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placeholder February 29, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 4   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Advise and dissent

Politics, religion

Pope Francis, please be careful who you support.

I read that Pope Francis calls Donald Trump "... a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they be, and not building bridges, is not Christian."

Yeow! Donald Trump, the man who is running for president, and like me and many others, is concerned about stopping the flow of illegals crossing our borders bringing in illegal drugs and crime.

But worse, we did not hear from Pope Francis any criticism when he met with President Obama. President Obama, the most anti-Christian and pro-abortion president we have ever had. Yet we watched the news with the pope hand-shaking and smiling with Obama, over and over again!

And not one word against Hilary Clinton who is also running for president, who has stated, "... that deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed." In other words, she is saying Christians need to change their beliefs to agree with same-sex marriage and abortion-on-demand, and she continues, "Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will against those who subscribe to Christian moral beliefs."

Pope Francis please. We need your support and direction, but we do not need for you to continue to support anti-Christian politicians who have done so much damage to our Church, and our country.

Rich Peterson

Pope hypocritical

For Pope Francis to attack Donald Trump about building a wall when he lives in the Vatican which is surrounded by a wall is hypocritical to say the least.

It is interesting to see how easy it is for him to be judgmental regarding Trump but when questioned about matters of faith and morals (i.e. gay marriage, homosexuality, abortion), the pope says he won't judge these people, but has no such reluctance to do so in this case.

Pope Francis would never attack Muslims who have sworn to destroy the Vatican and the Catholic Church itself, but has no problem interjecting himself into our political process.

Shame on you Pope Francis! You are the Vicar of Christ, not the vicar of socialism.

Arnold Ziccardi
Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Humble response

I was taken recently by one of the responses Pope Francis gave to a reporter's question regarding religious fundamentalism, especially as we witness it these days among some Muslim groups. This was at a press conference he gave on Nov. 30. He responded: "Fundamentalism is a sickness that exists in all religions. We Catholics have some people — not just a few, but a lot — who believe they possess absolute truth and go around slandering and defaming everyone else. They do a lot of harm. I say this because it's my church but it is all of us! And we have to fight against it. Religious fundamentalism is not religious. Why? Because God is missing. It is idolatrous, just as money is idolatrous."

His words make me humble in the face of my limited ability to fully grasp the truth of the Gospel and of the Christian faith. But it seems that so often we Christians are portrayed as shouting at someone, loudly protesting something, condemning some opinion that is even slightly different from our own. The pope's words give me comfort and hopefully can serve as a warning, a caution to us all.

Paul Tynan


Pollyanna view

I was shocked at the "Pollyanna version" of the Holy Land (Voice, Feb. 8) "Israel Pilgrimage Opportunity to Experience Quiet Spirituality."

It is tragic to see that the author of an article on the Holy Land in a Catholic newspaper is not familiar with the Kairos Document, the 2009 cry of Holy Land Christians, and the leaders of the Christian Churches in the Holy Land, for our support, help and understanding of the cruel sufferings imposed on Palestinian Christians and Muslims living under military occupation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza as well as those living in Israel proper.

For example, endless checkpoints, middle of the night raids, imprisonment of children, home demolitions, land and water confiscations are the daily fare of our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.

In the Negev desert, Bedouins, Israeli citizens, have experienced the repeated demolitions of whole villages.

What really stunned me was the article's closing statement "it's illegal to cut down an olive tree." What a blatant contradiction to the reality that the Israeli Military has uprooted and destroyed thousands of olive trees, often the main means of livelihood for Palestinian families.

Mary Vivian Zelaya

(Editor's note: The article was the first in a series on travel to the Holy Land.)

Lenten reflection

Have you ever heard the story of the church in Germany that was very close to a train station? During World War II, the pleas and screams of people being thrown into boxcars bound for the concentration camps could be heard even in the church. "Help us, please! For the love of God, help us!"

But the pastor thought these cries would disturb the parishioners. So he ordered the choir to "Sing a little louder."

For many years now, faithful Catholics have been crying out. The faith is not taught in its beautiful, soul-saving fullness. Talking about evil might upset parishioners.

The truth about intrinsic evils such as contraception, abortion, sex outside of marriage and "same-sex marriage" might offend, might make some "uneasy." And besides, the most important thing is to be "nice," to be "tolerant" and "non-judgmental." Everyone goes to Heaven anyway (except maybe a few guys like Hitler).

So pastor, let's just "Sing a little louder." Be sure not to speak about "those hard sayings." Truth and morals don't really matter that much. God is love! And love means being nice and not controversial.

Jesus never got angry or challenged the people. Let's especially make sure our Catholic schools are welcoming and "inclusive," and never say those kinds of "mean things."

Catholics who talk about truth and justice are "stuck in the Dark Ages." Don't they know the Church has changed? They should "get on the right side of history."

Consequences? There are no "consequences" for ourselves or our children, in this life or for eternity.

But the reality is — truth or consequences — untold heartache!

"We've had enough of exhortations to be silent! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that the world is rotten because of silence." — St.Catherine of Siena

David Zarri

Gold standard

What is the scientific Gold Standard used to determine the nature and heredity of all living things?

The undisputed answer is DNA, the map that determines the development of all plant and animal life on earth. How can the analysis of our own DNA as humans move us forward in our understanding of who we are and how we should behave?

It is very easy to judge people on superficial characteristics and to decide an individual or group is of a lesser form of mankind. It is easy then to restrict or suspend their basic rights. History, for example, reminds us of how the classification of the black race and the Jewish people as inferior lead to the horrors of slavery and to the holocaust. The discovery of DNA put to rest, once and for all the question of who we are. The answer is made clear. All of us are equally members of the same family; the human family.

Are there voices today that declare there is an entire group who remain less than human and therefore should not be protected by the same laws as the rest of us? Of course I am speaking of those voices who denounce the full humanity of the pre-born child.

Those voices cry out that it is the mother's right to end the life that is developing within her if she so chooses. She is told the child is part of her body. She is told abortion is a pathway to personal freedom. She may abort her pre-born baby for any reason whatsoever and at any time. This is the law of the land.

But the DNA of the pre-born proves that they are indeed fully human at every juncture of their development. The pre-born are unique individuals, with their DNA derived from all those in their family tree. Now that we have this scientific fact at our disposal how will we use it to defend the lives of the pre-born from those who deny their full humanity and their right to full protection under the law? How will we stop the holocaust which has claimed the lives of millions of pre-born babies since the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe vs Wade? We need to be their voice, the voice that says, "We have a right to live. We want to live. Let us live."

Be that Voice. Google the following suggestions: Birthright, CA Right to Life, LifeNews.

Charlotte Graham

No politics

While I respect The Catholic Voice's desire to "not censor letters based on left or right views," I must agree with Carolyn Priest (Forum, Jan. 4) in that a religious journal is not the place for heated political debates.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, journalists "should not stoop to defamation," and "have an obligation to serve the truth and not offend against charity" (CCC 2497). I therefore believe that uncharitable letters against Muslims and homosexuals should not be allowed in a Catholic forum.

Instead of printing political letters, The Voice should solicit writings that promote the peace that only Christ can bring. And "peace is 'the tranquility of order.' Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity" (CCC 2304). I feel the letters printed are disturbing the peace that draws me to the Catholic Church.

Carmen Hartono

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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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