It's hard to know where to begin regarding City's interview with Jim Callan ("Truth to Power in the Church," April 24). It is filled with remarkable hubris, error, and distortion. While it's impossible here to counter each point, it's essentially unnecessary. Callan's points of contention are not "cutting edge"; they've been asked and answered many times over.

Callan's remarks remind me of a 2-year-old who wants candy for every meal. No matter the size of the tantrum, a good parent stands firm. Loving the child requires the parent to ignore the "dissent" and do what's right, even though the child doesn't have the capacity to understand the explanation.

The child may be surprised and angered that his wishes weren't met, but other adults would have been surprised and disappointed by the contrary. The Church is a loving mother who can't act in a manner that would jeopardize the souls of her children, no matter how loud the tantrum.

Practicing Catholics take comfort in the promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. Pope Benedict XVI is a blessing. We thank God that the voting Cardinals do share the viewpoints of the Church, so it's no surprise after all, that the pope is Catholic.

Dorothy Hayes, Rock Beach Road, Irondequoit


President Bush's visit to Rochester was an insult to most African Americans. The president didn't have the courtesy to invite the mayor of Rochester to his meeting. His visit was a lily-white visit. In fact, all of the president's policies are anti-African American, anti-women, anti-poor, and anti-people of color in general.

Our country is headed for a destructive path in economics, the so-called war (which is not a war), and the resurrection of hard-core racism.

Rev. Raymond L. Graves, Henrietta (Graves is president of the North East Non-Partisan Political and Social Action Committee.)


As the Iraq War drags on into its third year, and the toll in human suffering mounts, and the national debt rises to infinity, I wonder if we are getting used to a constant state of war.

Police stations and shopping malls do not blow up here, and it's only a few volunteer Americans getting shot up on the other side of the world. Seems like every day another bomb goes off somewhere in Baghdad. Do we stop to consider that ordinary human lives suddenly evaporate, leaving behind an ordinary family wracked with the same grief we feel at the loss of one of our own loved ones?

Do we wonder what it might be like dealing with searing pain, or trying to reassemble our lives without an eye or a limb?

We can't ever accept this as normal anywhere in the world. At the very least, we must stop our lives and try to imagine this happening to ourselves or our loved ones.

We know these bombings have been made possible by the chaos that followed our groundless invasion of another country. It is our responsibility to try to alter this administration's policy or to remove it from office. The task is formidable, but we must at least try.

John Kastner, Ericsson Street, Rochester


Just as children need to know their family's history and traditions, and the things their parents do, so the citizens of a city must also know the character of their extended family.

When guests visit you, they expect to see some reflection of your family displayed in your living room or on your refrigerator. The main street of a city should be its showcase. The center of a city is the nucleus from which the rest of the city springs. Just as parents read stories to their children, so must a city reveal its stories.

Rochester's downtown does not help us understand who we are, how we got here, or why we why we should be happy to be living here. There is no reflection of our accomplishments, no trophies, and no evidence of our inventions. We have no images of our most famous relatives, George Eastman, Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, etc.

The downtown that I foresee will become the catalyst, the psychodynamic engine of our hopes and dreams and an attraction for the rest of the world. It would be an invigorating environment, a place where virtue and heroism are prominently displayed. Downtown should be the first place we would think to take our guests. My recommendations:

Banners by children. Hand over our future banner projects to the competitive ingenuity of our children. Suggest monthly themes, appropriate to the seasons, attractions, and events of the year, and have children paint on banner cloth.

Photographs. Dress the windows of Main Street with our photographic legacy. Because of the "magic picture" film and its ability to capture a segment of time, the world can never forget its past or fail to conceive an improved future. The heroes who have been recorded will forever influence us: Martin Luther Kings' "I had a Dream" speech lives forever, as do the horrible acts of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. Without our genius, Hollywood would not exist. Tourism would be greatly limited, as would photojournalism.

Colors. We are the city of Kodachrome and flowers, yet downtown's colors are not pleasant.

Awnings. The buildings that make up our Main Street were designed to be skirted by awnings, protecting people from weather and attracting passersby. This is another opportunity to add brighter colors to downtown.

Music. We have the Eastman School, the Sibley Library, the Hochstein School, and the School of the Arts. We espouse a great musical tradition, and yet traffic noise is almost the only thing heard on our streets. Why is music common in other cities and yet utterly absent here? We deserve to be serenaded by the great talents that are hidden behind the walls of our world-class institutions.

The more aware we are of these treasures, the better we are at creating a new intrigue, and the better we are at attracting and keeping those who may be drawn away. Our future is in the hands of the inspired, and we must use everything necessary to generate a brilliant and joyful future.

Neal H. Rudin, Harvard Street, Rochester


We welcome and encourage readers' letters for publication. Send them to: themail@rochester-citynews.com or The Mail, City Newspaper, 250 North Goodman Street, Rochester 14607.

Our guidelines: We don't publish anonymous letters --- and we ask that you include your street name and city/town/village. We don't publish letters that have been sent to other media --- and we don't publish form letters generated by activist groups. While we don't restrict length, letters of under 350 words have a greater chance of being published. We do edit letters for clarity and brevity. And in general we don't publish letters (or longer "op-ed" pieces) from the same writer more often than about once every two months.