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placeholder  August 6, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 13   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Church beliefs

I'm distressed by the high percentage of Catholics who don't support the Church's teachings on things such as the "real presence," abortion, contraception and gay marriage. It seems that this latter population has gotten caught up in the relativism that has swept our society and made "truth" something that one decides on his or her own. We have become in effect a Burger King culture that wants "to have it their way," and has dismissed the possibility that there exist some absolute truths given to us by God and passed down by our Church.

Years ago, those of us who attended Catholic institutions of higher learning received many years of education in theology, apologetics and philosophy. Others, like me, went on even further to graduate studies in some of these same fields. Aside from what the Church taught, we came away understanding the philosophical roots of our beliefs and being able to defend them from outside threats. It's a shame that now one of the groups we must defend them from is our church-going Catholics.

What is the answer? Priests must do some of the grounding in our faith from the pulpit. How many of us, for example, in defending the "real presence" have ever heard a priest discuss the Miracle of Lanciano from the pulpit (www.acfp2000.com/Miracles/eucharistic.html)? I also observe we seldom hear the topics of gay marriage, abortion and contraception discussed from the pulpit —- much less the philosophical basis of the Church's teachings on them.
We can't hold Catholics accountable for their mistaken beliefs if we don't take steps to correct them. A little education from the pulpit would be a good first step in this direction.

Pete DeLisi

Interesting articles

There are two interesting articles on Page 1 (Voice, June 11).

The first is about the reverse collection at St. Augustine parish in Oakland. They raised $61,000 to build a new dormitory for an orphanage in Kenya. That is admirable.

The second article tells about the Diocese of Oakland suing to evict the residents of Casa Vincentia, a shelter for homeless pregnant and unwed mothers. Casa Vincentia has not paid rent since 2007; perhaps because they haven't the funds? Now there is an issue of the safety of the building and the need to relocate. The residence is searching for another site with the hope that "an organization in the community or a Casa Vincentia supporter will help it find or donate a building to it".

What happened to "charity begins at home"?

Josephine Hamera

[Editor's note: Casa Vincentia has agreed to move by Oct. 24; the diocese has offered to assist.]

Pray for priests

I would like to add further clarity to the letter "Misunderstanding" (Forum, July 16). The writer states that the pedophile priests are sexual inverts who, he claims, have a greater tendency to pedophilia than other people.

Sexual invert is a late 19th/early 20th Century term for homosexual — someone who has a primary sexual desire for persons of the same sex. Like most heterosexuals, their interest is in adult sexual relationships.

Pedophiles and ephebophiles (Ed.: sexual interest in teens), however, have a primary sexual desire toward children from ages 1 to 17 and have no interest or ability to form adult sexual relationships. Their sexual desire represents a serious psychological and developmental impairment.

To quote Karen Terry, principal investigator for the John Jay College Report ordered by the US Bishops Committee, "neither celibacy nor homosexuality were causes of the abuse."

To link homosexuality and pedophilia is erroneous and to say homosexuals have a greater tendency to pedophilia than other people is incorrect. Eighty percent of sexual abuse survivors are abused by family members (parents, grandparents, etc.) who are generally heterosexual.

The current thrust of the Catholic Church according to Rev. James J. Gill, SJ, must be to strengthen the entrance requirements for the priesthood ensuring that no sexual deviant, ie. pedophile, is admitted.

In the meantime, let us pray for all priests who live dedicated lives of service to their communities and especially gay priests who remain silent for fear of ecclesiastical and societal repercussions.

Valerie McNamara

Up or down

Coming down the steps of church after Mass a man's voice behind me said, "You New Englanders and people with bad knees stand during the Lamb of God." He went on to say that we should kneel during the "Behold the Lamb of God." Is this up to the diocese? We were in Maryland recently and everyone knelt whereas few kneel here.

Mary McMahon

[Editor's note: The General Instruction on the Roman Missal (No. 43) states that "in the Dioceses of the United States of America, [one] should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by ill health, or for reasons of lack of space, of the large number of people present, or for another reasonable cause. However, those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the Priest genuflects after the Consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise." In the Diocese of Oakland, the bishop has asked for the faithful to remain standing after the Agnus Dei.]

Bad editor

OK. So "I get it" that the Letters to the Editor in The Catholic Voice were moved to the back pages a while ago (even though that's the first section many of us read).

The current Church climate isn't exactly interested in dialogue, much less the "opinions" of her faithful members. And "I get it" that, recently, following many letters addressing a topic of current interest or controversy, there is an "Editor's Note" providing the proper teaching and instructing us in what and how we should think (even though Canon 212 Sec. 3 says that Catholics "have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ's faithful."). What I didn't "get" was the photo and blurb on Page 4 (Voice, July 16) showing the illicit ordination ceremony in Switzerland of priests and deacons of the heretical and schismatic Society of St. Pius. And that in an issue which featured on Page 6 the "valid" presbyteral ordination of one of our own diocesan deacons, Rev. Derrick Oliveira.

Where was the "Editor's note" after the photo of the illicit ordination clearly naming it as such? The impression was given that this was just another sacramental ordination ceremony in the Catholic Church of men who happen to have a few disagreements with the reforms of Vatican II.

When The Catholic Voice also publishes a photo of the ordination ceremony of Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ordained a priest in 2008, or Patricia Sandall, ordained a priest in 2010 for RCWP (Roman Catholic Women Priests), then I'll "get" that you are trying to offer balanced reporting. While the magisterium is bending over backwards to accommodate and bring one group of schismatics back to the fold, i.e. the traditionalists of the Lefebvre movement, it roundly condemns and refuses dialogue with another group, i.e. anyone involved with or even raising the question of the ordination of women, which has been labeled "a grave derelict." To me, the imbalance is obvious.

John Kasper, OSFS
St. Perpetua Church

Church must change

Throughout the centuries, our Catholic church has changed. Rules have changed, liturgy has changed. The church is always slow to make changes. Society changes before church rules change. This is good. However, it is now time for some rather radical changes in our Catholic church.

• The Church needs transparency and accountability. We have seen clergy problems in the last decade that we never thought possible. Transparency, accountability and democracy are part of the solution.

• Women have a practical view of life and the world. Women bring stability. Women are inherent protectors of children. Had women been part of the hierarchy of the church, I do not believe that the sex abuse epidemic would have mushroomed as it did.

• Many families in the world cannot afford to care for more children. God gave mankind the intelligence to think, develop and change the world for the better. It is cruel to produce children who will be tortured by poverty, starvation and illness because the Church says that contraception is a sin.

It is time for the people of God to stand up and demand that changes be made within the church. Our current system is flawed. The Vatican and the hierarchy are too steeped in their own traditions to see the need for transparency and democracy. The people of God must demand it.

Speak up.

Susan Gahan

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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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