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 September 18, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 16Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers


Unchanging Tradition

I hope that The Catholic Voice will soon include an actual Catholic voice in the “Reader’s Forum.” When readers tell us, for example, that we shouldn’t call our priests, “Father,” we need an editorial comment with a good scriptural and/or traditional response.

I have a reference sheet from San Juan Catholic Seminars which lists no less than 14 New Testament references showing Jesus was using hyperbole when he said, “Call no man father,” and that he and his apostles often referred to other men, and sometimes to themselves as “father.”

None of the unchanging Traditions of the Church, such as the reservation of the ordained priesthood to men, lacks a solid basis in Scripture and reason. We Catholics deserve to be made aware of these in order to help us defend the teachings of the Church, which are so vital to our faith.

Catherine Norman

A double standard?

Why does Rome excommunicate women of our faith, who want to help spread the Word, while some priests are exonerated for doing evil to young boys? Is excommunication so irrelevant today? It can’t lessen one’s spiritual relationship to God.

Frances Wojnar
Pleasant Hill

Accept married priests

A recent article in the Contra Costa Times dealt with females who are being secretly ordained as priests in the Roman Catholic Church. Although I agree with their position, I cannot condone their “in your face” actions. If there are bishops who feel that women should be ordained, their path is to convince their fellow bishops and take the argument to the Vatican; not to play games behind everyone’s back. Stand up and be counted!

A more reasonable and productive first step is to convince the Vatican that married priests are not in conflict with the history of the Church. St. Peter was married. Was he in conflict with the Church? Jesus chose him knowing that he was married. Are the old men in the Vatican more in tune with the Church than Jesus?

All of my research indicates that the objection to married priests was brought about in the Middle Ages by married bishops who willed their extensive property to their wives and children, not the Church. No arguments by the Vatican apparatchiks stand up to this. There are simple, modern, legal devices which can eliminate this fear.

I believe that this position is an insult to our priests and laity alike. It seems to say that the sacrament of Holy Orders is incompatible with and superior to the sacrament of Marriage. A priest can join the Episcopol church, marry. and convert to the Catholic Church along with his wife and children. Why is marriage acceptable with them but not with our committed priests?

As a final point; the shortage of priests could be resolved overnight if the Church would allow for married priests. There are hundreds of priests who have left the priesthood to marry and long to return.

It is time to wake up the old men in the Vatican who resist change. In this instance it is not change but return to our base. I am reminded of Luke 11-46. Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”

Clifford R. Wiesner

Overcome terrorism with good

On the fifth anniversary of 9/11, there are still those who say that to question why the terrorists hate us is irrelevant, even unpatriotic. All that matters is that they attacked us, and we must attack them back; they must pay for what they did; we must obliterate them; we must make America “safe.”

I submit that unless and until we deal with the “why,” America will have no safety and no peace. How long will it take us to recognize that our violence only begets and enables more terrorist violence? Ultimately, we cannot bomb ourselves to victory. We must instead apply to the world those values in which we say we believe: Overcome evil with good; feed the hungry; love your enemies.

Pope Paul VI said, “If you want peace, seek justice.” He was not referring to Osama at the end of a rope. He was not talking about preemptive strikes. He was talking about economic and social justice.

Ghandi said, “An eye for an eye makes everyone blind.” Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that; hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Why are we so afraid of introspection? Why are we so self-righteously vengeful? We must summon the strength to break the shackles of the “you are either for us or against us” mentality. Clearly, that isn’t working.

If we want peace, we must summon the humble courage to ask forgiveness for our sins.

James Brennan
Walnut Creek

Careful reasoning

One can understand the frustration and sorrow that leads one to raise the question, “Why do the Arabs hate us so much?” (Forum, Sept. 4). This line of questioning, however, has its obvious and glaring shortcomings.

We know it is preposterous to ask an African American, “Why does the KKK hate you so much?” Or to ask a Jewish person, “Why do Nazis hate you so much?”

One could also ask the converse, “Why does so much of the world associate Arabs with violence?” While on business in Asia, I have been asked, “Why does the U.S. allow Arabs and Muslims to emigrate to your country?”

We need to be careful not to grasp for convenient reasons to explain away hatred and violence.

Dan Tracy

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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