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placeholder May 23, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 10   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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‘Buy a sword’

Responding to the letters against gun ownership and whether the Church should join the Faiths United Campaign: While it is true that Jesus taught us to love one another, He also told His disciples that if they had two cloaks to go and sell one and buy a sword with the proceeds (Luke 22:36-38).

I also don’t doubt that the college student who recently was raped in her college dormitory at Stanford University would wish that her attacker would just go away; however, that is not the reality she or we are confronted with.

As regards Faiths United Campaign, the phrase “responsible gun ownership” has so often been used as a pretext for undermining the Second Amendment, banning firearms or leaving law-abiding people or their neighbors defenseless in an emergency, that it is difficult to believe that the Faiths United Campaign is able to respect the rights and needs of others.

William Ellis
Walnut Creek

Religious freedom in danger

Catholic religious freedom is in very grave danger. If same-sex “marriage” becomes the law of the land, all Catholic employers, teachers, doctors, landlords and many other professions will be expected to apply or implement provisions of the law that are in direct conflict with Catholic moral principles.

Parents will face agonizing choices over how or if to expose their children to public schools. Catholic schools will be asked to use texts that are designed to corrupt the most innocent young minds. Pastors may be prohibited from preaching against homosexuality from the pulpit or in catechetical classes. In Sweden and Canada, pastors have already been censored and fined for doing just that.

The marriage of a man and woman embraces not only their sexual complementarities as designed by nature but includes their ability to procreate. We know that marriage unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their relationship.

It is critical that the law promote a clear understanding of the reality of marriage and its value to children and society. For Catholics, and all Christians, that reality is summed up in this scriptural passage: “God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them. . . . And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:27-28). The first blessing of God on humankind was the fruitfulness of the man and woman. Their fruitfulness was the genesis of the first communities.

Jim Crowley
Walnut Creek

Taxes aid abortion

The recent federal budget negotiations included a fight over federal grant money paid to Planned Parenthood. All parties rightly claimed it is illegal to use federal money to fund abortion. However, this sent me to the Internet to check out a few facts. The most recent data I could find was for FY 2008-2009, but I assume it is typical.

According to the financial statements presented by Planned Parenthood in its 2009 Annual Report:

Total annual revenue was $1,100.8 million. Of this, $363.2 million was taxpayer money from the federal government. Planned Parenthood received another $308.2 million in tax-deductible private contributions and bequests. I don’t know how to calculate how much in total this costs us taxpayers, but it’s a lot.

At the end of the year they had $994.7 million in net assets; almost $1 billion. Makes me question why we taxpayers have to give them $363 million of our money.

In my mind, Planned Parenthood is not just an organization doing good for women’s health, but a big business sucking as much money out of us taxpayers as it can. Look at the data. Planned Parenthood does not need our money any more than the AARP does. They are just huge money-making corporations leaching off us to enrich themselves. Write or call your congressional representatives to stop this.

• Annual abortions performed at Planned Parenthood: 332,278. Source: Planned Parenthood 2009 services fact sheet.

• Average cost of an abortion: $468. Source: Guttmacher Institute estimate.

• Total income from abortions: $155,506,104.

• Total health center income: $404,900,000. Source: Planned Parenthood 2009 annual report

This means that fully 38.4 percent of Planned Parenthood health center income comes directly from aborting unborn children, and the money we taxpayers give them helps.

Cliff Weisner
Walnut Creek

Get the knowledge

I hate when I hear or read of people saying, “Gee, the gay couple who got married were really good or nice people.” Well, what the heck kind of people do we think they are? Nice or good have nothing to do with the fact that two people of the same sex should, for no reason, marry in a Christian and especially a Catholic Church. If they are doing that in the Catholic Church, they are in total disobedience of its teachings.

As far as, “What would Jesus say,” I would bet a whole bunch of money that Jesus would say, “And a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home, and the two shall be one flesh.” He would also say, “One man, one woman for life; anything else has its consequences.”

Even though gay couples who want to get married are so very nice, that still doesn’t give them the rights that are given to a man and a woman alone. Once again, I hear Catholics cherry picking their Catholic faith, and Jesus doesn’t like that at all!

I’m pretty sure our Almighty God knew what He was doing when He created man to fit perfectly with a woman, and not two men or two women. “That dog don’t hunt.” I beg everyone to do some decent research pertaining to alternate lifestyles.

Check out the websites: peoplecanchange.org and couragerc.net. They give good information. Scripture tells us that people perish for lack of knowledge, so get the knowledge.

Pam Brady
Pleasant Hill

Write to Gaza friends

How many readers of The Voice are aware of their fellow Catholics who live in the Gaza Strip? Very few, I am sure, and yet Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza City serves 200 parishioners and runs a school for 1,200 children. Sisters from three Catholic orders also live there. During the assault on Gaza in 2008-2009, the church was a refuge for many, Muslims and Christians alike.

In addition, some 3,000 Orthodox Christians live in Gaza City, as well as a number of Anglicans and Baptists. Like all the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip, they have suffered from the Israeli siege — denied access to family members, the Holy sites in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and even to basic medicines, building materials and food supplies.

When a second international flotilla sails to Gaza next month, a ship with American humanitarian volunteers will be carrying letters of support to Gaza. Our fellow Christians there as well as their Muslim neighbors and friends would like to hear from you. Please consider writing a letter or card, long or short, expressing your prayers, hopes and support for them. Send these to Letters to Gaza, 119 W. 72nd St., No. 158, New York, NY 10023. (For sample letters see http://ustogaza.org/take-action/to-gaza-with-love/).

Barbara Erickson

Voice improvements

The April 25 Voice contained a couple of letters I would like to respond to. The first was from Michael J. Cassidy, who complained the Voice had taken a “rightward slide.” I take a different view. As a long-time reader (over 25 years), I am seeing a change too — for the better! I am seeing more articles about Catholic faith, Catholic charity and positive Catholic engagement in the world.

Previous Voice editors seemed content to fill the front pages with theologically and politically controversial articles that left most readers wondering if The Voice was a Catholic paper at all. Now we have an editor who does not hide from controversial issues, but also offers a substantial amount of positive, uplifting articles faithful to Church teaching. Hooray!

Another letter, from Giorgio Navarini, ended with the sentence: “There is no room for dissenters in the Church.” Although I agree public dissent by Catholic clergy and political leaders is a problem, this last statement is over the top.

Of course there is room in the Church for “dissenters”! There are many good and faithful Catholics who “dissent” from one Catholic teaching or another. If these people are expelled, who will be left? How will the Church be able to answer the sincere questions these people have if they are not in the pews to listen?

The Church has a lot of teaching and preaching that needs to be done. I am glad The Voice is stepping up to the plate.

Mike McDermott

Don’t tolerate bullies

I read with great interest the article “Anti-bullying focus at schools tries to keep up with growing problem” (Voice, May 9). In the article, Marlene Snyder, the director of a bullying prevention program based at Clemson, noted that religiously affiliated schools “seem to get to the [bullying] matter a lot quicker (sic).” There is no proof given, other than her statement, that religious schools address the problem directly through role-play in their religion classes.

While I, a product of 16 years of Catholic school, would like to believe it, I disagree that the religious affiliation of any school directly correlates with a school’s ability to handle bullying. This behavior and its evil cousin, relational aggression, a more covert type of bullying most often employed by girls, are alive and well in schools of all types.

I believe that the behavior of the administration and the teacher in handling such issues sets the tone for the entire school. The behavior of the aggressor needs to be addressed immediately and with no ambiguity, and the voice of the victim needs to be heard and acknowledged. Many of us adults grew up with the belief that every class has its “bully”; sadly, we were given this message at a previous school, which happened to be Catholic. Ironically, this article was placed next to another article titled “Parents push school to resume paddling.”

I am not saying that we are all advocates of corporal punishment, but that we as parents/teachers/administrators are often ambiguous about handling aggressive behaviors of children. If the adults are ambivalent, so will be the message. We cannot tolerate bullying if we expect to raise children who are respectful and responsible for their actions, or especially in raising strong young women who have a voice.

A bully in every class should not be tolerated.

Trish Brown

Convert should provide

As an Anglican-to-Catholic convert myself, I couldn’t be more supportive of former Anglican priest Ian Hellyer’s honoring his calling to become a Catholic priest (“Ex-Anglican priest, father of 8, a Catholic,” Voice, May 9).

However, I believe his “calling” also includes making financial provisions for his eight children (and one on the way) before he gives up his job and is ordained a Catholic priest. Honoring the commitments made to his wife and (soon) nine children before his conversion should be his first priority.

V. Graham

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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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