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placeholder February 6, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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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 will.

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?

David Zarri
Concord


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 countries.

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 and secularization.

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.

Mike McDermott
Concord


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 development.

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 cmodonoghue@hotmail.com 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 premiums.

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 care program.

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.

Cliff Wiesner
Concord


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 human life.

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.
Walnut Creek


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.

Robert Lockwood
Lafayette


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 announcement.

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
Berkeley


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” marriage.

Catholic politicians can’t have it both ways on these sensitive moral issues.

I commend Bishop Vasa for his courageous public speaking.

Jim Crowley
Walnut Creek

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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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