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October 15, 2010

Dear Archbishop Listecki,

An article by you in the last Catholic Herald, called “Abortion is premier social justice issue” and an article about you in a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, compel us as Roman Catholics to write you and the editors of these papers.

Your article, that abortion is ‘a premier social justice issue’, for us is another example of how you and other Church leaders avoid and ignore other very important social justice issues by your righteous hiding behind the Church’s position on abortion. You use two most revered persons, Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II, to make your point.

Mother Teresa is not so much remembered for her position on abortion but for her undying care of the poor, marginalized and those left dying on the streets. This was her ‘premier social justice issue’. What are you doing about those who suffer and die on the streets of Milwaukee? Have you taken a stand on the proliferation of hand guns that devastate our culture? Where are you at the prayer vigils for the many homicide victims, especially young African American men that die by violence on the streets of Milwaukee? What is the Church in Milwaukee doing to reach out to residents of the north side of Milwaukee My (Bob) own Church, Blessed Trinity, despite its outreach to the poor on the north side area is being threatened with closure because we do not have enough money to afford a priest.

As you well know Archbishop, as Christian we believe in the “dignity of human life from conception to natural death.” In this light Pope John Paul II, who is your other example, condemned the US war in Iraq as “immoral, unjust and illegal.” So did the USA Bishops until the second phase of the Iraq war began. Then they, like the Catholic Bishops in Germany during World War II, became silent on the issue. Are not the lives of men, woman and children killed in Iraq Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine by American weapons not as important and a ‘premier social justice issue’ as the use of embryonic stem cells in research?

This brings us to today’s article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel where you state you hope to settle by mediation with the victims of clergy sex abuse. Yet in the same article you say it is too early to know whether the archdiocese would seek to have the court seal some documents. Ever since the Catholic Church scandal was revealed, victims and advocates have been seeking full disclosure and exposure of all documents and persons involved. The American Catholic bishops have been quick to apologize, blame and change procedures but slow to admit their own involvement in this scandal and cover-up and to offer full disclosure. Just think of all the money the Church could have saved, more than enough to keep my (Bob) church open, if it would have been forthright, up front and honest since the beginning.

Dear Archbishop, there are other moral issues that are ‘premier social justice issues’ besides those dealing with sex, gender and abortion. One is Marquette University, a Jesuit Catholic University, hosting a School or Department of the Army that teaches military students from the region that Army values take priority over conscience; or that killing reflexively, as it is called in the military, is okay. When we wrote you about this scandal, that is causing the loss of human life, you just ignored it.

By all your words about abortion, byt your silence on reflexive killing, killing without conscience, you are saying loud and clear that abortion of an unborn fetus is wrong … but taking of a human life, of a person already born, not in self defense, is okay.

We have been loyal to the Catholic Church and over and over again defended the Church and it’s teachings to friends and family who no longer can see the moral authority of the Catholic Church being practiced. Now we are beginning to question our own loyalty to the Church over that of the Palestinian Jew called Jesus Christ, who clearly spoke a gospel of non-violence in all of its aspects.

You can ignore this letter also and not permit it in the newspaper; after all you are the publisher of the Catholic Herald and the Archbishop of Milwaukee and we are just an ordinary, marginalized Catholics … but we need to give you our ‘opinion of the truth’ and hope you respond in a forthright manner.

Thank you and the editors of the two newspapers if you took the time to read this letter.

Bob Graf

Joe Radoszewski

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