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Pope fulfills his mission by continuing to serve



Published: Thu, August 8, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Pope fulfills his mission by continuing to serve

EDITOR:

I write this letter in response to your editorial, "Pope should step down after visit to homeland. & quot; To assert that the pope should retire because of his health problems is a strange proposition. The papacy is not a job for which one is hired; it is a job for which one is chosen by God.

True, the pope is aging, and he struggles to perform ordinary physical tasks. Italian newspapers have called Pope John Paul II "il papa soffrente" -- the suffering pope. Through his physical struggles and suffering, however, the pope may have a more important task ahead of him: to show the world how to grow old with dignity. In a world where the elderly are often hidden from public view, it is rare to see a man grow old in the public eye. In this way, he affirms the dignity of all human beings, a topic about which he has so often preached.

Although I am not youthful enough to have attended World Youth Day in Toronto last weekend, I spoke with several young people who related the following:

At one point while addressing the young pilgrims, the 82-year-old pope said: "You are young, and the pope is old." The crowd roared -- not with agreement, but with disagreement. Across Downs view Park, hundreds of thousands of young people screamed "No! No!" in their native languages and chanted, "The pope is young." All can see, of course, that Pope John Paul II is old. But for most of the devoted young Catholics at World Youth Day, it was not the physical appearance of a man that matters; rather, it is his heart that counts.

Now, more than ever before, the pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth. In struggling onward, he demonstrates true discipleship. In choosing to age in the public eye, he expresses the God-given dignity of each human person, whether young or elderly. The pope should not retire; to do so would be depriving the world of a Christian model which is sorely needed.

MELINDA KNIGHT

Youngstown

Youngstown needs safety personnel at full force

EDITOR:

I am writing in response to your July 29 editorial "Now is not the time for income tax increase." I am a 911 emergency telecommunications supervisor and lifelong resident of Youngstown. Over the past 15 years I have worked in Youngstown and bordering townships. All the training I have received while working for safety forces has taught me one thing that you have apparently overlooked: Trained and skilled emergency responders cannot be replaced with good Samaritans.

The Youngstown 911 Center receives approximately 400,000 incoming telephone calls per year. The Youngstown police and fire personnel respond to more than 100,000 calls for service annually.

A tax increase will not deter people from working in Youngstown. Not having adequate levels of safety forces to respond to emergencies in my city, my neighborhood, or, God forbid, to my home would be a reason to look elsewhere to live and work.

Starting Aug. 9, six fewer 911 emergency personnel will be available to answer your calls for service; 11 fewer officers will be available to respond to any emergencies you might have; and 15 firefighters will be gone. This will leave only six firehouses open in Youngstown to respond to any fires or entrapments that may occur.

This loss isn't worth a slight tax increase? Your solution is to be a good neighbor? The over 100-year-old bucket-brigade and Wyatt Earp mentality you suggested is an insult to me and to this community.

I am not averse to assisting my neighbors if it's in my control to help them. I am not saying that average people can't make a difference, or that everyday citizens can't do their part to cut down crime. What I am saying is that the average citizen is not equipped to deal with emergency safety procedures, and I will support whatever it takes to bring safety forces back to the level they need to be.

SHARON YAMBAR

Youngstown




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