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placeholder September 23, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Help St. Mary's

In a recent column Bishop Barber talked about "actions speak louder than words" in terms of our faith and relationship to each other. Recently at St. Mary's Center an elder reflected, "You cared for me when I could not care for myself." For her the hot meal, safe shelter and aid of an advocate was more than she had expected — a reminder of the role we play in each other's lives, especially in living the Gospel message.

While St. Mary's Center is a place where elders and families turn to as a last resort, what they find is often a new beginning. It starts with simple gestures — a warm welcome, a hot meal and a willingness to listen. And the result is transforming.

Forty years ago, volunteers at churches started fixing Sunday dinners for elders in downtown and West Oakland. This tradition continues — a tribute to the thousands of people throughout this diocese who know we each can carry the torch of kindness.

On Oct. 12 we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of St. Mary's Center. It would be a grand thing to see us all stand together to honor the lonely and downtrodden and our ability to act.

Please join us to dance and live our faith! All proceeds help ensure essential services and preschool to those in need. Details, tickets and a listing of wonderful auction items are available at www.stmaryscenter.org or by dialing 510-923-9600, ext. 222. After all — "actions speak louder than words."

Katrina Brekke-Miesner

Incredible, incredulous

The Forum (Voice, Aug. 12) states the difference between these two words. Both of them can be applied to First Reading of recent Masses.

We should be incredulous, not believing any of the incredible narratives told to us. In these books of the Old Testament, we are told that God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants for a thousand generations in which He promised that they would be His people and He would be their God. God promised to give them the land on which they were to settle.

It didn't seem to bother God that people were already living on this land. God's solution was that He would drive them away and give their land to the Jews. This is probably the basis for the expression "the Chosen People." I have never heard one of my Jewish friends refer to himself as chosen by God; I have heard it used almost exclusively by Christian preachers and Catholic priests.

The use of these expressions is theologically unsound and even demeaning to the Father God. God does not favor one race or group of people over another; there are no covenants, neither old nor new. God does not make deals. His love is unconditional and everlasting.

God is also portrayed as a mean, spiteful person in the Book of Exodus. God would never kill the first born of any species, man or animal, because a ruler, Pharaoh, refused to release a people held in bondage, namely the ancient Hebrews. To heap insult upon injury, God could never "harden Pharaoh's heart" and force him to keep the Jews in captivity even against his better judgment.

We see throughout the Old Testament many examples of God's being depicted as cruel and vengeful.

I am embarrassed to see Our Father shown in such a negative light and, for this reason I do not participate in readings from the Old Testament as it is written.

John Kearney

Innocents die

I wish someone would ask the president to explain why he can support, ignore or stand by idly while children and other innocents die by drone attacks, slaughter by radical Muslims in Nigeria, Egypt and other countries in Africa, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, abortion doctors refusing to provide any medical care to babies who survived a botched abortion and were born alive, late term abortions and other on demand abortions that kill tens of thousands yearly.

Thousands of children have been slaughtered so far in Syria, no concern or passion until now. Why are all the foregoing acceptable ways to kill innocents and children but chemicals are a horror to be damned and the perpetrators punished. Aren't the victims dead anyway?

Is this fuss now politically driven? It crowds out his administration's scandals, his failures and may unite his followers by this belated attempt to save and defend the United States and the world.

Call me jaundiced but, after all, he is a politician.

Cliff Wiesner

Voice for children

A letter writer asked (Forum, Sept. 9) when our bishops would be as "outspoken about the atrocities of war as they are about abortion?" Perhaps their emphasis is due to the utterly obscene numbers of children killed through abortion since the passage of Roe v. Wade. Can we even imagine what 50 million children look like, brutally dismembered? Worse than the heartbreaking photos of the children recently gassed in Syria, I can assure you. Nobody wants to face that image, understandably, but that doesn't erase the reality.

Our bishops are charged primarily with the care of the flock in their jurisdictions and I would only hope they would do MORE not less on behalf of the innocent lambs being slaughtered in massive numbers in the U.S. Hopefully one can understand the urgency of protesting 50 million deaths ... 50 million, each uniquely precious.

Why are the lives of the unborn in the U.S. "more important" than those of hundreds of children elsewhere? Our Holy Father called us all to a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria and all places where violence and war prevail. I am sure that Pope Francis and our bishops would never count one child's life as more worthy or important than another, but the sheer number of children whose lives have been brutally taken in abortion here is probably the driving factor. Do not be annoyed by their advocacy. I am grateful that our bishops are a voice for our children.

Hannah Carter
Pleasant Hill

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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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