Magnificent mission

Orlando R. Barone beautifully captures the mission of Pope Francis ("Words show Pope Francis' compassion," Aug. 23). The St. Vincent DePaul Society exemplifies the pope's mission to reach those who are marginalized. Members visit the most vulnerable individuals and families in the privacy and dignity of their homes to help them help themselves.

The world would be more compassionate and loving if all churches had a St. Vincent DePaul Society or the equivalent.

|John J. Donohue, Newtown Square

Debate honestly

Dayle Steinberg offers a rant by a zealot who wishes to turn the abortion debate from a meaningful, intellectual one into one that portrays those who oppose abortion as evil ("Planned Parenthood: Video portrayal is a lie," Aug. 16). Steinberg writes, "Extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood's mission . . . show utter disregard for and a complete lack of compassion for women's most personal medical decisions. . . ."

Referring to the opposition as "extremist" is at best unethical, as it is a sizable group with what many consider rational views. Apparently, winning is more important than honesty.

|Gregory H. Busch, Sewell

Words of heroism

Two two-word phrases spoken by two incredibly brave men 14 years apart: "Let's roll," by Todd Beamer on Sept. 11, 2001, and "Let's go," by Alex Skarlatos on Aug. 21, 2015, inspired others to follow their heroic, selfless efforts to save others.

|Peggy Kistler, Berwyn


A flurry of preparatory activity of late

Philadelphia has had close to a year to prepare for Pope Francis' visit, yet the lack of organization and communication suggests this is a surprise visit by the pope. Had things been done properly, businesses and Center City residents would have been able to spend the summer preparing. Now, they are scrambling to prepare things in just under a month.

It's obvious that officials in the city have no idea how to coordinate an event of this magnitude. I shudder to think how they would react to a natural disaster or act of terrorism when there is no warning or little time to prepare.

|Nick D'Orazio, Philadelphia,

Hoping for the best amid fear of a mess

While everyone hopes the papal visit turns out well for the city, the restrictions being placed on travel lead me to doubt that outcome.

I am one of the estimated 146,000 residents in the secure zone being told that we can't leave and return by car. This may be something we need to endure for the common good, but is the common good being served? Workers living outside the zone will have trouble getting to work if they can at all. Supplies for businesses, as things stand today, cannot be brought in for the most part.

Visitors are being told to be prepared to walk - a lot. Some will need to walk from Camden over the Ben Franklin Bridge to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. When they get here, how will they deal with the basic necessities of food and drink? Is it unfair to ask, given the imposition of these security measures, whether this city is capable of handling this event?

|A.J. Avallone, Philadelphia