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March 20, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 6Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

Statement of defiance

Fifty-five out of 72 Catholic Democrat Congress members, led by Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, delivered a “Statement of Principles” to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (March 6 Voice), and indirectly to every Catholic, demanding that the Church accept and give recognition to their overriding right to dissent from the Church teaching on abortion. 

Every California Catholic Democrat House member who signed that letter has a 100 percent approval rating from Planned Parenthood’s political action committee. That means that they vote for and publicly promote the cause of abortion without question. That means big bucks at election time. Babies don’t donate. 

That means that these legislators chose to give preference to the abortion interest lobby in defiance of their sworn oath to represent all people. 
The spokesman for one of the signers stated to me that it was not at all caused by the 2006 mid-term elections or the witness of Democrats for Life. He said it was something that DeLauro asked them to do. He further supported the letter’s stated denial that Democrat lawmakers “celebrate abortion.”

If it’s not a celebration, what is it when they attend wine and cheese parties at abortion clinics and, like Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Hillary Clinton, attend awards dinners hosted by Planned Parenthood and NOW? 

Did Jesus attach a footnote to his teachings exempting politicians from protecting the innocent? 

Camille Giglio
Director 
California Right to Life Committee 
Walnut Cre
ek  

Support signature gathering

The Parents’ Right to Know and Child Protection initiative is currently being circulated for signatures. The proponents have until May 15 to secure the 900,000 signatures they project they need to qualify the initiative for the November 2006 ballot.

The issue is an important one in establishing the right relationships that constitute a good society. As the initiative states: “The people of California have a…compelling interest in and responsibility for protecting the health and well-being of children, ensuring that parents are properly informed of potential health-related risks…”

The California Catholic Conference (CCC) was pleased to publicly support a similar initiative that was on the November 2005 ballot and we expect to do so again if this one qualifies.

The CCC is in contact with the leaders of this year’s initiative and will continue to strategize, support and assist them where possible. An effort of this magnitude requires serious financial and professional assistance if it is to succeed. The CCC will monitor closely the initiative effort with prayerful hope for its success.

As executive director of the California Catholic Conference, I encourage Catholics and others who wish to support the true health and well-being of children and to guarantee fundamental parental rights to support the signature gathering effort with their time, talent and treasure.

Edward E. Dolejsi
Executive director
California Catholic Conference
Sacramento

A hymn for unity

When I read David Ross’ letter (Forum, March 6), I thought to myself, “I wish the Reader’s Forum would go on vacation for awhile.”

To suggest that the hymn “In Christ There Is No East or West” is “silly” made my jaw drop. I suggest that Mr. Ross read and pray the words of that hymn which call for unity in the Christian community as well as in the world. The words were written by William A. Dunkerley in 1908 and are worth considering in this sometimes violent world of ours.

 

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North;
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.
In Him shall true hearts everywhere
Their high communion find;
His service is the golden cord,
Close binding humankind.
Join hands, then, members of the faith,
Whatever your race may be!
Who serves my Father as His child
Is surely kin to me.
In Christ now meet both East and West,
In Him meet North and South;
All Christly souls are one in Him
Throughout the whole wide earth.

Father Vincent J. Scott
Pastor
Assumption Parish
San Leandro

Support during tragedy

The administration, faculty, staff and students of Salesian High School would like to express our profound gratitude for the support of so many local Catholic schools following the tragic death of our sophomore, Jenny Selitham.

There were counselors from across the diocese on Salesian’s campus within hours of the announcement. Additionally, many schools offered advice, information and materials on managing the crisis.

It takes a community to get through such a difficult time and we were blessed to have faced it with so much support. God bless you.

Father Nicholas J. Reina SDB
President/Director
Salesian High School
Richmond

Ask the people of God

Cardinal-designate William Levada is quoted in the March 6 Voice as saying of priests who are open about their homosexuality: “I think we must ask, ‘Does such a priest recognize how this act places an obstacle to his ability to represent Christ the bridegroom to his bride, the people of God?’”

I suggest that the prelate ask the people of God. Perhaps he will discover that all the people of God care about is that their priests preach and practice those things – love of God and love of neighbor – advocated by Christ, who was silent on the subject of homosexuality.

Father Declan Deane
Parochial vicar
All Saints Parish
Hayward

Homosexuality and the Church

Mary Gregory (Forum, March 6) dislikes but doesn’t dispute Jim Crowley’s summation of the Church’s sex-abuse scandal (Forum, Feb. 20): 81 percent of victims were males and generally older than female victims [page 9, John Jay College report]. The U.S. bishops’ National Review Board acknowledged that homosexual behavior characterized the crisis.

Crowley faulted dereliction (or complicity) by numerous bishops in concealing known abuse cases, in condoning homosexuals and dissenting theologians in seminaries, and in permitting systematic rejection of orthodox seminarians. As Crowley observed, only the restoration of genuine Catholic teaching and practice will prevent new Church scandals.

Gregory supposes that thinking like Crowley’s caused Matthew Shepard’s murder. She’s dead wrong. As even lesbian commentator Camille Paglia recognized, “Rainbow flags and upbeat slogans about ‘tolerance’ [won’t] help a frail, confused young man in dark encounters with sociopaths.” Shepard’s “assailants were low-rent outlaws”; and “the bombastic excesses of gay activism lulled [Shepard] into a false sense of security about the world..., where the stalker can suddenly become the prey.”

As the March 6 Catholic Voice reported, Cardinal-designate William Levada, new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, recently criticized priests who announce their homosexuality, echoing a 1992 instruction by the same Congregation, led then by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI: “The majority of homosexually oriented persons who seek to lead chaste lives do not publicize their sexual orientation…”

Michael Arata
Danville

Clarifying IRS rules

Here is the link to the document that I believe was mentioned in the March 6 edition of the Catholic Voice regarding IRS guidelines on political campaigning by churches and other non-profit organizations:. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=154712,00.html

Unfortunately the well-intended Religion News Service article did not draw a distinction between the prohibition against “Political Campaign Intervention” (the direct or indirect participation in or intervention in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective political office) and “Issues Advocacy” (taking positions on public policy issues).

The above-mentioned document clearly shows the distinction (Glory be!). It gives examples of how you can cross the line in either case, so for those who need to know, it’s a good read.

My only interest in sharing this information is to make sure the “baby isn’t thrown out with the bath water” by anyone who read the recent article in The Voice and who might errantly conclude that the Church is not able to be involved in “Issue Advocacy.” On the contrary, the IRS clearly respects the right and moral obligation of the Church to do so.

TJ (Tom) O’Malley
Danville

More clarity, timeliness

In presenting the 2004 year-end diocesan financial report, Bishop Vigneron indicated he wished to be a “good steward” of the monies given by the laity (Voice, Feb. 20).

To this end I urge the bishop to take responsibility for presenting this type of increasingly important financial information in a more timely and informative manner so that all can be aware of the financial activities that have transpired within the diocese on a current basis rather than 14 months after the fact.

Clarity is equally important so that large expenditures/accounts can be understood and subsequently supported by the laity with financial assistance as appropriate.

Some example in the ‘04 statements that deserved further explanation are: a non-recurring $5 million clergy retirement contribution; almost $5 million in general expenses, more than double that of the previous year; $4.6 million moved from loans to investments in the new cathedral; a $25 million guarantee of borrowings by the new cathedral; Canon Law expenses of nearly a half-million dollars to “judicially” administer the Church; and $258,000 to support the offices of Bishop Vigneron and Bishop Cummins.

As there are so many needs to be supported in our diocese and throughout the world, full transparency and candor are a must and will go a long way to ensure the laity’s continued support.

Tom Kirk
Danville


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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