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placeholder February 5, 2018   •   VOL. 56, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Youth and faith

Over the last few months, I have noticed a number of letters to the Forum expressing disappointment and discontent over our youth's lack of participation in their faith.

Although many of those points of view are valid to a certain extent, in my opinion they seem to overlook an important point. Faith cannot be passed on by mere osmosis. One has to come by it through an inner experience, which can then begin to shed a new light on how to live one's life. How and when that turning occurs is unique to every individual.

The late Judaic scholar Abraham Heschel remarked that the reason why religion has failed is that it gives the answers before the questions have been asked. Imposing a certain level of spirituality and participation on our youth as that of an adult before they are ready is to shortchange them in the development of their own inner conversion and possibly push them further away from the Church.

Faith is more than belief or a recitation of dogma: it is part of a struggle that takes place inside every one of us as we try to live out Christ's teaching. It is through this inner struggle that helps solidify our faith. In other words, it is through life's journey that our faith life is both tested and honed. It is not meant to become stagnant.

As a layperson, who in the past has participated in the training of the Sacrament of Confirmation in my parish, I have come to see that today's youth are now living in a world that is far different from that of their parents and grandparents. Mere acceptance of dogma no longer satisfies nor answers the questions they are asking. For some of them, there is the beginning of a real struggle going on inside them. They are seeking to understand themselves, not solely through our creeds and dogma, but also through the intricacies of their own life, the world they live in and their conscience.

The answers that today's youth are seeking will come in their own time, most likely not in the same way as it has through previous generations. How that will come about I cannot say. But at the same time, criticism and provocation will not lead them back to the Church either.

John Giuntoli

Children our successors

The cover photo of the children's choir (Voice, Nov. 20) grabbed my heart and gave me such warmth. They are our successors to keep the Catholic faith going. Still my heart is with them.

I wonder of those Catholic school children whose schools were closed. Where have they gone? Are they wondering why their schools closed?

It is always the low-income students who will be hit. I hope these students were able to go on to other Catholic schools.

Joanna Kim-Selby
El Cerrito

[Editor's note: Of the five elementary schools that closed, the Department of Catholic Schools reports about 43 percent of the children have registered at other Catholic schools.]


Father David Staal entered the altar at St. Michael in Livermore wearing a biretta. He started the Mass by saying "In nomine Patris …" It was a Latin Mass with standing room only.

As a 1960 graduate of The College of Our Lady of the Elms it was reminiscent of four years of very early mornings.

As part of the Centennial Celebration at St. Michael, the Latin Mass will be offered at 8 a.m. every second Sunday until June.

This is a fine opportunity for parents of teenagers to introduce them to some history of the Catholic Church.

Mary McMahon

Forum letters

I always enjoy reading thoughts expressed in the Forum section and this latest issue (Jan. 22) was no exception. Richard Jarrett's was frightening and Michael Arata's enlightening (in my opinion).

Sandy Mazza

Forum isn't Scripture

I can't help but wonder if Richard Jarrett (Forum, Jan. 22) appreciates the irony of using the Forum section of The Catholic Voice to advocate discontinuing the Forum section of the Catholic Voice. I agree that unity in the Mass is important, but this page is not a Mass, and the words in it do not purport to be Scripture; they are simply people's opinions about issues that touch the church.

Letters printed here do not, in my view, "polarize" Church members; they simply reflect the reality of differing opinions among Church members, that already exist whether they get printed here or not. Pretending we all agree about everything does no one any favors.

The assertion that many writers "do not know their faith" is patronizing, though I'm sure unintentionally so. While some writers may not fully know Doctrine, or express views contrary to that Doctrine, their own faith is something known but to them and to God.

I believe it is healthy for us as a Church to voice our opinions, including the airing of differences, so long as it is done, as the Forum states, "in a climate of respect and civil discourse."

Matt Lovett
Pleasant Hill

Pro-life record

The pro-life community has many reasons to be happy with President Trump and his administration because together they are the most pro-life in the history of the United States. Anti-abortion groups are praising his record as one of the most supportive they have seen.

The facts are not widely appreciated because they are not reported in the media. Trump was the first sitting president to address the Walk for Life by satellite in its 45-year history, but you didn't hear much about that outside of EWTN. Last year Vice President Pence addressed the March for Life rally, a first for a sitting vice president, and that, too, was underreported.

Trump's White House includes anti-abortion conservatives Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser Mercedes Schlapp and Katy Talento, a health policy staffer on the House Domestic Policy Council. Holy Mass has been offered in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on a few occasions. When have we ever seen that?

Trump reinstated and expanded the "Mexico City" policy his first week in office. This is a Reagan-era rule that prohibited nonprofits that receive government funding from performing abortions or promoting abortion as a method of family planning.

Trump's administration reversed Obama's regulation that prohibited states from defunding abortion providers, and promised to enforce a provision in the Affordable Care Act that bans taxpayer dollars from supporting abortion coverage in health exchange plans.

Trump will be signing legislation defunding Planned Parenthood and limiting the circumstances when women can obtain an abortion. The director of communication for the abortion-rights group NARAL said, "The level of attacks have been significant and they've been relentless."

The president put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and has put forth a slate of other conservative, anti-abortion judicial nominees who could have long-lasting effects on abortion rulings.

A Knights of Columbus survey found that 76 percent of Americans support limits on abortion, including 60 percent of self-described pro-choice voters. Trump's record tracks very well with the mindset of the American people.

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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