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'Spiritually Deflating' 

Editor:

Your recent piece on the Catholic Church and, more specifically, the Santa Rosa Diocese, was very well done ("Rid me of This Troublesome Priest," Feb. 7). The seemingly never ending story is deeply disturbing and spiritually deflating to many.

Although married to a Catholic, I am not a religious person. However, as a close observer of the church over many years, I still, despite this ugliness, find myself drawn to the church's majesty and appreciate the comfort it provides to its members.

As the church struggles to put this story to rest and heal its connections to the Catholic community, I hope a top down reflective process will lead the church to transition into the 21st century. It is imperative to make changes if the church is ever going to flourish again as a religion in our country.

Specifically, it's time to allow women to become priests and be eligible to transition into the hierarchy of the church. We all realize that it is an institution established by men and ruled by men since its inception. The church needs to wake up, look at the world — men only no longer works and it will only get worse in the years ahead if changes are not made.

Additionally, allow priests to marry. Fundamentally, forced celibacy is inhuman and, looking back, really hasn't worked out so well.

Thanks for the opportunity to put these thoughts on paper.

Theodore S. Mason, Austin, Texas

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