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 June 6, 2005 VOL. 43, NO. 11Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

Healthy debate and discussion
The adage says, “Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.”
This has been in my mind in recent weeks as I have been reading gleeful letters from people over the end of relativism and, presumably, the return to absolutism with the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

The relativism which is thought to be so dangerous may simply be the centuries-old tradition of theologians and people of faith reflecting on and discussing aspects of their faith that have not yet attained the mantle of dogma or infallibility.

The early Church survived debates in the Acts of the Apostles about accepting Gentiles into the faith and allowing new leaders to be named in addition to the original apostles. Can discussions over a married priesthood, women priests and artificial contraception be any more harmful to our faith than these early controversies?

We had a largely absolutist Church until Vatican II encouraged discussion and collegiality. We had a Church in which there were very few discussions about anything. We also had a Church in which Galileo’s writings remained on lists of banned books and in which Catholic Christians continued to blame the Jewish people for the death of Jesus. Until the early 1960s, we prayed for the “conversion of the treacherous Jews” on Good Friday.

Vatian II allowed the Church to grow and survive. I hope enough of Vatican II’s spirit survives the current regressive and repressive movements in the Church.
Martin Mailander
San Ramon

Society on downhill plunge
There are those who have scoffed at the warning that we are on a slippery slope when we ignore the respect for life. It appears that the slope is becoming a downhill plunge.

The current plunge began with the legalization of abortion on demand, for any reason, followed by the wanton killing of viable infants by late term abortion. Add to that the rise in “revenge” driven death sentences and the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.

Now we have the rush to clone and the snuffing out any chance of life for embryonic stem cell research. This research has been performed all around the world for years. Can someone tell me if one disease, or one person, has been cured through stem cell research?

Then we have the recent tragic case of Terri Schiavo. The current and growing practice to treat people as things or commodities is even more frightening. It is an attack on vulnerable patients wherein physicians, not the patient or the patient’s family, decide whether treatment is to be provided or the patient is allowed to die.

This decision is made by physicians based upon their judgment regarding the patient’s quality of life and economics. It is referred to as “futile care.” This is rampant in Britain’s National Health Service and is quietly being implemented in this country. Some American hospitals have been quietly promulgating futile care protocols that empower their ethics committees to authorize doctors to unilaterally refuse wanted care, imposing these policies on unwilling patients and their families.

Pope John Paul II was absolutely right when he warned the world of the specter of the Culture of Death. What can we as Catholic Christians do about it? Strongly express your opinion to your elected representatives, loudly and frequently, both verbally and in writing and vote out of office those who refuse to heed your voice.
Otherwise we may wake up some morning and find that it is too late.
Clifford R. Wiesner

God deserves capital letters
What a sad day in the history of the Church in America when a group of publishers decided to demote the pronoun references to God to a small/lower case status. Let Voice readers be the judge – which of these gives God His due?

Great and wonderful are your works,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
O king of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
Or glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.

Great and wonderful are Your works,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the nations.
Who will not fear You, Lord,
Or glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
Mildred Stoppard

Praise for Catholic Voice
I have to write to praise The Catholic Voice from cover to cover for its April 11 “Farewell to JPII” issue—great content and fine layout.

First of all, the cover with the empty chair said it all. Great touch. And the way you consistently localize international news is marvelous, including young Adam Kodzis from Martinez, “…best pope ever since St. Peter.”

Congratulations to the “best diocesan paper ever since the Acts of the Apostles.” Keep up the great work of being a mirror that reflects the reality of the Church today.
Frank Maurovich
Ossining, N.Y.

(Frank Maurovich is editor of Maryknoll Magazine and founding editor of The Catholic Voice.)

Mary is link with Islam
I was happy to read the articles (Voice, May 9) asking for more dialogue with other religions. But since we will never agree on the divinity of Christ, unlike what Akbar Ahmed suggests, I avoid the topic of Jesus. Instead when speaking with a follower of Islam, I concentrate on my devotion to Mary, such as the apparitions of our Lady of Fatima. I might note that Fatima is the name of the beloved daughter of Mohammad.

I might also say that the beginning of Christianity is the Annunciation when Mary said “Yes” to the will of God (Luke 1:38). The Archangel Gabriel who appeared to Mary is also believed to have appeared to Mohammed, announcing the beginning of Islam. I would add that Mary is mentioned in the Koran dozens of times.

The spirituality of the prophet Elijah is another common ground not only shared between Islam and Christianity, but with Judaism as well.

Readers interested in interfaith dialogue should try to attend the third interfaith prayer service planned at Holy Names University for Oct. 19. The services focus on our commonality first with the three major Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The second service includes Hinduism and Buddhism, incorporating the leadership of five presiders.

Most people who join us in interfaith prayer go home stronger in their own faith or spirituality. I hope readers will put Oct. 19 on their calenders.
Carmen Hartono

A wonderful new addition
Thank you for your recent coverage of the new Oakland Cathedral of Christ the Light (Voice, May 23). As a former Jesuit Volunteer and as a person who works with the underserved, I am pleased to see the mission of reaching out to those in need as it is continued through such a beautiful and uplifting architectural design.

Given the breadth of community involvement in the recent groundbreaking ceremony, I look forward to the opening of the cathedral next Epiphany.

A community cathedral as a gathering place and center for service, worship, education and culture will be a wonderful new addition to the community of Oakland and the Bay Area.
Natalee Ernstrom
Via e-mail

Beautiful’ cathedral design
The new Cathedral of Christ the Light will be beautiful. I like its “aspiring to higher things” lines. I am glad the cross is given a prominent place outside the cathedral.
Cathy Clark

Cathedral design is ‘ugly’
The Cathedral of Christ the Light. It couldn’t be more ugly. No more donations for the Diocese of Oakland. You have lost your mind!
Stephen De Luchi









The opinions expressed in letters to Reader's Forum are the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Voice or the Oakland Diocese.

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