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Dear editor:

My initial reaction to Garret Gaston's La Petite Camera cartoon "Papal Makeover," published June 21, was that the ugly depictions of the beloved Pope John Paul II scream of his venomous hatred for the Catholic Church. That was before I read the captions attacking the sacraments and church teachings on licentiousness--teachings which Christianity has traditionally denounced for 2,000 years--and in the case of the Jewish faith, for as many as 5,000 years. Yet you would not see similar propaganda from the media attacking the Jewish, Muslim, or Protestant faiths or on protected groups, like African-Americans or homosexuals. So why is the Catholic faith considered fair game by Gaston? Only a guilty conscience produces such rabid hatred and anti-Catholic bigotry.

Unfortunately, Gaston lacks the understanding of a fine distinction--that the teachings on faith and morals of a divinely ordained institution can be divinely protected from error while, at the same time, every member of her clergy is still capable of sin. Christ himself founded this church when he gave the "keys to the gates of heaven" to Saint Peter, the first pope, and told him, "Thou art Peter (which means 'rock') and upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:18-20).

The Church has been attacked innumerable times during its 2,000-year history, but no one has ever succeeded in destroying her. A thousand years from now the Church will still be here, but no one will even have a memory of the Chicago Reader.

Karen Malec

Schaumburg

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