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 October 17, 2005 VOL. 43, NO. 18Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

In praise of on-line edition
The Catholic Voice on the web is truly user-friendly.

I am a 35-year subscriber and I find that I read more of The Voice in the “on line” version than I did in hard copy. It’s a very comfortable read. I can go into as much detail as I want when I want to.

Keep up the good work and keep the cost of The Catholic Voice going down.
Kevin Reidy

(Each issue of The Voice is available at: www.catholicvoiceoakland.org. To switch from a printed copy to receiving an e-mail message with a link to the latest issue on-line, e-mail your name, mailing address, parish name and e-mail address to: voiceonline@oakdiocese.org. Your e-mail address will not be shared with any business, agency or person.)

Death penalty justified
I respectfully disagree with Archbishop Chaput’s arguments for ending capital punishment. (Voice Oct. 3, 2005) There are some fanatics who would kill anyone who transgressed beyond their acceptable limits. The majority do not demand that all murders be executed.

However, there are some individuals who are truly evil. A current example is the BTK serial killer. He shows absolutely no remorse or compassion and would return to his evil ways if possible. I do not argue that we should execute him to protect society (although that is a valid point). He has proven himself to be totally committed to evil and shows absolutely no interest in repentance.

A similar example is Richard Speck who murdered innocent nursing students. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and spent his years participating in a series of sexual exploits in prison and never showed any remorse.

Archbishop Chaput would retain him in society awaiting a repentance which may never come. Why do we humans try to take the place of God? Only He can see into a person’s heart and see if there is any possibility of repentance and a proper need of forgiveness. Turn these evil ones over to God’s judgment; we need to remove them from humankind. If repentance comes, God will deal with it.

When Satan and his minions decided to reject God, God did not retain them in heaven waiting for them to repent and return. He saw in their hearts that they would never do so and condemned them to Hell for eternity. Why not trust him with these souls?

God’s ways are not man’s and man’s are not God’s - so it is; so it should be. We should not try to be God.
Clifford R. Wiesner

An immigrant’s perspective
Gov. Schwarzenegger, you want me to arrive on time to clean your garden so you feel proud of it, but how can I get to work? You want me to arrive on time to fabricate those micro pieces for computers so that the producer doesn’t slow down production, but how can I be on time without a car?

You want the hospitals, schools, offices to be pristine, but how can I do it if I don’t have a way to get there to accomplish my work? You want to have fresh fruits and vegetables, how can I go to pick them without transportation? You want to enjoy delicious food. How can I arrive to prepare it?

You want buildings to be perfectly painted. I like that work. It’s honest and gives me satisfaction, but how do I get there? You want your house, the place where you reside, to be clean even to the last corner. I need a way of transportation to get there. How do I do it?

And now you want to close the borders. Do you forget that you crossed it in the past? Listen to the voice of your conscience. Close the doors to evil. We all need each other; the world sees this truth.

I am Esperanza Vazquez, Mexican by birth, U.S. citizen by choice. To help my brothers, each election I vote.
Maria E. Vazquez

No evil intent
I am writing in reply to Yolanda Sanders’ letter, “Victims, not refugees” (Forum, Sept. 19).

I certainly cannot speak for The Voice’s use of the word “refugee.” But for days after the hurricane, I, too, used the term to describe those displaced by Katrina. I am a white woman, and was certainly aware that most of the people to whom the term was applied were African American. However, I used it believing it simply to mean those seeking refuge in time of danger.

On the Sunday after the hurricane, one of the priests at our parish used the opening prayer for the Mass for Refugees and Exiles. And literally thousands of media outlets around the country used the same term. I would like to assume that their use was also a misunderstanding about the term and not any ill intent towards those displaced by the hurricane.

I hope that, in addition to expressing anger to The Voice, that Ms. Sanders also expressed it to the city, state and federal officials whose lack of organization and communication contributed to the fact that there were victims in the first place. Had warnings been heeded, money spent, recommendations followed, and plans put in place, there would be no need for the clarification of terms or the printing of these letters.
Deborah Tatto

Indistinct distinction
OK, in current English usage, there is an indistinct distinction between “refugee” and “evacuee.” Evacuees expect to go back. Refugees may not be able to go back, either because the situation might be too dangerous for them, as for political refugees, or there may be nowhere remaining for them to go back to.

All the people in the Superdome and others who left home before Katrina hit were evacuees and not (yet) refugees, even though they were taking temporary refuge. Some are now refugees, but all who fully intend to return as soon as it is workable are still properly evacuees. The language allows for overlapped usage and confusion, but “refugee” carries a homeless tone, while “evacuee” does not.

Neither word implies nor should allow any hint of fault on the part of the evacuee/refugee; a word that allows fault is “escapee”!
Janet Foldvary

Thank God for priests
In September our parish had a particularly rough week of deaths. I knew three of the families of the deceased. I was surprised at how much I was impacted by these losses though I did not know them intimately.

The thought came to me that our priests are closely involved with all the deaths in a parish and, by the grace of God, are able to minister to all, no matter what the circumstance.

As Jesus ministered to Martha and Mary when Lazarus died, though he knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead, he wept at the sadness of losing a loved one. So I look to our priests involved in our joys and sorrows and see God’s presence among us in a special way.

Thank God for our priests. Let us remember them to the Lord in prayer as often as we think of them.
Gloria Serpa

Support for gay priests
To my beloved gay priests, I love you and I hurt deeply for you. Thank you for saying “Yes” to Christ’s call and giving your lives for him and us.
Gay seminarians, I hurt deeply for you. You have also said, “Yes” to him. He will hold you in the palm of his hand. No one can hurt you, trust in him.
Nancy Powers
San Leandro

Disrespect at Mass
What has happened to our self-esteem or respect? When I was growing up, we always went to church dressed in our very best. Shoes shined, hair combed because we were going to visit our God and we wanted to look our very best.
Sometimes at Mass, you wonder just where you are – at the beach, a swimming pool, walkathon? Why don’t our priests say something? I asked one priest and he said he was afraid. Afraid of what?

I have been told to lighten up, but I hate to see people offend God or his people
John Marquette

A vibrant servant of God
Like most people, I take things for granted when everything seems to be working out great. In this case, I want to say that the arrival of Bishop Vigneron two years ago is like a breath of fresh air. Most likely it is the moving of the Holy Spirit!

What a loving and vibrant servant of God. And what a great teacher. My family especially enjoy reading the “In His Light” column. It is usually the best 5-10 minutes of my investment in reading any newspaper article! For example, where would one find a more succint and to the point writing than his Sept.19 column entitled “10 rules for handling disagreement like a Christian”? If you missed any of this issue, this is the link: www.catholicvoiceoakland.org/pastbishcolumns.htm

I think these insightful and precious articles deserve a much wider audience!
Please keep up the good fight,Bishop! We are praying for you.
Chris and Don Hu

Stop recruitment of teens
I am writing to voice my concern about military recruiting in our public schools (Voice, Oct. 3). While I support the troops and the rights of a volunteer military, I do not support institutionalizing involuntary recruitment practices.

The No Child Left Behind legislation automatically gives the military the right to take any public school student’s private information without any form of parental permission or notification. This snooping into students’ information needs to stop. There is an opt-out provision in the legislation, but rarely are students or parents informed of it.

I encourage students and parents to send a letter to their school’s administrators asking them to keep their information private. A sample form can be found at www.militaryfreezone.org/opt_out.
John Green
Sapulpa, OK









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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