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 August 10, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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An honor undeserved

As a conservative, I really don’t mind when liberals disagree with the conservative position on issues. But I do wish they would take the time to listen to what conservatives are actually saying before they start disagreeing. Case in point, letters in Reader’s Forum (June 22) blasting conservatives for criticizing Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to speak at its commencement ceremonies.

There were actually two issues involved here. The first was inviting Obama to speak. The second was honoring him with an honorary law degree. I think Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, summed it up best when he said, “I have no problem with Obama speaking on the campus. . . . I have no problem with him addressing the law school, being involved in this symposium. . . . I do have a problem giving him the honor.”

In 2004, the U.S. bishops issued a document, “Catholics in Political Life” that stated in part, “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

Note that the document does not say that only Catholic politicians should not receive honors. It plainly states that no one should be honored if they reject fundamental moral principles. If the Church’s teaching about the sanctity of life and our opposition to abortion is not a fundamental moral principle, then what is?

Two other schools, Arizona State and the U.S. Naval Academy, also invited Obama to speak around the same time as his appearance at Notre Dame. Neither one of them felt the need to award him an honorary degree. So why did Notre Dame feel the need to give him an award? They must have known that honoring the most pro-abortion president in American history would outrage devout Catholics.

One last point, if 75 years ago a Catholic university had wanted to honor Hitler with an honorary business degree based on his economic miracle in restoring the German economy, would liberals have objected to conservatives raising the issue of his treatment of the Jews as grounds for not giving him an honor? And if not, then what is the difference between how Hitler treated the Jews and how Obama treats the unborn?

Robert Burke

Meeting with Obama

As a Catholic and a graduate of Notre Dame, I was pleased to see both Father John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, and Pope Benedict stand up to critics who did not want either Notre Dame or the Vatican to meet with President Obama. I think those who opposed the meetings are “single-issue zealots.”

Phil Everist

Intellectual bankruptcy

Reading the Forum, it is painfully obvious that for many reasons the topic of life is apparently still controversial within this diocese.

If you are a baptized and confirmed Catholic who attends Mass and recites the Apostle’s Creed, there should not be any doubt as to what the correct ethical, moral, righteous, true and just view is when it comes to the rights of unborn human beings.

There has been a bloody stain on this republic for over 40 years as it has wrapped itself under the legal cover of our subverted Constitution to justify prenatal infanticide and wiped out an entire generation of innocent American lives.

Judges, politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists for this inexcusable madness are as guilty as the abortionists for perpetrating this national crime that debases our culture, violates the Natural Law and mocks the very foundations of our Constitution. Indeed, of the four sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance this sin is the first.

And yet, as is evident from this Forum, there are individuals who continue to label themselves as Catholic but continue to vote for politicians who enthusiastically support prenatal infanticide.

These individuals justify this by the intellectually lazy fallback of “moral equivalency.”

The most egregious example of intellectual bankruptcy I have witnessed in Reader’s Forum are letters that compare the death penalty of those who have been found guilty of first degree murder to the violent murder of an innocent child while still in its mother’s womb.

Yet, this continues to be the fallback position of those who defy the Magisterium and enable the Culture of Death.

What you do in the privacy of the voting booth is one thing, but please don’t publically justify your moral culpability by pointing at politicians who favor capital punishment to demonstrate your reasoning. It is intellectually dishonest moral equivalency, an inconsistent comparison and thus a logical fallacy.

David Yuers
Walnut Creek

‘Thou shalt not kill’

When will we learn that abortion and the death penalty are the worst sins that humanity can commit against itself? This is a lesson that must be repeated over and over again until it penetrates our thick skulls.

“Thou shalt not kill” was written for a reason — to prevent us from sinning and so thereby saving our own souls.

Is it so difficult to comprehend that we should cherish life?

Lillian Silver
Walnut Creek

Confused and uninformed

Thomas Templeton (Forum, July 6) objected to the frequent publication of Reader’s Forum contributions from individuals who dissent from Catholic teaching.

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Templeton on this point. It is important for faithful Catholics to be aware of dissent in our diocese. If The Voice stopped publishing dissenting letters, readers might be lulled into thinking “all is well” and incorrectly conclude that our diocesan catechetical efforts and resources are sufficient to meet the need.

With every publication of the Reader’s Forum, it is painfully clear that many of our brothers and sisters are confused and uninformed about basic Catholic teaching. Mr. Templeton correctly points this out in his commentary. However, the solution is not censorship.

The Voice should continue publishing these dissenting viewpoints. Such letters offer a “teachable moment,” an opportunity for The Voice to provide a brief statement citing correct Catholic teaching and references so no one is confused.

We are fortunate to have Catholic radio (AM 1260) and Catholic television (EWTN) available in our diocese. With some fine tuning, The Catholic Voice can also become a powerful resource to help us “know Christ better and make Him better known.”

Mike McDermott

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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