Letters to the Editor

Church: Stand up for priests

I recently returned from a spring break trip to Mexico and I was shocked to hear about what was going on in the papers regarding Father Ashwell.

Father has never, in all of the 18 years I have known him, ever made sexual advances, actions, favors, anything you would like to call it towards me or for that matter anybody that I know.

Two other boys and I visited him in Italy while he was studying in Rome (1997) and although the main reason for our travel was to accompany and be of help to his elderly mother it was a trip that has always been of special significance to me. I was able to catch a small glimpse of my homeland: saw the sights, met the people, sampled the cuisine, and had a most wonderful time.

Being extremely proud of my heritage I am forever grateful to Father Ashwell for the gift of this trip and the memories I now have. I also had the opportunity to accompany Father Ashwell and various other members of Saint Augustine’s on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (1999). This also was a precious gift, since the violence in Israel has escalated significantly since then and I can’t envision how this trip would even be a possibility now.

Throughout all my life, Father Ashwell has been a good priest, a dedicated and competent pastor, and perhaps more importantly to me a trustworthy friend. War has been brought upon us by the media and certain foolish individuals and I believe it is time for the Catholics of this nation to stand up for our priests and for what is right.

David Manni

Oak Harbor

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