FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JULY 4, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 23
John Amato implied in his June
27 letter that the Catholic Church
sex abuse scandal is due to the celibacy
of priests (“Time for marriage
in the clergy,” Letters and
comments). He also stated that
the Church has no empathy for
victims of the abuse. Obviously,
Mr. Amato is unaware of certain
First, since new procedures
were put in place in 2002, the
Brooklyn Diocese has received
only two credible claims of sexual
abuse. Th e New York City Board
of Education has had many more
sexual abuse claims than that and
teachers and administrators are
not celibate. Abuse can be perpetrated
Second, Th e Brooklyn Diocese
has held numerous masses specifi
cally for those who have been
abused. Th e Diocese is not trying
to pretend that abuses did
not occur. On the contrary, the
Church admits its faults and along
with victims asks for healing and
Finally, Mr. Amato stated that
the Church could solve the priest
shortage by allowing priests to
marry. Th e Church has long
admitted that it could do a better
job of convincing young men that
becoming a priest is a viable vocation.
Secular people who cannot
understand why anyone would
want to be celibate to honor God
are the people who show a lack of
Mr. Amato may be disgusted to
be a Catholic but I could not be
more proud to be one.
Lenny Rodin, Forest Hills
I am writing in response to the
letter, “Time for Marriage for the
I agree there is a shortage of
priests and clearly marriage could
be a solution. Of course another
solution would be to allow women
to become priests. Moot point all
around because the hierarchy of
the Catholic Church is not going
to be doing either any time soon.
As for the sexual abuse scandal
in the Catholic Church, I fi nd
it sad to think that all priests are
being defi ned by the abhorrent
behavior of the minority depicted
in the media. I have known
many fi ne priests and I cannot
imagine what it must be like to
have to prove themselves daily to
people who clump them unfairly
with those that make the unwanted
What frustrates me are
“Catholics” who gave up practicing
their religion years ago, using
the church’s problems to justify
their actions, and then assume
that all other Catholics must feel
the same way.
If it’s empathy Mr. Amato is
looking for, so much good work is
being done by Catholic Churches
nation-wide, but little of it fi nds its
way into the media.
Parishes are acting as safe
havens for illegal immigrants and
homeless shelters for those in
need of a roof over their heads.
Th ere are nuns who not only teach
but care for the sick, elderly and
dying in hospitals, nursing homes,
and hospices as well as those who
work globally in the poorest of
communities whether in India or
Local organizations like Sister
Ave Clark’s “Heart to Heart
Ministry” in Bayside has, for 25
years, addressed the emotional,
mental, and physical needs of people.
Bridge to Life in Flushing, protects
the sanctity of life and off ers
a lifeline for young needy mothers
and their young children.
Hour Children in Long Island
City, cares for children of incarcerated
mothers while they are
imprisoned, and aft er their release.
Providence House in Jamaica
which helps transition homeless
or recently incarcerated women
into society. Th ese are just a few
examples of the Catholic Church’s
Maybe we Catholics should
heed the old Chinese proverb fi ttingly
adapted more recently by
the Christophers, an inspirational
Christian organization: “It is better
to light a candle than curse the
darkness,” meaning better to do
something to improve conditions
than to just complain.
Mary Purtell, Flushing
Email your letters to editorial@
qns.com (Subject: Letter to the
Editor) or leave a comment to any
of our stories at QNS.com. You can
also send a letter by regular mail
to Letters to the Editor, 38-15 Bell
Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361. All letters
are subject to editing. Names
will be withheld upon request,
but anonymous letters will not
be considered for publication.
Th e views expressed in all letters
and comments are not necessarily
those of this newspaper or its staff .
oped letters & comments
FIREWORKS IN ASTORIA // PHOTO VIA INSTAGRAM @durellagram
Send us your photos of Queens and you could see them online or
in our paper! To submit them to us, tag @qnsgram on Instagram,
visit our Facebook page, tweet @QNS or email email@example.com
(subject: Queens Snaps).
Real justice reform
without new jails
BY NANCY KONG
Aft er years of troubling reports about the horrifi c conditions
inside of Rikers Island, most New Yorkers agree that
the notorious prison complex must be shut down for good.
But instead of taking the long-view and advancing the
kind of targeted, comprehensive criminal justice reform that
would ensure the abuses plaguing Rikers never happen again,
Mayor Bill de Blasio is attempting to jam through a quick fi x
that does absolutely nothing to address the root problem.
Th e Mayor’s 10-year, multi-billion-dollar proposal, included
in his 2020 executive budget, is to construct four publicly
funded borough-based jails on sites in Queens, the Bronx,
Brooklyn and Manhattan.
In other words, he is planning to shutter Rikers and then
cross his fi ngers that four new jails run by the same dysfunctional
Department of Correction will somehow, someway
produce diff erent results.
Adding insult to injury, the local residents in the communities
surrounding the proposed sites have been completely
shut out from the conversation. Th e proposed jail in Queens
would be built at 126-02 82nd Ave.
Despite the fact that community boards in all four boroughs
have voted to oppose the proposal, it is still passing
through the ULURP process unchanged.
It’s time for the mayor to listen to the concerns raised by
local community residents and press pause on this hurried,
fl awed plan that will create four mini Rikers throughout the
city, including one in residential Kew Gardens.
Th e Mayor’s plan devotes no resources to building communities,
strengthening diversion programs, or reforming
the leadership of the city’s Department of Correction which
oversaw the violence, mismanagement and corruption that
has plagued Rikers for decades.
Let’s remember what we’re dealing with here. It was recently
reported that there is signifi cant undercounting of violent
incidents at New York City jails, based on a report by
the Department of Investigation report. Further, a 2017
court-ordered report outlined the relationship between people
incarcerated and offi cers at Rikers, and its fi ndings indicate
that offi cers “relish confrontation” with people incarcerated,
which explains why violence has increased despite
a decrease in the number of people incarcerated, and an
increase in offi cers.
What is wrong with Rikers has little to do with facilities,
but much to do with the regressive policies that the Mayor
and the leadership of the Department of Correction have
been implementing for years.
Th e report’s concerns are echoed by New Yorkers who
hope for true reform that addresses and overturns the disastrous
policies and practices that have plagued the criminal
justice system for decades. To that end, local offi cials, New
York City residents and prison reform advocates have noted
that Mayor de Blasio’s plan for new jails demonstrates a misunderstanding
of the criminal justice system and criminal
Th e bottom line here is if Mayor de Blasio is going to spend
billions in taxpayer funds on this issue, residents of Queens
should ensure that money is spent on a real progressive plan
for criminal justice reform. We don’t want massive new jails
that will just become new breeding grounds for the same
human rights abuses seen at Rikers in our community.
Instead of doubling down on his deeply problematic proposal
for new jails, he should reverse course, listen to the
concerns of his electorate, and develop a real plan to invest
in providing alternatives to incarceration for pre-trial detainees,
supporting mental health and drug use treatment programs,
ensuring speedy trials, and fi xing the systemic leadership
problems at the Department of Correction.
Nancy Kong is co-founder of Boroughs United, a community
group in New York City that opposes Mayor Bill de Blasio’s
plan for building new jails.