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placeholder June 25, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 11   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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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.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system and live in harmony with the earth.

Centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs that allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class has interests in common with its employers.

These conditions can be changed, and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one, an injury to all.

Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work," we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, "abolition of the wage system."

Advise and Dissent

Ideas on Casa Vincentia

I am so appalled to read the articles regarding Casa Vincentia, and how it may be evicted. What is the church thinking? Fix this building; if not find another facility (I have no idea what the buildings in San Leandro at St. Alphonsus are being used for). I first started supporting what I could when Sister Gerrarda started the Bridge Home at St. Alphonsus, which I believe evolved into Casa Vincentia. The church needs to practice what it preaches: Help these girls to avoid abortions by providing many shelters for them.

We seem to have monies set aside to pay for our priests' abused victims, so I feel we should provide shelter for our young ladies that have become pregnant and want to avoid abortions, which is what we tell them. These facilities should not have to depend on nonprofit funds, but on our Church.

Florence Miguel

Life safety issues

Casa Vincentia is closing due to "life safety" reasons (Voice, May 21). Oh, please. Ceasing to help homeless women to be supported prior to and post birth is a "life safety" issue. This appears to be one more way the diocese is looking to save money. Of course it is... most of the diocesan money goes to the monstrosity of a cathedral that helps no homeless, no hungry and no needy and to settle lawsuits brought against the sexual predators of the church.

Jesus would have helped the pregnant women in need.

Colleen Miller

Upset over eviction

I am writing to express how very upset I am that our diocese plans to evict the residents of Casa Vincentia and those who minister to these young mothers and their babies.

I wrote this for another publication: "How can our church proclaim to be pro-life and do something like this? I realize the building apparently is not as safe by earthquake standards as it should be. Surely there is another solution to this situation than evicting these expectant mothers and those who minister to them.

"There was mention of problems funding this; yet we can build a very expensive new cathedral, and pay huge legal fees and sums of money to victims of clergy abuse because no one dealt with the problem in an upright and moral way at the onset."

I am a life-long Catholic, and I have tolerated much and forgiven much in our church, but this could be close to the last straw.

We profess to be pro-life and Christians, and to be charitable. Let's start with a good solution to Casa Vincentia."

I am a parishioner at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fremont. Our priests there are wonderful and caring men. Let's all pray for the right solution.

Annemarie Holley

[Editor's note: Casa Vincentia is fiercely independent of the Diocese of Oakland; the diocese does not fund or control it. The diocese rented a former convent to Casa Vincentia, and when it stopped paying rent five years ago, the diocese made no attempt to collect. In the event of a catastrophe, the diocese wants no physical harm to women and children. The diocese attempted in vain for almost a year to facilitate a move to another site. The diocese hasn't the money to repair the building at present. There are no plans to sell the building. An out-of-court settlement has been reached (page 1). Note that the cathedral and other capital projects are paid via separate fund-raising, not parish collections. By court rulings too, abuse settlements cannot be paid out of parish collections.]
It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.

"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.

Marilynne Homitz

[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.]

Excellent issue

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.

Margery Leonard

[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.]

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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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