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Commentaries

What are we to make
of the Supreme Court ruling and marriage?

'How Long, O Lord? How long before you come and save us?'


Reflections on
Pope Francis' visit

The pope, the Congress and a Trappist monk

The least we can do: Lodging, labor
and land

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placeholder October 5, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Past repeats

Martin Luther was a Catholic priest and did not believe in a number of Catholic teachings, including belief in the Consecration of the Host that becomes the Body of Christ. The result was his own church, the Lutheran church, prompting millions of Catholics to fall away from Catholic teachings.

Our Church leaders have copied the Lutheran church and accepted Communion in the hand.

And now ...

January 2007 Gallup Poll: "Fewer than 45 percent of Catholics who receive Holy Communion at least weekly acknowledged that they were receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine."

Catholics in the Diocese of Rochester, New York, were polled in November 1997. The results showed that 35 percent of the Catholics surveyed still believe that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist.

A New York Times/CBS Poll of 2003, 70 percent of Catholics aged 18-44 believe that the Eucharist is merely "a symbol" of Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament.

From the August 2003 Regina Coeli Report, Kansas City, Missouri: "The Church has experienced a sharp falloff in attendance at Mass … (and) a cessation of belief in the Real Presence among a clear majority of the laity. Surveys suggest that 70 percent of Catholics no longer accept the doctrine "of Our Lord's presence in the Blessed Sacrament."

It was Martin Luther who taught receipt of Communion in the hand to establish, "… the denial by the early Protestants that Christ was not present in the Blessed Sacrament ... several synods forbade the reception of Communion kneeling in order to avoid any suggestion that the host was venerated." Vatican II has made Martin Luther's teachings the procedures for the Catholic Church.

Under Henry VIII, England, at the time was a very strong Catholic country, and Henry VIII was a strong supporter of the Catholic Church and was given the title "Defender of the Faith." But Henry was unhappy with his wife, the Church refused to make the marriage invalid, so he left her, started his own church with new rules and remarried, again, and again.

Now our Church leaders are looking to "open the doors for divorced couples," ignoring the Catholic teaching of marriage. "Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate." They said to Him, "Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]? He said to them, because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." (Matt 19: 6)

I am a Catholic and I want to continue to be Catholic. But with the many announcements by our pope and other Catholic Church leaders regarding changes to longtime Catholic teachings, one has to wonder why, and where are they taking our Church? Read and listen to the German Cardinals Kasper and Marx who have become spokesmen for Pope Francis, and ask, if it is their intention like Martin Luther and Henry VIII to change/destroy our Catholic Church?

Rich Peterson
Concord





Climate change

In his letter (Forum, Sept. 7), Donald Anthrop quotes Pope Francis, Robert Anelli, and me as using the phrase, "the science of global warming is settled." Neither Robert Anelli nor I used those words or anything close in our letters (Forum, Aug. 10). The nearest quote from Pope Francis' encyclical that I can find is, "A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system… mainly as a result of human activity." That is substantively and substantially different from the quote that Professor Anthrop uses in forming the thesis statement of his letter.

Later in the letter, I have no idea to what phrase he is referring but whatever it is, he states, "It is intended to evoke references to deniers of the Nazi Holocaust." It is sad people resort to such accusations about anyone, but especially the pope.

Anthrop reviews basic physics and then the past history of climate change. I assume he is asserting that, because the climate has changed in the past independent of human influence, any current changes cannot have a human component. Science does not work by assertion or by selective choice of examples that support a particular hypothesis or viewpoint.

Those who form the solid scientific consensus to which Pope Francis refers are aware of the science and particularly the arguments Anthrop presents.

No one denies that the climate has changed in the past or that the climate system is complex. In fact, much of climate science is exploring the physics and chemistry that has led to past changes in order to increase present understanding, including the contributions from human activity, and improve the model projections of future climate. That is the way science works.

I don't believe that Pope Francis is merely interested in the scientific debate; rather I believe he is reminding us of our moral obligation to care for and love all of God's creation, including the environment.

Martin J. Leach
Castro Valley





Get to the truth

Our Catholic faith is an amazing treasure. We should get to know it. And it's all-important to see the full picture.

Looking at only a part can easily give a distorted view. This is how many heresies have arisen. Euphemisms now call the murder of babies in the womb "freedom of choice," the killing of the aged or sick "compassion in dying" and a legal contract between any two (or more?) adults "marriage" (equal love).

How have we come to our opinions? How can we come to know the fullness of the truth, what is good and what is evil? Our Catholic faith is the answer! Christ founded one Church, to which He promised freedom from error in matters of faith and morals. As Pope Benedict XVI reminded us not so long ago, only what was founded by Christ can rightly be called Church. This is why we have a sacred duty to get to know our faith, and to share it. This is true love because to know the truth is to know Christ. Love and truth are one.

So many have a distorted view of "tolerance" and of not wanting to be "offensive". So many don't want to "rock the boat." The most important thing is to be "nice."

But if we truly love, if we truly care about the salvation of souls, we must speak up when we see our brothers and sisters thinking or living in ways that are destructive, which lead them and others away from Christ.

Especially in this Month of Respect For Life and with the recent World Meeting of Families and the Synod, let's engage each other in dialogue: What is family? What is marriage? What is truth? What is love? What does it mean to be Catholic? Do we really have a reasonable hope that all men are saved?

In true Christian love let us challenge one another. Let us urge our leaders, our priests, Father please love me enough to tell me the truth.

David Zarri
Concord





Focus mercy, compassion

In reading the letter to the editor entitled "Losing Influence" by Peter DeLisi in the 9/21/15 edition of the Voice, the words of Bob Dylan were singing in my mind, "Something is happening here but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"

DeLisi was decrying the effects the shift from an authority-centered society to a person-centered society are having on the Church. Sadly, the wheels fell off of an autocratic Church with the sex-abuse scandal and the ineptitude of authority to respond to it. At the same time, the individualistic relativism to which he refers weakens the hold of doctrine.

He misses the third movement beginning in the Church with the election of a charismatic Latin American pope: the emergence of social-centered religion, with a focus on mercy and compassion. The difference can be seen contrasting the papal encyclicals "Humanae Vitae" with "Laudato Si."

Mr. Jones, the Holy Spirit is afoot!

James A. Erickson
Brentwood





Change government

It is nice that The Voice and other media have made some references to the recent encyclical from Pope Francis. It is unfortunate not to see references to the frank criticism his letter makes of our governmental institutions.

It is a real reaction we all make to criticism — to avoid the task of confronting our own failings. But as much as we have natural reactions to defend what has been, this encyclical calls for us to change the structures of government so that priorities can be adjusted to allow care to replace carelessness in the management of resources and people.

Our pope carefully delineates the history and scope of our planet's deterioration. He calls to replace greed and recklessness with care and dignity for our earth and its inhabitants.

Mark Ryken
Berkeley

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