The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 17, 2013

Readers' Forum 1-17 | Baptism characterization baffling

— There is a concern I would like to bring up that happened recently at a Mass that relates to why young people today are drifting away from the Catholic church.

The priest’s sermon was in regard to how important baptism is by referring to the children’s book “The Ugly Duckling” to explain the relevance of baptism.

I was overwhelmed with how this was explained to the congregation. The priest stated that before being baptized, a child/adult was an ugly duckling, but when baptized would become a beautiful swan. This characterization to me was very upsetting. Was the priest trying to say that a newborn child/adult who is not yet baptized is an ugly ducking in the Lord’s eyes and cannot be a beautiful swan until he or she is baptized?

This is not the right message to be giving people. Everyone born is beautiful in our Lord’s eyes, and I do not believe our Lord would say, “OK, you have to be baptized before being a beautiful person in my eyes.”

In my opinion, the Lord does not work that way. With all the recent changes in the Catholic religion (prayers) and all the red tape young and old alike have to go through to become a Catholic, it is no wonder people are leaving the Catholic church and going with other denominations.

What is mind-boggling is that the Vatican Catholic guidelines are not followed in all states or dioceses.

Lynn Kassander


On gun issue, use common sense

In the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment “protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, we need to take another look at our gun laws and how they affect us.

The case of D.C. v. Heller gives examples of “lawful arm use,” specifically self-defense within the home. If someone broke into your home at night, would you spring from the shadows wielding only a butter knife? At the same time, do you really need a howitzer to kill the occasional ant that crosses the kitchen floor?

I believe that guns can play a key role in self-defense, when used properly. But, do we really need an assault rifle or 30-round clip to defend against a burglar? Do you use them for hunting? The answers shouldn’t be yes, should they?

Firearms can be very useful, but we need to use common sense when deciding what is really necessary.

Christopher Nischalke


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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