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Catholic Voice

 September 21, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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Respecting God’s design

The Catholic Voice missed another opportunity to correct a dissenting individual’s letter to Reader’s Forum, Chuck Schneider’s letter (Forum, Sept. 7) in support of contraception. Scripture is clear that if you do not correct your brother in charity, then you will be held accountable for his sins.

The Catholic Voice should have included an editorial comment and explained that contraception takes apart God’s design while Natural Family Planning respects God’s design and is always open to the possible miracle of life.

Furthermore, besides all the adverse health risks of contraceptives, many so-called contraceptives are actually abortifacients. The IUD prevents the implantation of the new life in the womb. Likewise, the birth control pill and the emergency contraceptive Plan B pills can also act as an early abortion agent.

When individuals promote contraceptives, they are also unwillingly promoting microscopic abortions.

Sex is a sign of marriage and truly the bonding of a married couple is a desirable end, but the end never justifies the means.

Catholic teaching is that the use of contraceptives is evil while the practice of Natural Family Planning is good. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. We should never use our body or another person’s body by manipulating and altering natural healthy functions.

This also explains the Catholic teaching against embryonic research and in vitro fertilization, which involved destroying or using the bodies of embryos.

Our bodies are so important to God that He has promised to raise our bodies up on the last day. God is not content with just having our holy souls in heaven; God has definite plans to have our glorified bodies in heaven.

Thomas Lenz, MD

(Dr. Lenz is a volunteer instructor in Natural Family Planning in the Oakland Diocese.)

Addressing complex problems

Health care and immigration reform are complex problems. All opinions on these issues are being openly aired and discussed without fear of reprisal. These discussions will greatly assist our elected leaders to find solutions that will serve the larger national interests.

Regularizing the “illegals” and providing them health care may strengthen the Church as an establishment, but it will also cause immense social, economic and legal problems for the nation.

There are millions who have been patiently waiting for years for “the piece of paper” that indicates approval of their immigration applications. Most of these people are relatives of American citizens hoping to be united with their loved ones or are people looking for an escape from religious persecution in the countries of their birth. They have gone through expensive medical examinations and paid large amounts of money to obtain the required “No Objection Certificates” from corrupt local officials.

The national need is for an affordable health plan. The reported examples of those whose lives are negatively affected are cause for concern, but equally pathetic are the cases of the many who also suffer because of loss of medical coverage brought about by high insurance premiums and loss of employment.

The widely accepted choices of a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan or the less expensive Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan can be fine-tuned to cost less and, with additional funds, offered more extensively. Proper planning can also limit involvement by government.

Bishop Salvatore Cordileone reportedly stated that human dignity is God-given and innate and doesn’t depend on one’s legal status or financial resources. This is true, but the harsh fact is that everything comes at a cost and all must make their fair contributions. To expect to find solutions to the health care and immigration plans by further adding to a deficit budget is a dream.

I believe that the position taken by the Church will compartmentalize these issues and will make finding a common ground much more difficult.

Robert P. Mendonca

A Church that forgives

Clifford R. Wiesner (Forum, Sept. 7) decries the fact that the Church has “bestowed its blessing” on Ted Kennedy. Mr. Wiesner assumes that it is because Kennedy was rich and powerful.

I think our writer is having trouble seeing the bigger picture. Recall the story of the prodigal son. Even rich and powerful senators are real people and so are their wives and children. The local Catholic priest did attend Kennedy in his last years. Are we a forgiving Church?

The pope did send his blessing to the dying senator after receiving his letter, which in part says of his 50 years in public service:

“I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor, and open doors of economic opportunity. I’ve worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war. Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a United States senator.

“I also want you to know that, even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone.

“I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I continue to pray for God’s blessings, on you and on our Church, and would be most thankful for your prayers for me.”

Our Church, like Jesus, is big enough to embrace all of us sinners.

Theresa Schexnayder
Via email

Prayer for Priests

During this Year for Priests, I would like to offer this Irish Prayer for Priests, which a group of us have been saying daily after Mass at St. Philip Neri Parish in Alameda for years. Maybe other parishes will be led to do the same.

      Please keep them, Jesus, for they are Thine.
      Priests whose lives burn-out before Thy Sacred Shrine.
      Keep them for they are in the world
      Though from the world apart.
      When earthy treasures tempt and allure,
      Please shelter them in your Sacred Heart.
      Keep them, Jesus, they have none but Thee
      They have only human hearts
      With human frailty.
      Please keep them as spotless as the Host
      That daily they caress.
      Their every thought, word, act and deed
      Deign, dearest Lord, to bless.

Marybeth Bryne

Divorce threatens marriage

In the Sept. 7 issue of The Catholic Voice, Bishop Cordileone is quoted as saying that “marriage is good, . . . marriage is holy. . . . It benefits everyone.” Elsewhere he said: “Strong marriages and families are foundational to society.”

Except for the “holy” part, there are few if any citizens of this country who would disagree. However, there is no statistical evidence that anything the Catholic Church says or does has been very successful in preserving the sanctity (holiness) of the matrimonial union to any greater degree than marriages of other religious groups, or even groups of people who claim no religion at all.

If there is any impediment to the sanctity of sacramental marriage, it is the degree to which Catholics no longer view marriage as a sacred lifetime commitment, not the desire of same-sex couples to enter into that bond.

Jim McCrea

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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