Online readers comment on "No Mercy," by John Nova Lomax, September 22:
Sad: We had a vacation home in Bolivar for years. Generations of my family attended this church in the '60s, and I found this story very sad and disturbing indeed.
Money talks: John Lomax did a fair job on this issue. I am an alumnus of one of four Catholic inner city schools that serviced low-income, minority children that was closed by the Cardinal last year. I feel the pain of these individuals who lost their dear church. We as a community in Houston fought very hard to keep our school open and requested several times to meet with the Cardinal with possible options to keep it financially feasible. Yet, it seems having his way supersedes any reason. He had no time for us and refused to listen to our pleas to keep our dear school open. It had been open for more than 80 years.
I followed the story of the parishioners at Our Mother of Mercy closely at that time, and my heart ached for them. In fact, it really angers me to know that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston could not find the money to help keep these four schools open last year, but could find money to pay Vinson & Elkins's attorneys to help them demolish this church that serviced the Catholics on Bolivar for years.
Like Ms. Joyce, I have had my faith shaken because of my experience with the obstinacy of the archdiocese and the Cardinal. I still go to the church because I believe in the Catholic faith, but I do not trust its leaders like I did. A leader loses his or her effectiveness when they stop listening to the people. Money talks — that is the lesson that I have learned dealing with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
I Am Wiser
Great article, John: My family thanks you. I am the granddaughter of Delino and Celeste Comeaux (Comeaux Hall). If it were not for the people of Port Bolivar starting to raise money in 1943, there's no telling when the peninsula ever would have had a Catholic Church. The people ensured the Catholic religion's place on the peninsula.
The Cardinal's "arrogance" is all about the money, definitely not the faith. Heart and soul were poured into the Our Mother of Mercy Church being built here. The Diocese handed us nothing. For the people who do not understand our anger and heartache over losing our church, it was not just a building — it was a place of worship to God, built by strong minds and bodies.
It's the people: As an experienced survivor of the "brick and mortar wars" whereby church congregations are divided and individual families are left in ruin, I certainly appreciate the straightforward reporting found in the "No Mercy" article this week.
While personally not knowing the reasoning behind the decisions made by "those appointed to leadership roles" in this case, I can state unequivocally that these types of battles are a good reason I now am associated with an inner-city church that meets in a reconditioned warehouse at the edge of downtown Houston, one that serves the hurt and hungry, as do many other local churches and institutions, by providing food, clothing, hands-on addiction counseling, meals, a place to shower and wash clothes, and a respite from extreme weather conditions.
In my meager role, I am often called to encourage others who have completely given up their own spiritual involvement due to feelings of "corporate religion abuse," feelings often generated by perceived "agenda-laden leadership." The Bolivar folks of this report will survive, as they come to realize that the church is the people, not the building.
Worship anyway: As a Catholic, I believe this is the one true church. I also believe that since St. Paul, the men who run it have been fucking it all up. So we worship in spite of the leadership (so-called).
Good story! If this god you speak of is really out there, how 'bout you speak to him directly from your kitchen table when you need to chit chat...Now there's a groundbreaking idea. These parishioners, by knowingly supporting corrupt and powerful religions, created his eminence and willingly/blindly handed a lot of power over to him. You have been finagled into thinking that you need a powerhouse like the Roman Catholic Church to bind your faith instead of finding god within yourself and others. You made your bed, now lie in it!
Greedy: Thank you for telling this story. I've often wondered what really happened, and now the mention of the money left to the Mother of Mercy brings out the truth. It's not my faith in God that's wavered; it's my faith in humanity. And that's all DiNardo is, just another greed-infested scoundrel. I will be sure to pass this article on to anyone who thinks otherwise.
Online readers comment on "No-Refusal DWI Crackdowns: Every Weekend For The Next Three Years," Hair Balls blog, by Richard Connelly, September 23:
Land of the free: Our civil liberties are being seriously ignored here! I don't believe in the ability of the government (be it the local sheriff's deputy or the president) to force me to submit to tests that involve taking my blood, urine, hair, cheek cells or any other part of my body (and it is my body, last time I checked) to use against me in a court of law. This is getting way out of hand, and we better get together and put a stop to it, or it will be too late to do anything. We'll all be in jail! This is still the land of the free and home of the brave. Upon arrest, you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. When my rights are read to me I can refuse to speak, and that should include a right to refuse to give up my DNA in any form to anybody until I have an attorney present.
Solution: Hey, I've got a great idea for how to not have your civil rights violated by a perfectly legal court order: Don't drink and drive. Phew, it was hard work coming up with that one. I think I'll take the rest of the day off.
How about some sanity? I don't think anyone wants drunk drivers on the road. Personally, I don't mind sharing the road with someone who's had three or four beers in two or three hours at a bar or whatever. However, the law treats them the same as someone who's consumed a liter of vodka in 30 minutes. I suspect that an attentive police officer could recognize the individual who's consumed the vodka by watching them drive. The person who's had three or four beers needs a roadblock or a broken tail-light to be arrested and put through hell. As a society our laws have overreacted to a serious problem. How I wish we could have some sanity when it comes to our criminal justice system.
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The 2010 Best of Houston® award for "Best Criminal Court Judge" should have stated that Judge Shawna Reagin defeated Brian Rains, not Jack Rains. Also, the award for "Best Twitterer — Humor," which went to @brandius, incorrectly spelled her name: Brandi Aguinaga.
The Houston Press regrets the errors.