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 July 2, 2007VOL. 45, NO. 13Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

Missed opportunity

In the June 18 article about President Bush meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, there is a glaring hypocrisy about praising Bush for defending and promoting life while the Vatican is distressed about the tens of thousands of Christians in Iraq who have fled the killing and violence in that nation.

It is disappointing that the pope did not admonish Bush and the members of his administration who started and are perpetuating the war in Iraq that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi women, children and men, along with almost 4,000 military U.S. citizens, being killed or permanently maimed. The pope missed an opportunity to rebuke the person who directly caused and continues to cause all the carnage in Iraq for the purpose of war profiteering by the select elite of his administration. That sin should never be absolved.

Barbara Wright

Don’t support microstamping

In her letter of June 18, Karen Arntzen urges readers to support AB 1471 which would require microstamping of identification information on semi-automatic handguns beginning in 2010. This is not an effort to aid law enforcement. Rather, it is a thinly disguised attempt to remove from sale, and therefore outlaw sales of semi-autos.

While the technology for microstamping cases as they are fired is theoretically feasible, the development and implementation of this technology will be expensive and difficult. In fact, it is quite probable that manufacturers simply will not produce such firearms, and, therefore, the sale of semiautomatic handguns in California will stop, beginning in 2010. And that,
in fact, is exactly what the Brady gun control bunch is hoping for.

And, to insure that this is the case, AB 1471 was amended about a month and a half after introduction to require that the microstamping be done in two places on each case. This effectively doubles the difficulty in meeting the requirements of the law but does little to aid law enforcement.

What this law would mean is that more firearms will be brought into California from other states and foreign countries, and they will be more difficult to trace because they will not have been sold or recorded in California. The mission of law enforcement in California will become more difficult instead of easier as they claim.

The Brady bunch should stop obfuscating the issue and simply state what they are really after and that is a ban on private weapon ownership by the citizens of California.

Californians should actually write their state representatives to tell them to not vote for AB 1471. It won’t help law enforcement, and will only hurt law abiding citizens.

Dave Day

Guns not compatible

Matt Lopez says that countries with gun control have increased crime (Forum, June 18). He cites Japan, England, and Australia and then notes that the United States “has recorded a fall in victimization rates, as 36 states have issued concealed carry permits.” I don’t know what that sentence means--and would like a clarification.

From 1992 to 1999 I lived in Japan (Hiroshima and Tokyo), and except for the notorious sarin episode in Tokyo, Japan was incredibly safe, no matter what the hour. I’d like to know how to translate Lopez’s claim that Japan had “a 51.3 percent increase in murder, rape and armed robbery.” Something is missing, as is typical when the context of the claim isn’t clear.

Finally, Lopez seems to contend that we’d be much better off as an armed camp, all of us carrying weapons to defend ourselves. Really? This strikes me as an hysterical approach to civilized living, and hardly a style of life suitable for Christians.

Tom Mader
Walnut Creek

Focus on formation

While I am happy our Church is creating a welcoming environment for Latinos in the charismatic movement (Voice, June 18), I hope it is being followed with evangelization through appropriate faith formation.

Pentecost marks the birth of our Church, but that was only the beginning of a 2,000-year history of what I believe to be the true Church. Without good catechesis, there is little understanding of the differences between being one in the Spirit through the sacraments, and feeling as one with Our Lord through sacramentals.

Our diocese offers many opportunities for life-long faith formation. As in any human relationship, we are always happy to gather together in church groups. But unless we challenge ourselves to grow intellectually in our faith, we become stagnant and frustrated.

I hope every Catholic looks for and finds an avenue for a deeper and richer understanding of what it means to belong to the greatest Church in human history.

Carmen Hartono

Thank you, Mercy Center

The biblical injunction to return and say “thank you” seems to be extraordinarily appropriate right now, given our family’s experience with Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland.

My mother lived at Mercy in both settings for close to five years and died recently. Our whole family got to know Mercy really well during those years and we are unanimous in our gratitude to the staff for the exceptional sensitivity and support that Mom received.

Mom herself said to me often in her first three years there that she felt she’d gotten her life back. Her previous three years had been a bit dull.
As time passed, Mom experienced more limitations and the Mercy staff just eased the situation beautifully.

It’s been my experience that institutional leadership really sets the tone for almost any organization, and it’s no accident that Mercy’s leadership is gifted, generous, and, when I think of all the celebrations I attended, the word “bouncy” comes to mind.

It’s a happy place doing serious business and it has been a privilege for our family to be associated with it and a huge gift for Mom.

Joan Leslie

Love, not force

The force of law is not a loving, Christian means for increasing the world’s morality. So why is the Church asking the state to prevent abortion and assisted suicide?

A good Catholic man would never impregnate a woman against her will, so good Catholic women rarely find themselves in need of abortion services. Other women are not so lucky, and what are we doing to help them? From a desperate woman’s point of view, the Church’s attempts to prohibit abortion are tantamount to colluding with her oppressor.

Instead of making women’s lives even more difficult and dangerous, we should be working to change men’s hearts, so that unwanted pregnancies will be rare among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Similarly, while good Catholics rarely want to commit suicide, we should still lovingly consider other people’s perspectives. If a person who is living in untreatable misery wants to go directly to God, or simply wants to end the pain, he won’t thank us for forcing him to endure that misery for a few extra weeks. And if he has no faith in the efficacy of “offering it up,” then why should we interfere?

As for the severely disabled people who want to live, and who are afraid of being euthanized, we should be ministering to their needs better than we are now -- providing enough loving care so that they won’t have any such fears and suspicions.

Jesus worked through love, not force, and so should we.

Nancy LeBlanc

Book of the Dead

My thanks to Bill Joyce for his kind words about the project at Corpus Christi Parish in Piedmont (Forum, June 18) in which we sign the parish Book of the Dead with the names of those who have died in the Iraq war.

For the record, the idea came from a parishioner, Mark D’Ambrosi, and was heartily endorsed by the pastor, Father Leo Edgerly, and me. Mark did the work of downloading the names which were then placed at the door of the church next to the Book of the Dead.

The response of parishioners has been widespread and touching. We hope other parishes will do something similar to honor the dead and pray for them and their grieving loved ones.

Father Basil De Pinto

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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