A reader writes:

I live in Brooklyn, NY attend one of the oldest Catholic parishes with my two sons every Sunday (my daughter is too young). I went to confession recently and said how I sometimes wished for the death of Benedict. The priest absolved me and wasn't surprised. He took the time to discuss it with me and the anger in my heart over the state of things with regards to the abuses, non-inclusiveness and hypocrisy of the Vatican . In his homily this weekend, our pastor actually came out and spoke openly of the abuses. "My sins affect all of you just as your sins effect everyone else. We see this with the sexual abuse that has taken place inside the Church. The sickness of a few has affected all of us." He stopped short of going any further. But I know he wanted to.

There is such a freeze over open discussion, questioning and challenges to the authority right now. But like you I know the Church is bigger than this terrible leader. I get faith from reading people like you, who do not, cannot, give up faith yet speak of their pain. I need to read it. I need to know that my seat in the Church is precious. That raising my children in the Church is not a mistake. That good people like you and many others, desire nothing more than to be reconciled in the one true Church.

Another:

I understand a little better why I can't give up reading you, since my background as an Irish American Catholic with ancestors from southwest Ireland colors my perception of the world in a way that I only comprehend as I age. The things you struggle with in your faith are similar to what I struggle with. The dissonance between the beauty of Catholicism and the reign of Ratzinger is painful indeed.

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