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 January 25, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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Raise Your Voice
Valentine’s Day is celebrated February 14, and The Voice will devote a portion of its Feb. 8 issue to marriage and weddings.

What advice would you give to engaged couples to help them achieve a successful marriage?

Send your comments (250 words) to:
Or by mail to Catholic Voice, 2121 Harrison Street, Oakland CA 94612. Deadline: Feb. 1.

(Read the responses to the question about Catholic schools in the Jan. 11 issue.)


Important gesture

Regarding “End handshaking at Mass” (Forum, Jan. 11), this has been a Church tradition and reflection of Christ for my lifetime as a cradle Catholic. When I outreach and offer my greeting to my fellow brothers and sisters, it is always with the most warmth and sincerity and a reminder that we are truly One Family.

I take this common bond to heart and find it anything but impersonal. It is a great joy to witness my fellow parishioners share that same warmth and sincerity within their gesture. This is more than just a “friendly greeting,” but also a reflection of what Christ has taught us, over and again.

It’s unfortunate that this message is getting lost and misconstrued through our society. As a reminder, the definition of the word “Catholic” is Universal. How could we even imagine ending such a beautiful component of our faith? I don’t find this in any way annoying, but a privilege to be part of.

Paul Buschini
San Ramon

Encourage acceptance

Gay and lesbian people are part of my community of co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family. We are all part of a human family that deserves love and dignity. Letters like the one printed in the Jan. 11 Reader’s Forum encourage hate and discrimination, even if it’s not the intention of the writer or the bishop.

Alana Prusinovski
San Leandro

A developmental disorder

Until about two years ago, I was almost convinced that most homosexuals were born that way; that is what the secular world would have us believe. That is a profound lie.

As a deeply devoted Catholic Christian, this concept never felt right in my soul and so I did quite a bit of research and reached out to credible professionals and collected extensive research on the subject of homosexuality.

I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that, in fact, God does not create any of His children homosexual. It is a developmental disorder that starts in the very early stages of a child, roughly around two years.

In my search for the truth, I found sadly that there are so many people, and many of them claiming to be Christians, who have refused to accept the real story, and like David Zarri said (Forum, Jan. 11), they come from a place of false compassion.

It frustrates and saddens me when I have tried to speak to people about the truth and they close their eyes, minds and ears.

There are several web sites that offer knowledge and true wisdom such as “People Can Change,” “Courage” and “NARTH”. This issue is serious and I believe that it is much more important to know what is right than to think that one is right, especially when they have not done the homework. As Scripture tells us, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”

Pam Brady
Pleasant Hill

God’s gift to me

I am writing in response to the letter, Understanding homosexuality, by David Zarri (Forum, Jan. 11). Mr. Zarri purports to “proclaim the truth about the homosexual condition” and to warn that many in the Church have fallen prey to “false compassion.”

I can only speak from my life experience. I am a gay man in a 25-year relationship with another man who is my joy, my comfort and my mainstay.

I am extremely fortunate to be a parishioner at a large and welcoming East Bay church in a very heterosexual part of the Bay Area. I am good friends with all the priests and many of the congregation at my church, and these people have always offered me great kindness, friendship and love, especially in the small faith group I belong to.

No one feels the need to offer me “compassion” or any sort of pity, because they are clear that I, in my gayness, am not wounded, not in pain, not sick, not a second-class Catholic. I am one of them and one with them. They are God’s gift to me, and I like to think that in my uniqueness and individuality I am a gift to them.

To alleviate Mr. Zarri’s concern about “false compassion,” let me say again that I, for one, am the recipient of loving-kindness, not compassion, and that there is nothing false about this gift that God so generously gives me through my Catholic friends and fellow parishioners.

Tom Savignano

A distorted view

I was appalled after reading David Zarri’s letter (Forum, Jan. 11). Although I firmly believe in freedom of expression, I do not think that the diocese should publish such outright misinformation and comments that clearly are intended to demean homosexuals and promote his private agenda.

What is most appalling is that Mr. Zarri had the audacity to proclaim his view that homosexuality is just a “disorder,” akin to bipolar, bulimia, etc., and try to rally “brothers and sisters in faith” to view others as having a “lack of wholeness.”

This is a very distorted view and one not at all supported by medicine and science. The Voice should not give it any credence by publishing under the title of “Understanding homosexuality” and/or not refuting the erroneous statements he makes. 

I am very sure that were Jesus walking among us, he would not flaunt the superiority of heterosexuals. We need to support the equality and goodness of our brothers and sisters who are born with differing sexual orientations, and have been with us since the beginning of time, not belittle them or set them up as objects evil.

Carolyn Priest
Walnut Creek

A thin line

I was intrigued by the juxtaposition of the two lead articles on the first page of the Jan.11 issue —”Antioch parish divests funds from B of A” and “Oakland’s St. Bernard School will close temporarily”.

Here we have two organizations both with a background in eleemosynary works albeit to differing degrees and purposes. One is a bank with over $200 million in donations in 2008. The other is a world wide church that has its core roots in Christianity.

Both organizations, nevertheless, must be careful stewards of their assets so that they can continue contributing to the commonweal. It is a thin line between the theological virtue of charity and the cardinal virtue of prudence.

The situation with the bank is complicated by the intervention of the government. As of Jan. 15, more than 900,000 borrowers (for all banks) have begun modifications of their loans, but only 7 percent have had their modifications made permanent due to a lack of government-required paperwork.

Kevin Coughlan

Message from Mexico

I was a student at Verde Elementary School in Richmond for almost three years, but I had to go back to México with my family. I just saw the pages on the internet about the Family Literacy Program and I felt so proud to belong to the program at Catholic Charities.

All the staff are very nice persons. They always help us in everything we need. For me it is the best school where I studied.

They always have time for each family. If they see someone with problems, they are there to help them like they did with me.

I learned a lot there. I’m very grateful because thanks to them I have a good job in México. Now I’m trying to study more and be better as I learned with them.

My daughter misses them so much. She always asks for her teachers. She wants to be back there at her school. When she was there she was very happy at her classes. She learned very important things.
I just want to tell you how much pride I feel for my school.

Miriam E. Rincón
Via email

(The Family Literacy Program is a collaborative project of Catholic Charities of the East Bay and the West Contra Costa Unified School District. It was profiled in the Nov. 23, 2009 issue of The Voice.)

Monastery coffee

In 2003, monks of the tradition of the 12th century hermit monks on Mount Carmel were inspired to live the solitary life of prayer and contemplation in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming.

There has been great interest in the monastery and so many new vocations that they have outgrown the original building.

Thus began the search for new land on which to build a larger monastery—one that will accommodate the maximum number of monks who live in one location. The new compound will also permit the monks to reach out to the secular community with retreats and Mass open to the public.

In order to raise the funds necessary to bring this plan to completion and to support the community in the future, the monks roast, blend, package, and sell their own outstanding and varied line of coffee; and they will be able to raise dairy cattle on the new land for their own line of cheeses.

The entire story may be read at the monastery’s Web site, www.mysticmonkcoffee.com.

Mary Anne Little
Conifer, Colorado

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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