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 April 27, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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Enforce gun laws

I would like to respond to Father Jay Matthews comment about the easy availability of guns in his commentary, “Finding light in the midst of urban violence,” (Voice, April 13.)

To legally purchase a firearm, if it is a handgun, you need a Handgun Safety Certifi-cate and the state Department of Justice has to approve the sale. If it is a rifle or a shotgun, you need only the state Department of Justice’s approval. If anyone has a felony record or conviction for some misdemeanors, is the subject of a restraining order or has been adjudicated mentally ill or mentally incompetent, the sale is prohibited.

Lying on the form that is sent to the state Department of Justice is a felony in and of itself.

Anyone who illegally acquires a firearm breaks numerous federal and state laws and is at hazard of being arrested for that alone.

So I would suggest that current gun laws be vigorously enforced and that misleading statements and policies that confuse the law-abiding and lawless be avoided.

William O. Ellis
Walnut Creek

Pope correct on condoms

I am writing to reply to Robert Zanger’s letter (Forum, April 13) about Pope Benedict XVI’s comments about condoms. First of all, condoms have been sold and given away in a frenzy by the billions around the world since the time of Pope Paul VI and none of the things they were supposed to stop have been stopped.

During these years, STDs, AIDS and unwanted pregnancies have skyrocketed. In Africa, the only places that have reduced the percentage of people with AIDS are those who followed what the Catholic Church and the popes have suggested about chastity before and during marriage. The rest of Africa, which follows the plan suggested by Mr. Zanger and the laughing experts, is awash in a much higher percentage of AIDS.

I suggest that Mr. Zanger learn more about the shortcomings of condom usage. I also urge him to listen to the pope and the Catholic Church more closely and prudently. I suspect there may still be a thing or two that may be learned from these faithful sources.

Gregory Gollnick

No conflict on evolution

The article on evolution (Voice, March 30) states that according to Robert Russell of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley, “the real problem that evolution poses . . . is how to explain the existence of suffering, disease, death and extinction before the historical event of the creation and fall of man.” This may not be a problem at all because eternal life with Adam and Eve was not inherent, but conditioned upon eating of the tree of life. They were sent out of the garden of Eden so that they would not have access to it (see Genesis 3:22-24).

The theory of evolution, with its missing links, unknown common ancestors, and missing transitional forms, still has a long way to go in establishing that, as a scientific certainty, humans evolved from a sub-species. I choose to remain agnostic in regards to evolution because the missing pieces may not even exist.

I don’t feel any need to reconcile Dar-winism with the Bible, and I don’t believe that faith needs to be put on hold until science comes up with better answers. Ultimately, there should be no conflict between science and religion.

Peter Aiello

Limit urn designs

The April 13 Voice bears an advertisement, in color, which is rife with error.

To begin, a special pricing for those many niches in the new cathedral is available from March through May, thus effectively reducing the dates of the discount, established in the advertisement, by a month and a half. Why the big hurry to fill the spaces in a structure designed to last a thousand years?

The choice of accepting the carefully chosen marble front or a tacky glass front on the niche will see degeneration of the highly pleasing, architectural appearance of the mausoleum as it presently exists in the Cathedral. That tacky door idea will breed another problem unless design standards of the urn are established.

Otherwise, you will have something similar to that tacky tourist attraction in San Francisco where urns come in all sizes and shapes such as oversized baseballs, whiskey bottles and other ridiculous artwork.

Those urn designs must be limited in the sense that expressions of taste will increase their costs, the expense of which will become competitive to those possessed of a false sense of pride or who just plain lack good sense.

Frankly, the glass front of itself will mar the appearance of mausoleum. Glass fronts are a bad idea which does nothing for the spiritual life of the viewer. Perhaps the expression of wealth to the contrary?

Vox clamantis in deserto! ( A voice crying in the wilderness!)

John W. Kyle

Keep readings in English

It was with great pride and pleasure that I attended the Chrism Mass on April 2. As is the case every year, I was deeply touched to hear our priests renew their commitment to priestly service. I was especially touched this year as they made their vows to our newly appointed Bishop Salvatore Cordileone. Our bishop was warmly welcomed by all, as we look forward to his presence among us.

However, the diocese once again went to great lengths to convince everyone that we are a Church of great diversity. In so doing, I feel that we missed the whole point of liturgy. If indeed, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist are equally important parts of our current Mass, then why are the readings not read in English, the language that most of the participants can understand?

Have our liturgies become political statements rather than ministry to God’s people? Is there a point where these liturgies have become entertainment rather than ministry?

Since I speak only English, if I cannot fully and consciously participate in the Mass including hearing the Holy Scriptures read in English, my only other option is to stay at home and read them to myself.

Most of us in attendance at diocesan events understand English. Please take a second look at the diocesan liturgies and let the Holy Spirit minister through his Word and through his people in the language most can understand.

Susan Batterton

Truth about abortion

This is in response to the individual who does not want abortionists to be called “baby killers.” When a woman is pregnant, there is a human baby inside of her. When an abortion is performed, the human baby is killed. Calling abortionists baby killers is accurate. It’s the absolute truth as to what they do. Call it what it is.

Jennifer Griffen

Value of smaller churches

Non-Catholic and non-sectarian churches are popping up all over the place. They seem to find the money to build very nice churches and offer some schools. They are drawing our young people in and away from us. The reason is because they are smaller and offer a lot of family-oriented services and individual attention.

When we can’t get into our parish church because it is too crowded, my daughters and I travel to Holy Rosary Church in Antioch. On Sunday nights they have a Mass dedicated to the young. The teens usher, pass the box, sit together and are blessed before Mass. They have a band with piano, organ, guitar, accordion, flute and drums. They do the singing to music; everyone sways and holds hands.

There is a big screen on each side of the altar to help parishioners take part in the Mass. When you leave you feel good and happy and the teenagers go inside to meet and have their refreshments.

That’s also what these small churches are doing to bring in the youth and other people, and it’s working. Sorry to say, not for us Catholics. Here in Brentwood we need another Catholic church or parish and a school because our one church is serving up to 5,000 Catholics. If these other churches can do it, so can we.

E. Edwards

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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