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 May 22, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 10Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

Outrageous position

As a practicing Catholic, with a Jesuit education, I find the position of the Church regarding illegal immigration outrageous. The United States has always welcomed immigrants who obey our laws. In addition, we have sent billions of dollars to undeveloped countries around the world trying to alleviate their problems. All of this can end with the thousands of illegal aliens flowing into this country.

The pronouncements by the Church are appalling. They are like a cheerleader who is watching an overcrowded lifeboat begin to sink. Or it’s like “killing the goose that laid the golden egg.”

The American way of life is in jeopardy. English is becoming a second language. The Latinos have already taken over our state government (referring to the Assembly’s support of the marches). Many bring the failed practices and attitudes of the Mexican government. Our jails are crowded with illegals who have broken other laws.

Since 1986, when amnesty was last given to illegal aliens, an estimated 12 million more poor people have entered our country, completely ignoring our laws. There is no doubt in my mind, if I were in their place, I would do the same thing.

However, having had the opportunity to travel, and seeing the horrible poverty around the world in places like Central America, Kenya, Egypt and China, there is no way the United States can or should do more than what is provided for in our laws.

Jerry Hutchinson

A wake-up call
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 granted amnesty to almost 2.7 million immigrants who were in the U.S. illegally at the time. We now have an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Clearly, amnesty programs only encourage more illegal immigration.

The California Catholic bishops now want to reward these 11 million immigrants who entered the country illegally with amnesty and grant U.S. citizenship to their families as well (Voice, April 3). This could easily total 40 million people—equal to the combined populations of California and Oregon.

In the view of these bishops, the U.S. taxpayer is supposed to subsidize 40 million mostly uneducated people who do not speak English, have no skills, and entered the country illegally.

The world population is now about 6.4 billion and it is growing by about 80 million per year. It is fair to say most of these 80 million would come to the U.S. if they could.

Rising oil prices are due to increasing world demand pushing against a finite resource and our ability to produce oil. It should serve as a wake-up call that this growth in human population is unsustainable. Allowing poor countries to export their surplus population to the U.S. only exacerbates the problem.

If the bishops wanted to do something useful, they would change the Catholic Church’s archaic position on contraception.

Donald F. Anthrop
Professor Emeritus
Environmental Studies Department
San Jose State University

Serious misrepresentation

Greg Bullough seeks to exonerate homosexuality as the primary factor in the Church’s clerical sex-abuse scandal (Forum, May 8). But Bullough misrepresents data from the John Jay College Supplementary Report on the Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2002 (www.usccb.org/ocyp/JohnJayReport.pdf).

He asserts that “priests who abused girls tended to have only one reported victim,” while those preying on boys tended to be multiple offenders. Bullough then supposes that his statistical sidestep invalidates the bishops’ National Review Board finding that “the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior.”
As the Supplementary Report states: “Single-victim priests had 1,178 male victims (66.7%) and 591 female victims (33.3%) compared to the group with multiple victims who were reported to have abused 6,089 male victims (84%) and 1,159 female victims (16%).”

Reckless promiscuity and recidivist persistence of abuse are indeed common behaviors among homosexual predators — but here, there were also twice as many homosexual single-victim cases.

For good reason does our Catholic Catechism characterize homosexual activity as “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law” (n. 2357). Men with homosexual attractions should be kept out of the priesthood. This is simply common sense.

And it’s a “man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children,” who “form a family” (n. 2202). Homosexual adoptions, recommended by John Lubeck ( Forum, May 8), are an activist stratagem to un-define the family and normalize a disordered condition.

Philip C. Sevilla
Rio Rancho, NM

Catholics can discern
Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code” is a work of fiction. Even cloistered, deeply buried administrative functionaries in Rome should know that means a literary composition written not for truth, but entertainment.

The Church has long doubted the intellectual capacity of its lay members and has force-fed its followers regurgitated summaries of religious beliefs through Latin encyclicals, letters and church laws rather than teaching them to read, learn, understand and depend upon the holy word of God from the Bible.

As a consequence, we have Archbishop Amato’s pathetic revelation (Voice, May 8) that Catholics are by and large so ignorant of their faith that they are incapable of articulating what they believe or why, not even able to defend themselves against fiction. Most are armed with only remnants of the Baltimore Catechism’s second grade response, “because God made me…” as their sole weapon of intellectual persuasion.

What does that say about the Church’s approach to teaching? Or how it has prepared its members to live, or to defend, their Christian beliefs out in the world?
With so many secrets, so many scandals, the Church would rather not even attempt to distinguish fact from fiction. Its leaders have lost faith that truth will out and lies cannot be sustained no matter how artfully packaged.

Instead, their response is to entrench. Head to the basement, lock your doors, do not read the book nor attend the movie.

Anthony Knaapen
Walnut Creek

Living as saints

How can we live our lives as saints? Most people probably have never thought about it. Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was ill and you comforted me. … The King will say, ‘I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my brothers, you did it for me.” (Matt. 25: 35-40)

What is Jesus trying to say to us? To take a breath, stop what you are doing and occasionally open your eyes and make a conscious effort to help others in need.
We can follow the way of St. Therese to live as a saint. She never complained and took joy in every chore and job she was given. W can follow her footsteps. We will never perform real miracles or die as a martyr, but we can perform small miracles by healing broken hearts and providing spiritual comfort to the sick and dying.

Theresa Hull-Nye
San Leandro


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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