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 October 19, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 18   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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Among the bravest

Thank you for Carmen Hartono’s article (Voice, Oct. 5) on Tulio Chacon’s faith journey. I know his mother Eleanor and Tonio from the bus stop we shared for many years. These are some of the bravest people on earth. It is an honor to know them. Thank you for sharing their story.

Society’s learning curve always lags behind the Lord’s. Christ desires communion with every human life He has called into being. But perfection is elusive. My own people, in our American society, regarded my people as only three-fifths human until the law caught up with reality in 1865.

The Church in the United States has to challenge itself in this matter and come to a clearer understanding of its own teaching. Special people are held back by similar perceptions which even the Church has acted on in the past.

SPRED (Special Religious Education) liturgies may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the wholesome participation of all our brothers and sisters should bring all of us great joy. Cardinal Newman said that “To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” Gran orgullo, Tulio y Eleanor!

Rebecca C. Spencer-O’Hare

Inaccurate comparison

I’m writing in response to Barbara Wright’s letter (Forum, Oct. 5) in which she states that “numbers from wars are so much more massive than the numbers of abortions and death penalty executions.”

In the United States alone over 45 million legal abortions were performed between 1973 and 2005. That’s 3853 abortions a day, performed legally in the U.S.

Total U.S. war casualties in all wars we participated in between the Revolutionary War and the Persian Gulf War (doesn’t include Iraq and Afghanistan) are 1,004,015. These brave men and women died for our freedom, the unborn have no choice.

One thing is clear, whether or not you think wars are justified, don’t compare their casualties to those of abortion. It’s not even close.

Bob Kilmartin

A voice for everyone

There have been several letters lately about dissenting opinions in the Reader’s Forum. I especially enjoy reading the letters for all the differing points of view.

There seems to be a great push to take the Church back to pre-Vatican II times. It is important to note that those not allowed to voice dissent are in cults or cult-like religions. Thankfully, so far many Catholics believe everyone should have a voice. Let’s hope we can all be heard!

Paula Hart

A ‘Jacob’s ladder’ needed

Many are familiar with the story of Jacob’s dream in the book of Genesis in which a ladder reached from earth to heaven. The name “Jacob’s ladder” was given to life-saving ladders used on ships for rescuing survivors from calamities at sea.

Our health care system is in need of a “Jacob’s ladder,” pulling people out of a sea of medical distress.

Many who object to the rescue of our health care system say that the rescue is too costly and that the public option would undermine existing health plans. Existing health care is already too expensive for many families and individuals because of the greed and costly formulas used to extract payment for services by health providers and medical plans alike.

The public option plan would curtail much of the greed of this practice. As for the cost factor, one can foresee that at the rate that health care costs have escalated and will continue to escalate, costs will only decrease by competition of current health plans with a public option plan.

Perhaps the chief opposition comes from those who are much too comfortable with their existing situation, or to use the vernacular, “I’ve got mine; Jake, pull up the ladder”.

Joe R. Guadarrama

No place for mediocrity

We understand that Rudy de Vos, the new director of music at the cathedral, has indicated his intention to utilize the best music of all centuries to enhance the workshop at the cathedral and by natural extension to the whole of the diocese.

Mr. de Vos should be commended and encouraged to do so by all of us. Excellence is a virtue and in our attempt to worship God, regardless of our inadequacies, we should make every attempt to bring the very best to reach that goal.

Our great Catholic music, past and present, should be embraced by us just as we are encouraged by the leaders of the Church to enhance our worship by beautiful and meaningful liturgies.

Those of us who are interested in contemporary and ethnic-based music should encourage composers to write the highest quality music that is solidly grounded in proper musical forms. Mediocrity in music should not be tolerated, whether in composition or performance.

George and Zilpha Paganelli

Climate change and population

The call for more access to birth control to combat climate change is, at best, a straw man as this less than cogent argument falls apart when examined in light of the reality of our world.

Nations with the largest carbon footprint and highest energy consumption are the most wealthy ones of the world and the ones that have extremely high rates of contraception. And an emerging economy like China, with its soaring energy consumption, enforces coercive, government-mandated birth control policies that violate fundamental human rights.

The conflation of birth control use and climate change from well-off westerners can be seen as another example of a “culture of death.” From Pope John Paul II’s “Gospel of Life”: “This culture is actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic and political currents which encourage an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency . . . a war of the powerful against the weak.”

So it is when we, the very wealthy in the West, look down on those in poorer countries and brashly cry out that there are too many of them.

Dan Tracy

Recommended reading

There is an excellent new book for spiritual reading titled “Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love” by Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, and Father Eduardo Chavez, postulator of St. Juan Diego’s cause for sainthood.

Their thesis is why Mary appeared when she did and why Guadalupe is so important for the future of the Americas, especially California. It is a book for our time.

Mary McMahon

Repeal Article 2

The National Rifle Association, fearing loss of political control over the “right to bear arms” as established in our Constitution, threatened the appointment of Ms. Sotomayor to the Supreme Court when stating it intends to score U. S. senators who voted for the appointment.

Ms. Sotomayor is seen by NRA leadership as a threat to the right to bear arms. I fail to understand the rationale.

We saw the loss of four Oakland police officers and another three in Pittsburgh. The continuing threat of mayhem within our various communities is a problem, which can be largely resolved by the repeal and re-writing of Article 2 of our U.S. Constitution.

In the upcoming elections involving state or national representation to U.S. Congressional or State offices, I will not vote for anyone who fails to declare and work in a measurable fashion toward elimination of the right to own all fully-automatic or semi-automatic guns.

I understand the value of recreation in hunting and fishing. I fail to see the benefit of oversized caliber or military weapons in hunting activity.

Restrict automatic or semi-automatic weaponry to use by military forces and law enforcement personnel. Article 2 was created because of the presence of uncontrolled frontiers which no longer exist. Now the danger is with the presence of unreasonable weaponry in urban areas.

John Kyle

Become a lay mission helper

Los Angeles-based Lay Mission-Helpers Association has opened its four-month residential education program to women and men religious and their lay associates preparing to serve in Catholic-sponsored international mission programs.

Lay Mission-Helpers has over 50 years experience in training and supporting Catholic families and single people for service as teachers, nurses, accountants, administrators, computer techs and other programs sponsored by the Church in some of the most economically deprived outposts in the world.

Information about our work and training programs is available at www.laymissionhelpers.org.

Janice England, Program director
Lay Mission-Helpers, Los Angeles

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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