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Feedback 9/18


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The Warren win

The entitled, "enfranchised" Rochester lost dismally; the "disenfranchised" "other" Rochester won this election.

Lovely talks the talk, Lovely walks the walk.

She had the message, she did the work.

She is best qualified to move Rochester forward as ONE!


I like Richards' vision of investing in downtown and transitioning neighborhoods to compete for young professionals, empty nesters, and other people who are considering a return to urban living by choice. Upscale residential development admittedly predates Richards' control, but Richards has increased momentum, is the only mayor who has made headway on fixing Main and Clinton, and has even garnered investment in neighborhoods outside of the southeast quadrant.

It's perhaps a fair criticism to say that there are "two Rochesters" and that Richards seems focused mainly on one, but what's wrong with wanting your city to be upwardly mobile? And have the other neighborhoods really been terribly neglected? Richards has supported development wherever the market would invest and has done a reasonably good job of dealing with blight, e.g. replacing abandoned buildings with neighborhood peace gardens.

I do question whether Rochester police could potentially be more effectively managed, and not merely to be more sensitive, but rather to command more respect and particularly to be more proactive, especially in dealing with drug houses. I get it that if a majority of residents in a particular neighborhood want to use hard drugs, eliminating those becomes a difficult proposition, but I don't see why there's so little apparent effort.


In the 16 years I've lived in Rochester, Mayor Tom Richards is the best thing that's happened to this city.

Bill Johnson had great ideas and a big heart but didn't know how to use power; Republican County Executive Jack Doyle mopped the floor with him. Bob Duffy was the nicest guy with another big heart but was void of ideas.

Tom Richards, to my surprise, has abundant and clear ideas. He also gets things done because he's a great manager and has important financial experience, two sine qua nons Lovely Warren lacks.

I'm sure the polls were correct: 63 percent to 27 percent for Richards, who campaigned hard but wasn't street-smart at getting out the vote, like Warren was. Come November, I hope Rochester's appallingly complacent voters (barely 14,000 voted!) get off their lazy duffs and give Richards a second term.


Nazis and the Church

Anthony Sciolino says that "the Holocaust happened because Christians failed to act like Christians" ("Unholy Alliance: The Catholic Church and the Holocaust"). I submit that if someone does not act like a Christian, they are not, in truth, a Christian.

To say that one is a Christian and yet act contrary to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth is not hypocrisy. It is a lie, and a very cruel one at that. Talking the talk but not walking the walk? One can quack like a duck from now until doomsday, but it's the walking, swimming, flying, and in general behaving like a duck that makes one a duck. The same for the so-called Christians of this world, both throughout history and to this very day.

In the real world, people's beliefs are revealed by their actions, not by what they say.


Here we go again: now the Catholic Church is responsible for the Holocaust. If this is true, then why did the Holocaust happen in predominantly Protestant Germany and not in a Catholic France, Spain, or Poland?

Jonathan Steinberg in his biography of Bismarck reveals how anti-Semitism was institutionalized within every facet of German society and government by men like Martin Luther, Bismarck, Richard Wagner, and Gustav Freytag and waited only for the Great Depression to explode into the Holocaust.

I do agree that Pope Pius should have risked even his life to condemn the Nazis.


The Catholic Church often bears the cross of false accusations, and the most preposterous now come from within: a man ordained to the permanent diaconate. Mr. Sciolino's claims are rife with factual errors.

Scarcely a corner of the globe has escaped the grave sin of anti-Semitism, but the Holocaust was caused by evil, not the Church. The Church's holiness does not mean that each member is always holy. Jesus said there would be both good and bad in His Church; even St. Peter – the first Pope – denied Christ three times.

As with any relationship, Jews and Christians have encountered problems on both sides, but I'm amazed by Mr. Sciolino's claim that "the road [to the Holocaust] began 2,000 years ago" in the Church. The first Christians were faithful Jews who saw that Christ did not abolish the Law, but fulfilled it. Nowhere is Christianity's proud Jewish heritage more evident than in Catholicism.

Mr. Sciolino commits historical "malpractice." Galileo was not the Church's finest moment, but it wasn't Galileo's, either. Rather than propose his theory simply as a scientific matter, Galileo insisted that it be accepted as theological truth, though he could not prove it. The Church has long promoted science: for example, Copernicus dedicated his heliocentric theory to Pope Paul III.

Pope Pius XII vocally opposed Nazism even before the war, as Cardinal Secretary of State. After his election, he continued Pope Pius XI's defiance of the Nazis; these efforts often had to be secret, but they are well documented, including by many Jewish observers, of which Joseph Lichten and Rabbi Pinchas Lapide are just two examples.

Mr. Sciolino – not the Church – is on the "wrong side of history." Fifty years after Vatican II, that Council has been definitively interpreted through the "hermeneutic of continuity," as Pope Benedict XVI beautifully noted.

Mr. Sciolino's views are not about history, but his disagreement with Church teaching. Mr. Netsky should have asked why an institution so allegedly corrupt is still going strong after 2,000 years. The answer is that the Holy Spirit guides the Church to all Truth, despite the failings of some of her members and broader humanity. I pray that Deacon Sciolino will see that.


Dealing with Syria

Returned recently from Israel. Although always on military alert, Israel is currently enjoying a rather quiet time – other than the West Bank Palestinian clan, most Palestinians can and do now work in Israel, go to university, benefit from health care. Arab families are seen in the malls, on the trains, in the restaurants – i.e. enjoying life.

Thus it's no surprise that the Israeli "man on the street" doesn't want to hear about military action against Syria. Whom do you think that Syria will retaliate against? France? America? Of course not. They will simply send bombs Israel's way, which they can do without even crossing a border, or sending a plane in the air.

Secretary Kerry has well stated the pit-of-the-stomach sickness that one feel's in hearing of chemical force anywhere. Dropping American bombs adds nothing but harm to Israel to this sick situation.


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