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 October 4, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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‘Prune away’ abusers

Luke 17:2 tells us, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

These are Jesus’ words regarding the safeguarding of innocence. It is hypocritical of the Church to excommunicate accessories to abortion yet not excommunicate any priest who has abused children.

If Church leaders hope to fulfill the mission that God has ordained, they will excommunicate the offending priest first (while leading him out the door into the handcuffs of law enforcement) and thereby cleanse the Church — as His Word tells us is a necessary pruning of the vine in order to reap the fruit of His blessings — and only then, if they wish to remain friends with this criminal, fine.

But don’t squander our charity in order to do so. We have paid enough for psychoanalysis and warehousing of sick priests. Stop apologizing with words and start showing you are truly sorry. Excommunicate all abusive priests, including those who must be “pruned away” posthumously.

I do not accept Church standard operating procedure of priests to first be laicized, scrutinized or whatever bureaucratic quasi-mystical term you use to placate the faithful.

I seek a true commitment from the Church to clean up its act, followed up with action. Why should Christians support a Church organized within a model of double standards? Why should Christians enable a Church that has imperiled the blessings of God?

Cindy Rocha
San Leandro


A feature article in the Sept. 20 edition of The Catholic Voice titled “How to study theology and keep your day job” was intended to highlight one theology-related program from each of the region’s Catholic colleges and universities, particularly if the program facilitates opportunities for working adults to take theology or religious-studies courses without necessarily seeking a degree.

All of the Catholic schools mentioned in the article (with the exception of the School of Applied Theology, a sabbatical program) offer undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in theology and/or religious studies.

The member Catholic schools of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley — the Franciscan School of Theology, the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, and the Jesuit School of Theology — each offer both master’s and doctoral degrees in theology and other professional programs in addition to the particular program mentioned in the article. We regret any confusion the article may have caused.

Please contact the individual schools for further information on their theology and/or religious studies programs.
Focus on American saints

Recently, thanks to The Voice, it was brought to my attention that we are importing relics from Europe. I was mortified.

Why on earth are we borrowing saint parts from foreign lands? We have an abundance of American saints. We should be loaning our saint parts to others.

While Father Junipero Serra is not quite declared a saint yet, I know that Spain would be happy to have a piece of him for awhile. Our parish would love to have his foot visit us. Sort of stepping into our church would be a great honor.

I can imagine that other parishes in California would find it also a special moment if he would set foot in their church. The California Missions would also find it marvelous to have him walking El Camino Real once again, so to speak.

If we can send relics on tour around our country, this will help people to know and appreciate our own American saints. Many know about the old, familiar saints from Europe, but our new saints will bring an awakening of the love of American saints.

Let’s promote our own saints.

Anthony Wilson

Spontaneous creation

After reading about the claim of the leading English physicist Stephen Hawking that the universe can and will create itself from nothing (Voice, Sept. 20), I have the following reflections:

1. Even if the existence of gravity can put the universe in order, we still need the “elements” (i.e. the basic particles) to form the universe. How did these elements come into existence?

2. The spontaneous creation of the universe actually shows that the Creator is more intelligent than we have preciously imagined (although we can never imagine, let alone understand, how intelligent the Creator can be).

Let us compare making something manually and making something by creating some rules/designs so that something could be made automatically once we set the rules running. Which requires more intelligence?

I would say that the automatic creation is more intelligent than the manual creation. By the same token, the spontaneous creation of the universe is a more intelligent creation than previously thought.

3. It is very miserable to deny God by human intelligence. In the New Testament, St. Paul says, “For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside.’ . . . For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:19, 25)

Stephen Lo
Union City

Irresponsible reporting

I think the time has finally come to say “thanks, but no thanks” to The Catholic Voice. I will cite irresponsible reporting for this decision, particularly the Sept. 20 article “Parents reminded of the right to ‘opt out’ of school programs” by Valerie Schmalz of Catholic San Francisco.

I agree that parents should have the right to keep their kids from attending any public school class or assembly that they feel does not agree with or fortify their own family values. The “opt out” forms are available to all families. But creating lies, as suggested in this article, that influence readers to “opt out” of a class such as one that teaches “how to perform sex acts” is a joke!

What public school teaches that? There is no school district in the Bay Area that would even come close to teaching that one. How about “witchcraft”? Never heard of that class being taught. And ‘”conjuring up spirits”? Really, isn’t that what we do in church every Sunday?

I’m especially irritated at the portion of the article that states the California law that allows school children 7th grade and up to leave a school campus for confidential medical services without parental notification and not logging an absence. The high schools in our district are closed campus. The only way a student can leave is with a parent. Absences and tardies are followed up with a call home.

As far as elementary school and middle schoolers, that too requires a parent or legal guardian for release of a student. And please tell me what this has to do with the ‘opt out’ article?

I am a product of Catholic education and public school. My three children are products of the public school system. They are outstanding students and citizens. Never did we ever have to ‘opt out’ of any class at our schools. Common sense and intelligence are our guides.

I feel that poor reporting to the people of the Catholic community creates an atmosphere of fear and doubt. I like being in touch with the diocese through The Voice, but I am using my right to “opt out.” You may now cancel my subscription.

Celeste Hales

(Editor’s note: The story in question was based entirely on information in a document from the California Catholic Conference in Sacramento. The entire document can be read at: http://cacatholic.org/index.php/topics/public-policy-insights/878-august-20-2010-vol-3-no-29.html)

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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