I am writing regarding your article of Feb. 11, 2015 in the Review about Father George of St. Bernardine Parish.

Isn’t it amazing that people always bring politics into religion? We already have too much politics in our lives. I am starting out by stating I am not a “conservative” nor a “liberal.” I believe both have good and bad ideas. One of the bad ideas for both is that they can’t work together to find a way that is good for everyone. We were able to do it to come out of the Depression in the ’30s and blend together to defeat our enemies in WWII. I am a child of the Depression and a member of St. Bernardine since birth. Why can’t we do it now?

My belief is that some of the reasons for the closing of the school started long before Father George became pastor. First, the country has changed and most people don’t believe as strongly in religion as they did when they were growing up. The ’60s movement changed the nation. Some other people use the pedophile priest as an excuse not to go to church, blaming religion and not all the people involved. The elimination of the parish boundary is another reason. The population of Forest Park changed with a lot of young families moving out of town, more seniors staying and more singles moving into town. A lot of people then thought that St. Luke in River Forest and Ascension in Oak Park, being “richer” parishes, were giving their kids a better education. Therefore less kids going to school in Forest Park. With less children, high state and county taxes and the cost of going to a religious school — less enrollment. None of which was the fault of Father George.

The people who are blaming Father George should have gone to the parishioners long before he became the pastor, to see if we could all reach an accord that would benefit all of us and not just some. That should still be the answer and not blame a “conservative” for believing in his religion and being a good man. We all know that he has the best interests of our religion and the parish’s needs at heart.

If the people you quoted in the article worked with Father George and not against him, would things have been different?

Thank you for hearing me out and God bless and best of luck to Father George who made a lot of his parishioners better people for knowing him, including me.

 Frank J. Pedi

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