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placeholder August 12, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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From The Vatican

The Holy Father has asked me to acknowledge the offering of $55,128.40 sent through the Apostolic Nunciature as a contribution from the Diocese of Oakland for the support of the Holy See.

His Holiness is grateful for this donation and for the devoted sentiments that inspired it. He very much appreciates the support which you and your people have given to him in his service to the universal Church.

I am pleased to assure you of the Holy Father's prayers for you and for those entrusted to your pastoral care. Invoking upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ, he cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing.

Archbishop Angelo Becciu,
Vice-Secretary of State, The Vatican

Good Voice

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your front page picture (Voice, June 24). For once it shows the fullness, vitality and joy of the Church including a broadly smiling bishop, a wonderful child seriously blessing him while surrounded with other children who are smiling, needy and well-cared for by family and friends.

It is so much a better picture of who we are than what we usually get, close ups of sour clergy and dour bishops. Thank you again and may we get many more pictures of the Church alive and well.

Rev. Brian T. Joyce
Pleasant Hill

Christian marriage

People who live together as partners often say marriage is just a piece of paper, what difference does it make if you are married or not? I believe Christian marriage is much more than a consenting adult relationship, more than a convenient arrangement. Christian churches hold it in high regard as a "holy mystery," we Catholics call it a Sacrament.

I believe as a Catholic Christian that the love of husband and wife is like a mirror; it reflects God's love for the world and in particular Christ's love for the church. So their married life is a privileged way in which they can make Christ present in today's world. Christian marriage is unconditional, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, means that the couple agrees to stay together come what may and to face whatever life's challenges may prove to be. To begin married life with certain pre-conditions that if things don't work out there's always another option on the horizon runs contrary to the idea of Christian marriage. Sadly there are cases, we can all agree, it is better for a man and woman to separate. Holy mother church reaches out with love and compassion to these her children.

Most definitely, it goes without saying, that Christian marriage is between one man and one woman, that's because the love shared and particularly its sexual expression, demands a total giving, a complete sharing of lives together. Each partner gives to the other in a gesture of absolute trust and unreserved love. I feel that's what the older language about worshiping with the body actually meant. They are no longer two, but become one body. Certainly it is easy just to live together, but to be united in Christian marriage, is much more than a piece of paper, it is a vocation to something much deeper.

Susan Patzkowski

Take responsibility

How ironic that on the same page (Forum, July 15), we read a letter to the editor quoting the newly appointed chairman of the National Review Board that lauds the U.S. National Council of Bishops for setting a model for other institutions and organizations dealing with the abuse of children.

The column by Rev. Lawrence D'Anjou with the headline that reads "Senate bill a shameful injustice; urge Assembly to stand for fairness" encourages readers to involve themselves in defeating SB 131. SB 131 opens the statute of limitations for allegations of sexual abuse of minors that occurred in California before 2009.

Rev. D'Anjou feels the bill is unjust because it does not include other institutions and organizations that may also have a background of abuse and/or exploitation of minors. Given that both the newly appointed chairman of the National Review Board and Father D'Anjou portend that the Catholic Church has taken the lead in these social injustices, one would think that the Catholic hierarchy would suggest support for the bill.

Admittedly, the clergy of the Church do not stand alone in subjecting children to sexual abuse and exploitation, but given the attempts to cover-up and protect abusers by the Church in the past, one would hope and expect the leadership to adopt every means possible to aid the victims and allow them to seek justice for what has been done to them.
Support of SB 131 would show that we take responsibility for actions done and support those victimized by our organization. That would be the example of our Savior for His children, both young and old.

Gloria Kunz

And a response

Twice previously California legislators have passed bills to open the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases filed against private institutions. SB 131 would do this for a third time. Though painful for the victims and the institutions, the aftermath of the previous two bills is that we now have safer environments for the children in these institutions. Perhaps it would be better to simply rewrite SB 131 to include public institutions, such as California public schools, rather than to defeat it. Then all victims would have equal access to justice and all institutions would take greater steps to help insure child safety.

Rev. Lawrence D'Anjou

Translation style

Your summary article "Priests dislike translation" (Voice, June 10) caught my attention.

Having read the original survey, my emphasis here is not so much on the content but, that "how one perceives, understands and celebrates the Mass" determined the responses.

Granted a "recognitio" by the Apostolic See, respect, then, for the texts includes respect for the liturgical terminology of the Missal.

Liturgiam Authenticam says: "…the words spoken in liturgical celebrations … are not intended primarily to be a sort of mirror of the interior dispositions of the faithful; rather, they express truths that transcend the limits of time and space."

In each and every part of the Mass, by no means do we offer words only for their own sake; each word is spoken for a specific purpose and with a particular meaning. The sacred style in these texts invites us to express a deeper sense of reverence and is proper to liturgical language, which differs somewhat from ordinary speech, precisely the reason why they sound less like everyday speech.

We should always aim high and offer liturgies that are reverent and beautiful as we "join the angels and saints" who worship before God. As Pope Benedict XVI has stated, "Nothing can be too beautiful for God."

"In the final analysis the Church lives, in sad as well as joyous times, from the faith of those who are simple of heart …" (Ratzinger, Theological Highlights of Vatican II)

"Learn from Me," Jesus says," for I am meek and humble of heart" (Matthew 11:29)

Theresa Yabut

Hear Jesus' Word

I've discovered that when people want to argue about or disrespect the church, we make a lot more progress if I ask them to simply hear the words of Jesus.

Seems that a lot of argument dissipates when we pay attention to the Shepherd. His words are truth; not opinion. Why do we make Christianity so complicated?

Choosing sides in the same house seems to be our problem; not Christianity!

John R. Schaffner

Bishops not listening

Your quotation of Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone with respect to the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 (Voice, July 15) points out so very clearly where the U.S. Catholic bishops are simply not listening.

My partner of 41 years and I, as with most of the other lesbian and gay couples we know, are not attempting to partake in the Church's Sacrament of Matrimony. That is not our goal. We are living in a country where the separation of Church and State is enshrined in law and general cultural practice.

The First Amendment of our Constitution is quite clear: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." What we are looking for, and will have sooner or later, is a legal recognition of a civil arrangement that imparts secular rights, benefits and responsibilities to our relationship. We simply want a civil marriage.

The Church has lived with what we are seeking in some European countries for quite some time now. As I understand it, in most European countries there is a civil ceremony requirement. Following the civil marriage ceremony, couples are free to marry in a religious ceremony. Such ceremonies, however, only serve to provide a religious recognition of the marriage, since the state's recognition has already been given.

Furthermore, as of January 2013, there are 11 countries that permit same-sex marriages (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden). Note that many of these countries are historically and traditionally "Catholic" countries in which the Church has learned to co-exist with these conditions.

What is clear from the Supreme Court's ruling, and the increasing level of support for same-sex marriage, especially among young people, is that while both sides will continue to debate the matter, the outcome is no longer really in doubt. Same-sex marriage will increasingly be the law of the land, and there is little the US bishops can do to stop it. As, I believe, it should be.

Jim McCrea

Bad Voice

If I was Bishop Michael C Barber, SJ, I would be furious! I would call in the staff of The Voice and threaten to fire them all.

"The commemorative issue of the Voice has ruined my reputation, destroyed my image as a regular guy, an ordinary priest. My hagiography is in ruins. How can I now tell people one of my happiest years was on Truk living with nothing.

"Why two 9 by 15 inch photos of me in the paper? Are they supposed to be framed, hung in a corner of the room with a votive candle underneath and prayed before? Thirty-plus pictures of me as a bishop, six as a priest. Greetings from one cardinal, five archbishops, 14 bishops plus an eminence, five excellencies, superiors and on and on. Where are the greetings from the ordinary people, the faithful in the pews?

"I quit!"

Fred Zierten

More bad Voice

The latest letter column (Forum, July 15) is a prime example of illiteracy. Apparently your staff doesn't know the difference between incredible and incredulous.

Also the rabid Pam Brady is distressed that the eucharistic ministers in her church have a look of detest. Who can blame them?

Tom Savignano

(Editor's note: Readers: Incredible means unbelievable; incredulous means skeptical. Oops.)

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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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