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 June 19, 2006 • VOL. 44, NO. 12 • Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

Please come back

I can truly feel the pain of Leo Akiona, Sr. who is leaving the Catholic Church after three generations of Catholicism in his family (Forum, June 5).

At times, the human side of the Church can be concerned with wealth, power and can be stuck in the fetters of bureaucracy and politics. This certainly affects the “Body of Christ” and the spiritual life of our Catholic Christian faith.
He stated that the Church has a spirit of “Fascism and Nazism.” The Church has always fought against Fascism and Nazism and has always been a beacon of light for justice, peace and freedom. Our late Holy Father, John Paul II, helped defeat communism in Europe and prayed and encouraged every person to be free to seek peace and find God.

I encourage Mr. Akiona to look at the June 5 Voice which included a story about how the Church developed programs to eliminate the caste system in India and how the Church responded quickly with aid to the quake victims of Indonesia.

I hope he also remembers the heroes of our faith who always fought for peace and justice: John Paul II, Blessed Mother Teresa, Saint John Bosco, Dorothy Day, St. Maxmilian Kolbe, the Vietnamese and Ugandan Martyrs, Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, Blessed Father Miguel Pro, St. Dominic and St. Francis, to name a few.

Despite the evil in the world and the evil that penetrated the Church, the saints lived and died believing in the promise of Jesus Christ that “The gates of hell shall not prevail!”

Leo, hope in Jesus Christ, hope in his Church, and you will not hope in vain. Leo, help build a fourth Catholic generation in your family. I will pray that you and your family return home to the Catholic Church.

Joe Murray

Stay focused on Christ

Like Leo Akiona, Sr. (Forum, June 5), I also come from many generations of Catholics and I do have empathy for disgruntled parishioners who, for one reason or another, find more solace in another church.

The Catholic Church is now experiencing big lawsuits that are well deserved, but aside from this, its efforts throughout the civilized and uncivilized world to accomplish the teachings of Christ and the betterment of life may not be paralleled by other religions.

My experience is isolated to one church, but in my 46 years here, parishioners have come and gone due to liking or disliking the pastor, and we have seen many come and go, good and bad. As for the financial and physical things that Rome does around the world, some are good and some are not. But remember they may be the egotistical efforts of those in charge, which happens in all societies, but one main effort will always be survival of the institutions.

Joe Giangrasso

The burden of the illegals

I watched the TV news coverage of the May 1 demonstrations on immigration and there at the front of the lines were priests, nuns and other religious. The Church has taken the side of illegal immigrants.

That same week the Diocese of Oakland sent me two envelopes for donations, one for the Bishop’s Appeal and the other for Catholic Charities of the East Bay. Much of the money from both of these groups goes to help the people who marched on May 1.

This diocese, along with many other dioceses in the U.S., has deep financial problems because it has so many people to help. Many of the people who give to these and other charities are having trouble taking care of their own families, let alone giving, giving, giving.

Most of the illegal immigrants overburden our welfare system, our hospitals and schools. Many of them are given food in the schools for breakfast, lunch, and possibly dinner. Many of them dump this food into the garbage, including milk and fruit, and have been doing the same ever since my mom cooked for the schools 50 years ago.

How do you think the pope and Vatican officials would feel if 500 American Catholics tried to move into the Vatican and live there permanently? I can guarantee that Americans would not be allowed to do it.

William J. Beiriger

An issue of fairness

Few writers seem to recognize that if compassion is to be truly Christian it must be even-handed. When we were more than fair to some, we are automatically less than fair to everyone else.

The world is full of disadvantaged people who would love to come to the U.S., work hard, pay taxes, and enjoy our way of life. Those who attempt to do so legally are at least required to wait their turn in line. For example, just last month a friend was finally granted permission to immigrate legally after waiting in line for 17 years.

In that light, it’s clear it would be grotesquely unfair to legal immigrants, and consequently very un-Christian, to permit illegal aliens to remain here. Arguably, they should be sent back to wherever they came from and not permitted to return legally until everyone else who has been waiting in line has been permitted to immigrate.

That would be fair to all, compassionate to everyone, and genuinely Christian. It’s difficult to understand why many clergy as well as laity have such difficulty recognizing and accepting that reality.

Tom Billings

The threat of global warming

Genesis tells us we are to have dominion over the earth, that we have a moral imperative to care for this wondrous earth God has blessed us with.

A new film, “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore, details with very strong evidence the clear and present danger posed by global warming. For example, ice shelves are breaking up in Antarctica, the polar regions and Greenland, causing oceans worldwide to rise. Should sufficient areas break off, scientists have predicted a 20-foot rise in water levels, flooding low-lying metropolises from Beijing to Manhattan.

Cataclysmic changes can come quickly so the world we leave our children and grandchildren may well be far inferior to that which we enjoy now. Already, in 2004 the all-time record for tornadoes in the U.S. was broken.
Having shown that the U.S. contributes 30 percent of the world’s greenhouse gasses and pollution, more than South America, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, and Asia combined, the film then gives practical and concrete ways Americans can changes the situation.

Gore reminds us that both as individuals and with political will we can make revolutionary changes, just as historically we have done with eliminating slavery and acknowledging civil rights and women’s rights, by starting to heal the hole in the ozone layer.

The film ends by asking those who believe in prayer to pray that individuals will have the strength to make a difference.

Marlene Candell

Why name parishes?

In the June 5 Voice, 15 parishes were named as possibly due to be closed. Naming the parishes was unnecessary and probably damaging.

As a member of one of the parishes, I now hear questions of “Why should I donate if we’re going to close?” and “Shall I look elsewhere?”

My parish is both vibrant and financially secure, with pledges to the Bishop’s Appeal far over our scheduled amount and ministries filled to capacity.
I seriously question your judgment in publishing the names of the parishes.

Mary Starrs
Walnut Creek

(Editor’s note: Fifteen parishes have been asked by the diocese to examine themselves in relation to the 10 essentials of parish life as part of an effort to enhance the vitality of parishes. We named the parishes so Catholics throughout the diocese would be informed about the process.)



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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