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Advice for the Church
I have been a practicing Catholic for more than 80 years and still marvel that we are as successful as we are. The top administrators of the Church have never been the most far-seeing or astute problem-solvers I have seen.
There are two suggestions I would like to offer to help make the Church more relevant and successful without changing our basic beliefs of God ordained dogma.
Let the clergy marry once again. This man made celibacy is a device instituted by the administrators of the Church to protect Church property from being passed on to the married priest's family instead of the Church itself.
Modern day legal contracts would solve that problem. Seven Popes, including St. Peter who was married when he became Apostle to Jesus, were legally married and had children thru the mid-1400s.
Other Popes remained unmarried but sired children, some of which were proclaimed saints. We ordain married Episcopal priests who become Catholic even though it insults the Catholic priests by denying them the same Sacrament of Matrimony. The shortage of good priests would be solved overnight if we reinstated those who left the priesthood to marry.
Stop supporting small, unsuccessful neighborhood parishes. The population today is very mobile; not everyone has to live within walking distance of a church.
We are in the era of mega-churches which are practical and in some cases, necessary. Too many parishes are lacking in competent clergy just filling an empty slot. Take those who are not cut out for parish work and move them into positions they can fit in and be happy participants.
Take the most talented parish priests, form them into teams, and put them to work in the megachurches. Watch our membership grow.
I am too much a realist to think that anyone in a position of influence or power will pay attention to this, but I feel better having said it.
Mary Ramirez told us (Forum, Sept. 5) that "St. Peter can't open the Gates of Heaven for them (homosexuals) unless they live a celibate life." It appears to me that she thinks she is God since she tells us who can and cannot enter heaven.
God can forgive any and all sins. Ramirez will not be the one sitting in judgement on sinners, God will. She might remember the words of Jesus, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matt 7:1)
Sharon F. Svitak
I was surprised to read (Voice, Aug. 8) there is a "Black Lives Matter" banner hanging from St. Columba Church in Oakland.
Televised interviews with Black Lives Matter protesters — as well as the actions those protesters have taken against two national Democratic politicians who said that ALL lives matter—make it clear that the true, intended meaning of BLM is that Black lives matter more than other lives matter.
I would expect a church to display a religiously-themed banner saying something like "The Lives of ALL God's children matter (equally)." Instead, there is a banner bearing a divisive, racial, political statement.
Church I believe in
I have many friends of other faiths, but I cannot, I will not, pray with them. They do not believe in Catholic teachings. They do not believe in our God.
Christ allowed Himself to come down on earth in the form of man, but He did that for a reason. Earlier we were given the 10 Commandments, and the teachings of the Old Testament, which are lessons for all Jews and Christians.
But Christ gave us Catholic teaching and the Blessed Sacrament, something no other religious group believes in.
Martin Luther gave us Communion in the hand, contending the Eucharist was only a symbol, and not the Real Presence. The Lutheran Church was the result.
England was a Catholic country until Henry VIII, who broke away because the Catholic Church refused to make his marriage invalid.
I will not pray with these religious groups. They have made it very clear they do not believe in Catholic teachings.
Yes, they will ride in my car, they will eat in my home, but if and when we should talk about "Church Teachings," we are speaking a very different and foreign language, unless they are willing to be taught about the Catholic Church.
A serious problem has entered our Catholic Church, in particular in the Mass. Studies have shown that 70 percent of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence.
A January 2007 Gallup poll indicates: "Fewer than 45 percent of Catholics who receive Holy Communion at least weekly acknowledge that they were receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. A New York Times/CBS poll of 2003, says 70 percent of Catholics aged 18-44 believe the Eucharist is merely a symbol of Jesus. An August 2003 Regina Coeli Report, says 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."
Remind yourselves the Catholic Church decided what books went into the Bible; first look to Eusebius of Caesarea 260 AD, he began the task of collecting and organizing material covering the history of the Church. The Council of Nicaea (325) with 250-318 bishops took the first steps to define doctrine more precisely.
This is the true Church, the Catholic Church I believe in.
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