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placeholder December 12, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 21   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Mishandled scandal

I applaud the firing of all (including the highest ranking figure of the institution) who were involved in the cover up of the reported outrageous child molestation events that have occurred at Penn State University. I cannot help to wonder WHY our Church did not handle our scandal as a Church in the same way?

No one should be above the law or protected when the innocence of a child is taken. In comparison, the school fired a head football coach for not handling the knowledge he had in a moral manner, not to mention legal. In our case, we pretend to think that after millions of dollars in hush money, certain high ranking officials in our Church did not know?

I struggle with this thought every day I attend church — every Sunday when I go to Mass. I know people who will never attend a Mass again because the mess has yet to be fully cleaned up — meaning people that were involved with the cover up of our scandal still remain in power today.

I confess, I am a sinner (not a person that has assisted in a cover up of child molestation) but sinner none the less. Therefore, I do not begin to judge the people I speak of and their penance to our Lord.

But what about people who had knowledge of the molestation of innocent young men and women have been allowed to remain as authorities in our Church! Does anyone have a logical explanation for this? Until we clear and clean this up, it will haunt us as a Church. Not to mention the innocent men, women and children who were most affected by this in the Church.

Joseph A. Maraccini
Concord


Help troubled marriages


I was dismayed when I read the commentary (Forum, Nov. 7) “Advance of same-sex marriage deepens concern for religious liberty. “ While I am a heterosexual married man, I do not find same-sex marriages a threat to my marriage. Many things can threaten a heterosexual marriage such as financial problems, health issues, incompatibility, having children, sexual tension and religious differences, but another couple of the same sex who love each other and wish to commit to each other in marriage should have no bearing on a heterosexual couple’s ability to maintain their relationship.

Jesus taught us to love one another. I am always amazed by how much hatred people have for those who love each other and at what efforts they will go to prevent love.

It seems that we would make better use of our time by assisting marriages that are in trouble by focusing on economic disparity, providing needed health services and counseling. In this way we would truly be in defense of marriage.

Randy Dixon
Oakland


Ite, missa est


Well, to tell you the truth, I had jumped on the “I can’t stand this translation” truck before the new texts were actually implemented. We started the responses months ago and our pastor used one of the new Eucharistic prayers for the first time a week before Advent.

I have to tell you, I really don’t see what all the fuss was about. The Eucharistic prayer and the collect are easy to understand when you “listen” to them prayed more than when you read them (my experience). “Consubstantial” in the creed is a good teaching moment that I trust will not go by unattended. The U.S. Bishops website that has all the scripture next to the translations is great.

St. Jerome said that any translation is a traitor — I guess he should know being the translator of the first Latin Bible. So they now use “chalice” instead of cup. The world is not going to fall apart. No one in our parish ran out of church with their ears covered in disgust.

Speaking for myself, I accept the changes. I continue to love the Church. In reading recently about the huge number of Catholics around the world who have given their lives for their faith as martyrs, putting up with a few bumpy phrases seems a rather small price to pay for being a member of the Body of Christ.

Frank Dagostino
Hayward


“Consubstantiation”


The definition of consubstantial is having the same substance or essential nature. Consubstantiation in theology is the doctrine that the substance of bread and wine of the Eucharist exists, after consecration, side by side with the body and blood of Christ but is not changed into it.

Mary McMahon
Livermore

[Editor’s note: In the Creed, consubstantial refers to Christ’s oneness in substance with the Father, whereas transubstantiation is the Catholic doctrine that during the consecration the substance of the bread and the wine are changed into the very substance of Christ: body, blood, soul and divinity. The Catholic Encyclopedia has a good article on this history of this: www.newadvent.org/cathen/04322a.htm.]


“And also with you”


I’m 56-years-old, and if I remember correctly our first use of English was “And with your Spirit.” “And also with you” came a few months or a year later.

I was very young then but I distinctly remember it. I was at Queen of All Saints School in Concord, around second or third grade. Does anyone else have that recollection? Sounds like back to the future to me.

Bob Gitzen
Concord


Voice erred on Panikhida


Thank you for sharing the photo and caption regarding our recent Panikhida memorial service offered at the request of the Knights of St. Francis in their chapel, the Porziuncola Nuova (Voice, Nov. 21). The caption mistakenly identifies the space as our temple. The photo is of the service in the Porziuncola Nuova in North Beach, the replica of the church St. Francis rebuilt in Assisi. The address given for our parish is correct.

Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer intention for November was for the eastern Churches, that their venerable tradition may be known and appreciated as a spiritual treasure for the entire Church.

We welcome all who wish to become familiar with the “spiritual treasure” of the Eastern Catholic Churches to come visit us, 101 20th Ave. at Lake St. in San Francisco. www.byzantinecatholic.org

Marylouise Lambert
Our Lady of Fatima Russian Byzantine Catholic Church


Learn about St. Francis shrine


I was delighted to see the photo of the All Souls’ Day Panikhida (Voice, Nov. 21) celebrated by the community of Our Lady of Fatima Russian Byzantine Catholic Church, but the ceremony took place in the Lady Chapel, La Nuova Porziuncola of the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in San Francisco’s North Beach.

As we are a National Shrine, we host visitors and pilgrims from all over the world, and we especially welcome visitors and pilgrims from the other Bay Area Catholic dioceses. Pilgrims to the National Shrine and to the Porziuncola chapel can gain the Pardon of Assisi, a plenary indulgence.

Information about the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi and the Porziuncola, 610 Vallejo St., San Francisco, as well as the pardon, is available at www.shrinesf.org

Father Gregory Coiro, OFMCap.
Rector


[Editor’s note regarding the above two letters: A correction was published in this edition of the newspaper, and the caption was corrected here.]

Check record on bailouts

While Joe Trevors is correct in describing our leaders as immoral (I would add “corrupt,” “imbecilic” and “hopeless,” and those are just the words least likely to offend your readership), he errs when he claims that the “Black Caucus, with our own Barbara Lee from Oakland” voted against the 2008 bailout of our bankrupt big banking sector.

In fact, the Black Caucus voted 31-8 in favor of the bailout the second time the measure was ramrodded through Congress on Oct. 3, 2008.

In the first vote on the measure, Sept. 29, Lee correctly opposed the bailout, but then changed her vote for reasons known only to God and, perhaps, Goldman Sachs, who, according to its chairman Lloyd Blankfein, is busy doing God’s work there in Manhattan.

The Congressional roll call votes are easily available online. By the way, Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, voted for the bailout as well. Both times!

Christopher DeRosa
Berkeley


Death penalty and Nazis


Re: JA Smith’s view on capital punishment (Forum, Nov. Oct. 17): “God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female He created them.” (Gen 1:27)

Hitler and the Nazis did not espouse this truth. They reinstated the death penalty in Germany, they instituted abortion, they instituted euthanasia, they instituted medical experimentation on humans, they decided who is to live, and who is not.

Red lights went on for me when reading the cool, calculated six-month time frame for execution advocated by Smith.

Kumigund Nemeth
Moraga

[Editor’s note: The Nazis did in fact legalize abortion in the 1930s as a way of getting the public to accept the idea that some lives were not worth living because such people were less than human (untermenchen — lit. sub-human). This was a deliberate manner by which they conditioned the German people to prepare them for the extermination of Jews.]


Penalty protects innocent


Two letters (Forum, Nov. 7) addressed mine (Forum, Oct. 17) re: capital punishment.
Revenge is decidedly unChristian, but justice is one of the four cardinal virtues. Thus, the penalty of death is a just response to one who murders, rapes a child, commits treason, etc.

I volunteered with Catholic Answers at the 1999 St. Louis papal Mass. JP2’s appeal to end the death penalty was not done ex cathedra. He could not, as it would contradict 2000 years of Church teaching on the subject. Therefore, the faithful are free to disagree with him on the point, just as they can about his opposition to the Iraq war. As great a man as that pope was, he was no penologist. His claim that modern society has other means to protect itself apart from executions flies in the face of reality, as any correctional officer will attest.

I advocate for the death penalty to protect the innocent and maintain a stable society and would thus find abhorrent the execution of an innocent man. Such judicial incompetence or corruption is the only grounds for halting executions, for I would rather watch 10 guilty men walk free than see one innocent die.

That being said, a general fear of executing an innocent cannot be grounds for opposing the death penalty. One must also consider the number of victims of death row parolees, freed to kill, rape and rob again, a cost never mentioned by death penalty opponents.

Lastly, let’s keep in mind the paltry number (46 last year) executed in the U.S. Weigh that against the thousands murdered by abortion in the same time, and it’s obvious which topic is worthy of hand-wringing. When I hear death penalty opponents whining so loudly about baby killing as they do about the death of a convict, it won’t be too soon. Until then, it’s much ado about nothing.

James A. Smith, Esq.
Walnut Creek


Where is voice for justice?


I find it ironic that the recent meeting of the Bishops’ Conference was more concerned with the issues of religious freedom, while the unemployed, homeless because of bank foreclosures and the disemployed — the 99 percent — are being ignored. Where is the bishops’ voice for justice? May I humbly remind our bishops to read the pastoral “Economic Justice for All.” In particular, it appears to me that the Occupy movement, no matter how messy and utterly human they are, their cry for justice echoes a statement in the Pastoral: “The economy should serve the people, not the other way around.” (13d)

Father Frederick Scott Hill, OMI
Oakland


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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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