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 February 9, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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An apology required

It is with the deepest sadness that we find ourselves writing this letter. The weak responses of the Vatican in regards to the words of [British-born Bishop] Richard Williamson of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X that the Jews in concentration camps during the Holocaust did not die in gas chambers is devastating.

As the head of the Church it is imperative that the pope demand that this cleric publicly apologize to the Jews. Pope Benedict recently lifted Williamson from a ban of excommunication. He must demand an apology and/or rebuke Williamson in a public statement.

Did St. Edith Stein and St. Maximilian Kolbe not die in the concentration camps? Was that a lie, too? The need for this pope to defend the truth and not run from the face of evil is a necessity.

Christopher and Pamela Frick
Walnut Creek

Aftermath of abortion

Some writers to The Voice’s Reader’s Forum have justified voting for pro-abortion candidates as a way to balance out other issues. Abortion balances out nothing; it destroys the unborn and devastates the women in the aftermath.

This is extremely hard for me to admit, but I want you to know just how evil and horrendous abortion is. I had one when I was 19 years old. I bought into the lie that it wasn’t a person yet, just a clump of cells. That lie nearly destroyed my life and I became suicidal.

It’s been 26 years now and that pain and those scars still remain with me. I have to live with what I did for the rest of my life, as do many other women affected by abortion. There is no balance for me and no balance for the unborn.

I now have three children. God blessed my husband and me with one child, but only one. We wanted more kids so we adopted two babies out of the foster care system. They are full siblings, and they were both born severely drug-exposed.

I thank God every day that their birth mother made the right decision by giving them life despite the fact she was a drug addict. She could have easily aborted them, and had she done that, our family wouldn’t be complete.

But the wounds are still there, even though I have received the sacrament of reconciliation. That’s the price of the sin of abortion, and it’s just way too high.

I pray we all come together to stop abortion. And please pray for me and those who are still suffering from the choice we made.

Name withheld upon request

For Palestinians, not Hamas

The article in the Jan. 19 Voice finds support for Hamas in Gaza, but not from me. The Palestinian people elected Hamas to represent them when they knew it meant war. Israel is ready to accommodate them and if I were 50 years younger, I would go over and support them.

If those who want to see a Palestinian state, as I do, draw up a map of its borders, maybe we can work something out.

Bob Oliver

Accurate reporting

Many thanks to The Catholic Voice for its accurate coverage of the tragedy of Gaza. So many of us have given up on the mainstream media which so often repeats the talking points of the Israeli government rather than seeking out any primary sources.

After searching the Internet and independent media for reliable information on an assault which clearly regards children as “collateral damage,” I was grateful to find honest reporting in my own local diocesan newspaper.

On Friday, Jan. 23, I witnessed a group of outraged American Jewish and Israeli students in silent protest on the steps of Sproul Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. They were protesting seven widely accepted myths used to justify the killing in Gaza, starting with the belief that it is anti-Semitic to oppose the policies of the Israeli government, and followed by the myth that Hamas was the party that broke the ceasefire.

What saddens me most about this tragedy is that when Gazan children examine the spent shell casings and bomb fragments in the rubble of what was once their homes, they will find inscribed such things as “made in Pennsylvania,” “made in Delaware.” Can’t we find better ways to spend our tax money?

Mary Vivian Zelaya

Hate-filled coverage

A front page article in the Jan.19 Voice stated that recent Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, while aimed at destroying Hamas, has had the opposite effect, actually strengthening Hamas. The article obviously was intended to garner sympathy for Hamas and it has had the opposite effect.

I have never read a more hate-filled article in The Catholic Voice with one lie piled on top of another. “Even Christians say they are considering joining Hamas,” the article states. Apparently the writer, Barbara Erickson, and the editor of The Voice have already joined. Good. Now we know which side of the battle they are on.

I will apologize to my Jewish friends, but I think an apology is also due from the Oakland Diocese. And The Voice could use a new editor who might know the difference between news and propaganda.

Gerald E. Kosel

The Gaza nightmare

Thank you for the excellent article (Jan. 19) concerning Gaza and the tragic situation there. Ms. Erickson’s interview with Professor Hisham Ahmed from St. Mary’s College was most informative. Professor Ahmed, as a Palestinian, gave a shocking account of what is going on there.

As the Gaza nightmare unfolded I couldn’t believe that the world was standing by and allowing unarmed civilians (many of whom were women, children and the elderly) to be bombed with no possibility of escape because of sealed borders.

There were condemnations, of course, from the Vatican, the UN and others but unfortunately this was a case of “might makes right.” This was an appalling action by Israel and I have no doubt that this barbarous behavior only strengthened the extremists throughout the Middle East.

I know many Palestinians and they feel that the world is not listening to their plight. They feel like a forgotten people and that no one cares. They have been occupied for so long and much of the land promised to them has been taken and settled by the Israelis.

Unfortunately the mainstream press in this country has been biased for so long and has not given the Palestinian people fair treatment. As people of faith we must stand up and demand fairness in reporting. There is a glimmer of hope with President Obama who has already appointed George Mitchell as a special envoy to this area.

Let us pray that there will be justice for both the Israelis and the Palestinians, for without a just solution there can be no lasting peace.

Sarah Fike

A vital responsibility

I’ve been reading your excellent coverage, e.g. the truth, about what is really happening in Gaza. There is a saying, “If you want peace, work for justice.” I think The Catholic Voice has a vital responsibility to continue to provide us with the kind of coverage you’ve had to this point.

Only when the public is informed, can they act on that information and work for justice. The true facts about what the Palestinians have endured has for too long gone unexamined. Thank you for your courage in continuing to publish the truth.

Maureen K. Connor

Remove Hamas

My question to Professor Ahmed of St. Mary’s College is that if rockets were fired from the Bay Area and hit St Mary’s, what would he do? His answer would be interesting, but I do not think he would sit back and do nothing.

All these years the poor Palestinian people have had nothing but corrupt leaders and false promises. Contrary to his opinion even the Arab world is getting tired of these terror organizations whose leaders live (in luxury) in other countries and are very good in placing the blame on others, knowing full well what the real problem is.

Until these groups are removed (one way or the other) there will be no peace in the Holy Land. Hamas is not as popular as Professor Ahmed seems to think and his view seems to be very one-sided. Even the Church should start taking more responsibility as to where the blame is.

J. Eric Salmon

Biased or naïve?

The people of Palestine cry out to their leaders. Hamas doesn’t care for them. Hamas continues the aggression. And their people are the sole victims of this conflict. Does Hamas promote the continued warfare against its people? Or do they implement means to obtain a lasting peace?

When Israel stopped the war to negotiate for peace, Hamas just took the time to regroup and rearm. Is it only Israel who uses force? Is Hamas innocent?

I thought The Voice would not be biased. But two articles promoting the work of Hamas, leads me to think that the editorial board of this paper is one-sided. Or are you that naive?

Lillian Silver
Walnut Creek

Bush’s pro-life record

I would like to address Father Jim Schexnayder’s letter (Forum, Jan. 19) of actions that he claims and “suspects” were not evident. You can see the Bush’s pro-life record at www.cns.com where 8 years of his pro-life work is highlighted. Just to name a few:

In 2001, President Bush declared that federal funds could not be used for embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of human embryos. Instead, Bush promoted adult stem cell research, which does not destroy embryos.

In the same year, Bush reinstated a Reagan-era mandate known as the Mexico City Policy that had been removed by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. The policy requires all non-governmental organizations that receive federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortions in other countries.

In 2002, Bush’s Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson implemented the “unborn child rule.” It requires the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) — a federal program that gives funds to states to provide health insurance to families with children — to define the term “child” to include from conception to birth.

Also in 2002, Bush signed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which extends legal protection to infants who survive induced abortions by providing them with identical legal protections as babies who are born prematurely.

In 2003, President Bush signed into law the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which prohibits late-term abortions.

In 2004, Bush signed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which defines a child “in utero” at any stage of development as human, and accords the child the legal rights of the victim if subject to certain crimes that involve death or injury.

In 2005 and 2006, Bush appointed two pro-life justices, Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, respectively, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2007, both justices voted to uphold the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which was challenged in a lawsuit.

In 2007, Bush also sent congressional Democratic leaders a letter threatening to veto any bill that weakened existing pro-life policy.

In 2008, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt issued a regulation to protect the rights of federally funded health care providers to decline to participate in services to which they morally object, including abortion.

“Bush has achieved more than any other pro-life president,” Darla St. Martin, co-executive director of National Right to Life, told CNSNews.com. “Bush was just outstanding. He was very dedicated from the moment he came into office. He was a tremendous pro-life president and he will be very much missed.”

Peggy Murray

Pro-abortion president

And so it begins. President Obama in using the Roe v. Wade anniversary overturns the G.W. Bush ban and will allow non-governmental organizations working abroad to use U.S. funding to give counseling on or provide abortions.

I hope The Voice will take note of the initial day-one policy actions of the Obama presidency and write a feature story about it to contrast the positive hopeful story about his inauguration in the Jan. 19 issue where you featured the specific Catholic schools festivities in full support of the pro-abortion/late-term abortion president.

Name withheld upon request

Sophistry at its worst

The letters by Charles Coyle and Father Jim Schexnayder (Forum, Jan. 19) are lacking in truth, honesty, and good reasoning. To equate the unintentional killing of innocents in war to the planned, deliberate, slaughter of millions of unborn babies is sophistry at its worst.

Please gentlemen, name me one of our national political leaders who have advocated or condoned the killing of innocent civilians. I can name many, starting with President Obama, Vice President Biden, Speaker of the House Pelosi, who passionately advocate the killing of the innocent and defenseless unborn babies and hide behind it as “freedom of choice.”

If they truly believe in that freedom why do they support laws prohibiting women from choosing to rent or lease out those same bodies for sex?

Incidentally, please note that Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. They are a multimillion dollar operation receiving millions of taxpayer dollars to operate their abortion mills while they dole out hundreds of thousands of dollars to support their friendly politicians and put or keep them in office.

Clifford R. Wiesner

Attack against children

I’m sure it was not intentional, but you have powerfully armed critics of the Church and at the same time scandalized our youth by giving high praise to a Catholic school graduate who makes a hero of a so-called “hit man for the Vatican,” a thing that never existed. But anyone who read your article (Voice, Jan. 19) could easily, and falsely, assume the idea was based on history.

Sadly, you also highlighted the “celebration” in Catholic schools of the most pro-abortion, even pro-infanticide, anti-marriage president in history.

This is not a victory for African Americans. It is a confirmation of the declaration of war against African American children launched by Planned Parenthood, which locates most of its abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods and contributes toward the death of 1,400 African-American children every day.

Now, with the repeal of the Mexico City policy that war has been greatly escalated throughout the world. The president’s promised attack against marriage is also an attack against children, who desire and need the love of a father and a mother.

Our Lord had dire warnings for those who lead His children astray. I suggest the Catholic schools and The Catholic Voice take those warnings to heart.

Catherine Norman

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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