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 April 26 , 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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Pray at 6 p.m.

I recently received an e-mail that makes sense. Instead of berating our pope and bishops for what they have not done or for what they have done, why not put our energy into a simple prayer at 6 p.m., asking God to lead us out of this culture of death?

The Old Testament records show that when the Israelites were in bondage and slavery, they cried out to God and He delivered them. Should we not do the same?

Please join me at 6 p.m. daily for our deliverance. A simple one-minute prayer is sufficient.

Dan Lydon

Bishop speaks truth

I am thrilled to read “Develop healthy skepticism of media reports” by Bishop Salvatore Cordileone (Voice, April 12). What a balanced and well thought-out article. It should be submitted to the Daily Review and other local papers to dispel so much craven lies and misinformation.

I especially agreed with his statement, “. . . are typically either wildly exaggerated or patently false. Moreover, such attacks often constitute an attempt to weaken and marginalize the Church, especially by sowing seeds of doubt and division among her members, thereby advancing an agenda opposed to her moral principles.”

With all the major media sources being patently aligned against anything or any institutions not going along with relativistic morals, we all, as believing citizens, should develop a healthy critical attitude and not be naive in reading these sensational articles. I enthusiastically applaud Bishop Cordileone for courageously speaking the truth in love.

Chris Thnay

Words of encouragement

Thank you, Bishop Cordileone, for your encouraging words in the April 12 issue of The Catholic Voice.

I was initiated into the Catholic Church when I was 47 years old. I come from a family that is strongly opposed to Catholicism. These past few years have been difficult for me. Of course, I defend the Church, but I have sometimes been at a loss for words. Your suggested reading has helped me greatly.
Good timing!

Eammon Siocain
Via email

Clarification on lay ministers

John Knutsen’s letter, “Vocation of laity” (Forum, March 22), requires clarification since it does not reflect the Church’s recognized need for properly prepared lay ecclesial ministers (LEMs).

Mr. Knutsen was concerned that lay ecclesial ministry is a contradiction in terms which blurs the distinction between lay and ordained. However, the U.S. bishops in the document “Co-Workers in the Vineyard” (CVL) is clear in its definition: lay as grounded in the baptismal priesthood distinct from the ministerial priesthood; ecclesial through its placement within the Church, submitting to the authority and supervision of the hierarchy; and ministry by participating in the ministry of Christ who is priest, prophet and king.

He also suggests LEMs presume both superiority and simply “hanging around the sacristy.” That some are called to work within the Church rather than more directly in the world is not a better call, just a different one.

“All of the baptized are called to work toward the transformation of the world. Most do this by working in the secular realm; some do this by working in the Church and focusing on the building of ecclesial communion, which has among its purposes the transformation of the world.” (CVL, 8; available online at www.oakdiocese.org/lemc.)

Mr. Knutsen also said financial resources should not be spent on the formation and employment of LEMs. However, their roles are affirmed by the U.S. bishops as requiring “a special level of professional competence and presence to the community . . . (with) academic preparation, certification, credentialing, and a formation that integrates personal, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions” (CVL, 13).

Pope Benedict XVI’s address to which Mr. Knutsen alluded includes an exhortation to parish priests “to nurture the spiritual and apostolic growth of those who are already committed to working hard in the parishes. They form the core of the community and will act as a leaven for the others.” (Address to the Pastoral Convention of the Diocese of Rome on Church Membership and Pastoral Co-Responsibility, 2009)

Our Church needs well-formed, dedicated and available LEMs to provide the adult faith formation, marriage preparation and vocation support needs expressed by Mr. Knutsen.

Anne Marie Fourré
Lay Ecclesial Ministers Council

(The Lay Ecclesial Ministers Council was established in the Oakland Diocese by Bishop John Cummins in 1999 as the first consultative body of lay ecclesial ministers within a diocesan structure. Over the past decade the Council has worked in collaboration with the Chancery Office to improve the spiritual formation, professional development, and working conditions of the lay leaders who serve in parishes, schools and institutions in the diocese.)

Parish nurses needed

Camille Giglio (Forum, April 12) asks if the Parish Nurse Program is going to be the role of the Church in the 21st century. The tone of her letter makes it clear that she is under the impression that liaisons between the faith community and the sick and elderly exist only to provide greater access to government health care services such as MediCal and Healthy Families.

I would respectfully suggest to her that these ministries are designed as a response to the critical moral imperative to care as much for those who have already been born as those who have not yet been born.
Perhaps, if the richest and most powerful nation in the world had the moral courage to pass strong, fully paid, health care for all, the new Parish Nurse Program just might not be so necessary.

Edmund F. Balsdon

Parish nurses, why not?

Camille Giglio (Forum, April 12) has many talents which she shares with Church and community.

My sister, who has been a parish nurse for a number of years, also shares her talents and gifts. Her parish has never “realized financial gain for signing up clients with government programs,” as Ms. Giglio suggests.
Blood pressure screenings after Mass, home visits, and alerting/connecting families when needed have saved more than one life. Finding those homebound who wish to receive Eucharist is another saving grace.

Being involved in parish ministry helps build community. We are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ. We are His hands and feet and each must do what she can, in her own unique way, for another in His name.
We are Church. Hasn’t that always been our role? Thank you to all nurses who give of their time and talent to our parishes and community.

Eileen Matthews
Walnut Creek

Laicize errant priests

I believe the Church needs to act quickly to assure its members that they and their children are safe from inappropriate conduct by the ordained leadership of the Church. Just as marriages are annulled when an impediment to the marriage vocation is found, when an ordained person is unable or unwilling to live up to the expectations of his vocation, it too should be annulled with all due haste.

As Christians, our relationship is with Christ Jesus. The Church is ancillary to the Christ. It is the role of the Church to administer the sacraments, teach the truth of salvation, and provide administration.

The Church can’t carry out the mission given it by Christ when it can’t be trusted morally. The Church can forgive the errant ordained, but it cannot keep them in leadership and ministry within the Church and still be the Church which Christ created.

Perhaps this is a good time for the Church to examine its practices and lead the Church in a direction which will draw in God’s creation rather than push it away.

Wayne Mortensen
San Ramon

Forum counterpoints

George Fulmore calls the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops “entrenched and behind” for not endorsing “the historic health care reform bill” (Forum, April 12).

www.usccb.org/healthcare answers such careless criticisms with a fact sheet exposing Obamacare’s covert abortion funding. (Addressing Planned Parenthood leaders in 2007, astute readers will recall, Mr. Obama criticized the legislated ban on partial-birth abortion. He euphemized the brutal poisoning, pickling, and pithing of unborn children as “choice,” and promised eventual inclusion of “reproductive services” in “universal health care.”)

Mary Morrissette considers the bishops’ concerns “unwarranted” (Forum, April 12). She rationalizes her dismissal of USCCB’s resolute pro-life position in health-care matters by citing some bishops’ concealment of child-molester priests. So the sometimes priest-perpetrated but Church-condemned evil of abusing children somehow invalidates opposition to the government-institutionalized evil of killing unborn children?

Kristen La Follette (Forum, April 12) dislikes Robert Burke’s March 8 uncovering of “pro-choice” semantics as a cosmetic façade for pro-abortion outlooks — unsurprising, since her public MySpace page vulgarly shouts “my body, my choice” [whether or not selfishly to kill “my baby”].

Consider, as does Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, the profound contrast with Christ’s selfless sacrifice: “This is My Body, given up for you.”

La Follette’s defense of Planned Parenthood’s response to the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad omits the organization’s condemnation of ad-sponsor Focus on the Family and the fact that Planned Parenthood, founded by racist-eugenicist Margaret Sanger, remains rabidly committed to expanding Obamacare’s access to abortion on demand.

Michael Arata

A Sunday circus?

“Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different ‘branches and denominations’ were for the most part little more than Sunday circuses.”

This sentence was lifted out of an article that appeared in a Russian newspaper. It was probably a gossip rag, but the statement certainly hit the target in its truth.

People don’t go to church any longer to praise God and thank him for all the gifts He has given them. They just want to be entertained.

Nobody wants to hear a sermon about sin; it is not entertaining. Besides sin seems to be passé.
You see teens going to Communion chewing gum.

We have dancing groups performing during Lenten Stations of the Cross.

I have seen teens leaping around the altar, supposedly dancing.

The music director seems to be more important than the priest. There is more singing than prayers. If the priest is ready to move on with the Mass, but the choir wants to sing another verse, the priest can just wait.
Even during Communion, when one should be giving thanks to God for all the gifts He’s given, there is too much distraction by the “necessities” of a Communion song(s). Why?

People shuffle mindlessly to Communion with their hands in their pockets, hands behind the back, or arms folded across their chest.

David Ross

The one truth

I wish to firmly agree with recent letters to The Voice objecting to the great number of letters from the dissident and poorly catechized. There is really no excuse in these days of information deluge for unclarity. The true authority and teaching can easily be found at the Vatican website, a simple catechism, EWTN or Catholic radio. These things are not opinions, but the teaching of Jesus to us.

Those who chose to judge by their own logic named themselves Protestants already. There are officially now more than 35,000 differing views. Isn’t it a sign of God’s faithfulness that we can still find and know the one truth in matters of morals and life issues 2000 years later?

If letters not reflecting Catholic teaching are published in a Catholic paper, shouldn’t the editor at least make note of that for the sake of those learning? I find I often have to repair damage Catholics make to my friends who are honestly searching.

I shouldn’t have to be ashamed to share my diocesan newspaper with friends or not use it as a tool of evangelization because of heretical content. The public media is readily available for that.

Lynda Fullerton

A joy to behold

I enjoyed “Why I became a priest” (Voice, March 22) by Father Joy Kumarthusseril, MF. Father Joy is pastor at our Cluster Parish (St. Philip Neri/St. Albert the Great) in Alameda and is to us a reflection of his name — JOY!

I was very sorry to see the picture insert was not Father Joy; although a very nice looking priest, not as handsome with the radiant smile of Father Joy. Our diocese is blessed to have the Missionaries of Faith to guide and serve us in our faith journeys.

Thank you for The Catholic Voice and the article.

Joan Harris
Via email

Recommended reading

Sister Carol Anne O’Marie was a founder of A Friendly Place in Oakland and the author of 11 mystery novels. She died in May 2009 right after finishing her novel, “Like A Swarm of Bees.”

It is not a mystery, but about the early missions of the Sisters of St. Joseph through the eyes of a novice, Sister Protais. The book was released last week and is an easy and informative read. It is available from www.cproductions.org.

Mary McMahon

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.

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