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placeholder June 22, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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An apology

In my letter (Forum, May 18) I linked Cardinal Walter Kasper and the German bishops who want to change traditional Church teaching to the German idealist philosophers Nietzsche and Freud, and I stupidly included Hitler. Hitler's Nazism was an outgrowth of the humanism of the Reformation, as was German Idealism, but he should not been referenced in the same sentence as His Excellency Cardinal Kasper. I should have included other German humanists like Kant, Hegel, Marx, Fichte and Schopenhauer. Mea culpa! I apologize to Fathers James Schexnayder and Basil De Pinto and other Voice readers.

There are many German clergy who are loyal to the Church, including Cardinal Gerhard Müller who recently (June 6 Die Tagepost) spoke out against trying to adapt the Church's teaching to today's lifestyles.

He criticized the arbitrariness and subjectivism that permeates the thinking of those who want the Church to adapt to today's "pagan" sexual ethics. The Cardinal said that the Holy Father has invited each bishop to the October Synod as a "witness and teacher of the revealed faith."

That would seem to preclude the ideas of Cardinal Kasper and his followers, especially those among the church in America who want the Church to allow Holy Communion for remarried and divorced and to normalize homosexual relations. He said that the Catholic Church is the one that teaches and is not taught by those who think they are superior in adapting to the times.

Jack Hockel
Walnut Creek





Undocumented

Obviously Jen Benbow (Forum, May 18) doesn't listen to Pope Francis or Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, for her interpretation of the Gospel in relation to our undocumented brothers and sisters.

Having had numerous interactions with the undocumented most are here because of noncriminal circumstances and certainly don't wish degradation of the United States.

Alan Roselius
Castro Valley





Hateful letters

I am absolutely astounded to see such hateful letters (Forum, May 18) printed in The Catholic Voice with not even an editorial note about how the beliefs opined by the writers are in direct contrast with the teachings of Jesus.

To suggest that all "illegal" immigrants are "drug and sex traffickers, terrorists and criminals" or at the least mules carrying drugs across the borders.

"Their aim? The degradation of American people." is so contrary to everything Jesus taught.

Jesus taught that immigrants (whether so-called legal or illegal) are our brothers and sisters to whom we owe welcome to.

In a separate letter about "family under attack" the author suggests Cardinal Walter Kasper's thinking is like Hitler's! I won't even comment on including Nietzsche and Freud in the same context.

Hate has no place in Christ's teachings. I can't help but wonder if those letters had been castigating the Church about its history of attacking lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders whether the letter wouldn't have had some "editorial comment."

Pope Francis has opened the doors to bringing our Church back to loving one another. He has been outspoken on the issues of immigration and the need for people to share the wealth. Perhaps these writers would like to add him to their "hit lists."

I daily give thanks for the blessings of Pope Francis who is inspiring so many to open their hearts to those who have so much less than we have in this country.

Kara Speltz
Berkeley





Care for immigrants

The topic of immigration came up twice in the May 18 issue of The Catholic Voice. In a letter to the editor, Jen Benbow references "so-called 'Catholic' groups who talk about supporting immigrants." We understand that this is a controversial issue and that people of good conscience will disagree.

However, we want to clarify that it is not "so-called" Catholic groups that support the care of immigrants and refugees. Rather, the Gospel and the leaders of the Catholic Church itself call for us to "welcome the stranger" through solidarity.

In Leviticus 19, vs. 33-34, the Bible clearly states, "You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt."

Pope Francis wrote in his message on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the Catholic Church is "a mother of all; a church that extends to the world the culture of solidarity and care for the people and families that are affected many times by heart-rending circumstances."

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops states, "We see much injustice and violence against them (migrants) and much suffering and despair among them because civil and church structures are still inadequate to accommodate their needs."

Bishop Barber wrote (Voice, May 18), "I am calling on Catholics to be part of a special immigration initiative, launched by Catholic Charities of the East Bay, called "Helping Our Neighbors," which finds its purpose in the U.S. Bishops' Justice for Immigrants Campaign."

Immigrants are with us. They are part of the history and fabric of what makes our nation great. The Catholic Church calls for us to care for them. We urge you to attend our parish workshops where together, we can explore how we can be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Learn more at our website www.CCEB.org.

Christopher Martinez
Director of Legal Service

Stephen P. Mullin
Parish Outreach Manager
Catholic Charities of the East Bay, Oakland





Examine conscience

Two letters (Forum, June 8) commented on the lack of support for Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone. The archbishop is correct on Catholic teaching and we should all try to live avoiding sin in our lives. We are responsible for our actions and they have consequences.

However, I believe his response of firing those employees who are not in compliance with Church teaching is incorrect. I believe a pastoral response would be more correct. Who of us is not a sinner? What did Jesus do when faced with sinners? How does Pope Francis respond?

I don't believe that any of us, created by God, is not worth trying to save. People will respond appropriately and change their lives only with a conversion of the heart. Telling a child or an adult to not do something is not effective, people are not robots — we can't program them.

We need to reach their hearts with God's laws, and that takes time.

We don't all come to faith at the same time and in the same way. I believe we need to walk with each other rather than push people away.

In the same issue of The Voice was a quote from Pope Francis: "Christians must ask themselves whether they help people in need of salvation or whether they just keep Jesus for themselves and are deaf or indifferent to others."

It would be good for us to have an examination of conscience and see if we are Christians who bring people to Christ or push them away.

Wayne Mortensen
San Ramon





Presentation Sisters

Thanks for including the article all about Nano Nagel and the Sisters of Presentation.

I was a graduate of Presentation High School, Berkeley, Class of 1985. It's nice that in spite of our school closing down, the Sisters and the mission are acknowledged. My dearest friends are those I met while at "Prez!"

My compassion for others less fortunate was fostered by the Sisters of Presentation. It is a void in the Berkeley community for sure.

Teresa Bolla
Martinez





Rolheiser response

I read Father Ron Rolheiser's column, "Who Am I To Judge?" (Voice, June 8) with interest and some dismay. The good reverend seems to have missed the point of Pope Francis' remark, "Who am I to judge?"

Father Rolheiser first minimalizes the subject of gay marriage — what the pope was asked about — by referring to it as a "dicey issue," without actually mentioning the topic. Then he says that the Holy Father's statement is assumed to be "flighty and less-than-serious." (Who else thought it was flighty?)

The remainder of his article discusses at length why God doesn't judge, but we judge and punish ourselves. In the entire article he does not mention gay marriage, but lists self-indulgence and sexual vice, along with other "sins," which interestingly, do not include dishonesty, anger, murder and other evils.

The Holy Father's comment shows he is a humble man who tries to live according to the Gospel words, "Judge not, so that you shall not be judged." Father Rolheiser's words are judgmental in the extreme, but ironically, he does not seem to be aware that his advice to judge one's own self falls very short, if one is biologically gay, and does not see his/her actions as sinful.

And are WE, then, called to judge? Or should we follow the pope's example and not set ourselves up as arbiters of others' actions. I believe the pope was saying that the final judgment belongs to God — whether or not we agree with His decision.

Diana Prola
San Leandro





Marriage defined

Recently we have seen a dramatic divergence between the American legal definition of marriage and the traditional Christian definition. The Catholic Church remains committed to the traditional definition, while the state and federal government not only are changing the definition of civil marriage, but in some cases are prosecuting business owners who hold the traditional view.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput suggested Catholic priests consider "opting out of certifying civil marriages" as a sign of principled resistance. Couples would be married in the Church sacramentally, but would be free to file paperwork with the state (or not) depending on their particular situation and preferences.

Given the financial penalties imposed on civil marriage today by the Affordable Care Act and various welfare and tax laws, I would think many young couples would be better off skipping the civil marriage paperwork entirely.

Archbishop Chaput's idea is worth serious consideration. The Church doesn't register Baptisms or Confirmations with the state. Why do Catholics need the state to acknowledge their marriage? Maybe it is time to give our young couples the choice to be married only sacramentally if they prefer.

Mike McDermott
Concord

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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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