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Catholics, Jews must mend rifts

Argentina's Jorge Bergoglio elected Pope Francis I appears balcony St. Peter's BasilicVatican after being elected 266th pope Roman Catholic Church.

Argentina's Jorge Bergoglio, elected Pope Francis I, appears on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican after being elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. | Vincenzo Pinto/Getty Images

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Updated: April 18, 2013 6:37AM

Francis, the newly elected pope, has the honor and challenge of leading 1.2 billion Catholics. The new pontiff now has an opportunity to use his skills and vision to bring about increased understanding between Catholics and Jews. This is a rare opportunity to end an unnecessary millennia-long rift.

If there has been a grudge, for how long should it be held? Catholics and Jews need to find a civilized way to value each other and to feel valued by each other. Are Catholics and Jews mature enough to move ahead? Subgroups (in this case, Catholics and Jews) are the nucleus of cohesive groups. Their diversity enriches all people. Hitler did not understand that. Among his main strategic flaws was his failure to recognize this fundamental group dynamics principle. He chose instead to kill Catholics, Jews, gays, gypsies, and other subgroups that he perceived as threats to his country’s purity and unity.

Catholics and Jews are different in some ways, but in their humanity they are the same. The time has come for increased rapprochement between these two historically significant religions.

Leon J. Hoffman, Lake View

Oil is not our future

In his essay “Tyranny of Oil in all-time loser” (March 12), Robert Bryce argues that the only problem with current U.S. energy policy is that we don’t use enough oil. This argument, which must please the oil conglomerates, is riddled with obvious flaws. What about the indisputable environmental damage caused by the burning of fossil fuels? Or the fact that the exploration and drilling for oil, made necessary by our never-ending thirst, puts our environment at risk of contamination from accidental oil spills? Mr. Bryce makes no mention of this. What is needed in America now is an Apollo-like research effort to boost our use of clean renewable energy. Progress in this area can be made if we initiate a sustained effort to make renewable energy more commercially available. Fossil fuels will have to be a part of our energy policy for the foreseeable future, but we must move more aggressively to harness the renewable power sources of the future rather than leaning on the dirty power sources of the past. Only then can the U.S. lead the world toward a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Mark Kraemer, Wilmette

Mental illness story should not have run

Shame on the Sun-Times. How was the March 15 story “Ex-Trustee calls 911 …” news? A chronicle of an individual’s irrational behavior and descent into mental illness is not appropriate for public consumption. Details supplied in the form of quotes from conversations took it over the top. I was appalled.

The article served-up high drama, without a hint of compassion. Incidents such as those described should remain as private as possible. I wonder what could possibly have been the writer’s intent.

Cheryl Gold, Skokie

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