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 July 6, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 13   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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Stewards of creation

In response to Camille Giglio’s recent perspective “A troubling focus” (Voice, June 22), I would like to take a moment to clarify the focus of Children’s Choice. We strive to provide a daily variety of sustainable, kid-friendly meals to appeal to every child’s palate and every parent’s conscience. Our emphasis on sustainability in no way signifies a philosophy of “earth first, people second.” In fact, these are not even competing priorities.

My wife Allison and I have a 15-month-old daughter. When the time came to introduce Grace to solid foods, we began journeying weekly as a family to the Farmers Market to stock up on seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, grown by local farmers practicing sustainable farming methods on local land. We would prepare all of her meals from our weekly Farmers Market haul, continually introducing her to new flavors and textures as the crops went in and out of season.

As a small child, all Grace knew was how her palate responded to the food. But as parents, we knew that we were serving her a meal that was at its pinnacle of freshness, free from artificial additives, and supported local growers practicing responsible land stewardship.

As she gets older, we plan to continue our family trips to the local Farmer’s Market to even further reinforce to Grace the connection to where our food comes from. We want her to understand that God has blessed us with a fertile and abundant earth, but that it must be cared for in a manner that shows respect for His creation.

The traditional stereotype of ecologically-minded individuals is one of secular humanists who embody a paganistic reverence towards “Mother Earth.” But this characterization is no longer relevant in the modern sustainability movement. In fact, I believe the principles of sustainability are “Catholic” by the very origin of the word - “universal” to all of us as children of God and stewards of His creation. While I don’t doubt that some sustainability advocates still fit the traditional stereotype, I can assure you that these motives could not be further from the core of Children’s Choice.

Justin Gagnon
CEO, Children’s Choice
Walnut Creek

Catastrophic risk

Congressional Democratic leaders are currently at work crafting health care reform legislation. Apart from the estimated $1.6 trillion price tag, the bill poses huge catastrophic risks for unborn children.

President Obama, with the help of some of the most powerful Democrats in Congress, hopes to use health care reform as a vehicle to vastly expand access to abortion on demand. That is why President Obama is looking to trash or seriously undermine conscience-clause protections and has revoked the conscience-clause regulations promulgated by President Bush.

In the upcoming debate, they will try to use benign words and phrases to mask abortion. Even Planned Parenthood is on script and recently said they merely want “a full range of health-care options.”

In 2007, Mr. Obama told Planned Parenthood in a speech, “in my mind, reproductive care is essential care, basic care, so it is at the center, the heart of the plan that I propose. Insurers are going to abide by the same rules in providing comprehensive care, including reproductive care. That’s going to be absolutely vital.”

Recently in a Chicago Tribune interview, Mr. Obama said his health-care plan would cover “reproductive rights.”

Remember that Secretary of State Clinton says reproductive rights means abortion.

The Obama/Kennedy/Waxman legislation creates a benefits advisory council, picked by Obama, that will mandate services after the bill becomes law. Absent explicit language in the bill precluding abortion, the killing of unborn children on demand will be mandated.

Jim Crowley
Walnut Creek

A view on Catholicism

I read the Catholic Voice each month for the well-reported general and diocesan news. Still, I can’t resist the Reader’s Forum, which does not, hopefully, reflect the real concerns of most in our diocese (i.e., joblessness, the infant mortality rate, immigration issues, etc.)

Specifically in response to Sharon Arata, Patrick Halligan and John-Paul Deol, (Forum, June 8), most of the Catholic press noted the Pew findings that the majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life, presumably including Catholics.

We are pro-life and the Notre Dame graduation (and the controversy surrounding President Obama’s presence there) represented a microcosm of the American Catholic reality, in which the majority of students, graduates, parents, and clergy, who have apparently been paying better and more loyal attention to the current pope’s views on Obama than Bishop D’Arcy has, stood their ground, while allowing the minority of anti-Obama dissenters to have their say.

If there is any “schism” in the American Church today, it hardly comes from our being a 2000-plus-year-old theocracy within a 200-plus–year-old democracy, or vice versa.

We, the majority of American voters, born in the late ’40s and early ’50s, have survived as practicing Catholics through six papacies, Vatican II, two Kennedy assassinations, the civil rights movement along with the assassinations of two major African American civil rights leaders, the resignation of a Republican president and the impeachment of a Democratic one, three major, elective wars (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq II), all bloody debacles. We just don’t see our Catholicism as a zero-sum game.

Deborah Duggan

Value of marriage

I would like to expand on my letter (Forum, May 11) which Ms. Piper commented on in “Miss California not correct” (Forum, June 8). I am also a college-educated woman. So, I agree with Ms. Piper that brains are important; however, most important is love (1 Cor. 13:13). I also agree with Ms. Piper that Miss California’s response to the question posed by Perez Hilton was “inarticulately expressed.” But the real question is: What is marriage?

Everyone has a desire, a need. This is a desire for meaning, for dignity, for hope, for love. Love from where? From what? No, from whom? From another, whose presence is recognized in somebody other than ourself. And we find this in relationships and in encounters.

One particular kind of relationship is marriage, where one encounters the great Presence through one’s spouse.

Marriage is a sacrament ordained by God, a holy unbreakable statement of fidelity to God through one another (Mk 10:9), man and woman (Gen 2:24). Politics cannot change this.

If people understood the value of marriage, the divorce rate would be much lower. Yes, flippancy due to a lack of understanding of love is a factor in divorce. Thus, I completely agree with Ms. Piper’s statement: “What makes a marriage sacred is that it is entered into honestly, with respect for God and each other.”

But can one really respect God if one disrespects God’s design for marriage, explicitly supported by Christ (Mt 19:3-6, 8), and supported by God’s Church throughout her history?

Gina Lopez

On editorial balance

The first three letters in the June 22 Forum were in support of permitting a pro-abortion president to speak at the University of Notre Dame. There was not a single letter in support of the 77-plus bishops who spoke out and 370,000-plus who signed the petition by the Cardinal Newman Society in opposition. This is not because of a lack of submissions in opposition. I know, I wrote in opposition and it was not published.

I find the lack of editorial balance, in opposition to Church doctrine on an issue that the Church has taken an unambiguous and uncompromising position, in a Catholic publication appalling.

It is true that the Church’s teachings are not limited to the abortion issue. Poverty, health care, hunger, crime, and violence are all important. However, the fact remains that among these, abortion alone is an intrinsic evil. On this issue there is no middle ground around which a constructive dialog can be formed.

Politicians who support abortion and those who vote for pro-abortion politicians are clearly not in communion with the Church. Further, they are complicit in the murder of millions of babies annually.

To equate one politician’s position on abortion to another’s position on the death penalty is specious. The Church’s opposition to the death penalty is not absolute. There are multiple crimes and sins for which the Bible itself calls for the death penalty and the Church has classified certain executions to be justifiable homicide.

Until The Catholic Voice aligns its editorial positions with that of the Church instead of providing a platform for venting political rhetoric, it is doing the Diocese of Oakland and the Roman Catholic Church a disservice.

Thomas Templeton

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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