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Letter: Lopsided story on 'priest shortage'

The procession enters St. Agnes Cathedral for the

The procession enters St. Agnes Cathedral for the start of Mass for the auxiliary bishop ceremony on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Andrzej Jerzy Sglejszewski will become the first immigrant to serve as an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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.