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placeholder September 5, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Changing the rule

Pope Francis said recently, "The reservation of the priesthood to males … is not a question open to discussion." You also followed up a letter in the Aug. 8 Forum with a lengthy quote from John Paul II who wrote, "… the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

To paraphrase Pope Peter, he probably said something like, "The reservation of the priesthood to Jewish males … is not a question open to discussion," as Jesus only chose Jewish males to be the Apostles. He maybe followed up with, "The Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on Gentile men and this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." However, when challenged by Paul at the Council of Jerusalem, the Apostles decided Gentile men were as worthy as Jewish men to be Apostles and future popes. How easy was that to change the rule? Did it not directly contradict Jesus' teaching? The same teaching that's used to say because Jesus didn't choose any women to be apostles, they cannot be ordained? How did the Church have that authority, but doesn't have it to allow women priests? Does it not contradict the current hierarchy's argument against women's ordination? Is it not limiting the authority of the church in light of this history? In the same way, a future Council could also decide women are as worthy as Gentile men to not only be ordained but to be popes.

Mark Gotvald
Pleasant Hill

Christian unity

Recently Franciscan Father Damian MacPherson, SA, wrote in the Graymoor organization newsletter regarding Catholic/Jewish relations.

He writes: "I was born and raised in a small coal mining town in New Waterford, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, one of 13 children. ... At age 19 I entered the Friars of the Atonement. ... What I know now but did not know then was that the institutional church was decisively anti-Semitic and had been for centuries. Nothing could be more symptomatic of this than the Good Friday Prayers which the church had been praying in the Tridentine Liturgy dating back to 1570. In 1960 that text sounded (in part) like this:

'Let us pray also for the faithless Jews that almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord. Almighty and eternal God, who does not exclude from thy mercy even Jewish faithlessness, hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness, ...'

"Since 1970 that prayer sounds (in part) like this:

'Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant. Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption, ...'"

Father MacPherson is director for Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, Canada, and "Each year the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement organize and help promote the annual week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

''The Council of Churches in Germany created the resources for the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.... The materials for the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have two accents: reflection upon the main concerns of the churches marked by Martin Luther's Reformation and recognitions of the pain caused by the subsequent deep divisions that afflicted the unity of the Church. In selecting this theme, it is viewed as an opportunity to take steps toward reconciliation."

Several items in the Aug. 8 Voice divide us from Christians within other Churches and even those within the Catholic Church itself. An editor's note on a letter asking for women's ordination refers to Pope John Paul II's May 22, 1994 letter, in which he wrote of priestly ordination. He refers us to the Church's divine constitution and Luke 22:32. I read Luke 22:32 and I cannot find anywhere where priestly ordination of women is even discussed.

A story that Pope Francis established a "commission to Study the Women's Diaconate" may be a step in the right direction when we consider the Christian religion was born in the Middle East where women were never held in high esteem and where even today in some countries they are not permitted to drive cars.

Some of our Protestant brothers and sisters do permit women to serve as priests and pastors of their churches so this is definitely one area we will have to iron out if we ever expect to achieve real reconciliation within the Christian churches. Perhaps another will be the possibility of clergy marriage.

I have known two priests who left our priesthood to marry and raise families. One of these became an Episcopal priest who served as the pastor of one of their churches in San Mateo.

Eleanor Janson

Wake up call

Re: the letter by Renee L. Adams (Forum, Aug. 8, 2016), headlined "Children of God." We need to live moral lives and not condone lives being lived against God and nature.

We as heterosexuals, cannot abuse homosexuals. They need a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs and clothes on their backs. Sadly, they may only have this world.

St. Peter can't open the Gates of Heaven for them unless they live a celibate life.

Mary Ramirez

Kudos to Sister

I am writing in response to the article on Sister Barbara Dawson, RSCJ, (Voice, Aug. 8), who has been appointed to serve as Superior General of the International Society of the Sacred Heart. Having had the privilege to work with Sister Barbara my first five years teaching at St. Martin de Porres, I know her to be a visionary, who is dedicated in her hard work and faith to Catholic Schools. She struggled to create St. Martin de Porres, when the west and north Oakland schools of St. Mary's, St. Patrick, St. Columba and Sacred Heart were closed due to dwindling enrollment in the late 1990s.

St. Martin de Porres' mission statement "welcomes and includes all, regardless of means or religious affiliation." Sister Barbara found generous donors who helped her fill the school. I witnessed her work miracles.

Sister Barbara found a world famous talent to begin a violin program for kindergarten, which now extends to all pupils; raised the money to transform the '50s outdated cafeteria into a 21st Century facility and began reconstruction of the gym, which had remained closed and in need of repair since the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

Before she went to St. Louis, she organized and encouraged the staff as they prepared their accreditation report, of which she composed the demographics component. Thanks to the foundation she built, the devoted staff she encouraged, a supportive parent body and enthusiastic students; our school received a six year pass, no visit score, the highest a school can receive!

In the same issue, there is an article on Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, and Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., announcing hopes to build a Cristo Rey High School, to serve urban students. Please join me in offering a prayer that my transitional kindergarten and kindergarten pupils beginning school this year, will be able to receive the financial support to allow them to continue through Eighth Grade at St. Martin de Porres; and go on to attend Cristo Rey High School, or one of the other fine Catholic High Schools in the East Bay.

Kimberly Mikus

New high school

It was very disappointing to read about Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, wanting to build a new Catholic high school in Oakland.

A Catholic high school has been promised for the Tri-Valley students in Livermore for many years. The land is already there and much of the paperwork has been taken care of.

The school was put on the back burner because of the money the Diocese of Oakland spent on the Cathedral of Christ the Light. So, the people of the Tri-Valley area turned the other cheek to the diocese only to now have it slapped again, with a new high school in Oakland.

Bishop Barber has lost support from many of the members of his diocese because of the poor faith that the Diocese of Oakland has provided to the Tri-Valley. Many of the high school students' parents have to form carpool programs so their Catholic students can attend Bishop O'Dowd, Carondelet, De La Salle or Moreau high schools and drive long distances to these schools. Many of the parents of the Tri-Valley can afford this added expense, but many are from middle and low-income families who just want their children to have a Catholic school education.

Bishop Barber should remember much of the support for his diocese comes from the faithful of the Tri-Valley area, which he may totally lose if he doesn't give our area more support.

My family has no children or grandchildren that are affected by a Catholic high school in this area, but we have many friends who have children that are affected by the bishop's decision.

It is shameful he has a pro-choice governor on the front page of The Catholic Voice.

William Beiriger

Forgive gossip

Tell the truth but don't always be telling it. As the Jubilee Year of Mercy and Forgiveness winds down we have not heard the word gossip mentioned very often. It is a practice that needs forgiveness for the harm that it may cause others. It has been established that people who gossip have low self-esteem and build themselves up by tearing someone else down. My late Grandmother O'Brien always said in her brogue, "Talk is cheap but money buys land." Let us tell the truth but don't always be telling it.

Mary McMahon

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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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