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 December 15, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 21   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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Support our new president

There have been some cardinals, bishops, and priests who are advocating denial of the Eucharist to those of us who felt that Barack Obama is the best chance for our nation to right itself in these troubled times. They seem to believe that his stance on abortion alone was reason enough to what vote for four more years of the same Republican agenda.

Did these clergymen forget how the government of this nation works? Do they seriously believe that “legislation granting unlimited access to abortion in all 50 states” will actually pass in the House and the Senate to get to the President’s desk, survive the veto process if it did reach his desk and not be challenged and reach the U.S. Supreme Court?

The election is over. The people have spoken. A president has been chosen. Now is not the time to be sitting around deciding who has sinned and who hasn’t. It is the time to be supportive of our new president and the monumental challenges that await him as he assumes control of our nation’s highest office.

I pray that God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) will guide him in his presidency and will protect him and his family.

Morris Soublet

Morality, not pragmatism

The newly elected national administration expresses a pragmatic approach to problems facing the nation. This will eventually impinge upon moral issues and Christian values. Sometime in the near future Congress will be moving forward with pragmatic zeal to set the positive future for pro-choice and funding for unlimited embryonic research.

Within the Catholic Church there is a need to re-educate the populace on the Christian moral values related to these previously mentioned issues. The promulgation of moral values is the exclusive responsibility of the Catholic bishops, not the elected members of government.

Therefore, the conference of bishops needs to disseminate a unified, on-going, focused educational program on moral values. Christian moral values supercede any contradictory moral values, erroneously expressed by elected politicians, many of whom are professed Christians.

The bishops’ unified message on Christian morality should reach the Catholic laity throughout the nation’s parishes. Many of the non-churched society are actively engaged in working towards the Church’s demise in America. Let’s wake up and speak up.

Patrick Halligan
El Cerrito

Priorities reversed

For many of us who did vote for John McCain, race was not an issue. Yet The Voice devoted half the front page of its Nov. 17 issue to a story about the “historic victory over racism”.

On the other hand, the lonely, small article on the effort to preserve the Sacrament of Matrimony in the State of California was buried on page 10.

In my opinion, this official newspaper of the Oakland Diocese has its priorities reversed.

Jack Prosek
Pleasant Hill

Deep disappointment

I am very disappointed in the Catholic Church, especially the article (Voice, Nov. 17) on President-elect Obama and how the country has made huge leaps by electing a black president. This man is a pro-abortionist, who believes in late term abortion and in denying medical care to babies born alive after a botched abortion.
What has happened to this Church? Is it okay to embrace someone who goes against the very teachings of the Church? Where is the dismay, where is the outcry, where is the Church for the rights of the unborn?

Just like the Democratic Party that I left because it went against my beliefs in the sanctity of life, I have come to the realization that the Catholic Church can no longer support my spiritual beliefs.

Bad enough Catholic priests are expounding words of hate, bad enough that Catholic universities were hosts of Democratic campaigns. I look at all this and shake my head and find that other Christian religions hold more dear to them the teachings of Christ than we do as Catholics.

I am 52 years old. I have been a Catholic all my life, but I have come to the realization that the Catholic Church has become a sham. May God forgive you. From a former Catholic.

Margaret O’Brien
Via email

Consider all life issues

I would hope that most Christians take into consideration that the pro-life movement embraces all aspects of life such as those who have been taken in time of war; those who have died needlessly due to homelessness, hunger and no healthcare; those who have suffered illnesses such as AIDS due to lack of funding, resources and attention; those whose lives were taken due to the death penalty, and so many other major issues that plague our society today.

I am personally against abortion. As a Christian I voted for President-elect Obama as did 53 percent of Catholic voters. I wholeheartedly campaigned for him and truly believe he was the “candidate for life,” all issues considered.

If our bishop or any priest or parishioner in our diocese takes the position that I as a Catholic, but more importantly a Christian, should not receive Communion because I did so, let me spare the Church the time. I will ex-communicate myself and find a church that unreservedly takes all life issues into consideration and writes and preaches from pulpit as such.

Joseph A. Maraccini

Pro-life spectrum

I am mystified by two news articles appearing in local newspapers: A priest in Fairfield escorts a mother and son from Sunday Mass because their car is decorated in Obama signs and in Greenville, South Carolina, another priest advises voters for Obama not to receive Communion before doing penance for their vote.

I don’t recall in any baptismal service I have attended a statement that I had to always vote for the candidate who is pro-life. I also didn’t give up making my own informed moral decisions on the day I was baptized.

Where is the pro-life stance on the unjust war in Iraq? What about rendition, torture and illegal imprisonment in Guantanamo?

The Church hierarchy should not be preaching politics from the pulpit.

Mary Ghidella
El Cerrito

Seeking sources

Does anyone know why the Knights of Columbus are opposed to freedom of religion? Before the last election, three members approached me to ask for help in passing Proposition 8, on the grounds, they said, that if we didn’t stop the Protestant churches from blessing gay marriages, the Catholic Church might find itself under greater pressure to marry gay couples, divorced people, and other undesirables.

When I asked what they meant, they didn’t really know — it was just what they had been told. I’d like to know who told them that and why.

Nancy LeBlanc

Not a second-class citizen

I wish to voice my disappointment with the way we have been portrayed by the Catholic Church. I have been a gay man in a relationship for the last 26 years. We finally got married on October 28, 2008 in Oakland, just before the election. Our ceremony was simple and casual. We had never hoped to be blessed by our “church”, nor felt there would be any merit or pleasure to be blessed by an organization that considers me a second-class citizen.

My God does not condemn me for who I am. I was born gay and I will die gay. Bishops John Wester and William Weigand (Voice, Nov. 17) had nothing to gain or lose if the State of California continued performing civil marriage to gay couples who need protection from their own families, in case of the death of one of the partners.

Under the State Civil Union laws, same-sex couples do not have same rights as married straight people do.

What we need is protection from people who judge us from the altars in the name of God and become advocates for discrimination. I shall no longer attend the Catholic Church.

Joe Santini

A law of nature

Support for Proposition 8 was not discriminatory, nor is it a violation of equality. The issue concerned marriage, not homosexuality. Support was an acknowledgement that there are laws that exist in the nature of things that do not depend upon human acceptance for their validity, their binding force.

This is true in the realm of the physical world (i.e. the law of gravity) and in the realm of the human soul (i.e. intentional killing of an innocent human being is immoral). One may ignore or be ignorant of such laws, but their validity and binding force prevails. That marriage is between a man and a woman is a law of nature and is not dependent upon one’s religious or non-religious convictions.

More specifically, Proposition 8 was about children. Every child is born of a mother and a father (a physical law of nature). And every child has a right to the love, security, and nurturance that only a caring mother and father can provide (a law of the human soul). In all cultures, marriage is the institution that best protects these rights.

To deprive children of their rights inflicts upon them a permanent wound. Since children cannot defend themselves in court, Proposition 8 satisfies society’s duty to protect children.

Children should not be an after-thought of marriage, and the march for equality should not exclude children. A culture need to debate these issues is in chaos.

Ronald Connolly, M.D.
Walnut Creek

Misleading phrases

Several letter writers in recent months, Jim Erickson among them (Forum, Nov. 17), have used the phrases “American Catholics” and “American Catholic Church” to describe Roman Catholics in America and the Roman Catholic Church in America. The use of the phrases is inaccurate and misleading.

Mr. Erickson and other writers have not paid particular attention to details. There is a church known as the American Catholic Church of the United States which is not affiliated with or under the jurisdiction of the Roman Church and whose members are not subject to the same rules and regulations of the Roman Catholic Church.

The ACCUS was established in the state of Maryland on May 23, 1999. Readers can obtain more information about the ACCUS at: www.accus.us.

The Roman Catholic Church goes back some 2,000 years and readers can obtain more information about it at www.vatican.va.

If we are going to write about Roman Catholics in America, please be accurate.

Albert F. Limberg

Teach the truth

The recent elections were certainly eye-opening in many ways. How could 54 percent of Catholics vote for the most pro-abortion candidate in history? Do economic concerns trump the sacredness of human life?

Parental notification for our minor daughters failed again. The integrity of marriage and the family hung on by a thread. Yet, can anyone who’s paid attention to what’s happening in the Church really be surprised?

Many polls show that less than half of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. Many Catholics believe they can “pick and choose” which doctrines they believe, thus subjecting God’s decrees to their own opinion.

Some bishops have finally begun to speak out. Let’s thank them. But all too many are still silent or ambiguous. The same can be said for our priests. Let’s urge and encourage them

How about our Religious? How about us? What is taught in our Catholic schools and CCD programs? So many of our young people go through 12 years or more of Catholic education, and don’t even know the basics of the faith. In many of our Catholic high schools and colleges, the faith is actually undermined.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we cannot pass on what we do not know. Let’s continue to educate ourselves on the truth that comes from Christ Himself, that will allow us to live a truly free and abundant life and give us an opportunity for eternal life. Let’s study and share wonderful resources such as EWTN, Catholic radio and www.priestsforlife.org and www.catholic.com.

And let’s thank Bishop Allen Vigneron that we now have “Courage” and “Encourage” in our diocese — www.couragerc.org— a great resource for those struggling with same-sex attraction.

David Zarri

Conflicting points of view

In response to Barbara Meistrell’s suggestion (Forum, Nov. 3) that The Voice only publish “Church doctrine,” I suspect that she is still existing in a pre-Vatican II mindset where Church authority is never questioned.

The hierarchy loves that quality of blind faith, as they don’t have to answer hard questions nor acknowledge the hypocrisies of the institution.

I am grateful The Voice is willing to publish conflicting points of view because we, the Body of Christ, are a living, breathing organism that the Holy Spirit continues to inspire over time.

If the right wing of the Church were really faithful, they would embrace the tenants of Vatican II which empower the laity and demand full and conscious participation in both the Mass (in the vernacular) as well as in Church affairs. In the hierarchy of truth, a Vatican Council has the highest authority of Church teaching.

Full and conscious participation requires thinking, informed men and women who are able to ask intelligent questions, recommend viable strategies and expect an open exchange of ideas to move the Church forward and improve our imperfect institution.

Thank you, Catholic Voice, because we need to hear a variety of viewpoints, so we can form our own conscience and opinions. God gave us brains, so we can think and discern, which allows us to form opinions.

Kate Dougherty

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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