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I participated in the Sabeel Conference at Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill on March 21-22. It was a very educational event, focusing on the plight of the Palestinians, Christian as well as Muslim, who continue to suffer terribly under a brutal apartheid system of occupation going on since 1967. Americans need to know about this tragic situation which US tax dollars support.
It is most unfortunate that some people do not want the truth to see the light of day and feel uncomfortable when others speak about that decades-long injustice. World renowned scholars, both Israeli and Palestinian, Christian as well as Muslim and Jewish spoke to us about the current situation and how we can participate in ending that system of what boils down to a racist colonial activity, an attempt to rid the Holy Land of its indigenous Palestinian population. If Americans really knew about what's going on, they wouldn't stand for it.
Persecution in our time
On March 21 and 22, Christ the King Catholic Church in Pleasant Hill hosted a conference dedicated to helping us understand the reality of life for Palestinians in Palestine/Israel. The conference, entitled "Voices for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land" was for me, as a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Oakland, a gift of knowledge and information from both clergy and lay people who are experts in their fields.
We recognized the courage of retired Army Col. Ann Wright, who was a passenger on the first Gaza flotilla. And we listened with emotion to Maya Wind and Eran Efrati, both Israeli born and former military who were there to connect us passionately to the realities of the military occupation Palestinians endure. A February 2014 report by Amnesty International states: "Israeli forces have displayed a callous disregard for human life by killing dozens of Palestinian civilians, including children, in the occupied West Bank over the past three years with near total impunity."
Throughout this 60-year nightmare, Palestinian Catholics and Christians who number in the hundreds of thousands have continued to keep their faith even though they live in a land where only one religious theology and its followers are legally privileged. My hope and prayer is that the call from these faithful will be heard and that Catholics and Christians throughout the world will demand an end to the persecution of Palestinians in their own land.
Maureen K. Connor
Tolerate civil unions?
A recent letter referred to a March 10 headline in the Voice, "Church could tolerate some civil unions," and copied this comment by the pope from the article: "It is necessary to look at the diverse cases and evaluate them in their variety."
The pope's words have been misinterpreted to mean that the Church is going to change its doctrine on marriage. In Italy, civil unions are people who are married by the state, outside the Church. It has nothing to do with gay civil unions. The pope was referring to the obligation of the state to fulfill its responsibilities toward its citizens.
The writer went on to say that "civil unions or marriages" are secular actions by the state. Civil unions, maybe, but not marriages. This is a misuse of the word marriage, unless a revised definition is used.
The writer also quoted the president of the Southern Baptist Convention who said that "same-sex marriage" is going to be normalized and legalized in our culture. The writer said the Catholic hierarchy should start to deal with that — when the state doesn't support our religious beliefs. In other words, if the majority accepts genderless marriage, so should the Church.
I don't think that is going to happen. I think the Voice article misled the writer to draw some wrong conclusions.
Father Sullivan's book
I had equated fundraising with putting a check into an envelope. After reading"Seven Summers from Shore" by Father Jim Sullivan (Brentwood) my perception changed.
Before he was ordained Father Sullivan led a pilgrimage for youth ministry teenagers to Medjugorje and Rome, a huge undertaking.
The preliminaries involved massive fundraisers. They included car washes, breakfasts, dances and rummage sales. Fundraisers yield great adult and teen fellowships.
(Note since there is another author, Father Jim Sullivan, our Father Sullivan wrote under Brawn Sullivan. The book is available on Amazon.com.)
Speech out of context
Jim McCrea (Forum, March 24) writes again to promote "same-sex marriage," saying the "Catholic hierarchy needs reminding of the 2011 words of Albert Mohler, then president of the Southern Baptist Convention."
We are treated to a fragment from Mohler's Feb. 25, 2011 Focus on the Family" radio interview, making Mohler sound acquiescently resigned to "same-sex marriage" becoming "normalized, legalized and recognized in the culture."
To McCrea, that's the appropriate template for the Catholic Church: submission to the secular zeitgeist, as in Europe, where only state-performed marriages are recognized, and where "religious ceremonies are incidental."
In fact, Mohler said much more in the 33-minute program, worth hearing at www.citizenlink.com/doma.
Interviewer Jim Daly, FOF president, began by mentioning Mohler's blog, wherein he'd identified Barack Obama's decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act as "a tragic milestone in the betrayal of marriage."
Recalling DOMA's passage by landslide margins (342-67 in the House, and 85-14 in the Senate) before Bill Clinton quickly signed the legislation, Mohler criticized Obama's political gamesmanship and misuse of executive power in sidestepping the law.
Mohler observed that "we don't get our marching orders for life from the world around us but rather from the word of God."
He reminded listeners that St. Paul condemned homosexual activity in Romans 1:26-27 as one sin among many, all indications of God's having given over corrupted humanity to self-destruction, after it's denied "even what nature teaches."
And the appropriate Christian response, said Mohler, is not surrendering on God's plan for marriage. Our task instead is to establish Godliness in our own lives, to evangelize the culture — and as "gospel people," to "show the glory of God in the fallen world."
Reverence for Eucharist
I am concerned about the lack of reverence from the clergy when they are distributing the Eucharist. In my opinion this is one of the most important things that they have to do in the Mass and yet I have seen most priests (in many different churches) just dispensing the host as if they were passing out song sheets.
Look me in the eye and don't rush through it as if it were a chore. This is the body of Christ ... act like it!
Our Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion do a much better job at giving it the reverence it deserves. What a shame. Has it become so mundane that it means nothing?
Father Kozina, RIP
The Beatles' song ends with "... and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make." Now, when I reach for profundity, I don't usually reach for top 10 lyrics. But there's substance in those words.
St. Margaret Mary Parish had the grace to be served by an exemplary priest who has now gone to his rest. Father Vladimir Kozina had quite a history, with which many are familiar. For many his importance is in his promotion of and participation in the traditional Latin Mass. But that is not the only measure of the man. It is only incidental to the measure of the priest.
Year in and year out, appointed or retired, Father Kozina cared for all of his sheep with kindness, love and prayer.
He was a true priest: A priest who really wanted to be a priest. And his enjoyment of his calling shined through all his work with the many sinners and seekers who've passed through St. Margaret Mary.
After Evil took his family from him, he turned to He who is Life, Way and Truth. Others might have turned toward darkness and might have given up on people. But Father Kozina chose to serve God's people, giving them new lives in the Spirit.
I am grateful to God for his long life and ministry among us. And as God is far more merciful than we can fathom, I know that Father Kozina will be with his own enjoying eternal happiness with Christ.
Rebecca C. O'Hare
There is only one true "life" issue and that is the life and death issue, i.e., the right to be born and the right to a true and natural death. All the other so-called life issues mentioned by Joseph Maraccini (Forum April 7, 2014)are social and or political constructs.
Our new Pope Francis, along with previous popes, has stated rather clearly that life and death are very important matters within the church and within Christ's teachings.
We are given life and given the challenge and invitation to use that life to achieve our eternal salvation. Anyone, politician, physician, religious or civilian who interferes with that right; seduces us into the humanistic seeking after pleasure and power, is thwarting the natural purpose for which we are all created.
A politician who promises to give us all the worldly goods in exchange for our vote, then turns around and supports the deliberate and planned killing of our lives either by abortion or euthanasia, is working against our eternal salvation. And, the politician is not letting God be the Judge.
Aborting the baby or killing the ill and elderly denies that human being the right to work out his or her eternal salvation. That is a very important issue.
California Life Advocates
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