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Letters: Pope Book, Pardons, Kirk Reunion

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Letters: Pope Book, Pardons, Kirk Reunion

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Letters: Pope Book, Pardons, Kirk Reunion

Letters: Pope Book, Pardons, Kirk Reunion

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Guest host Mary Louise Kelly reads from listener emails about an interview with the publisher of Pope Benedict's new book, a piece on President Obama's lack of pardons so far, and the reunion of Vietnamese refugees and U.S. sailors who rescued them at the end of the war.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:

Well, we've been checking our mailbox of the digital kind. And here's a sample of the letters we've gotten from you.

Lyn Greenberg of Los Angeles, California, was outraged by my interview this week with Father Joseph Fessio. He's the publisher of Pope Benedict's new book. Father Fessio was speaking about the pope's writings on condom use. Some interpreted the pope's words to mean he was justifying condoms as deterrents to HIV. Father Fessio told us the pope has not changed his views. And he used this analogy.

(Soundbite of archived broadcast)

Father JOSEPH FESSIO (Publisher, "1"): Let's suppose we've got a bunch of muggers who like to use steel pipes when they mug people. But some muggers say, gosh, you know, we don't need to hurt them that badly to rob them. Let's put foam pads on our pipes, then we'll just stun them for a while. We'll rob them and go away. So if the pope then said, well, yes, I think that using padded pipes is actually a little step in a moral direction there, this doesn't mean he's justifying using padded pipes to mug people.

KELLY: Well, that analogy did not sit well with Lyn Greenberg(ph). She wrote: That he compared wearing a condom to mugging people was abominable. That Mary Louise Kelly failed to ask any follow-up questions about that comparison was journalistically negligent.

Well, Ron Leak(ph) of San Francisco was disappointed in another story this week. We reported that President Obama has, so far, not issued any pardons of people, that is.

Mr. Leak writes: Your piece that started as a seemingly innocuous recalling of presidential turkey pardons and spiraled downhill into yet another indictment of the president for not meeting your self-imposed quota of pardons was the worst. He calls our coverage part of a pattern of desperation, quote, "trying to prove NPR doesn't have a liberal bias."

Finally, in Missoula, Montana, Tommy Peterson(ph) found relief from bad news, in our story about a reunion between Vietnamese refugees and the sailors of the USS Kirk who helped to rescue them. Mr. Peterson writes that he listened to, first, the Kirk crew describing the death of the South Vietnamese baby. Quote, "their voices cracking with emotion." And then the Le family, voices also choking, remembering the funeral scene on the USS Kirk, as their one year-old baby, wrapped in two flags, U.S. and Vietnamese, slid off a wooden board into the South China Sea to the sound of "Taps." I broke into sheets of tears myself.

He continues: My flowing tears were witness to humankind's ability for grace, and not just greed, for pure kindness, and not just devastation. Thank you.

And thanks to all of you for all your letters. You can reach us at npr.org.

(Soundbite of music)

KELLY: This is NPR.

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