I totally agree (“Catholic Church bombshell: Lay board that probed sex abuse seeks to be reappointed,” Sept. 4) that the nine-member lay panel that included Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke should be reappointed by the U.S. Conference of Bishops. They should have full authority to investigate all the hierarchy of the church, including cardinals and bishops.

In order to begin healing the wounds inflicted by the scandals of sexual abuse and cover-up, the Catholic Church must fully open all of its files. Justice Burke is correct: That will be the only way to restore trust in the Church. Furthermore, Pope Francis, as the head of the Catholic Church, must clearly address the charges brought forth by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano regarding his knowledge of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The pope’s vague remarks are sorely insufficient for the gravity of the situation.

Barbara Marion, Orland Park

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Vote for bipartisanship

Citizens are consumers of government services. The price we pay for these services are taxes. Ideally, we want governments to provide services that meet the needs of the citizenry as a whole and respect the rights of citizens individually. How do we make market choices? Primarily, voting.

As voters, we often lean toward one political platform or the other. The choices have become starker with increased political polarization. However, studies show that most Americans are actually political moderates. So what do we do?

I urge my fellow voters —  regardless of which way they lean politically — to add extra value to candidates who from time to time cross the aisle, even if they do so only to say hello. Platforms are important, but so are compromise, compassion and civility. A candidate who demonizes everyone in the opposite party should be valued less than one who can listen and communicate. Sometimes cooperation is out of reach due to principles. But, a politician who refuses even to speak with opponents takes value away from us the ultimate consumers.

I urge you as citizens to remember that bipartisanship has value, and I urge each and every one of you to vote. Nov. 6, 2018 matters.

Michele H. Thorne, Wilmette

Arts education

Each year, the cultural and education communities come together to celebrate the transformative power of the arts in education to transform our communities, schools, teaching, and learning. As our young people and educators return to school, we take time to reflect on the role of arts education and how it has contributed to making us the people we are today. When schools and communities embrace the arts — dance, music, theatre, visual and media arts — students benefit, educators are more effective, and learning communities are revolutionized.

Designated by Congress in 2010, National Arts in Education Week celebrates the transformative power of the arts in education. This year, we will be celebrating from Sept. 9-15, and I encourage all supporters of arts, culture, and education, as well as our elected officials and education leaders, to join with us.

Research shows that youth who participate in the arts are more likely to be successful in school, college, and career than their peers who did not have arts education. However, the same research indicates a racial gap in arts education, making it an issue of equity and racial justice.  We must focus on increasing access, particularly for students who are typically disenfranchised. And we must focus our efforts on broadening and diversifying the leadership pipeline, so that arts educators, cultural program leaders, and community artists reflect the communities where they work.

As we celebrate National Arts in Education Week, we should cheer our accomplishments, but also remember the work we have to do. How can we support parents, families, and the community in providing more opportunities for arts education? It’s up to us — the arts education community — to take a stand and take the lead.

Diana Banducci, Lake View