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February 5, 2007VOL. 45, NO. 3Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

Diplomacy, not troop surge

I have never written a letter to the editor, but feel I must speak out now. As Jim Webb said in the Democratic response to the President’s State of the Union speech, the president’s proposed troop escalation in Iraq ignores the advice of key advisers, career military officers, and the clear will of the American people.

It is critically important that the United States engage in regional diplomacy and increase preparations for a transition to Iraqi control of the country’s security. The road to this is not an increase in U.S. troops.

More than 25,000 U.S. troops have been killed or injured in this war and as many as half of a million Iraqi civilians have died since the invasion. Watching the list of U.S. troops killed, it is clear that in addition to many young men and women in their teens and 20s, many reservists with families are suffering the ultimate price for service to their country. How many more? And how many more Iraqi civilians will die in the U.S.’s ill-conceived intervention in Iraq?

As a Catholic, I take seriously the Church’s position on what constitutes a “just war”. This war falls tragically short of any criteria that could justify the U.S.’s continued military presence in Iraq. Leaders in the Catholic Church need to speak out now and mobilize opposition to the president’s “new strategy.”

Dale Jenssen

Called to celibacy

I have friends who are gays and straights. I love them all equally. I told my gay friends that I uphold the teachings of our Church about homosexuals and heterosexuals. 

When asked by a gay person “Father, what should I do? I am gay.” Father John Caropi answered, “You are called to be like me, to be celibate.” 

Many times, I saw newspapers report that a priest received a standing ovation for telling his congregation that he is gay. 

In my entire life of 50 years, I have never heard any priest telling his congregation that he is heterosexual. That is how it should be. No one should flaunt his/her sexuality in front of anyone. 

To see a priest standing in the sanctuary of a church, telling his congregation that he is gay and receiving a standing ovation from the congregation, one only can come to a conclusion -- that particular priest and congregation need a lot more prayers. 

If only we would obey the teachings of our Church regarding homosexuality. 

Lan Nguyen 

A positive answer

After reading the Jan. 22 Forum on same-sex affliction, theological lapse, Catholic couples leaving the Church and complaints about the new cathedral, I decided to write on a topic that is totally spiritual, uplifting and positive – the Knights of Columbus.

I’ve been a Knight for seven years. I joined when the Knights conducted a recruitment drive in my parish. Granted, my dad was a Knight and my grandfather was a Knight and, to be honest, I figured that this was one more bunch of guys with whom I could go fishing, take in some ball games, and drink a few beers. However, the Knights are much, much more than that.

We’re a Catholic fraternal organization, open to all men in good standing with the Catholic faith, taking oaths, in successive degrees, of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.

In belonging to our organization, one can find a real sense of fulfillment and well-being, and at the same time, make some very good, close friends.

The satisfaction of looking out from the cafeteria kitchen and seeing your parish enjoying Sunday breakfast together during one of our trademark (fund raising) Knights of Columbus pancake breakfasts is priceless. Granted, you’ve been in the kitchen since before sunrise and you’re caked in sausage grease and pancake batter and afterward, you have to leave the kitchen cleaner than you found it, but it’s still a wonderful feeling.

I encourage all men in the Oakland Diocese to join our fraternity. You will very much enjoy it. I’m relatively active, so you’ll probably become a friend of mine. If the Knights are not active in your parish, please inquire with your pastor. Someone will get in touch.

Jim Mikus

Help is available

In response to Father Schexnayder’s and Jim McCrea’s letters (Forum, Jan. 22), I’d like to point out that Catholic teaching unequivocally condemns homosexual activity at the same time that it embraces people with homosexual inclinations.

That is no different from the Church’s unequivocal condemnation of gluttony, alcoholism, fornication, theft, rage, etc., at the same time it embraces those of us who may be enslaved by those sinful tendencies.

The website of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality has an important document concerning homosexuality. It can be accessed at www.narth.com/docs/correctionletter3.html

Dr. Nicolosi, NARTH’s founder, has helped hundreds of clients with unwanted homosexual attraction. And Courage (www.couragerc.net) has done the same, never insisting that anyone change his orientation against his will.
The people of this diocese deserve a chance to be helped if they want to be.

Catherine Norman

Helping someone die

Regarding the letter of Father Basil De Pinto (Forum, Jan. 8) in which he said that tubes inserted in the stomach for nourishment certainly constitute extraordinary care, I wish to tell my sister’s story. She had Alzheimer’s and was in a nursing home where she suffered a stroke. She couldn’t swallow and was in a semi-coma; she could squeeze your hand and open her eyes.

After a few days in the hospital, they decided to remove all means of giving her nourishment and hydration. The doctor, who encouraged this, justified it with her living will. She then started the process of starvation and dehydration. While she was slowing dying, she frequently became agitated, according to her children who were with her.

I wonder if she was crying out for help. It took seven days for her to die. I can’t even imagine how much she must have suffered. How could this happen to my beloved sister? How can this be right?

Name withheld upon request

Tri-Valley needs a high school

It has been brought to my attention that the proposed Catholic high school in Livermore has been postponed. This is an unfortunate situation for the Catholic families in the Tri-Valley and beyond. I feel that it is imperative that we as a community progress to the next stages of making Pope John Paul II High School a reality.

As a member of St. Michael Parish and School, I have noticed the stress that parents have had in regards to applying to Catholic schools. Most of this pressure is due to transportation that each parent must provide for their children.

I remember as a teen growing up in Pleasanton that I desperately wanted to go to Carondelet High in Concord. Unfortunately, my parents had no way of getting me to and from the school. I was devastated. Still today, when I am 39 years old, I wish there was a Catholic high school nearby that I could have attended.

I was lucky enough to attend a Catholic university to continue my education and my faith. I feel that had I not continued my education in a Catholic environment, I would not be a practicing Catholic today. I hope that somehow the Catholic children in Livermore can grow into young adulthood with the guidance of our faith in school.

I did attend the city council meeting for the proposed high school and witnessed the excitement of the Catholic community from Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, and San Ramon. I heard that people from Tracy, Byron and Brentwood were present as well. If postponed, the project will lose some of its greatest supporters. I pray that our bishop will acknowledge that we cannot lose the momentum we gained on this project last year.

We need a Catholic high school in the Tri-Valley.

Jamie Kepp

Choose education over edifice

I agree with John Siino of Pittsburg (Forum, Jan. 8). The bishop should hold off on building his cathedral. We were told that the cost of the cathedral would never come from the churches; that there was private funding available. Now we have learned that the cathedral is to be built and that the children in Livermore will not have a much needed Catholic high school.

I think we are forgetting that Jesus was all about the children, and the Catholic Church was all about educating them. Our children are certainly more important than some edifice.

Parish projects around the diocese are being put on hold because financing isn’t available. We need to fill up our schools and our churches by providing much needed programs, buildings, and retrofitting before we can build a cathedral. Otherwise, a temple will be built up and no one will be there to sit in the pews.

Jim Kelly

Focus on youth

Some time ago I wrote to express my feelings regarding the new cathedral. I, too, thought that it was more important to build a new Catholic high school in the Tri-Valley area. The future of our religion is in the hands of our youth. My parents, as well as my husband and I, sacrificed to send our children through Catholic schools. We felt that in a religious environment children would benefit both morally and educationally.

There is a larger young population out in the Dublin, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Livermore area than where our new cathedral is being built.

Mary Pacini
San Leandro

A priest remembered

I was sorry to read of the passing of Father William Dunn. He was one of my teachers at St. Peter Chanel’s Seminary in San Rafael in the early ‘60’s. I remember him as equally a good teacher and man with a sparkling smile and wit. He was a classy, refined New England gentleman all the way.

Paul Reimers

Aid to typhoon victims

Our heartfelt thanks to all in the Oakland Diocese who contributed to the relief efforts for those affected by Super Typhoon Reming in the Bicol Region of the Philippines. We are truly and infinitely grateful because every prayer, every cent, every tear meant so much to us.

Like Hurricane Katrina, how can we put an amount to the devastation? The many lives lost cannot be recalled, but the care and concern of so many Samaritans will gradually restore the properties and memories. We are blessed indeed! Thank you so much.

We are now at the stage of rehabilitation. Building materials have been provided. What we are trying to do is to provide livelihood projects for each of the communities we are assisting. The land that we are acquiring will provide the venue for short-term food production and shelter for some homeless families.

The rehabilitation will take time and we pray that people will not forget to continue their financial support. Again, we extend our thanks from the deepest core of our hearts. God bless you all!

Deacon Stanley Lee
Christian Life Community
Bicol Region

(To date, $10,205 has been donated in the Oakland Diocese from individuals and five parishes – Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fremont; St. Anne, Union City; St. Bede, Hayward; St. Ignatius, Antioch; and St. Stephen, Walnut Creek. Another $5,200 was raised through a concert by Father Leo Asuncion, parochial vicar at St. Bede Parish. The faculty, staff and students at Moreau Catholic High in Hayward raised $914 for the typhoon victims during their Advent mission drive. All the funds will be delivered to Deacon Lee during his visit to Oakland this month to participate in the annual deacons’ retreat.)

A CCHD thank-you

I write on behalf of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to thank the parishioners of the Diocese of Oakland for their generous contribution of $102,990.21 from the 2005 CCHD collection.

Last year, the incidence of poverty in our country rose for the fourth consecutive year, with most of the increase occurring among the working poor. Without the safety net provided by safe and adequate housing, reliable transportation, functioning schools, steady employment, and dependable health care, even more people will slip into an intolerable existence.

Through the support of parishioners in diocese across the country, we were able to grant $9 million in to anti-poverty, social justice projects in 49 states.
CCHD takes the risk of investing in the dignity of poor and low-income people. Catholic partnership with us helps break the cycle of poverty. So, in the name of those who have been helped and will be helped, I say thank you.

Timothy Collins
Executive director
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
Washington, D.C.

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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