|June 25, 2012 • VOL. 50, NO. 11 • Oakland, CA|
An injury to one
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.
"The Ballot Box is simply a capitalist concession. Dropping pieces of paper into a hole in a box never did achieve emancipation of the working class, and in my opinion it never will," wrote Rev. Thomas J. Haggerty, delegate and author of the above preamble to the constitution of the founding convention of Industrial Workers of the World, June 17, 1905.
Many people of faith and compassion who witness against the abuses of capitalism, militarism and strive to build a new world of a workers commonwealth within the shell of the old were and continue to be members of the IWW. They include: Dorothy Day, Helen Keller, Eugene Debs, Harry Bridges and Pete Seeger.
Terry L. Callan
[Editor's note: ". . . it is right to speak of a struggle against an economic system, if the latter is understood as a method of upholding the absolute predominance of capital. . . in contrast to the free and personal nature of human work. In the struggle against such a system, what is being proposed as an alternative is not the socialist system, which in fact turns out to be State capitalism, but rather a society of free work, of enterprise and of participation. Such a society is not directed against the market, but demands that the market be appropriately controlled by the forces of society and by the State, so as to guarantee that the basic needs of the whole of society are satisfied" (Bl. Pope John Paul II; Centesimus annus, 35).]
Conscience and authority
In his 1967 commentary on "Gaudium et Spes" (Joy and Hope) then Father Joseph Ratzinger wrote: "Over the pope as expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one's own conscience which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority."
The Curia and the bishops invoke their authority more and more frequently on a variety of subjects from national and local politics to matters of public policy like immigration, budget cuts, death penalty, the Affordable Care Act and gay rights. Now the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith is imposing a doctrinal assessment on the Communities of Religious Women that are members of the LCWR. The CDF criticizes the sisters for an over-emphasis on social justice issues and a lack of participation in campaigns against gay marriage and contraception. Where was this sort of energetic and quite public action during the years of the priestly sexual abuse scandals?
The hierarchy needs to spend some time reflecting on the source and purpose of their authority and direct their teaching in a pastoral way. All bishops have a crozier, a staff that symbolizes their role as shepherds. The shepherds are supposed to know their sheep. The bishops know that a Sense of the Faithful exists and that the sheep have some teaching authority too.
[Editor's note: The Catechism of the Church teaches: "Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act. . . man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right" (1778), that is, to follow his conscience. However, one has a greater duty to form one's conscience since there are certain moral norms that must always be followed. Conscience can err, therefore "the education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings" (1783). Furthermore, in the above mentioned commentary, Ratzinger raises many unsolved questions about how conscience can err and about the right to follow an erroneous conscience.]
Married couple faults
Bishop Cordileone (Voice, June 11) opines that "Marriage, the union of one man and one woman [...] protects the most vulnerable segment of the population, children. Every child longs for and deserves a mother and a father [...]," presenting this assumption as an argument in favor of traditional marriage and possibly subsequent parenting. Whether in ancient Greece, or in medieval Scandinavia, or in traditional China, how many marriages composed of one man and one woman exposed their children on mountainsides and left them there to die from exposure to the elements or by being devoured by wild animals? This was done by one man-one woman marriages for millennia to the female children, considered to be undesirable financial burdens, but also to male infants who happened to be born "defective."
Being reared by a mother and a father by itself guarantees nothing. How many one man-one woman marriages today are not abusing their children sexually, physically, emotionally and psychologically?
One person or two people, regardless of gender, intelligently and lovingly bringing up their kids with love, structure, and support, THAT is what has the best chances of protecting children and making them into healthy, productive and loving adults in the future.
Meet a same-gender couple and talk with their kids after soccer practice, at a school concert or even as they prepare for the prom, before you make up your mind on this subject. Ask them if they have been brought up with love; then ask them if they are thankful for the parents they have. You might be surprised.
Oscar M. Ramirez
Questions for the church
Over the last few weeks there have been several news headlines regarding the Church and its leadership. Few answers are made and those that are do not really address the problem. I would request the leadership to please address the following:
• The events at the Vatican of leaked confidential documents (the pope's butler and Vatican Secretary of State).
• Why is the Vatican picking on our saintly nuns?
• Why are the US bishops investigating the American Girl Scouts?
J. Eric Salmon
[Editor's note: See page 4 for more about the LCWR issue. The bishops are not "investigating" the Girl Scouts. Parents in some dioceses are concerned about local units of the scouts being involved with organizations that operate contrary to Catholic teaching.]
Congratulations on an excellent issue celebrating the anniversary of the Oakland Diocese!
It was a particular joy to be reminded of how progressive our diocese was in initiating Vatican II renewal, particularly in the areas of vernacular and music.
I am curious, however, about why each of the parish profiles included data about "Average Household Income" and about how these figures were derived.
[Editor's note: As we wrote in the feature, the figures were compiled by Percept Group Inc., a major research firm, from US Census data. Household income is one of the basic building blocks of any community's demographics, as is age, education, population, so we may better understand our own community and our neighbors.]
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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