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[Note: a Pittsburgh businessman, who operates a fleet of pleasure boats and who apparently also operates gambling casinos, has been appointed "official worldwide distributor" of Vatican Museums products. An editor at the Pittsburgh Business Times, for reasons (if they can be called that) unknown to me, decided to express his disapproval of this business arrangment by mocking and maligning the Catholic faith. A sufficient taste of the substance and style of his "editorial notebook" can be garnered from the list of brief quotations towards the beginning of my reply.]

June 29, 1996

Mr. Paul Furiga, Editor
Pittsburgh Business Times
2313 East Carson Street #200
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Mr. Furiga:

What's your excuse?

You'd better have a very good excuse for publishing a vile screed of rank bigotry as an "Editorial Notebook" by one John Berger (Business Times, June 17-23).

There is nearly no end to the offensive, insulting, outrageous, and even blasphemous puerilities displayed in that hack piece, that spleen-venting welter of crudity:

Yes, you had better have a very good excuse for mocking, maligning, and ridiculing my religion--all in the name of attacking one John Connelly and his President Riverboat Casinos Inc.--especially since I had never before heard that man's name nor the name of his company.

Yes, you had better have a very good excuse for offending and insulting millions of people, most of whom had never even heard of your periodical before you decided it was okay to do a cheap, base hatchet job on a businessman by desecrating what is sacred and dear to them.

Of course, a number of possible very good excuses come to mind:

Enough of that: on now to the real point of my letter.

A-P-O-L-O-G-Y. What does that spell? "Apology."

That's what I want, Mr. Furiga: an apology. A public, no-nonsense, unambiguous, bold, abject apology.

None of that We didn't mean to offend anybody malarkey, either. The whole tawdry diatribe was deliberately, purposefully, and intentionally offensive and insulting and I will not permit you to further insult me by feigning that it was not so.

This is something like what I want, and I demand it: We are sorry. We should never have printed such a vile piece of bigotry, and we will never even think about printing such a foul piece of bigotry again.

A sentence or two like--that that's all I'm asking.

I feel sure, though, that you would rather make the typical dodge for cover under the protection of the First Amendment freedom of press, speech, expression, and all that. So do cockroaches and other creepy-crawlies of the dank, dark basement scurry for cover when a human being turns on the light.

But it works both ways, doesn't it, that freedom of expression?

If a public, no-nonsense, unambiguous, bold, abject apology is not forthcoming from you, quickly and decidedly, I will proceed to exercise my own freedom of press, speech, and expression.

I will personally contact as many fellow Catholics as I can--by phone, by letter, by fax, by e-mail, by newspaper, by whatever it takes--and convey to them the contents of Mr. Berger's bilious tirade. Then, I shall ask the following of them:

Freedom of expression--yes, it's a wonderful thing. So, when are you going to exercise yours again, by apologizing to the Catholics whose faith you have mocked and defamed?


Mr. Lane Core Jr.

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Web Page © 1996 ELC The Webster Lane Core Jr.
(Created June 29, 1996; revised July 6)