The humble, open approach to Catholic Church issues by the head of the Diocese of Springfield is welcome. A similar attitude in recent years could have helped the church here and elsewhere avoid loss and anguish.

In a pastoral letter issued on Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski apologized to Western Massachusetts Catholics for the clergy sex abuse scandal and the pain caused by church closings. Echoing Pope Francis, he urged diocesan priests to get out among parishioners to bridge whatever divides had emerged. (Eagle, February 10).

The clergy sexual abuse scandal that damaged the Springfield diocese as well as the church worldwide, was magnified dramatically by the determination of the Catholic Church hierarchy to cover it up, discredit those who were abused and blame the media for investigating the scandal. A more open approach could have spared the church losses of credibility and finances.

The same applies to church closings, including those in the Berkshires, necessitated by losses of population and monetary contributions. The haughty refusal to even engage in a dialogue with parishioners of churches targeted for closing, notably in Adams, caused the Springfield Diocese to alienate Catholics. Hard lessons having been learned the hard way, it may be that the diocese is now ready to listen and work with its members.