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 August 6, 2007 • VOL. 45, NO. 14 • Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

Review financial priorities

The closing of another Catholic school, St Joseph the Worker, made the front page of the July 2 Catholic Voice. With tuition running over $5,400 per year, it’s no wonder that only 65 out of the 1469 registered families can afford to even consider sending their children to the parish school.

St Joseph’s is simply the latest in a series of Catholic school closures that in the recent past included Presentation High School, St. Augustine, St. Paschal Baylon, and Sts. Cyril-Louis Bertrand.

Bishop Vigneron indicates by his comments, quoted in the article, that parishes must make difficult economic decisions in order to remain viable. Further, the parish experiences the same limitations as the diocese and is limited in what it can contribute to subsidize the school.

The funding of Catholic education is not the sole responsibility of the parish that is fortunate enough to have a school on its premises. Rather it is the responsibility of the larger Catholic community (i.e. the diocese which includes all of the parishes in our diocese). Comparing parish financial resource limitations to diocesan financial limitations is an apples and oranges comparison. Clearly, the diocese as a whole has more options than a single parish.

Perhaps our financial priorities need review, particularly in light of the millions being spent on the cathedral project and the less than $100,000 subsidy available to keep St Joseph’s open.

Brian McCoy

Keep schools open

In the Voice story (July 2) announcing the closing of our son’s school, parishioner Wanda Hundley attempted to spin the situation as being positive because some charter schools are better than a lot of parochial schools.

I want to let Ms. Hundley know that my wife and I and all the parents throughout the Oakland Diocese, if not all across the country, who have extensively researched all our options (public, parochial, independent private schools, and charter schools) have chosen the best possible school environment for our children-- private Catholic schools.

I am incensed by her implication that as a responsible parent I had not looked into every possible school option, or would choose a less than optimal educational environment for my son.

I also want to disabuse Father Stephan Kappler, parochial administrator at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, of the notion that because only 33 percent of the school families are St. Joseph parishioners that the school was not successful, or that turning over the school to a charter is an easy, inevitable or logical choice “allowing the parish to get on with its life and ministry.”

Finally, I want to guarantee Tina Solovieff, also quoted in the article, that the absolute “best case scenario” for St. Joseph parishioners, plus the families and children of Berkeley/Oakland, would be that through the grace of God (and a munificently funded endowment) the Catholic schools of our diocese would be open or reopened, educating young minds and souls, now and forever.

Jay W. Mitchell

No Latin, please

I’m always amazed at people who want the Mass in Latin. I’m not against Latin – I’ve had seven years of it. However, I’ve had a lifetime of English and that’s the language I speak to everyone, including God. Give me the Mass in English.

Patty Kahn

Insights into Paul

Thanks to Brother John Samaha (Voice, July 2) for his informative article on St. Paul’s letters and letter writing in general.

A letter never arrives at an inconvenient time. If you are lucky enough to receive a personally written one, won’t you be sure to open it?
Let’s hope that archeologists will eventually uncover more of St. Paul’s letters.

Genevieve Tsaconas

Welcome the disabled

Recently I came to a parish church, near where I work, in the hope of attending the Saturday afternoon Mass. On that day, my physical disability was causing a good deal of pain and I needed the shortest walk possible to the church. I was parking my car, which has a handicap placard, when a woman pulled up behind me in an SUV and honked and honked at my little Toyota Corolla, effectively intimidating me away from the parking space she then pulled her monster into.

Although I did find another parking space further away from the church and did attend Mass, I did not feel welcome. I generally have a service dog to assist me with walking and once was refused entrance into this church because of ignorance about service dogs and the rights of the disabled.

I am a disabled widow and have just returned to the area after several years away and need the sustenance of faith in an atmosphere of friendship and acceptance, not intimidation nor even grudging tolerance.

Kari Ann Owen
El Sobrante

The value of guns

I would like to tell Tom Mader who advocates for gun control (Forum, July 2) that it is perfectly all right for law-abiding citizens to own guns in self-defense. If, God forbid, tomorrow we have a tyrannical government, what is he going to do? Also, criminals, for sure, are not going to turn in their guns.

If the thousands of innocent Ukrainian farmers and Russians, who were probably Catholic and Orthodox respectively, had owned guns, they could have defended themselves against the Bolsheviks. The same applies to the Jews, et al, who perished in the Holocaust.

Nina D’Souza

The power of music

Sometimes Mass is music, or music Mass. On no more basis than that, let me recommend two bits of marketplace music that delighted me recently: Richard Powers’ novel “A Time of Our Singing” that hits its final notes in a fictional Oakland; and the harmonies of Irish filmmaker John Carney’s “Once.”

Frank Gaipa

Beware of thieves

Recently my mother lost her battle with a terminal illness. While we were at her funeral, thieves broke into my parents’ home and stole thousands of dollars worth of their possessions. Most of what was taken can be replaced, but all of her jewelry and my father’s jewelry, all of which held sentimental value for my dad and their children, is gone. My parents were married for 51 years and many of the treasures accumulated during that marriage cannot ever be replaced.

The purpose for my letter is to alert Voice readers to the dangers of posting the times of the funeral services in the obituary. Apparently, there are people who follow such listings in order to take advantage of the time and opportunity to commit such a crime. Many of the neighbors were also at the service. If we would have known, and been mindful at the time, we would have asked an acquaintance or maybe the police department to keep an eye on their home while we were away.

We hope to help prevent this from happening to any other families. It added more devastation to what we were already experiencing. Please spread the word.

Denise Armanino

A young adult perspective

Regarding the article on the Northern California Lay Convocation recently held in San Francisco (Voice, June 18), one of the concerns identified by the 300 attendees was that not many young adults were present. I did not attend the event, but I can propose an explanation based on what I read in the article.

Keynote speaker Mercy Sister Eloise Rosenblatt reportedly said during her address that she heard many “hotly debated” issues “swirling around” during the day-long event, including “women’s incorporation in ministry and decision-making, the survival of the priesthood and the rule of priestly celibacy, the Church’s teaching on human sexuality, laity having a voice in selection of local bishops, protecting freedom of speech,” and so on.

One can safely assume that Sister Rosenblatt does not agree with the Church’s teachings on these matters, and her position as keynote speaker leads me to believe that the organizers of the event (and perhaps many of the attendees) share her views.

Could it be that the issues Sister Rosenblatt heard “swirling around” are not of great concern to younger Catholics? Perhaps this is one reason only 300 people (not many of them young adults) showed up for the Lay Convocation.

As a young adult who returned to the Church in my late 20s, I can affirm that a great many of us see the way forward in personal conversion to Christ, in sacramental renewal, and in deeper catechetical formation that inspires people to spread the Good News and the beauty of the Catholic faith in its fullness, not in a stripping-down of Catholic doctrine or opposition to Church authority. We should not be striving to make the Church look more like the world around us.

The organizers of the Lay Convocation would do well to consider that a great many young adult Catholics are simply not interested in perpetuating or rekindling the internal battles of decades past, and therefore they are much less likely to show up for an event where the above-mentioned issues are the center of discussion.

Perhaps younger Catholics are unwilling to assume that they know better than the Church, or perhaps many have found, as I have, that the Church’s traditional teachings on these “hotly debated issues” are profoundly beautiful and liberating, the stuff of true conversion in Christ.

John Knutsen

A distortion of love

Ms. LeBlanc’s letter (Forum, July 2) seemingly encouraging support for abortion and euthanasia as the loving thing to do because Jesus worked through love, forgets that it was Jesus’ Father who gave us the Ten Commandments.

The provision of abortion and euthanasia services for the poor and the ill is support for the oppressors of women and children, the dependent and the ill. Older men who prey on young girls for sexual favors get off scot-free while the abortionist grows rich on aborting the evidence.

Our taxes, state and federal, that have been paid to abortion providers amounts to millions of dollars that would have been better spent on medical research to cure or ameliorate the illnesses and sufferings of humanity.

No woman rises out of poverty or ignorance by having her baby killed in an abortuary. No society rises to the noble level of loving their brother by encouraging the willful destruction of innocent human life either at its beginnings in the womb or its endings in a convalescent home bed.

Let us pray that Ms. LeBlanc is blessed with a new sense of knowledge and awareness of what constitutes loving care and compassion for her worthy brothers and sisters in Christ.

Camille Giglio
Walnut Creek

All life is precious

Life has struggles; we all go through these even if a women becomes “desperate” or “unlucky” as Ms. LeBlanc states (Forum, July 2). What about the desperation or the unluckiness of the child struggling to stay alive and containing an eternal soul. This child never asked to be conceived. But through the grace of God the man and woman are able to co-create a person who will either be able to see the world or not through the choice of the mother

No law, especially an unjust law, should be allowed to continue if it takes away a precious life. Most of the pro-life community is expressing love by taking in the woman and her child, by providing education and financial assistance until the child is over a year old. The pro-abortion camp does not show such love to the woman and never the child.

We must also look at assisted suicide. No more prominent figure of our lifetime endured such well-known suffering as the late Pope John Paul II. He endured this suffering out of love. He continued to mention the importance of life in all stages, that it should not be taken away because of force, but preserved because of love.

In his encyclical “Evangelium Vitae,” he wrote, “In a special way, believers in Christ must defend and promote this right, aware as they are of the wonderful truth recalled by the Second Vatican Council: ‘By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human being.’
This saving event reveals to humanity not only the boundless love of God who “so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3:16), but also the incomparable value of every human person.”

I encourage everyone to learn more of this truth and visit the website www.futuredependsonlove.comwhere you can learn more about the preciousness of life.

Peggy Murray









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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