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 April 23, 2007VOL. 45, NO. 8Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers


Last week’s massacre at Virginia Tech provokes our deepest feelings of grief and compassion for the victims, their families, and the entire campus community. It also raises our anger that a culture of violence continues to grow, taking not just the students and professors at one university, but also the sons and daughters of our neighbors here in the Bay Area.

On the same day as the shooting, San Francisco police reported arrests in three of the five homicides the previous weekend, bringing this year’s total in the city to 30. In Oakland, there were 27 murders as of April 17. Additional murders and other acts of violence have occurred in cities throughout the East Bay.

Although the causes for all these senseless killings differ, we cannot stand silent as the violent tide continues to sweep over us.

What can we as Catholics in Alameda and Contra Costa counties do to reverse the trend? What social changes are needed? What would you recommend?

To begin a dialog about why violence permeates our society and how we can stop its escalation, I am inviting Voice readers to submit letters to Reader’s Forum that specifically address this issue.

To allow us to publish as many views as possible in the May 7 Voice, please limit your comments to 300 words. You can email your letter to: voice@oakdiocese.org. Or mail to: Reader’s Forum, The Catholic Voice, 3014 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland 94610. Please include your name, address and telephone number.

Our deadline to receive comments on stopping the culture of violence is Monday, April 30.

Monica Clark, Editor


Pray for our ailing earth
We are now aware of the disastrous effects of global warming. While scientists are frantically trying to find alternative energy sources and ways to contain the rise of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, we are also aware that it is too late to stop what is happening at this very moment, the melting of the ice glaciers in both the North and South Poles.

While the advancement in science has brought man to the moon and farther to view other planets, scientists are faced with a challenge that seems to confront them with the fact that they are not almighty after all. It will take our scientists many more years to find an antidote to what is happening right now.

This is where our faith comes in. We, who believe that God made this world, also believe that only God can help us heal this world from its illness.

I remember when as a student in a Catholic high school, we were so afraid of nuclear explosions during the Cold War. The pope told us to pray for the conversion of Russia, so all the students began the day praying for this conversion. When Pope John Paul II led the world to convince Russia to settle for peace, we knew our prayers had been answered.

I think the pope and bishops should not miss this opportunity to show all the faithful that this is what faith is all about. I am appealing to the pope to come to our rescue.

Maybe now he should use mass media to appeal to the world to pray, pray and pray. He should lead us to greater devotion to Our Lady of Fatima to help us intercede for a miracle to cure this ailing earth. He should awaken each Catholic family to pray the rosary every day because we will all be affected by this global warming.

Praxedes Calbes
El Cerrito

Facts on Planned Parenthood
I would like to inform the American people on a few facts about where our tax monies go.

Planned Parenthood was founded in 1916 and for 47 years survived on donations and fees charged in its clinics. In 1963 it reported a total income of $6.2 million.

In 1964 it reported its first receipt of taxpayers money – $8,500. Lyndon B. Johnson was president.

In 1965, thanks to the Supreme Court, taxpayers money to Planned Parenthood almost doubled to $16,825.

In 1970 came Title X of Health and Humane Services Act. In 1973 the government gave Planned Parenthood $26.4 million. In 1977 their income from the government was $50.8 million.

Under Jimmy Carter in 1981 Planned Parenthood received $85.2 million.
President Reagan tried to end Title X monies going to any organization that performed abortions. Planned Parenthood cried “foul”.

Bill Clinton undid the Reagan/Bush Title X regulations in his first few weeks in office. When he left office, Planned Parenthood received $20.1 million in taxpayer money in just one year.

In 2005 Planned Parenthood received $272.7 million in taxpayer money.
These facts and more are from the American Life League.

LaVonne Stittle

Death penalty not excluded
The disgraceful hanging of Saddam Hussein did not befit the Culture of Life taught by Pope John Paul II. But for those who would put capital punishment on a par with abortion, the pope said in a 2004 memorandum for the U.S. bishops:

“While the Church exhorts civil authorities to work for peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment.

“There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

Saddam's hanging didn't promote the cause of peace, for sure, but Mother Teresa said “The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left -- for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.”

Jack Hockel
Walnut Creek

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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Oakland, CA 94610

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