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placeholder June 26, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Evangelization cornerstone

God is not dead. We just treat Him that way.

One must wait until Page 334 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church before one finds coverage of The Sacrament of the Eucharist. But once found, we see it covered as the "Source and Summit of Ecclesial Life." Later, on that same page in CC 1327 we are told that "In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith."

The Vatican II Council made a number of references to the importance of the Eucharist to evangelization. Among the more important ones are the following: "The most blessed Eucharist contains the Church's entire spiritual wealth" and "The Eucharist shows itself to be the source and apex of the whole proclamation of the Gospel."

On the night before our Lord endured the Passion and suffered Crucifixion on the Cross, He instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper and concluded with the words, "Do this in memory of Me." His suffering, death and resurrection formed his part of the new covenant He gave us. Our part of the covenant is to keep his commandments and to remember his suffering and passion through the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we commemorate the death on the cross endured by Him and through which He redeemed our sins and earned for us the opportunity to spend eternal life in the Kingdom He opened for us. It is indeed the sum and summary of our faith.

If the Eucharist "contains the Church's entire spiritual wealth" it is fair to ask why it is not given earlier coverage in the Catechism and why it still gets too little attention. The answer is somewhat reflective of the unintended consequences of Vatican II.

Vatican II did not diminish the role of the Eucharist in the "proclamation of the Gospel." However, Vatican II did focus on other matters, and in the greater attention given to those matters which were important, the "apex of the whole proclamation of the Gospel" too frequently lost top billing.

Since Vatican II, Mass attendance among Catholics has declined from approximately 50 percent to about 20 percent. If we wish to reverse that trend we must again firmly establish the Eucharist as the cornerstone of evangelization and make that better known to those who do not find relevancy in attending Mass. If all of us do a better job of conveying the message of the miracle of the Eucharist, Mass attendance will increase.

George E. Pfautsch
Walnut Creek

Civil discourse

If the Forum truly desires for readers to "engage in an open exchange of opinions and concerns in a climate of respect and civil discourse," perhaps the editor should print letters that invite civility and a respectful exchange of opinions.

For example, the May 22 Forum contains a letter that accuses an earlier writer of being prideful, sinful and having no empathy or compassion. If indeed the first letter lacked sympathy, it should not have been printed. But if the editor feels the first letter was empathetic, then the second letter should not have been printed. The issue discussed does not even get mentioned. Only the disagreement between the two writers is noted.

Likewise, the two letters that follow in that issue are argumentative. One argues alternative facts against church teaching, and the other letter makes a very weak case for Trumpcare. This mixing of science with religion and politics is confusing, and leads to endless discord.

Political and scientific debate is important to understanding our faith. From the Roman Empire to the Enlightenment, the Church has always been the world leader in much needed political, philosophical and scientific dialogue. I think it's time for The Voice to follow the Church's rich tradition and lead its readers toward an environment of peace, truth and dignity.

Carmen Hartono

Fortunate parishioners

Parishioners at St. Lawrence O'Toole-St. Cyril and St. Paschal Baylon parishes of Oakland are fortunate that our wonderful parochial administrator of Holy Spirit, Fremont, will be serving your parishes as parochial administrator beginning in July.

Rev. Brandon Macadaeg. You will love him. We will miss him.

Geraldine A. Silva

Schools, seniors

The quotes of senior graduates (June 12) from the nine Catholic high schools in the Oakland diocese responding to the question, "What can the church do to keep youth engaged," reveal several things.

Significantly, these fine students got the important message that love of neighbor and service to others are their primary Christian obligations. In that regard, their teachers have been eminently successful. But are they (and their teachers) well-formed Catholics?

Retreats, outreach programs, activism, counseling and service events, "rather than Mass," were common venues of choice for engagement. Spirituality instead of devotion to religious laws and valuing the happiness of people over moral purity were presented, but so were the ideas of developing "strong moral values" and interlacing morality with projects.

Spirituality was mentioned often, whatever that means, but the great heritage of the Catholic Church — its beauty and glory and majesty — wasn't presented as engaging. It just seems to be one "spiritual" choice among many.

Young people are drawn to ideals, Truth being the highest ideal. Social issues have become the higher ideal, and these young minds have been cheated. They might value spirituality, but they don't evidence how engaging an intimate personal relationship awaits them in the Eucharist.

If they did, they would appreciate their participation at Mass as the most "engaging" event the Church has to offer because that's where they will find The Truth: in the Eucharist; not on social media and in social programs.

I don't see great leaders of the Catholic Church emerging from these schools, even though these fine young people are all headed to prestigious secular colleges, not Catholic Great Books programs, where they will probably lose their faith when they are confronted with, what Pope Benedict called, the "dictatorship of moral relativism" and are unanchored from the presence of The Truth in their daily lives.

Jack Hockel
Walnut Creek

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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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