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placeholder February 20, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 4   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Focus on Jesus

I support of our bishop's request (Voice, Feb. 6) for more effort in making our liturgies not only "horizontal" but, also, "vertical."

I am reminded of St. Peter who walked on water as long as his eyes were fixed on Jesus. We, too, can be part of the miraculous if we would fix our gaze on Jesus.

In the Mass, we lay eyes on the hidden Jesus in His Eucharistic presence. While it is difficult to recognize Jesus under the forms of bread and wine, we accept this mystery in faith. It is a transcendent reality and the beauty of appropriately focused liturgy is essential to experience His presence to us that we may, in turn, be present to him in this extraordinary relationship of love.

The holy sacrifice of the Mass is the bloodless sacrifice of Calvary, a moment in eternity remembered — revisited at the consecration. Would that every aspect of liturgy reflected this truth conscientiously in this solemn celebration of profound joy.

If we are mindful of being brought to the foot of the cross on Calvary, would we not be consumed with reverence, love and awe for the crucified Jesus coming to fill us with His own body and blood — the most intimate experience on earth?

If we focused on Jesus, wouldn't the words of scripture sear our souls so that any thought, word or action apart from focus on Him would be unthinkable? If only we would fall in love with Him as He has fallen in love with us. Then would our churches be too small to contain those who hunger and thirst for the living God.

Gloria Serpa

Christian education

An item (Voice, Jan. 23), quotes a Pew Research Center report, that [Rabbinical] Jews have a higher education level than Christians. This worries me. What are our Rabbinical fellow-Jews doing right that we are doing wrong? What are we doing to catch up with them?

I suspect that the answer to the second question is, alas, "nothing." As to the first, I do not know the answer, but it is surely findable. I do know that in the UK among the state-maintained schools the Catholic ones do better (measured on the secondary-school exit exams) than the non-denominational ones, and we may find clues there.

We know that in the U.S. vouchers help improve standards, but Rabbinical Jews too are currently without them, so that is not the whole answer. Perhaps someone in the diocesan education office should analyze the Pew report more deeply and make some suggestions.

Perhaps we can say something in CCD classes that would encourage children to aim high in their secular subjects. Rev. Msgr. Tony Valdivia frequently gives such encouragement in his sermons, and possibly he is an example other preachers and catechists should follow.

John A. Wills

$15 minimum wage

The unemployment-rate of young African-Americans, ages 16-19, (males: 30 percent and females 20 percent) is much, much higher than any other group — of any age, sex, race, ethnicity, et al. Any inherent talent or skills these kids possess has zero wage-value, unless someone needs such abilities and is willing and able to pay for them, and the two are able to make a deal beneficial to both.

These youngsters need paying jobs to gain work experience and habits to build lives not involving chronic unemployment — or prison. The longer they are unemployed, the more difficult it will be to get hired.

Food-service businesses provide most of those jobs. They pay $8-$10 per hour (federal data). If these youngsters' skills do not warrant even these pay rates, how, pray tell, does $15 make them more employable? A mandated minimum-wage says that even if an employer and the young person agree at $10 an hour, or even $8, no job can legally be offered nor accepted. Thus, zero wages and frustration.

Food-service industry labor cost is 30 percent of total business costs. Net income, after paying all expenses, averages 3 percent of revenues. A $15 an hour rate (50 percent over present $10 average wage), raises labor costs up to 45 percent of total cost, and raises overall costs to more than 110-plus percent of total revenue. So, no business net-income.

That's not good. Raising prices by 15 percent to 20 percent to make up for the wage increase cost may well prompt many customers, the only source of money to pay wages (or anything else), to say "Fuggetabadit."

The employer will then be forced to reduce employment, eliminate a service, automate a task, somehow get employees to become more productive — or go bust. Remaining jobs, if any, now at $15, will attract greater-skilled workers, e.g., retired people who might not be tempted at $10 but would at $15.

Laws mandating disparate adverse employment impacts on these teens effectively equate to flat-out government-enforced racism.

Our Church's social teachings do not mandate a specific minimum wage; the state should follow suit. The Church recognizes that wage payment equity must be balanced with employer ability to make an adequate investment return — and all are subservient to a buyer willing to buy.

If $15 is assumed to be good, how about $30? The minimum wage effectively eliminates competition presented by these eager young people by not allowing them to enter the work-world.

Joe Moran

Missing Father Seamus

I am sorry Leslie Cavanaugh (Forum, Feb. 6) feels Masses are "empty and hollow" at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Oakland after the death of Rev. Seamus Genovese. We all miss Father Seamus. But he is a hard act to follow.

The priests serving us now, from the Chancery and the Jesuit School of Theology, hold us together with their liturgies and homilies, not to mention their support of parish activities.

And I must include our music director, whose inspiring music uplifts us all.

Helen W. Wood

Catholics, wake up

I did not know rather to laugh or cry as I read the criticism of my letters to The Catholic Voice. Wake up, fellow Catholics, and see what has happened to our church and our country. Notice I used the word happened, not happening.

The problems are much worse than what our priests, our pope/church and we Catholics speak of.

Gov. Brown signed Senate Bill 1322 effective Jan. 1 that police officers will be banned from arresting any person under the age of 18 for soliciting or loitering with intent ...

I agree with Alameda County DA Nancy O'Malley who said, "The law just opens the door for traffickers to use these kids to commit crimes and exploit them even worse!" California's sex trafficking industry is notoriously large.

Last year California approved the sale of marijuana.

Read of the number of Catholic Churches and schools closed, the number of Catholics who have left the Church. Remind yourself Christ started one church, only the Catholic Church.

You folks out there with your many degrees and criticism, how many letters did you write to our lawmakers, trying to protect our Catholic Church and our children?

Those of us who wish to call ourselves Catholic cannot speak loudly enough, Pope Pius XII and other Church leaders warned of this major liberal lifestyle growing in our country and the world. There is a great need to educate our teens of these problems. And obviously there is a greater need to remind/educate our parents, priests, bishops and pope of the direction our world has taken. We have to speak out.

Richard Peterson

Planned Parenthood

Melinda Erickson (Voice, Feb. 6) is concerned Planned Parenthood is not recognized for its "importance of effective education and accessible reproductive health services for our families." She accepts the premises that 3 percent of all PP services are abortion related and that PP provides services that are so appreciated that defunding them would leave great numbers of clients abandoned.

The 3 percent figure has been identified as meaningless or erroneous by Slate, Washington Post and pro-life Live Action, Austin Ruse and Americans United for Life.

From the Washington Post, Aug. 12, 2015: "The 3 percent figure that Planned Parenthood uses is misleading, comparing abortion services to every other service that it provides. The organization treats each service — pregnancy test, STD test, abortion, birth control — equally. Yet there are obvious differences between a surgical (or even medical) abortion, and offering a urine (or even blood) pregnancy test. These services are not all comparable in how much they cost or how extensive the service or procedure is."

Live Action reports that in 2015 1 in every 8 clients had an abortion. That is one aborted baby every 97 seconds. 323,999 abortions divided by 2.5 million clients: 12.95%.

Regarding other PP health services: No mammograms but lots of contraceptives including abortifacients. Education: promotes contraception and having an abortion without parental consent or notification. Alternately, federally qualified health clinics do not provide abortion services and are available in most communities — seven just in Concord. Planned Parenthood does not deserve our support or our tax dollars.

Liz Froelich

Thanks for support

Thank you for your gift of support from the Diocese of Oakland of $66,117.58 for the 2016 National Collection for the Archdiocese for the Military Services.

I am grateful to you and to my brother bishops for the approval of this special triennial collection, because the AMS receives no funding from the military or the government and must rely solely on private donors to support its programs and services for your people while they are in uniform, including the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program, which provides priests for the Church and the U.S. military.

With more than 300,000 Catholics between the ages of 18-29 on active duty, the U.S. military provides the Church with a substantial pool of priestly vocations. I join you in continuing to pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.

Thank you and the parishioners of the Diocese of Oakland for helping me continue to minister to those who protect this great nation of ours, and who defend the freedoms we hold dear.

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop for the Military Services, USA

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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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