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 September 4, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 15Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

Don’t call priests “Father”

I read with interest James Erickson’s letter “Why change the words?” (Forum, Aug. 7).If there are word usages the bishops should change, the preeminent one should be the dropping of the word “Father” to address a priest.
The Lord Jesus said, “Call no man Father but your heavenly Father in heaven.”

The priests are our apostles and shepherds and should be addressed respectfully. I am confident the bishops can find a more appropriate term for our beloved priests.

Lonn Hendren
Hayward


Accept women priests

Recently while on vacation, my husband and I attended Mass in a church near Atlantic City, where over the years we have experienced standing-room only. This time the attendance was so small, we prayed as we ached for our beloved Church. Again, when we worshipped at St. Mary’s in Baltimore, a gorgeous, big church, there were just a handful attending the 10 a.m. Sunday Mass.

Then on July 31 we were blest to have an invitation to the ordination of eight women in a riverboat ceremony in Pittsburgh. What a spiritual and alive celebration attended by 350 people. Among them were priests, nuns and laity who had traveled from Ireland, Germany, Africa and other places just for the occasion.
Jesus was indeed the real focus. We were blest beyond measure. Remembering the celebration still bring tears to my eyes and fills my heart with gratitude for the future of our Church.

I believe that once again our Church will have a re-birth through women and, of course, men, please God. Like Bridget Mary Meehan (from Ireland), who was ordained, said, “I do believe deep in my heart that the future Church will accept women priests”

At age 72, I may not see this here, but I definitely will see it from heaven, which will be my continual prayer.

Marybeth Byrne
Alameda

Priest’s gender not relevant

The recent ordination of eight American women on a riverboat near Pittsburgh was rather sad, primarily because they are threatened with excommunication for “removing themselves from the Church.”

In my opinion, these women are moving faster than the Church, and the Church will eventually catch up. First, we’ll have married priests functioning; that should come comparatively soon because we have a need for priests. Then much later we’ll ordain women, be they married or single. The Church will inevitably listen to the Holy Spirit’s message that a priest’s gender is not relevant.

What keeps us from accepting women as priests is cultural bias, not theological insight. Culture will over time give way to common sense.

Tom Mader
Walnut Creek

War without end?

There is no light at the end of the tunnel of our war against terrorism.
It’s a leaking pot of acid. Our effort to hunt and catch every terrorist is as fruitless as using band-aids to stop acid from creating more leaks. The only working solution? Get rid of the acid.

Instead of trying to catch every terrorist, we should ask ourselves seriously, “Why do the Arabs hate us so much?” Get rid of the acid and stop wasting time with band-aids.

Fr. Larry N. Lorenzoni, S.D.B.
Salesian Provincial Office
San Francisco

Gethsemane

I watch the late night news
and retire to bed.
In a world ever smaller,
ever shrunken by instant news,
I doze off in the California hush
while my neighbor, in some
shattered street of Lebanon,
stains the scorched earth
with his tears.

Tom Savignano
Lafayette

Progress, not retrenchment

I echo James Erickson’s concerns regarding “Why change the words?” (Voice, August 7). I first shared my concerns about this vital issue with Bishop Vigneron during his first visit to Santa Maria Parish in January 2004. I commented to him that the Church seemed to be adopting a direction of “forward into the past.”

Why do American bishops seem determined to more strictly adhere to translations from an erstwhile dead language -- Latin -- rather than making the word of God more relevant and alive to a population of Catholics who speak, read, write, think and understand in English and, increasingly, Spanish?

Isn’t how God’s words are interpreted and acted upon today more important than how they were translated 2000 years ago, 130-plus years ago after Vatican I, or more than 40 years ago after Vatican II?

The Church is alive, growing and changing. Shouldn’t the revised Roman Missal reflect this ongoing progress instead of retrenchment? Like Mr. Erickson, I just don’t get it.

Mark Roberts
Orinda

Word changes long overdue

James Erickson asks (Forum, Aug. 7) why should the liturgical responses at Mass be changed? The answer is simple: they didn’t do it right the first time, which was really inexcusable since an accurate English translation was freely available in the Latin-English missals of the time.
Corrections are way overdue and are not a step backwards, but a step forward.

Arthur W. Peterson
Richmond

Offer ‘Caring Hands’

Thank you for publishing Luisa Montes’ informative article on Caring Hands (Voice, Aug. 7). The description of the relationship between Joan Schommer and Susan Greenwald helps to truly describe the value of the program and the benefits to be gained from it.

I do hope that anyone who reads the article and experiences a desire to participate as a volunteer will contact Linda White, volunteer coordinator of Caring Hands, at 925-952-2999. Linda does an excellent job of matching volunteers with care recipients. There is a constant and steady need for additional people who are willing to open their heart and their schedule for this community program.

I commend John Muir Health for their commitment to and support of this program.

Georgia R. H. Larson
Caring Hands volunteer
Pleasant Hill

Image of Divine Mercy

I am wondering why the image of the Divine Mercy is not seen in most churches. In fact, Jesus himself instructed Saint Faustina to venerate this image. In the book, “Diary—Divine Mercy in My Soul,” it is recorded that Jesus appeared to Sister Faustina and said, “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death.”

Zenaida Labre
Fremont

A tribute to Sister Barbara

I cannot image the ministry for survivors of clergy abuse continuing without Sister Barbara Flannery, who has left her post as chancellor for the Oakland Diocese (Voice, Aug. 7).

While I do not share the sentiments of women seeking ordination into the priesthood, I can understand their frustration in trying to work with what seems like a “Boys Only” club. About seven years ago, I had an incident with a priest which I felt was abusive. I kept my distance for a few years, but returned, thinking that perhaps what I experienced would not reoccur. I was wrong. I tried talking to another priest about my experiences, but he just didn’t get it.

A year later I finally called Sister Flannery, who saw me immediately. I’ll never forget the healing power of being heard by this remarkable woman. At last, I had validation that my pain was real, and most importantly, that it was the priest, and not myself, who was at fault.

The best weapon we have to fight injustice is our voice. Without the mother to speak up in defense of her children, an abusive father can easily molest those innocents. If victims are denied their voice, they are powerless against abusers. Their only defense becomes expensive lawsuits, which the laity, not the clergy, have to pay. I, for one, want better accountability.

Carmen Hartono
Oakland


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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