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placeholder July 11, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 13   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Gun control

I was heartened to see Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, (Voice, June 27) call the Orlando killings "a senseless, wicked and despicable act." I was also glad to see that the Bishop of Orlando led an interfaith service for the victims.

Unfortunately, these tragic events will continue to happen until some strong steps are taken by our government leaders. What is wrong with our Senate and House of Representatives when they can-not take action against military assault rifles and against people on the "no fly" list owning a gun.

Polls have shown that 90 percent of the constituents of both parties are for such actions. It seems to be a very clear-cut moral issue of keeping devices used only for killing people out of the hands of terrorists and extremely dangerous people.

It is obvious that the NRA has a fear hold on Congress. Close to 85 percent of our senators and representatives claim to be Christian and yet they cannot even bring this most basic moral legislation up for a vote.

This is not an issue of taking away all guns, but it is an issue of the right of the safety and security of our citizens. It is time for the Catholic bishops to rise up as a body and be relevant.

It is time for them to push for this most basic first step in gun control. It is a moral issue.

Dennis Wasco


Some disagreements about the nature of the Church have appeared in recent letters. To begin with, the word for "church" in the Bible, "ecclesia," merely means "those called out," called away from being a regular human.

We are baptized — go under the water and symbolically die to our regular greedy, lusty selves — and live like Him.

He was given a name above every name because He was obedient even unto death on a cross. He was obedient to the new rule of life of loving everyone like His mother, sister or brother. He expressly refused to fight for His life saying that, though He could, He would not call for 12 legions of angels because that would send the wrong message. Any one baptized person living a "called out" life is a member of the church of Jesus.

Disagreements about exactly how this life should be led resulted in our many Christian denominations. Don't sweat it; we'll work it out eventually with leaders like Pope Francis.

Frank Nieman
Pleasant Hill

Luther follow-up

It is not commonly known that Martin Luther not only denied the Real Presence but also derided the efficacy of the Mass. He discredited tradition and the teachings of the Church Fathers.

These are his words: "and now another, the greatest and most spacious of all scandals, which must be taken away; that is, the Mass, believed everywhere to be a sacrifice offered to God." He claimed that the Mass is a testament, "neither a Sacrifice nor an offering ... because it is a promise ... nobody is obliged to receive the Sacrament; it is left to every man's discretion;" and again, "... all these things were relics of Jewish ceremonies."

At first, Luther taught a short and compendious preparation for receiving the Eucharist, that is, "in the faith alone of the promise, without any good works and a light examination of conscience," but he eventually believed that Mass and the Eucharist were of no profit to the people and should be forsaken altogether.

The quotes are from Henry VIII's "Defense of the Seven Sacraments," Chapter 4, the Sacrifice of the Mass, pages 80-92 of the updated edition by Raymond de Souza, St. Gabriel Communications, 2007.

We see these attitudes in our separated Christian brethren today; there is no belief in the Real Presence, the need for the Sacrament of Penance and forgiveness of sins and the reality of the Sacrifice of the Mass. There is a great need for a New Evangelization to overcome errors introduced 500 years ago.

Jack Hockel
Walnut Creek


Congratulations to The Catholic Voice and El Heraldo Católico for receiving 13 awards. I especially want to acknowledge Michele Jurich. Her award-winning excellence continues in the June 13 issue with articles on the Pope Francis free legal clinic, the Sant'Egidio community at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, and, my personal favorite, "Dream delayed: Mom receives her diploma at St. Elizabeth graduation." Jurich well understands the meaning of spreading the good news.

Throughout the decades, I have seen The Voice develop from a very good journal to an even better one. In time, I found myself reading less from secular sources in favor of more trustworthy Catholic sources. As new technology gives the secular world more power, Catholic sources are coming forth strong with the simple truth.

I am most thrilled to see the coming together of the English and Spanish Catholic voices. With Our Holy Father being from Latin America, it is critical to stay true to the Spanish voice. For example, the title "¿Cómo tratamos los latinos a nuestros hijos?" should have been translated in its entirety to "How are we (Latinos) treating our children?" The differences between Latin Americans and US Americans should be noted. More accurate translations will lead to better understanding of Our Holy Father and other Latin American leaders.

Also, thank you, for the In Their Own Words columns by seminarians. How beautiful to see how Our Lord is calling holy priests from the US and from Latin America.

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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