Steps to prevent clerical sex abuse

It seems that the Philadelphia Archdiocese and its review board have put a lot of effort into determining whether charges of clerical sex abuse are "credible," what exactly constitutes a "sexual crime," and whether accused priests should be returned to ministry ("Head of Philly priest sex-abuse review panel criticizes her church leaders," Saturday).

Does anyone care to get to the root of the problem? Instead of reacting to priests' committing sexual crimes against children, perhaps someone - even a "review board" - should try to learn why there are so many pedophile priests in the first place. Perhaps the priesthood attracts pedophiles because of the access to children it provides, along with the ease of committing sexual crimes without consequences, to say nothing of the church's apparent assumption that U.S. law does not always apply to priests. If any of this is so, the church should try harder to prevent these criminals from entering the priesthood.

In other words, stop reacting to the problem and be proactive to end this disaster once and for all.

Michele Dailey Baccare


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To save the schools is to save the future

George Anastasia's article, "Nearly 200 rally against Phila. School budget cuts" (Monday), was inspiring.

The Philadelphia public school system is all that I have for my two children at this time. It's sad that our government at both the state and local levels seems uninterested in our children's future. These budget cuts will put our children at a significant disadvantage; advanced programs, full-day kindergarten, arts, and music programs are all on the chopping block.

We need to keep fighting for the Philadelphia public schools, and standing up for what's right for our children, not just mine, but all the city's children, because they are our future leaders.

Karen Traylor


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Education should not be made a luxury

As a senior at a Philadelphia public high school, I agree completely with Monday's editorial "Bad budget for education." Our schools are already struggling to make ends meet, and these budget cuts will only make things worse.

I have heard, for example, that the schools are considering cutting the program that provides students with TransPasses to get to and from school. Without these passes, many students will not be able to afford to get to school every day.

Education should not be a luxury affordable only by the wealthy.

Tina Nguyen


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Suggestions for orchestral economy

A letter on Saturday ("Some questions for orchestra's board") suggests that we longtime subscribers to the Philadelphia Orchestra may now be among its creditors. But are we not also indebted to the musicians? After all, they produce the sound. The rest of the association is management and support employees. How good are these musicians? Well, as openings appear in other major orchestras and players disappear, we will find out, won't we? And what will we have then? Just another symphony orchestra? Maybe.

The basic problem is spending money the orchestra doesn't have. The solution? Stop doing it. Cut out avoidable expenses. Trips. Expensive guest conductors and artists. Concentrate on preserving the musicians. Use the principal chairs as soloists; they are among the finest musicians in the world. Lose them, and there goes the Philadelphia Orchestra.

George Bouchey

Mount Laurel

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US Airways has improved noticeably

Linda Loyd's article on May 13 couldn't have been more correct ("US Airways ranks high in federal report, low with fliers"). I've stayed with USAir from the beginning, and fully agree that it has greatly improved. I fly on business each week all over the country. Although I never check my bags on any airline, I have heard from those who do how good USAir's baggage service is.

As the airline has replaced older aircraft, the quality of the planes' interiors has improved as well. The Embraer planes are a vast improvement over the CanadAir Regional Jets.

Jules Enatsky


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Life without parole is a death sentence

I am pleased to learn that Pennsylvanians are unlikely to choose the death penalty ("Rarely used, Pennsylvania's death penalty remains a headache on both sides of the debate," Sunday).

But why do people think life without parole is a better option? Consider the case of Sharon Wiggins, sentenced to death at 17 in 1968, then to life without parole three years later. She is now in her 43d year at the women's prison in Muncy. Isn't this a death sentence? Life with the possibility of parole should always be an option.

Ellen Melchiondo

New Hope

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Archie accusations irresponsible

I must take issue with the unjustified suggestion of self-dealing directed at Robert Archie, who has spent two years as School Reform Commission chairman, and a lifetime prior to that, passionately trying to improve city schools. Though unpaid, Archie works tirelessly, at great personal sacrifice, and speaks forcefully to rally support for reforms proven to be successful.

The charge of back-room dealing is irresponsible and misguided, consisting as it does of Archie's having sat down in a public room at School District headquarters to see if two charter-school plans could be coordinated to serve students.

The Inquirer should not discourage dedicated, qualified reformers from engaging in unpaid public service by taking events out of context to drum up controversy when they are only acting to make adults get along in the interests of children.

Thomas T. Loder