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Reflections on a new year
As we begin this new year, I pray we focus on the most
important things. Jesus tells us that, in the end, only three things will
last — faith, hope and love — and that the greatest of these
is love. Let us learn to love!
Having recently celebrated Christmas, it’s easy to think of love
as a precious baby. But we know that Love grew up, and had to undergo
tremendous sacrifice and suffering in obedience to the Father’s
We know that among family and friends, love often means sacrifice. People
often have to learn by the consequences of their actions. It also means
truth. If we truly love, we must set a good example, and teach right from
wrong and good from evil.
Love of God also means obedience. “He who loves me keeps my commands.”
My dear brothers and sisters, if we love each other, we must desire for
each other the highest good — eternal life with Christ! We must
be willing to speak the truth to one another.
How can we know the truth in these confusing times? Christ founded a Church,
and promised its teaching authority, “He who hears you, hears me.”
This “Magisterium” always works together with the written
word of God, the Bible and the oral word of God, Sacred Tradition. We
have strayed so far from this truth! So many believe that they can reject
any teaching on faith or morals, and still be Catholic! Please read the
beautiful “Dei Verbum” (Word of God), a principal document
of Vatican II.
In the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, “Who is going to save our
Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you,
the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church.
Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops,
like bishops and your religious act like religious.” (talk to the
Knights of Columbus, June 1972.)
In this new year, let us resolve to urge our bishops and priests, and
all our leaders to fulfill their sacred duty to love us by proclaiming
the truth, especially in regard to those critical issues that divide us!
We must make known the truth concerning the all-important difference between
prudential judgments and intrinsic evils such as abortion, contraception,
euthanasia, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research and same-sex “marriage.”
We must be very clear that the homosexual orientation is not in itself
a sin, but a disorder. There is healing! (See www.couragerc.org) But that
homosexual sex is a grave sin.
What causes so many in the Church to rebel against these teachings? We
know it is pride, the father of all sin! What is the antidote? As so many
great saints have instructed us, it is the three most important virtues
— humility, humility and humility!
Will we practice these virtues this year?
Decline of Christendom
Pew Research reported the number of Christians as a proportion of world
population has been stable over the last 100 years. A significant increase
in the numbers of Christians in Africa, Asia, and Latin America has offset
the relative declines in Europe, America, and other economically advanced
Christian evangelism that has worked well in the third world is failing
in the first world. Why? I would like to suggest two reasons: intermediation
Intermediation: When your job or your government seems to provide for
all your physical needs, faith in God takes a back seat to faith in Big
Business or faith in Big Government.
Secularization: In prosperous western countries, young people are learning
more from secular academic institutions and the secular culture than they
are learning from their parents and faith community. The loss of a Judeo-Christian
identity and values in western culture and schools has left a vacuum that
is being filled by a new religion: atheistic secularism.
We did not get here overnight, and I see no easy solutions. At a personal
level, if we hold our children close and provide them with a solid faith
and positive life examples, our families can endure these challenges.
As a Church, we must work with government and business intermediaries
to minimize the damage being done to Christian values and religious liberty.
As individual Catholics, we must speak up and counter the darkness of
atheistic secularism with the light of Christ.
Help finding U.S. family
I hope your readers can help me locate descendants of a relation who emigrated
from Ireland many years ago. Her name was Sarah Gaynor — born 1866
in Cavan, Ireland, and she settled in Oakland/Alameda and married Guiseppi
Antonio Molinari. I believe the area they lived in was demolished in post-war
I am completing a family lineage started by my father here in Ireland
before he died and the above family is one of the last pieces in the jigsaw.
Readers can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org should they be in a
position to help or point me in the right direction.
Michael O Donoghue
Hillsborough, Northern Ireland
Obama attacking religion
The Obama administration’s attack on religion is accelerating. With
his blessing, the secretary of Health and Human Services, an unelected
bureaucrat, issued rules that require all employers, including religious
organizations, to provide free contraceptive services to all their employees
as of August 2012.
The rule applies to religious organizations that believe this to be against
the will of God. The Obama administration continues to ignore the Constitution
in its quest to control every aspect of our lives.
The First Amendment provides, in part, that “Congress shall make
no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof.” In promulgating this “rule” the administration
directly and purposely prohibits the free exercise of religious beliefs.
Regardless of how you feel about contraception, or your religious affiliation,
this step will eventually affect you through expansion into other areas
of religious belief. If you are not religious, remember, the cost of the
contraceptive services will be passed on to you via higher health insurance
There are other “rules” currently being discussed forcing
hospitals to perform abortions on demand and requiring doctors to learn
the procedures in medical school and they, and other medical personnel,
must participate in the procedures regardless of their religious or ethical
beliefs plus requiring physicians to discuss “end of life issues”
( read assisted suicide) with terminally ill patients.
The president lied when he assured Catholic religious leaders that the
“Conscience Clause” would continue unchanged. He lied again
when he promised that abortions would not be paid for under his health
Obama and his vassals have the guile of the serpent in the Garden of Eden
and their actions would give comfort and encouragement to the “anti-Christ.”
Any person who believes in God and supports President Obama’s re-election
is making a grievous mistake. It is time for our religious and lay leaders
to defy these edicts and say, “No more. You have gone too far already!”
I for one will join and support them in any way I can.
Call or write your congressional representatives now and do not vote to
re-elect the presumptive imperialist, Obama. It is time for this kind
of oppression to cease. The only way to assure this is to change the administration.
Death penalty subversives
Letters opposing the death penalty are long on pompous indignation and
short on rational thought. To argue that supporting the death penalty
is to support Christ’s crucifixion is as idiotic as saying that
supporting car ownership is to support auto accidents. I wonder if these
“social justice” writers have ever said a word against the
taking of innocent life by abortion. I doubt it. Remember it was the state
that burned people at the stake; the Church didn’t have that authority.
Regarding unsupported claims that certain states executed innocents: No
one wants an innocent to die. Why bring it up, except to confuse that
with the proper execution of the guilty?
The subversive element within the Church (a.k.a. “social justice”)
threatens innocent life and social stability under the guise of championing
Though the Catechism does say that the necessity of execution is rare,
this is more of what we in law call “dicta” and is not proscriptive.
It is the state’s role to determine that necessity, not the Church’s,
just as it is the Church’s role to take care of the poor, not the
state’s (e.g. the dysfunctional welfare system).
JA Smith, Esq.
Church support of labor
I would like to point out to the newbee’s in the area that the picture
on the cover (Voice, Jan. 9) reminds me of the OVER THE TOP support that
the Church gives labor unions.
The helicopter the good bishop is stepping out of was a viable going business,
very useful to many, put out of business by labor union demands. The unions
demanded more than could be provided so SFO simply closed down its operation.
Dignity of Mass lost
Frankly, I think that there are more important things for the Church to
worry about than a new translation of the liturgy.
I am in total agreement with Maureen Lahiff’s letter (Forum, Jan.
9) about presiders and others who speak to the congregation. Do these
persons think that they are important because they are on the altar and
have an audience?
The “religious” matters announced are such things as “please
turn off your cell phones and pagers,” it’s practice-the-hymns-time
or turn to your neighbor and greet them. Don’t forget later in the
Mass the smiling, bubbly person who goes bouncing up to the altar to let
you know that so-and-so deserves a big hand of applause or to exhort the
congregation to donate to this or that cause or some other non-important
Of course, there is also the idea that the congregation join hands and
lift arms when saying the Our Father, and that the sign of peace means
persons should get out of the pew and go running up and down the aisle
to shake hands with one and all.
It is sad the sanctity and dignity of the Mass has been lost. As far as
I am concerned, announcements (which should be only of a truly important
nature) should be made after the priest completes the Mass. I think that
the coffee hour after Mass is the perfect place for all social activity.
Mary Eileen Johnson
Abortion and public office
Like many others who have been working in the pro-life movement I was
delighted to hear Bishop Robert Vasa would become the new spiritual leader
in the Diocese of Santa Rosa.
Bishop Vasa has not let us down. He was the keynote speaker at the annual
Sonoma County Rally for Life Jan. 22.
“Any government leaders, particularly those who claim to be Christian,
who claim to be pro-choice, are unworthy of public office,” Bishop
Vasa told the rally at Old Courthouse Square. “Absolutely unworthy
and unfit for public office.”
“Politicians who support abortion are as “guilty of abortion
as those who choose it themselves,” he said. And Roe v. Wade, said
Bishop Vasa, was an illicit and invalid decision.
The bishop’s remarks, reported the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, brought
cheers from the crowd.
For years, many Catholic politicians have been dining at Catholic Cafeteria,
picking and choosing Church teachings that suit their political views
while claiming to be defenders of the faith.
It is incongruous for people who claim to be committed Catholics one minute
then to turn around and regularly vote against the established Christian
traditions, whether on abortion, euthanasia or “same-sex”
Catholic politicians can’t have it both ways on these sensitive
I commend Bishop Vasa for his courageous public speaking.
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.