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November 5, 2007   •   VOL. 45, NO. 19   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

Beatified for resisting
For as long as wars have been fought, people have refused to participate in killing. Instead, they have actively worked for non-violent resolution of conflict, giving themselves to the service of life, not the work of death. Those people who resist in militaries or wars for reason of conscience are often called conscientious objectors.
    Franz Jagerstatter was one such. He was beatified in Linz, Austria, on Oct. 27, 2007. He died a martyr for Christ because he refused to pick up and use Hitler’s guns, even though nearly all Austrian Catholic men did. Franz is known as a selective conscientious objector. He was not a pacifist, but he objected to an unjust war.
    He was a member of the Third Order of St Francis of Assisi who discouraged and even forbade military service. At the time of his death, Blessed Jagerstatter was the father of three small children. He said he would rather his children have a father martyred for following Christ than a Nazi for a father.
    For an article on his life, go to www.cjd.org/paper/franz.html. Or request a hard copy from me as it appeared in the July 2007 issue of The Houston Catholic Worker. My address is 131 Clelian Heights Lane, Greensburg, PA 15601.
    Father Bernard Survil
    Greensburg, PA

Editor’s Note: A photo of Franz Jagerstatter can be found on the "News in Brief" page.

Legitimizing sodomy
Feigning “shock,” Mary Gregory (Forum, Oct. 22) denounces Jim Crowley’s “hate-filled letter regarding gays” (Forum, Oct. 8). But Gregory merely demonstrates anew that truth becomes “hate” to those who hate truth.
    From 30 years as a San Francisco Police investigator of homicides and sex crimes, Crowley observed “an inconvenient truth . . . : homosexual lifestyles are not healthy — physically, emotionally or morally.”
    As Crowley concluded, “legalization of same-sex ‘marriage’ and its placement on equal footing with traditional marriage subverts and destroys the latter.”
    He’s right. Researcher Stanley Kurtz reported to Congress in 2004 that in Scandinavia and Holland, where unnatural arrangements are regressively further along, “gay marriage” reinforces the notion that conventional marriage is outdated and helps normalize out-of-wedlock parenthood and polygamy, with damaging consequences for children.
    Homosexual activist Michelangelo Signorile commended “same-sex marriage” as a “subversive action” that would “redefine the institution of marriage completely, . . . and radically alter an archaic institution.” (“Bridal Wave,” Out Magazine, Dec. 1994).
    Al Rantel, an honest homosexual and talk-show host, recognizes that homosexuals’ “hypersexuality” and common promiscuity are not conducive to marriage. But homosexuals determined to “force others to accept their social views” deride those disagreeing as “homophobes to be scorned and forced into silence” — belligerent censorship already occurring in Canada, France, and Sweden (and in The Catholic Voice, if Gregory has her way).
    Ultimately, “gay marriage” is about legitimizing sodomy and other demonstrably harmful activity expressly forbidden by the Bible and the Church. At best, condoning such destructive behavior is false compassion.
    Michael Arata

Stop fingerprinting
I read with great sadness the front page story (Voice, Oct. 8) about how most Church volunteers may soon face mandatory fingerprinting and an FBI investigation. We don’t want our kids around drug users either, but will the diocese subject our wonderful volunteers to mouth swabs and random “sampling” next?
    I’m a proud Catholic and father of two, but I am so embarrassed by this affront to our dignity. There are other ways to keep our kids safe. Please, Bishop Vigneron, this is not the right path. Please don’t make volunteering akin to getting arrested!
    Jason Giaimo

This far by faith
On Sunday Oct. 21, a Mass in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Father Jayson Landeza’s ordination took place at St. Columba Church at 9:30 a.m. Friends and family helped him to celebrate. Bishop John Cummins was also there. Father Jayson is a wonderful person, a very down to earth person.
    The choir does a wonderful job and they really did one on that Sunday. The Spirit was there as always.
    Thanks to Rawn Harbor, pastoral associate, to the planning committee, the liturgy committee, and the Eucharistic Ministers. It was a beautiful day, and it is because, “We’ve come this far by faith.”
    Lois Wiley

A shepherd who cares
I recently attended two celebrations: Saturday Night with Jesus at St. Elizabeth Seton in Pleasanton and the multi-cultural Chautauqua procession and Mass at St. Stephen in Walnut Creek. Both were presided by Bishop Allen Vigneron.
    Because these two events took distinct and different planning, I was amazed at how well-organized, colorful, but even more importantly faith-filled, they were. The joy of the Lord was abundantly present among the believers. And the message was clear — Jesus exuberantly being proclaimed by his people with much love and devotion.
    Both celebrations overflowed with unity among the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit’s presence was made manifest by all the hard work, dancing, singing, processing, praying, culminating by the receiving of the Holy Eucharist. Our Church was surely showing her strength and love for our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Our grace-filled and beloved Bishop Vigneron even sang a song in the spirit of the occasion at both events.
    I am grateful we have been given a shepherd that truly cares for the people and isn’t afraid to identify himself with those he serves. He has shown he truly serves our communities in the love and gentleness and understanding of Jesus Christ our King and displays a care and devotion for which we can all be most grateful.
    I am finding a desire to cover our beloved bishop with much prayer for his well-being and protection.
    Susanna E. Sloboda

Preserve liturgical integrity
“Lex orandi, lex credendi.” The law of prayer is the law of belief. The more we think about it, the more we can see how the way we pray so profoundly affects what we believe. How important then is our greatest prayer, the Mass?
    Vatican II spawned many changes, including some that were never intended. For example, the Council directed that the vernacular may be used for parts of the Mass, and that Gregorian chant should have “pride of place.” Many years of “experimentation” followed. Changes were radical and rapid. This led to much harm and “Mass Confusion” ( a great book, by the way, by James Akin of “Catholic Answers,” www.catholic.com.) We see what a casual attitude ensued, along with a loss of reverence and the understanding of the Mass as worship and sacrifice.
    Pope Benedict XVI in his motu propio, “Summorum Pontificum,” gives us an opportunity to restore what has been called “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven,” the traditional Latin Mass. Though there is much interest, celebrating the Mass in this “extraordinary form” (which was never abrogated) will increase slowly as there are few priests sufficiently trained.
    The Mass as we know it today will remain “the ordinary form,” but I believe we’ll see many positive influences. Let us do all we can to preserve and foster the integrity of the Mass, understanding that the faithful have a right to authentic liturgy. Let us remind our priests (in a respectful way) of the admonition of Vatican II that “No person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” [Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy 22].
    David Zarri

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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