly

Published: 05-15-2023 6:21 AM

Not so priestly

On Sundays my mother and I would get in the car and make our way to the parking lot of La Salette seminary. There, on our knees, we and others would climb the many steps that promised, upon completion, whatever we were seeking. That is what one was led to believe. I then would watch as my mother’s very limited money would drop into a well-marked container.

And sometimes on Sundays my mother and I would walk up Lebanon Street, in Hanover, to a rooming house that my aunt rented from Dartmouth College. We were very familiar with this house for often we would gather there with my aunt and my cousins to enjoy tea and cookies while sitting in posh rocking chairs on its very imposing front porch.

One of those Sundays, when I was 9 years old, my mother and I walked up the front steps onto the porch and made our way down the long entry hall into the dining room, turned right and then another right into the living room.

There sitting on a sofa bed was my aunt and beside her was a priest, she wearing salmon-colored lingerie and he with only black-and-red polka-dot boxers. They were gleefully chortling having been found in such a compromised circumstance. As I stood there beside my mother, I realized that I knew this priest for he had a noted position at LaSalette. Apparently the presence of a young person sent no pangs of conscience into this priest’s ethical constructs.

I had been told that priests, for whatever reason, must remain celibate. That is something that I, a young boy who very much appreciated girls, often questioned. It was my understanding that this was one of the covenants that priests had with their God. It seemed to me that such a system of belief was rendering the hypocritical strains that would become entwined in its demise.

William Gilbert


The cycle of war and violence must be broken

The almost daily mass murders committed with AR-15 assault weapons have seemingly become routine and thought of as inevitable by the citizenry. Our political leadership is unable or unwilling to put a stop to the carnage in the name of absolute Second Amendment rights.

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One idea to end this tragedy is to change the editorial policy of the media. Large, graphic, close-up photographs of the victims, in situ. should be published in color on the front pages of every newspaper. Videos of dead, bloody and mangled bodies should be shown on television news and social media, as well as on YouTube. This may be the only way to create an overwhelming public revulsion about what is happening to us and an effective demand for a ban on and confiscation of these terrible weapons.

The Washington Post recently published a controversial story, with illustrations, of the effect of a high velocity AR-15 projectile as it impacts with and passes through the human body. This is a start.

Every veteran of combat comes home with a loathing of war. In my own experience, I served two tours in Vietnam in the Marine Corps and know firsthand the horrors of war. I went from being “gung ho” in 1966 to being fervently and actively against that war in 1968. Yet today as always, the young men of every generation are irresistibly drawn to war as a rite of passage and chance to prove their manhood. But as Smedley Butler, a retired Marine Corps general and two-time Medal of Honor recipient said, “war is a racket designed to make a few people rich.” The manufacture of AR-15 rifles is also just a racket.

This cycle must be broken so that we are no longer at war either with ourselves or with other nations, except in self-defense against the likes of Hitler.

John Andrews


Laughingstock Putin needs to go

I laughed after reading in the Valley News that Russia (read: Putin) accuses U.S. of alleged drone attack on Moscow (“Ukraine wants Putin on trial,” Page B6, March 5)

First Putin blamed Ukraine — now the U.S. Who will be next, China?

Putin is now the laughingstock in the world. He can’t control his army or his oligarchs. He can only whine and complain.

It is time for him to step down and disappear before he is convicted of war crimes by The Hague!

Marcella Logue


How far will efforts in Ukraine go?

Reading Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s demand that a nuclear-armed Russia be ‘crushed’ like Nazi Germany (“Zelenskyy: Russia will be defeated like Nazi Germany,” Page A8, May 9), I could not help thinking back to 2003 when the Ukrainian government of that era signed onto the so-called coalition of the willing and contributed a troop contingent to the criminal U.S. invasion of Iraq resulting in the death of well over a million innocents and lasting misery for countless others.

The U.S. in this instance was most certainly a serial imperialist aggressor and Ukraine just another opportunistic lackey, but it would be an historically illiterate obscenity to compare either, even as blameworthy as they are, to the Third Reich, which remains in a league of martial horror all its own. The truth is beyond all the lies and obfuscation that Ukraine now finds itself being hoisted by Russia on the very same lawless interventionist predicate that Kyiv helped carve out for the U.S. so brutally two decades ago.

The key question then becomes: Will Western supporters of the Ukrainian war effort allow themselves to remain so embroiled in the frothing hyperbole of Ukrainian maximalists like Zelenskyy that they sign on themselves to the lunatic project of destroying the Russian centralized state and effectively realize the dream of Hitler that Moscow be razed to the ground?

When political thinking is allowed to become this detached from the chaotic indeterminacy of the war, it seems only a matter of time before reality will take its revenge and starts demanding real tears and real blood from us if we continue to remain blind to the apocalyptic potential of the moment.

Patrick Flaherty