E.J. Dionne Jr. [“An example for the bishops,” op-ed, Nov. 26] was correct in holding up the example of the Catholic Church’s rich heritage in aiding those in need. The church was at the forefront of the university movement and has been at the fore in medical care and orphanages, etc. For example, about one-sixth of all hospital admissions each year in the United States are to Catholic hospitals.

Mr. Dionne also was correct in saying that religious organizations were effective in coming to the aid of Hurricane Sandy’s victims, manifesting a reach and a moral inspiration beyond Catholics. But he was wrong to suggest that the church should compromise its moral standing on social issues in favor of gaining popularity. The church has never been about popularity. It is about caring for its sisters and brothers spiritually as well as physically.

The church will forgo its schools, hospitals, orphanages and other programs for the needy rather than accept immoral mandates. And Americans will be stuck with fumbling government attempts to replace the much more effective charity done by religious organizations.

John F. Donovan, Gainesville