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 August 9, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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The list of regional meetings on the new Confirmation guidelines for the Oakland Diocese contained an error. The correct list of dates/locations is:
      Sept. 7: Holy Spirit, Fremont
      Sept. 8: Good Shepherd, Pittsburg
      Sept. 9: St. John Vianney, Walnut Creek
      Sept. 10: Christ the Light Parish Hall
All the sessions begin at 10:30 a.m.

A crucial moment

I would like to expand on the letter of Eartha Newsong (Forum, June 21) calling for U.S. bishops to “remove their magnifying glasses” regarding investigating women religious on ethics committees and to speak out on crucial issues such as the immorality of aspects of modern warfare.

The bishops need to speak out again on the total immorality of nuclear weapons, as they did so effectively in their 1984 pastoral letter, “Challenge of Peace.” This document was subsequently taken in translation to the peace committees of the Soviet Union by the Northern California Catholic Peace Mission (of which my husband Cass and I were privileged to be a part) and which, we believe, helped set up a climate for change.

We are again at a crucial point in history. Our president and the Russian president have agreed to the New Start treaty which calls for more big cuts in our nuclear arsenals, but 40 senators have recently indicated their refusal to confirm the treaty unless incredible amounts of money are spent to “update” the arsenal.

This latter development is ironically also at odds with the recent international conference aimed at continuing the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty which in Article VI calls on all nuclear-armed nations to eliminate nuclear weapons in a timely manner.

Our Lord has said “Blessed are the peacemakers” and “those who hunger and thirst for justice…” This doesn’t mean wishful thinking, but, rather, meaningful activity on the part of believers to study issues and work for real change and, ideally, moral guidance from our bishops.

For more information on the nuclear issue, see Physicians for Social Responsibility at www.sfbaypsr.org or TriValley Cares at www.trivalleycares.org

Marlene Candell

Would Jesus excommunicate?

Regarding the situation of the gravely ill woman who was 11 weeks pregnant, would the bishops have let her and her baby die or let her have a deadly stroke that would have left a broken-hearted husband and family? What would our compassionate Jesus do in this case?

I dislike intensely the word “excommunicate,” which was what was done to Sister Margaret McBride for her role in the ethics committee decision (in the case above) to save the mother’s life. Who invented this horrible act of excommunication?

Jesus invited people in; he never kicked them out, not matter what they did. How dare the bishops kick Sister Margaret out of the Church she gave her life to? In Baptism she was made a child of God. He does not dismiss his beloved children. She made vows to serve Him all her life. She is still a member of God’s family. Get rid of that ugly word “excommunicate.”

I love my Church and my God, but I also grieve for my Church.

Nancy Powers
San Leandro

Stop pillorying women

Thank you, Marilyn Homitz, for your enlightening and thought-provoking letter (Forum, June 21). Not only has Sister Margaret McBride been pilloried, so have numerous women’s religious orders who are getting “visitations” from the Vatican.

Women of religious orders have been the backbone of American Catholicism —just look at their operation of hospitals and schools. Catholics of my generation (I’m 67) are deeply indebted to these caring, giving and sacrificing women.

The misogynistic leadership of the Church tramples on the rights of women. But the “good old boys’ club” rarely metes out punishment to pedophile priests, their cardinals and bishops, for their transgressions. Cardinal Bernard Law got a nice job in Rome and Cardinal Roger Mahony is still the top man in Los Angeles.

Does the Church have any sense of decency and fair play in its treatment of women, be they religious or laity?

Jack Reardon

Communion with dignity

As an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion I really appreciated Bishop Cordileone’s commentary (Voice, June 7) on Christ’s sacrifice made present and on how we should receive Communion.

All too often when I am ministering to the community people come up and look around at other parishioners or the decorations; any number of things catch their attention.

The ones who really need to hear some catechesis on this subject from the priests, as Bishop Cordileone so graciously did in his article, are those people who are just Sunday Catholics. They come and sit there in the pews, thinking about anything else besides being present at the Mass or why they are there in the first place. Some just come to get their bulletin to prove they have been to church on Sunday.

If they came to the table of the Lord with the grace and dignity our Lord so richly deserves for the suffering he did on our behalf, the Mass would take on new meaning. It might possibly even stay with these lost souls for the remainder of the week so that when they do come again to receive Our Lord Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, they may leave with more than they ever dreamed possible.

Fran Ferlazzo

Stamp honors Mother Teresa

The 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa is Aug. 26. The U.S. Postal Service will issue a 44-cent commemorative stamp to honor this great Christian humanitarian. Some objected to this honor, but they were overridden.

The stamp will be available Sept. 6 in the post offices.  Consider buying a good supply of the Mother Teresa stamps for your use. All of us use stamps, and commemorative stamps make our mail look more inviting. This will also act as a recognition of her contribution to our world.

The stamp can also be ordered from the U.S. Postal Service by calling toll free, 1-800-782-6724, and ordering item number 465140. The stamps come 20 on a pane. There is a service charge of $1 no matter how panes are ordered.

Brother John Samaha, SM

Don’t leave women out

June 13 was the 11th Sunday in ordinary time. The presider read the Gospel from Luke 7:36-8:8; however he skipped the “optional passage” at the end. Below is what was not read from the ambo:

“Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.”

The focus of the homily was the importance of gratitude. I appreciate the value of preserving an attitude of gratitude as a means to navigate life with humility and grace.

However, omitting this passage was a missed opportunity. I would like to suggest that perhaps Jesus was grateful that these holy women bankrolled his three years of public ministry, that they were a source of a balancing feminine influence, while the men were bickering about who Jesus loved most.

No doubt these women were not only buying the food, but cooking it as well, because every day was not a loaves and fishes event. Who did cook the last supper? Peter? Doubtful.

It took every ounce of self-control I had not to jump up and yell, “Wait, you didn’t finish the reading!”

Are the ordained discouraged from highlighting the women’s contribution to Jesus’ entourage? I am beginning to understand why the all-male hierarchy is so frightened of us, especially now that we can read and write. The power of Sophia has bestowed the courage to voice the truth of our convictions. They have much to fear, as there is no wrath like a woman scorned, and enough is enough.

Kate Dougherty

Macabre practice

It seems to me that carrying about St. John Vianney’s heart in a gold reliquary (Voice, July 5) is about as macabre as you can get. It also seems to me that this is one very good example of why many would not want to associate with people who behave like this.

Susan Schneider

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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