JANUARY 10, 2005





Serious sacrilege
It seems that the Year of the Eucharist has commenced with unexpected events in the Diocese of Oakland. Two parishes have had break-ins and the tabernacle and/or the Most Blessed Sacrament have been stolen. Without a doubt we cannot think of anything more abhorrent; hopefully security is being increased at all churches.

This is obviously the work of Satan and his followers and is a lesson to any that may have any doubts about the Real Presence. The devil is very well aware that what appears to be bread is indeed the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Satan would not waste his time on mere bread.
Let us all redouble our devotion and adoration to our Savior in the Most Holy Eucharist.

Phillip Faight

In memoriam
Father John Ranallo died on Dec. 19. This tribute is to a man I worked with for 17 years (1980-1997). I shared many happy days working at his side in Our Lady of Grace Parish in Castro Valley. Whether it was chaplaincy at Eden and Laurel Grove hospitals or at our many parish celebrations, he was a beacon of light and joy to all.

He left a part of himself with all he met. His humanness and humility were those of Christ.

He goes to the Lord with his hands full. Memories are always with us, and I truly have many of Father John.

Sister Geraldine Garbarino, SHF

God’s callings
With the already declining numbers of vocations to the priesthood and religious orders or congregations, along with the recent scandals, what more can it take to discourage young people from entering religious life?

While the abuse cases are indeed a horrible and disgraceful tragedy, one would think that the Catholic clergy are the only ones guilty of such crimes. If we take a broader view of sex abuse amidst the whole social milieu, priests are only a minority of offenders.

This, of course, should not exonerate priests who are proven guilty under civil law; furthermore, ecclesiastical law should not take precedence or compete with the laws of the state.

The problem is that the abuse scandal has frightened away many potentially good vocations to religious life. The new prospects have either talked themselves out of it, or their parents and friends have talked them out of it.

Not everyone is meant to be married and raise a family, the hardest of all life’s adventures. And not everyone is meant to be a priest or a religious, a separate kind of hardness.

Matrimony and ordination and single life are separate commitments that come from the Holy Spirit. There can be grace or abuse in any one. What we must do is pray that all of us give ourselves over to an imitation of Christ.

James McConville Robbins

Be careful with language
Janet, of Parents Right to Know, (Voice, Dec. 13) was allowed to refer to physicians as abortionists in her paid political advertisement. If persons who pay to advertise in The Catholic Voice are unable to adhere to standards of common courtesy, their advertisements should be rejected.
Civilized discourse must be the order of the day in a church publication.

Joyce Mitchell

Refrain from partisanship
I have been shocked and dismayed by the poor leadership displayed by our bishops on two important issues.

First, of course, has to do with their response to the grotesque abuses of power relating to child sexual abuse. With a few notable exceptions, our former bishop among them, the bishops have displayed an ineptness and insensitivity beyond belief.

The second has to do with the recent presidential election.

The correct role of a Catholic politician when it comes to representing non-Catholic constituents is in important subject for discussion. However, it should not be done in the context of a partisan and divisive election campaign.

I find it hard to believe that men as educated and worldly as our bishops fell into the trap laid for them by partisan political operatives.

The Church has now been split in a way that I have not seen in my lifetime. They should have remembered the words of the Master about wolves in sheep’s clothing.

I hope and pray that our bishops learn from their mistakes and display the quality of leadership we are entitled to while they attempt to undo the harm already done.

Glenn Churchill

Vegetarian resolve
The past year has witnessed major national wins and losses. The Republicans won by retaining political power in the November elections. The Democrats won because they are not stuck with the losing battle for a democratic Iraq.

On the domestic front, we’ve been losing the battle for our health, with obesity assuming epidemic proportions. We’ve been losing the battle for our environment, with more animal wastes dumped in our water supplies. And, we’ve been losing the battle for our soul, with more and more animals subjected to factory farm and slaughterhouse atrocities.

Amazingly, each of us can do a great deal to turn this around with one simple New Year’s resolution. A resolution to replace meat and dairy products in our diet with wholesome, delicious vegetables, fresh fruits, beans, and whole grains.

With every supermarket featuring a large variety of soy-based veggie burgers and dogs, deli slices, ready-to-eat frozen dinners, ice cream, and soy milk, it’s got to be the easiest resolution we will ever keep.

Ollie Wein

Be sensitive to older Catholics
A recent television newscast spoke of the decline in church attendance and donations in the Catholic churches.

I am a convert to Catholicism from the Lutheran Church. A better way to say it is my Lutheran Church ran away from me as well as more older people and ran to the youth who the church felt were there. Guess what? They failed to come. My Lutheran Church became blurred with the Assembly of God and Pentecostal religious worship service.

On my family’s sojourn for a faith and worship that was similar to ours, we looked into the Catholic Church. I already had lessons in the Catholic faith from my adolescence. My friends left school early for lessons and so did I. What I was taught, I retained. This occurred before the Second Vatican Council.

On finding our church, St. John Vianney in Walnut Creek, we attended RCIA and one year later experienced one of the most spiritual moments in our lives — the Easter Vigil. My wife, who was never one much for church, began attending on a regular basis. Prayers became part of our family life.

Then on attending our third Easter Vigil, we were shocked to hear amplified guitars and entertainers at the altar beckoning the members to participate to the sound of drums, piano, tambourine and electric guitars. The message of the church was loud and clear: we do not want the older families and aged. We want the young. The young, as it happens, have less concern for the poor and hungry and more concern for spending money on themselves.

The amplified music from the guitars is too loud for those who enjoy listening to the voices of the saints attending Mass. The beautiful organ sits silent. The showmanship has distracted worshippers who hold priests and deacons in honor. The pageantry of the Mass has been displaced by the local master of ceremonies.

If nothing else, have the hip-hop, ear-shattering carnival for the youth and young at the nine o’clock Mass and bring the attendance back to the other Masses.

Randy Schornack
Via e-mail

Truth vs. propaganda
When I left China 40 years ago, I never thought I would again see people so gullible, unquestioning and cult-like in their thinking as some Voice readers are regarding President Bush. It is like I was still in Communist China and the propaganda I grew up with regarding Mao Tse-tung and how absolutely infallible he was.

Why is it that, except for those readers, everyone outside of America and half of Americans can see that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and terrorism? None of the terrorists who committed the 9/11 tragedy was Iraqi. Bush and Cheney themselves admitted that Saddam had no link to al Queda.

The situation in Iraq has drawn some militant Arabs from other nations and al Queda fighters, but on the whole most of the fighters are Iraqis opposed to the American occupation of their country. It is a nationalist fight with religious overtones (which is what draws some foreign Muslims to the fight).

Osama bin Laden is running free somewhere in Afghanistan (which, thanks to Bush, is now a major drug producing nation with only Kabul under the control of the American-backed Karzai government) or Pakistan and free to plot against us.
Iraq and Afghanistan are recruitment posters for al Queda and will ensure an endless supply of terrorists against us and our children for generations to come.

And to say that Bush has “stopped terror”? It is truly frightening how blind and gullible some people are.

As for him being a “good Christian,” there are many who know him personally who would beg to differ, but for an effective Republican propaganda machine, that Mao would be absolutely proud of.

John K. C. Chen


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