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Letter: Lopsided story on 'priest shortage'

We appreciate that Newsday covers various aspects of the life of the Catholic Church, but it should do so with more balance and less emphasis on feeding the not-so-hidden antagonism that exists in some quarters. What's at issue is how the article, "A strain on Sundays -- and every day" [News, July 28], focuses on a "priest shortage" and, in so doing, attempts to communicate three falsehoods: 1) a systemic problem threatens the Catholic Church; 2) church hierarchy is out of touch with reality, and 3) the only solution is for the church to change its beliefs, doctrines or principles.

Bishop William Murphy has said many times that we can always use more priests to carry the Gospel message. He takes issue with the specific word "shortage." According to the bishop, "The word 'shortage' connotes a crisis and places a cloud over living our lives as Christ's church. It implies our life as a church is being threatened by statistics. It is a misnomer because it distracts us from seeing the pastoral challenges in their full and accurate light."

The article included points taken out of context to support its misstatements. Interestingly, Newsday failed to include the following paragraph, which was in the same letter: "The latest statistics . . . indicate that we have a slight increase in the number of active priests serving in our parishes, hospitals, schools and other apostolic works. May this continue to be so. We have men studying for the priesthood in Douglaston, Dunwoodie, St. John XXIII in Weston, Mass., and the North American College in Rome. While we always can use more men, the ones we have are fine candidates."

Even if I decline to comment for an article that starts with false premises, Newsday should consider balancing its reporting, on its own, so that it reflects greater accuracy.

Sean P. Dolan, Rockville Centre

Editor's note: The writer is communications director for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Get a ticket, then buy sweatpants

I was a victim of a red-light camera violation at the intersection of Mineola Boulevard and Jericho Turnpike in Mineola ["Red-light cameras cite 'innocuous' acts," Letters, Aug. 1].

After viewing the video of my supposed violation, my family and I couldn't properly discern whether I had made a full stop. I assume that was the reason behind the summons; no specific charge was mentioned.

I showed up for my hearing and was denied entry because I was wearing shorts. The guard advised that I could go a few blocks in Hempstead and purchase a pair of sweatpants. He said that after court, I could return the pants, and he admitted that he had advised many others before me to do the same.

Well, I just walked to the payment counter and paid the $80. I was not going home to change, nor going to the store to buy pants.

I have since spoken to many others who were turned away from court for the same reason, so this is not just folly. It is another flying finger by Nassau County aimed at the driving public to swell its coffers at the expense of citizens.

Tom Scheuer, East Williston

Rezone land for senior housing

Even though a compromise has been reached between developer Engel Burman Group and the Town of Huntington, those opposed to the proposed community at the Oak Tree Dairy continue to speak up ["Controversy in Elwood illustrates housing needs," Editorial, Aug. 1].

As a senior interested in living in this community, I cannot allow the tyranny of the minority to influence the future of Huntington. The very people who continue to rally their small group to speak loudly against the Seasons at Elwood were a party to the negotiations that led to a compromise.

Now they appear to be reneging and want to continue with their lunacy. It's time for the town board to vote for a change of zoning for the project, and help alleviate the lack of senior housing in Huntington.

David Rosen, Dix Hills

A recent analysis by Newsday showed that Suffolk County's 65-and-over population increased 10.8 percent between 2010 and 2013. Twenty-eight percent of Huntington is over 55, and only 3.8 percent of its housing is designated for seniors. Engel Burman has been reasonable, realistic and sensible in answering community concerns. It's time the naysayers accept the idea that there is a desperate need for senior housing in Elwood, whether it's in their backyard or not!

Stuart Zimmer, Elwood

Protesting killings in Palestine

In a letter under the headline "More support for Israel from media" [Aug. 1], a reader complained that a demonstration in support of Israel at the United Nations was not covered by Newsday. I have a similar complaint.

There was a protest march on July 25 that started at Times Square and ended one block shy of the Israeli embassy. There was no mention of this peaceful demonstration, which was held to protest the killing of so many innocent people in Palestine. I do not want to see death on either side.

The people in Palestine have not been treated fairly and are trying to survive. Their land and their freedom have been, and continue to be, taken from them. This is not about any particular religion; this is about humanity. It is not necessary for all these people to die.

Other countries are objecting to these killings. I don't understand why my own country continues to give tax dollars to Israel under these circumstances.

Joyce Mongitore, Massapequa