There seems to be a lot of conjecture about Pope Francis’ remarks concerning the church’s focus on issues such as abortion, marriage and contraception, growing secularism and other important cultural situations. The pope has also criticized the church’s focus on doctrine and small- minded rules.

Intellects such as John Green of the University of Akron seem to think the pope’s “language calls for less stridency on these issues.” What Green and others don’t seem to grasp is that Pope Francis is not trying to down-play any of the social concerns or cultural issues. He is, though, trying to remind us of the basic or first focus of the church, Jesus Christ.

All of the issues pertaining to human dignity belong to each of us, including concerns for those who hunger, those who thirst, the poor and the homeless. Our Lord often reminded us in these words, “When I was thirsty you gave me drink, when I was hungry you gave me food.”

All Pope Francis suggests to the bishops is to put their focus on the compassion of Christ. Too often, more focus has been placed on rules, laws and doctrine, and not the people they were meant to serve.

In his own words, our Lord spoke of the two greatest commandments, to love God with our whole heart, mind, body and soul, and to love others as he loves us. All of the prophecies and all of the commandments come from these two.

Pope Francis isn’t ignoring any of the issues that confront him. By example, he leads with a loving heart and asks us to do the same. God is No. 1; everything else takes its own place.

Les Johnson


Damaging doll

Thinking of Hallmark over many years, what comes to mind are good feelings, wonderful TV presentations and a motto that said, “When you care to give the very best.”

On a recent visit to my local Hallmark store to see the new collection of “Life Is Good” shirts and caps, I encountered something I didn’t think I would see at a Hallmark store.

There was the newest attraction for the “young”: the “Dammit doll,” a soft, skinny long-legged doll, complete with directions.

“When things don’t go right or you want to hit the wall, grasp firmly by the legs, find a place and as you whack the stuffing out of it you yell, dammit, dammit, dammit!!”

There are enough TV programs on which children are speaking disrespectfully to each other and their parents without giving them an out to act in a harsh manner. Indeed, life is good, handle it with care.

Cecilia Dugan


Incomplete data

The Sept. 20 letter “More deadly than firearms” stated that government data indicated the leading cause of death to be heart disease, at 597,689.

However, the government failed to include abortion deaths. In 2009, abortions totaled some 1.16 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and The Guttmacher Institute. Abortion was the leading cause of death in the U.S. that year, accounting for just under one-third of all human fatalities.

Raymond J. Adamek