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Catholic Voice

 November 23, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 20   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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Health maintenance tax

Catholics must decide: Is affordable, universal healthcare a right or just a privilege for the wealthy? Must we pretend that the ER is equivalent with preventative care?

Being pro-life, why do we let the uninsured die prematurely because they postpone care due to costs?

We ration healthcare in America now — by a patient’s means. We’ll triage non-breathers and bleeders over those with lesser symptoms, who’ll wait.

Those stifling reform bloviate about governmental “takeovers,” but the wealthy will always be able to get out-of-system care. “Healthcare vacations” are commonplace now — especially among desperate patients seeking affordable overseas cures.

Arguing against reform is simply heartless, selfish, and it’s all about money — not people. True, there’s finite funding, but, looking at our bloated war budgets, it’s a matter of priorities.

So what to do? Let’s start by taking the profit motive out of healthcare and pharmaceuticals by transcending the insurance model. Insurance companies don’t provide care — they ration it. They just take their pound of flesh out of every healthcare dollar.

Let’s instead pay hospitals, doctors and nurses for their time, service and expertise — not for how many patients and procedures they can churn out.

Charge everyone an equitable and affordable national health maintenance tax, much as we do now for defense, fire and police protection. Nationally fund research and provide people with treatments.

And when people get sick and can’t work, they can be temporarily exempt from the tax. Now, we just let them and their families go bankrupt — then die.

Ed Chainey
Richmond


Access for all


There is a lot of news these days about the Catholic bishops lobbying hard, and successfully, that an anti-abortion amendment be added to HR 3962, the health reform bill passed by the House of Representatives. I am concerned that in their zeal to protect the unborn the bishops have become blind to a larger moral issue affecting all who live in this country — the right to health care.

Does a wealthy country have an ethical obligation to provide health care for everybody? Do we want to live in a society that lets tens of thousands of our neighbors die each year, and hundreds of thousands face financial ruin, because they can’t afford medical care when they are sick?

To put it another way: does a low-income pregnant woman have the same right to quality medical care before she gives birth, during delivery and afterwards for herself and her newborn as the pregnant owner of a major corporation?

This is the first question that we must ask ourselves when it comes to health care. On this question every developed nation except the United States has reached the same conclusion: Everybody should have access to quality, affordable health care.

We have yet to begin, among our bishops, in our churches, in our communities and as a nation, a real, honest and vigorous discussion of this basic moral imperative

Fred Zierten
Oakland


Ban assault weapons


James A. Smith, Esq. (Forum, Nov. 9)attacked my earlier submission dealing with our need to have the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment repealed and replaced with another which forbids possession of automatic or semi-automatic firearms.

I have difficulty accepting the idea that families of four murdered Oakland policemen and more recently, three police families in Pittsburgh, PA. or parents of Columbine children are comforted by Smith’s attitude when none have heard that perpetrators were tried for their offense.

Possession of assault weapons is illegal in California; however, they are purchased openly in other states, then illegally brought here. A nationwide ban is superior to varying effectiveness of control laws within our 50 states. Some make no attempt at enforcement.

The Second Amendment was reasonable when our “back door” opened upon an unexplored continent. Did the experience of the French and Indian wars weigh on the minds of the amendment’s authors?

I again state that the time has come to confine fully automatic assault rifles and semi-automatic weaponry to possession only by military or police personnel.

John W. Kyle
Hayward


Promote authentic teaching


Recent letters in The Voice have raised the question of the purpose of a Catholic diocesan newspaper. This question shouldn’t even have to be asked; it obviously should promote authentic Catholic teaching and remain loyal to the Magisterium. When letters containing dissenting views are published without correction, this function is not only unfulfilled but also frustrated.

And the opportunity is missed to educate Catholics about the truth. We believe that Catholicism contains a greater share of truth than other religions. These truths should be taught from the pulpit and in The Voice.

Gallup polls show that 10 percent of Americans are former Catholics — probably because they didn’t learn to appreciate their religion. Only 50 percent of Catholics follow the Magisterium in matters of faith, morality, dogma and discipline. Twenty-four percent don’t believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, which only the Catholic Church has.

Sixteen percent don’t even believe in the Resurrection, a central tenet of Christianity. Only 29 percent support the traditional celibate, male clergy in the Roman Church. Reg-ular prayer life, adoration and the Rosary are not part of the lives of half of the Catholics who were polled.

Half don’t follow Church teaching on abortion and same-sex marriage. Most are contracepting. Many Catholics haven’t studied their religion since childhood and live with an immature appreciation of it.

Relativism is rampant today. At the recent East Bay Catholic Men’s Conference, Father Tom Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, said that the lines between good and evil have been blurred. Our culture militates against our faith, so faith needs to be reinforced. An informed, committed Catholic will have the vision to know the truth and follow it. It is the Voice’s place to help achieve this, not hinder it.

Jack Hockel
Walnut Creek


Church too silent


I love God and the Catholic Church, but I just have to question why the Church is so silent regarding our duties and rights as members.

I know that this is the age of political correctness, but I believe that silence can be a sin and/or crime under certain circumstances. It has been a long time since I have been reminded that all Catholics are required to obey God and the Church on all items that deal with faith and morals.

Yet I understand that about 50 percent of all registered members do not attend Mass on Sunday on a regular basis. And when these inactive members do show up on Christmas and/or Easter, only praise is given, thus condoning this behavior.

Additionally there are numerous other topics such as birth control, abortion, divorce etc. for which I believe many members do not agree. These are not options from which “cafeteria” Catholics can select.

On a final note, I understand that about 98 percent of all married Catholics use artificial birth control. How can the Church continue on without either speaking out on this issue or changing its law.

David Brusiee
Pleasanton


No handshaking, please


Kudos to Barbara McLaughlin (Forum, Nov. 9) for recommending elimination of the hand shake greeting at Mass during the flu epidemic. If only our good bishop or local pastors would take heed.

Bob Crespi
Via email


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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