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 February 18, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 4   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

America is not the bad guy
My December letter about The Voice’s negative articles on our government and our military prompted a Concord man to write that my words were ill-informed and hate-filled. His six-sentence letter mentioned oil conspiracy, corporate media, child rape, serial murder, and the occupation of Iraq. His conclusion was that “we’re the bad guys.”

My letter (Forum, Dec. 17) expressed my frustration with the media’s unfair portrayal of America as a villain. Newspapers give in-depth, front page coverage to every scandal and mistake made by American troops. In contrast, they only give brief mention on page 10 to the purely evil actions of our foes in this global war on terror.

Regretfully, they rarely tell about the wonderful contributions made every day by our troops on an intimate level with the people in Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe that this unbalanced presentation skews public opinion severely and negatively.

My letter was well-informed. I was a military officer during the war working closely with intelligence agencies and our highest military leaders. My children are military officers with two years of recent duty in Iraq. One led over 200 patrols in Baghdad. I saw the best intelligence data and received the ground truth from my child.

You can oppose the war. You can harbor any number of “big oil” conspiracy theories. But you can’t dispute the true facts that I shared in my letter about the atrocities being committed every day by fanatic militants. You might not believe that our troops are making wonderful contributions in the Middle East, but a simple conversation with one of our soldiers will easily convince you otherwise.

Was my letter hate-filled? Not at all! It simply expressed my disagreement with The Voice’s one-sided representation of very important issues. I believe the term “hate-filled” was loosely and inappropriately used by the Concord gentleman to describe a viewpoint that differs significantly from his own.

I respect the Concord gentleman’s difference of opinion. Indeed, for all of my adult life I defended his right to have and express such opinions. However, as a veteran and as the father of two heroes, I find his “we’re the bad guys” statement to be extremely insulting. Regardless of his intent, this was a very poor choice of words. The Catholic Voice should not have allowed our veterans and troops to be tarred by such an ungrateful brush.

Tom McCaffrey

Sing songs we know
I agree wholeheartedly with Bill Hoban (Forum, Jan. 7) who stated that a congregation would be more apt to sing if they recognized the songs offered at Mass. In my own parish (Holy Spirit/Newman Hall) I rarely know the songs that are shown on a large screen. We have an excellent choir and choir director, but I long for the songs that I remember from many, many years ago:

      “Oh, Lord, I am not worthy
      That Thou should come to me.....”

      “Holy God, We praise Thy Name,
      Lord of all, we bow before Thee...”

      “Jesus, My Lord, My God, my all....”

But then do we ever sing to the Blessed Mother?

I must remember that the above songs date way, way back to my childhood. Today’s younger congregation might not recognize any of them

Dorothy Snodgrass

Too much concrete
Some one should say it. Maybe the best time is now, well before the opening hoopla, yet after those warm fir arcs vanished behind stacks of dirty shower doors.

At street level, the Cathedral of Christ the Light is a disaster. Pedestrians walking along all three sides shoulder 10 feet of concrete wall. The effect is visceral, immediate, and unforgiving. No amount of good intention within, spectacle above, strip greenery, or window displays will ever resolve it. On a purely physical level, the parking lot was friendlier.

How could the Church, of all entities, so abandon common principles of street-level public architecture?

Frank Gaipa

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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