A Publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
Catholic Voice Online Edition
Front Page In this Issue Around the Diocese Letters News in Brief Calendar Commentary
Mission Statement
Contact Us
Publication Dates
Back Issues

Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland

El Heraldo

Movie Reviews

Mass Times

Catholic Voice

 February 8, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

  Want to Write?

Contributions to Reader's Forum should be limited to 250 words. Letters must be signed and must include the writer's address and phone number for verification purposes. All letters are subject to editing.

Mail your letter to:

The Catholic Voice
2121 Harrison St., Suite 100
Oakland, CA 94612

FAX: (510) 893-4734

Email letters to:



Brandon Macadaeg, a seminarian at the Pontifical North American College in Rome who was recently installed as Lector on his journey to priesthood, is a member of St. Isidore Parish in Danville, not St. Joan of Arc Parish in San Ramon as reported in the Jan. 25 Voice.

Fill cathedral with singing

Having read Bishop Salvatore Cordileone’s homily for the dedication of our new cathedral organ (Voice, Jan. 11), I am both impressed and frustrated by his theology.

Indeed, the Holy Father has declared the organ as deserving a “place of prominence” in the liturgy. That statement presupposes the liturgical vocation of a singing assembly wherein the organ’s “place of prominence” rises from its unique ability to lead and support the faithful, not reign over it.

If we must have a “theology of the organ,” shouldn’t it be aligned with that of Christ himself, who came to serve and not be served? Such ministry, when expressed in liturgical action, is one in which all are invited by our loving God, all are welcome, and all are singing. A few words to this effect could have brought some perspective to our bishop’s homily, and encouragement for this diocesan community.

As a person of hope, I will continue to wait and watch for these words to come. Meanwhile, our beautiful organ has been blessed and waits to serve. It’s time to fill this beautiful new space with singing, so the organ has something to lead and support. Something to serve.

Janèt Sullivan Whitaker

Faith-based volunteers

Thank you so much for highlighting the contributions of the numerous faith-based organizations affiliated with the Catholic Church which offer service opportunities, especially to young people (Voice, Jan. 25).
I would like to point out the presence of two members of one of those organizations who are working in the Diocese of Oakland.

Kevin Kuczynski and Kelly Towns are members of the Lasallian Volunteers, a service organization with ties to the De La Salle Christian Brothers. They work at the LEO (Lasallian Educational Opportunities) Center in Oakland and live with three De La Salle Brothers in Berkeley.

Kevin, a graduate of Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia and a Philadelphia native, is in his second year at LEO. Kelly, who graduated from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, is a native of New Orleans and in her first year at LEO. They join the Brothers in tutoring junior high and high school students and in teaching ESL to adults.

Since its founding 15 years ago, the LEO Center has been dependent on the Lasallian Volunteers for our existence. As a small non-profit, and one that operates on a tight budget, we would have to close without the volunteer service of these young people. Over the years we have been blessed with people of great enthusiasm and dedication.

We are grateful that at this time in the life of the Church the Holy Spirit has raised up these service organizations. They are a blessing to us, to the LEO Center, to the diocese, and to the Church.

Brother Robb Wallace, FSC
Board chair
The LEO Center

Return to the forefront

I am very encouraged by the article “Another Catholic mobilization on abortion in health reform” (Voice, Jan. 25) and Bishop Cordileone’s appeal to his pastors to activate parishioners. We are in need of more of this kind of leadership from the Church. I pray that all pastors respond.

The American people are moving away from abortion on demand for any reason. This extends beyond the area of health reform into morality and respect for life.

It is unlikely that we, as a country, will ever move back to making abortion illegal. Every politician who votes for abortion rights also claims to be opposed to abortion and wants to do something to make abortion on demand unnecessary. Unfortunately, they do little or nothing to accomplish this.

At one time the Church was in the forefront of this. It is time to do so again. The Church should work with government (grants) and private agencies (Mary’s House, Casa Vincentia, Birthright) to make available a coordinated and effective alternative to abortion. This should include counseling, financial support, and medical care during pregnancy and places for unwanted children to be reared and educated.

The Father Baker facilities at the Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanda, NY are an excellent example. http://olv-bvs.org/ourladyofvictory/Homes/history.html

There is much which can, and must, be done.

Clifford R. Wiesner

What about love?

I was raised in the faith in the Oakland Diocese, and though I now reside in the Anchorage Archdiocese, I keep in touch with my mother church between visits to the Bay Area through family, the internet, old friends and The Catholic Voice.

I am a believer in the value of respectful debate, and I think it is great that so many people have such strong feelings about their faith, Catholic social teaching, and the issues of our times, as expressed in letters to The Voice.

But I am troubled by two things: the number of letter writers who proclaim themselves experts on what the Church teaches, and that so many are so quick to demonize those who don’t share their perspective(s). So many experts and judges! Is that what our faith is about?

What about love?

I would much prefer to read about what helps others to seek and find God, and where this journey has taken them.

I have been inspired to live more virtuously by many good people, some of whom have been priests and some not, some have been men and some have been women, some younger and some older, some married, some single, and some gay. I am pleased that all are welcome in the parish in the Oakland Diocese that I know best, as I need all the help and role models I can get!

Anne Kilkenny
Wasilla, Alaska

Where is repentance?

It’s obvious to me that the Catholic Church is not trying to win souls for Christ. They would rather sell newspapers and make money and build their own kingdom than build God’s.

There is a lost and hurting world out here. How can a gay man who is in a 25-year relationship with another man (Forum, Jan. 25) go to heaven? He can’t unless he repents. That is what the Bible says. Read your Bibles and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you since the Church obviously isn’t going to teach you.

James Mock
Via email

No longer consequences

I know that when I disobey the secular law that if caught I will suffer some punishment according to the severity of my actions. The knowledge of this helps to keep me from defying the law.

However, for the last approximately one-half of a century, it seems to me that I can defy the Church, privately or publicly, and God’s will with total impunity. For no transgression of mine of either the Church’s decrees or God’s ordinances seem to have any consequences in this life or the next.

Regardless of the heinousness of my sin, the willfulness of my actions, the violence of the pain that I inflict on others, I will be forgiven by the Church and can be sure that a benign, omniscient Father will look upon the horrors of my transgressions and yet will pat me on the head and greet me in heaven with the kindly understanding that I cannot possibly be held responsible for my actions and therefore will gain entrance to everlasting life.

God, again, under what appears to be the current Catholic correct thinking, has eliminated any short- or long-term punishment, any purgations, if you will, for certainly there is no hell, if by that apparently anachronistic term one means eternal damnation or punishment.

On a practical level, if a Catholic public official or member of the priesthood publicly and deliberately chooses to propagate and promote beliefs and practices entirely in contravention of the Church’s teachings, he need have no fear of any reaction from the hierarchy other than a generously paternal nod of disapproval and understanding for the poor fellow who cannot fully understand the ramifications of his public challenge to the Church, and perhaps God, and is therefore to be excused.

The current politically correct stance of the official Church seems to be “Do what you want and do not worry about the consequences, for there really aren’t any.”

George Paganelli

(Editor’s note: The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that mortal sin, “if it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell.” It also states that “although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.”)

Marriage fundamentals

Our 31st wedding anniversary will be coming up on Feb. 14. The flour and water which kept the marriage whole was our fundamental thinking about life and love.

We are of different faiths, with respect for both. There is a 12-year difference in our ages. We are college graduates. Not to be a snob, but wisdom and empathy help.

But the four best words we live by are: listen, learn, live, and above all, love.

Lillian Silver
Walnut Creek

Letters to the editor provide a forum for readers to engage in an open exchange of opinions and concerns in a climate of respect and civil discourse. The opinions expressed are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the Catholic Voice or the Diocese of Oakland. While a full spectrum of opinions will sometimes include those which dissent from Church teaching or contradict the natural moral law, it is hoped that this forum will help our readers to understand better others’ thinking on critical issues facing the Church at this time.

back to topup arrow


Copyright © 2008 The Catholic Voice, All Rights Reserved. Site design by Sarah Kalmon-Bauer.