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 February 4, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

In the Jan. 21 Voice, the headline of the story about local support of the Mother of Peace Orphanage misidentified the orphanage’s location. It is in Mutoko, Zimbabwe.

In addition to receiving support from several schools in the Oakland Diocese, the orphanage is also supported by local parishes, including St. Benedict and St. Lawrence O’Toole/St. Cyril in Oakland, Corpus Christi in Piedmont, and St. Sebastian in Greenbrae. Each of those churches had a second collection or made a donation during a visit by the orphanage’s co-founder Jean Cornneck. A total of $6,716 was raised. The orphanage cares for 140 children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Additional information about the orphanage is available from Janet Hall at jhall600@aol.com.

View of an American soldier
I just read Alan Fenicle’s response, “U.S. is the bad guy” (Forum, Jan. 21) to Thomas McCaffrey’s letter, “Iraq story needs balance” (Dec. 17, 2007).

McCaffrey noticed, as did I, that a rehash of Abu-Ghraib and an article condemning U.S. foreign policy and military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq in The Voice’s November issues make it appear that we should be ashamed to be Americans.

I differ; we should be supportive of our government by having representation for the good that our nation is doing and the heroic actions of our service men and women.

We’re all anti-war, especially those of us who are soldiers and who have served in Iraq like me, but we have a duty to our country and our country has a duty to the world. As a wise person once said, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

The world looks to us for balance and leadership, especially the less fortunate and impoverished. While I respect Fenicle’s right to have an opinion, I ask the Catholic Voice and everyone who reads this to respect opinions that are not similar to your own.

We are blessed to live in this wonderful and prosperous nation. We are, alas, imperfect, but we are trying to make the world a better place for everyone. We should be proud to be Americans and reflect on the many good works our nation has done for others and perhaps imagine, for a moment, what our world would be like if the U.S. had not intervened in WWII and other foreign conflicts or continued to provide the assistance and security we do for many nations who count on us.

Brian Lucid
Mountain House

A view from England
I read with interest the Voice article about the congregation not singing at Mass (Voice, Jan. 7; Forum, Jan. 21). Of course, it is the same here in England.

The lovely old hymns we knew seem to be out of favour and the new stuff seems childish and shallow. How well I remember visiting Rome in the Holy Year — 1950, when I was 10 years old. We were in St. Peter’s and all nationalities sang: “‘Faith of our fathers, holy faith, we will be true to thee till death.”

The volume was huge. But why is it that converts from the Protestant religions are always the ones who say how wonderful their singing was?

Rosemary Walters
Devon, England

How to improve singing
In response to the questions posed in the Jan. 7 article, “How well do Catholics in the pews sing?” I offer the following:

My experience at St. John Vianney Parish in Walnut Creek is that on a whole we parishioners don’t sing that well, especially if there is not a strong singer(s) in the choir leading the singing and if the hymn is not well recognized. I like to sing but only if I’m familiar with the music and have support from the choir.
Suggested improvements would be:

Let the congregation learn and use frequently a few songs so we parishioners are more comfortable singing.

When we come up for Communion, have the singing done by the choir. Don’t ask the rest of the congregation to sing because if it is not a well-known song we mostly don’t sing and, for those of us who do sing, it is awkward to hold the song book while receiving Communion.

Bill Hoban
Walnut Creek

Social and inner justice
I feel that there is a basic misunderstanding concerning social justice. It is a part of the Church’s mission, but not the entire mission. Christ did not come to earth to do charity work as his primary mission. His primary mission was to get the world reconciled to the Father and that’s supposed to be the Church’s primary mission.

Inner justice (aka righteousness) is the most important part of being a Christian. Social justice without inner justice is just dead works.

Peter Aiello

Of Mother Teresa
Bleakness and loneliness
engulfed her spirit
for decades.
For decades she smiled
at bedsides,
in poorhouses,
a bright cloak over
her own abyss of need.
may she be stroking the Face
of the lover she longed for.

Tom Savignano

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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