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placeholder January 23, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Toll of nuclear war

Letter writers (Forum, Dec. 12) seem to assume whoever was unsettled with the election results did not feel the writers' revulsion for abortions. Not so. Clearly Ms. Clinton intended to eliminate legal restrictions on abortion and that raised the ante on applying remote material cooperation in voting for her. At the same time, by considering only abortion and its unsettling statistics, the writers fail to consider other life-threatening issues.

Such added consideration is needed if we are to apply remote material cooperation here. For example, and space restraints limit us to this one, the writers seem oblivious to Mr. Trump's avowed stance on nuclear proliferation and its use, roughly expressed as why make them if you're not going to use them. This election moved the doomsday clock back closer to midnight. A new generation must begin to learn to live with MAD (mutually assured destruction).

As voters we face the horrific statistics for abortion. Now we must add the statistical toll of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, particularly in light of recent assertions by Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump for rebuilding current nuclear arsenals. Should MAD be triggered, unborn and born, young and elderly, abortion clinics and general hospitals, all will be subject to the vaporizing effect that ensues.

It is unrealistic to dismiss the nuclear holocaust as never happening. It has happened, twice and through decisions made by an American president. By the inexorable logic of the bishops' moral theology each Truman voter bore the responsibility, however remote, for what happened in 1945 in two Japanese cities. If history repeats itself, it will be on a scale truly unprecedented, a serious consideration for voters in forming their consciences.

Malcolm Drinkwater
Walnut Creek





Christmas cards

I read the "Theology of Christmas cards" (Forum, Dec. 12), and I agree with Father John Roche, SDB. I like the tips he suggested to make sending Christmas cards not time-consuming. My only suggestion is to use "Christ" in Christmas cards. The illustration to accompany his column showed poinsettia flowers. After all, "Christ is the reason for the season."

Georgia Aradanas
Union City





Abortion politics

As a U.S. Senator, Hillary Clinton joined 30 other Senate Democrats (and three false "Republicans") in unsuccessfully opposing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Along with brutally poisoning, pickling and/or dismembering unborn babies in earlier pregnancy phases, they wanted pithing of children during birth to remain a (pardon the term) viable option as well.

It's all about "choice," don'tcha know. So Mrs. Clinton reasserted her radical abortion politics during 2016's presidential campaign, proclaiming "the unborn person doesn't have constitutional rights."

Clinton's electoral loss has distressed local union treasurer Joseph Maraccini (Forum, Jan. 9) who'd said in his organization's pre-election newsletter that "She may be the person most qualified to run for president in modern history."

If cynicism, deceit and corruption are the prerequisites, Hillary was indeed well qualified.

Maraccini's letter (Forum, Oct. 24) condemned Donald Trump at length, then urged treating "others as Christ did, with the respect and dignity that each person deserves."

He repeats that entreaty now, after commending anti-Trump protesters "as patriots … and loyalists to their faith" who "understand the values necessary to lead our country" (Forum, Jan. 9). After all, he claims, "They aren't protesting for abortion rights; they are protesting against racism, bigotry and divisiveness."

But for genuine racism, bigotry and divisiveness, few outdo Planned Parenthood foundress Margaret Sanger, who advised Procter & Gamble heir Clarence Gamble in 1939 to underwrite a "religious appeal" to help eliminate blacks. "We do not want word to go out," she wrote, "that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."

Even today, Planned Parenthood has a "Clergy Advocacy Board" — to do what, sanctify human sacrifice on the altars of convenience and baby body-parts merchandising?

Accepting Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger award in 2009, Mrs. Clinton said she admired Margaret Sanger "enormously — her courage, her tenacity, her vision."

Prudential judgment is the appropriate Catholic approach to addressing such politically charged matters. And earthly discretion is possible only for those permitted to be born alive.

So abortion is an intrinsic evil, and the Church specifies automatic excommunication when one "procures a completed abortion" (though the scope of mercy provides spiritual renewal via sincere repentance and confession).

And since the "inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation" (Catechism, n. 2270-2275), America will hopefully rebuild upon its pro-life foundations, beginning with a cutoff of Planned Parenthood's federal funding.

Michael Arata
Danville





Martin Luther redux

I am one of the letter-writers who have supported Martin Luther who writer Rich Peterson (Forum, Jan. 9) disagrees with. First, my credentials: Honors AB in Classical Languages (Latin and Greek) and Philosophy, MA in Philosophy and doctoral degree in Theology. My doctoral dissertation was on "The Notion of the Two Testaments in the Young Martin Luther." All these degrees were from different Jesuit universities and the dissertation was directed by a Lutheran member of the faculty at Marquette University whose doctorate was earned at Harvard.

The Reformation, however lamentable, was the beginning of a return to basic Christianity by the Church. Basic Christianity invites members to die symbolically by going under the waters of Baptism. They leave behind their old greedy, lusty, selfish selves and become Christ-like — treating everyone else in the world, including enemies and people who hate them, as they do their mother, their sister and their brother. Christianity invites humans to return to being the one family they were designed to be at Creation.

Before the Reformation, the Church had drifted in and out of its primary mission, at times even having two popes. The leaders failed to become the servants their Founder had designed them to be when he said that the one who would be greatest among them must be the servant of all the others.

Power like that of the Popes, ruling vast lands and even able to control armies, is heady stuff for a person who has been called to be "Servant of All." They can interpret their position as "service" and, embracing dedication to art, wealth and power as a way of serving people, forget about the poor and miserable of the world. These are all members of the one family, however distant the relationship, their position obliges them to love and care for.

With the essence of Christianity so confused, the various leaders of the Reformation concocted some answers for reform. All, it seems — Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist and so on — were able to produce some people who got the message clearly and loved everyone the way Christ intended, some more than others. Nothing helps like having good, central leadership with an unwavering clear message. That's probably why Our Lord spoke of "one flock and one shepherd."

The greatest problems seem to come when the message of love of neighbor is taken for granted and elaborate worship, church buildings or other such activities take center stage. Or, when the ideals of love of neighbor, always involving a certain amount of self-sacrifice and disregarding of wealth, get in the way of living a life of self-indulgence.

Martin Luther found himself in a Church with a great deal of confusion about its mission. However imperfect his effort, he tried to do something about it. His effort finally seems to be finding a workable solution.

Frank Nieman
Pleasant Hill





Qui tacet consentire

Once again, as I have done before, I must deplore the editorial silence of the Catholic Voice when confronted by a letter like that of Rich Peterson in the issue of January 9. Leaving aside the writer's abysmal ignorance of basic Catholic positions, to leave no comment on the snide expression "Pope Francis and his liberal cohorts" is a gross omission.

You may feel obliged to publish the letter (I'm not sure why), but you should at least take note of it and state that you do not agree with it or condone its contents. Silence implies consent.

Rev. Basil De Pinto
Piedmont





Lesson from John

Having just celebrated the beautiful Christmas season, I ask you to consider this passage that was read at Mass. It is fairly representative of the tone of the entire First Letter of John.

"The way we may be sure that we know Jesus is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, 'I know him,' but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked (1 John 2:3-6).

True faith is "incarnational," that is to say, it takes on flesh in my very "body." We must make His Commandments manifest in the way we live. For our faith to be authentic it has to become "flesh and blood." And as St. James instructs us, "Faith without works is dead." Just as we can't take a knife and divide the flame of a candle into heat and light, we cannot separate works from faith.

So to love Christ we must keep His Commandments. Love includes obedience. Love also includes knowledge and truth. And we cannot separate Christ from His Church. He is the head. So many Catholics including religious and clergy have come to believe that they can reject any Church teaching they disagree with, and still be "good Catholics."

Do we understand the essential difference between prudential judgments and intrinsic evils? Do we know the basics of philosophy, theology and morality? Do we study "The Catechism of the Catholic Church?"

Let us walk as He walked. We have a wonderful local opportunity to walk for that paramount gift of God, the one our Founding Fathers recognized as the first, for without it, nothing else matters — the gift of life.

David Zarri
Concord





Political divisions

We Americans are so keenly aware of how deep the divisions run within our country. As a lifelong, Jesuit-educated, committed Catholic, I want to look to the leaders of my faith for words that are healing and uniting and genuinely faith-based.

That is not what I found in the words of Rev. Walter Hoye (Voice, Jan. 9), who chose to drift far from healing or compassionate words about abortion to politicize about his anti-Obama sentiments. He suggests President Obama's "vision for America" was not consistent with America as a "Christian nation deep down." Rev. Hoye proceeds to expound on his hopes that Planned Parenthood (a vital source of quality and comprehensive health care for millions of women) will be defunded.

Does he represent a political party or is he Christian speaking on moral issues from a perspective of understanding and mercy? Does he see himself as preaching a message of peace and unity and does he recognize that for the 61-plus percent of Californians who voted for Hillary Clinton his words simply deepen divisions?

I can respect his anti-abortion viewpoint, but ask that the view I hold — shared by many — that abortion is an extremely personal and painful decision to be left to the woman involved, and kept "legal, safe and rare" also be respected.

To The Voice editors, please refrain from articles that deepen political divisions, and stick with matters of faith and morals.

Fred Piazza
Lafayette


[Editor's note: Rev. Walter Hoye is a Baptist minister with close ties to the right-to-life movement and many Catholics.]

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