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placeholder December 14, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 21   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Pupils' good work

I wanted to reach out to your readers about the recent shooting at Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino. In this world of mass shootings, fear and hatred, there still lives a spark of hope and amazing kindness in this world and in our local community.

For the past four years, the staff and pupils of St. Joachim School in Hayward have been donating toys for some of Alameda County's poorest children who are developmentally disabled. The students of St. Joachim School created a yearly stewardship program called "Special Gifts for Special Kids."

Sadly the world is learning about the amazing work of the Regional Centers in California through Dec. 2's horrible tragedy. The staff and pupils from St. Joachim School know about the Regional Center due to our special connection with them from their stewardship program.

There are 21 Regional Centers in California. The centers were made possible through the Lanterman Act, which is a law that ensures equal rights for people with developmental disabilities. This law only exists in California.

Our Regional Centers provide support, services, advocacy, a helping hand and sometimes a shoulder to cry on for babies, children, teens, adults and senior citizens who have been diagnosed with a developmental disability and their families.

We specifically work with clients who have been diagnosed with autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, or an intellectual disability — all our services are free.

The pupils of St. Joachim School recently learned about our services and their principal, Armond Seishas, and staff members reached out to our agency to send condolences and offer support through prayer.

Our Regional Centers will continue to provide excellent and free services to the needy despite the terrible events in San Bernardino. We also wish to thank schools like St. Joachim School and Church under the direction of Rev. Joseph Sebastian, SVD, for their continued support during the holiday season for our needy clients.

Sandra Regan
Forensic Service Specialist
Regional Center of the East Bay
San Leandro


I was surprised to read of the pope's reply to a question asked by a Lutheran lady regarding receiving Communion with her Catholic husband (Voice, Nov 23). From the news summary it seems that this is a simple problem made more complex by the Church.

Pope Francis stated that he could not issue a general rule but advised prayer, study and acting according to conscience; again the "Who am I to judge?" idea. These are all reasonable courses of action, but he might have given the simple answer, "Of course you not only may, but you should receive Communion as a couple!"

As Christ's Vicar on Earth, Pope Francis has that authority and should have exercised it. I suspect that the lady in question already knew the answer and that she and her husband had already decided how to manage their situation.

I don't know, nor do I want to know what Canon law says in this regard, but can only repeat the mandate given twice by Our Savior in the Consecration of the Mass, "Take this ALL of you and eat of / drink from it ... ." With these words He said that there should be no barrier to the reception of Holy Communion.

John Kearney

Movie: 'Spotlight'

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ (Voice, Nov. 23), discussed the recent movie "Spotlight" rightfully noting the pain caused for the Church and the victims of abuse. He then noted that the movie failed to show the actions the Church is taking for ongoing attention and vigilance. It is heartening to see the current practices in our diocese. However, the movie dealt with discovery of events prior to the turn of the century, not what is happening in 2015.

This points to an alternative explanation of the purpose of the movie. It was a detailed documentary of investigative reporting by staff members of the Boston Globe, whose readership was more than 50 percent Catholic. That its focus was on uncovering the extent of clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston, in a city with a Catholic-centric society, reinforced the impact of the story that unfolded in the movie.

Why should the Boston Globe story be so shocking? More than 30 years ago, Rev. Thomas Doyle, in a study of the extent of clergy sexual abuse in the US Church, failed to get the attention of US bishops to accept the extent of the problem and take necessary steps to correct it.

What is more shocking to me, and to most Catholics I know, is that it took the Boston Globe story to begin to change the tragic culture that involved the leaders of our Church. One wonders where we would be today had that story not been written.

Karl S. Pister

Speak out, leaders

Like the rest of you, I read the Bible and I want to believe what I read.

Genesis, Chapter 19, verses 1- 29, tells of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord destroyed these two cities when, "….all the townsmen of Sodom, both young and old — all the people to the last man" — closed in on the house. They called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to your house tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intimacies with them." Lot and his family were removed from the house and city, and verse 24 "...at the same time the Lord rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah [from the Lord out of heaven]. He overthrew those cities and the whole plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil."

But after reading this week the story of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory, and his support of homosexuals, "promoting the acceptance and legitimization of homosexual acts and trangenderism," I have to ask, where are our Catholic Church leaders who are not speaking out?

Like other Catholics I want to believe a priest, a bishop and The Vatican when they speak out regarding our culture, and our religious beliefs!

And yes, I know Archbishop Gregory is the same bishop that was stopped by Pope Francis when he was attempting to use Church money to build himself a lavish $2.2 million mansion, but the pope and our bishops have not spoken out and have allowed this man (and others like him) to remain "a Catholic Church leader."

How destructive this must be to others who look to our priests, bishops and The Vatican for true Catholic teaching. Let Archbishop Gregory, and every priest or bishop who supports these homosexual acts and lifestyle, answer, "What would our Lord say?" I think we all know the answer.

Rich Peterson

A choice?

Is homosexuality a choice? The answer has to be yes because it manifests in a behavior, that is, sexual behavior. No one would suggest adultery is not a choice. The difference between homosexuality and adultery is that adultery has no political movement behind it.

Both the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church says practicing homosexuality and adultery are sins. Yet, recently, I read, German Cardinal Walter Kasper called on the Church to change, to welcome homosexual couples, and permit cohabiting and divorced couples to receive communion.

Is the Cardinal proposing that the Church eliminate the Sixth and Ninth commandants? It seems that nowadays the only and most important thing in life is sex.

Are we to suppose that homosexuality is an immutable, unchangeable condition? No gay gene has ever been isolated. It may be a strong compulsion for some people but there are many people who were practicing homosexuals who have changed and gotten married to members of the opposite sex and raised families. In fact, there are support groups for these people. One such group is Parents and Friends for Ex-Gay and Gays.

Recent studies by Donald Sullins, professor of Sociology, Catholic University of America and Mark Regnerus, associate professor of Sociology, University of Texas, Austin, found children of parents in same sex relationships fare significantly worse than those of opposite sex parents.

We have to admire people like "Michael" (Forum, Oct. 26). I have been praying for a gay person for a number of years who, also, wants to "continue on the right path."

William R. Delucchi

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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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