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 January 24, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

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Listen to the pope

Beginning a new year, I pray we will come to know more deeply the importance of God in our lives. I believe most of us would be astounded to find out how little we know about Christ and His Church. Asking ourselves that most basic question, “What is faith?” we will be very surprised upon seeing the answer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And is there right and wrong, good and evil; truth? How can we know? In addition to studying the Catechism, I pray we will listen to our Holy Father. In his Christmas greetings he warned us:

“Our world is at the same time troubled by the sense that moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and political structures cannot function. Consequently the forces mobilized for the defense of such structures seem doomed to failure. . . .”

“Alexis de Tocqueville, in his day, observed that democracy in America had become possible and had worked because there existed a fundamental moral consensus which, transcending individual denominations, united everyone. Only if there is such a consensus on the essentials can constitutions and law function. This fundamental consensus derived from the Christian heritage is at risk wherever its place, the place of moral reasoning, is taken by the purely instrumental rationality of which I spoke earlier. In reality, this makes reason blind to what is essential. To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people of good will. The very future of the world is at stake.”

You can access the entire speech at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2010/december/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20101220_curia-auguri_en.html

David Zarri

Women ordinations

Thank you for the articles about vocations in the Jan. 10 issue. I know several devout Catholics who have vocations to the priesthood. They are women. Though called by the Holy Spirit, they are blocked by the Roman Catholic Church.

James E. Manning

Of the people

A few years ago I attended a meeting on the proposed liturgical reforms, some that have already been put into practice and others that will be enacted next Advent, and found them to be neo-clerical and restorationist. The meeting was informational, not a dialogue to get feedback. The Church is again making decisions about translating without talking to the people. A return to the use of Latin would make as much sense as my attending Mass in a foreign language. The meaning of liturgy is “work of the people.” It requires a common language, active participation and familiar rituals and prayers. A change in translation will be alienating and will change how we experience the liturgy.

The Latin Mass is largely unknown to people under the age of 50. As a few churches in the diocese offer the Latin Mass, are they well attended and adding more Masses? The pews at my progressive parish are full.

Mark Gotvald
Pleasant Hill

Mass and Communion

How nice it was to see our Bishop on the front page of the Jan. 10 Voice. That’s where he belongs in every issue - our great defender of the Sacrament of Marriage!

C. Robert Wiesner, in his “Wrong Thinking” letter (Readers Forum, Jan. 10) wrote that ending weekday Communion services is an attempt to demonstrate the primacy of the priest, to elevate the clergy above the laity.

I hadn’t thought of that, but I do believe that the priesthood is in a special category, with authority divinely established and given by God as a gift to the faithful. Only the priest can say Mass, the continuation of the Incarnation and the source, center and goal of our faith. So I guess this does elevate him above the laity.

Christ is truly made present in the Eucharist at Mass, giving the priest a very special primacy — even the angels can’t do that. Yes, it’s a meal, but a Eucharistic Meal! The priest is our mediator and, once confected, the Divinity of Christ present in the Eucharist remains for distribution to the faithful, including the hospitalized and homebound. It also remains for adoration, a concept non-catholics don’t understand.

Communion Services don’t take the place of Mass and, as Bishop Burke said, they “sever “the connection between receiving the Sacrament and celebrating the sacrifice.” This could help restore greater respect for the priest and the Mass.

Jack Hockel
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.

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