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Editorial: Heroes Day?

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How shall we mark Sept. 11? Just as a generation of Americans will never forget the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the Americans alive today, and in fact most of the world, will never forget the events that took place on Sept. 11, 2001.

Almost every American agrees that something must be done. We cannot wake up next Sept. 11 and pretend that it is just another day. It is not and it should not be. Like the attack on Pearl Harbor, Sept. 11, 2001 is a day that will live in infamy.

The pain will not soon be forgotten. It will live on in the hearts of the survivors, especially in the children of the victims. But, hopefully, the day will come when that pain and anger are overshadowed by the memory of the heroism showed by the brave men and women who died trying to save others at the World Trade Center and the thousands of Americans who participated and continue to help in the recovery effort.

We must remember the brave firefighters who climbed the stairs at the Twin Towers knowing that they could be rushing to their deaths. And we must also remember the Americans in small towns across the country who gave blood or collected donations to replace one of the fire engines destroyed when the towers collapsed.

We think Congress should consider naming Sept. 11 Heroes Day. In New York and in communities across America, this could be day to honor not only police and firefighters but any person who risks his or her life for the sake of others. Just as Martin Luther King Day has become an occasion to reflect on the ongoing struggle for human rights, Heroes Day would provide an opportunity to reflect on the value of a life of public service.

On Sept. 11, we experienced the most devastating attack that has ever take place on American soil. But it was also New York’s and perhaps America’s finest hour. We have never been prouder. We have never been stronger. The terrorists and the hate-filled extremists will be someday defeated. But the courageous acts of the heroes of 9/11 should live on to inspire generations yet to be born.

Editorial: Sins of the fathers

We applaud the decision of Edwin Cardinal Egan, the highest Catholic official in the New York area, to deal firmly with priests who have been involved in the sexual abuse of children. The cardinal said he would encourage anyone accusing a priest of abuse to contact the police. But he stopped short of promising to report all accusations of abuse brought to his attention.

It’s a good first step. But it’s not good enough. Like teachers and hospital workers, clergy should be mandatory reporters. With the exception of information learned through confession, priests, nuns, ministers and rabbis should be required by law to notify the proper authorities whenever they learn of a case of suspected child abuse.

Religious institutions are not equipped to investigate such accusations. This should be left up to the police. This can be done without serious damage to clergy who may be unjustly accused. After a period of time, the police or the Agency for Children’s Service would seek the arrest of the accused clergy member or they could notify all parties involved that the accusation is unfounded.

There can be no second chances for convicted child abusers. There is no treatment or cure for the sickness that leads to such perversion. Child abusers must be kept away from children. The fact that some priests were sent to rehabilitation and then allowed again to do pastoral work is an abomination.

Catholics and the majority of priests who are decent, honorable public servants should not feel victimized by the child-abuse controversy. When the perverts are weeded out, the decent members of the clergy will regain public confidence.

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