My paternal grandmother, a Belgian immigrant who lived in poverty in Patterson, New Jersey, was married to an abusive alcoholic who eventually abandoned the family. She later got remarried -- to a man who also turned out to be an abusive alcoholic.

When she died, the Catholic Church refused to bury her in a Catholic cemetery because she had been remarried.

That final cruelty, after her lifetime of suffering and struggle, drove her son, my father, out of the Catholic Church. I didn’t even know he had been a Catholic until very late in his life.

It would seem the bishop of the Diocese of Madison wants to inflict the same sort of cruelty on some of the people he is supposed to be shepherding. I am a Catholic convert (I came in with Vatican II) who refuses to be driven from my church because of leadership that seems to me to be acting contrary to the teachings of Christ -- just as I will not be driven from my country because of what I consider to be a corrupt and immoral kleptocracy running the federal government.

But I understand why many folks are leaving, and I don’t blame them a bit.

Marshall J. Cook, Madison

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