JUNE 7, 2004






Not a Catholic design
I feel I must voice my concerns regarding the current design of the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

My first concern is that the new plan, like previous plans, does not look Catholic. I believe it was even mentioned at the town hall meeting that this plan was purposely chosen because some didn’t want the design to represent a hierarchical church. This seems silly to deny something we are, and it validates my concern that it doesn’t represent the Catholic Church. It’s even being questioned whether the outside will have a cross.

The laity in this diocese has not been consulted as they should have been regarding this structure. I never saw an announcement in my parish bulletin asking for opinions or volunteers, and yet this is being billed as the plan that we have helped to choose.

Even those presumably handpicked people who met to discuss this project only came to a consensus that the cathedral be a “hospitable gathering place” where “liturgy culminates in service.” How was it decided that the most recent design represents this?

The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. has an authentically Catholic design. You know it’s Catholic when you see it. It embraces our multicultural heritage inside in its many side altars. It clearly shows that we are many cultures in the One True Church, not just many cultures. There is no reason to deny our Catholic heritage to embrace our multiculturalism.

J. Hallett

Inconsistent policies
I hope Catholics look beyond the rhetoric before voting this fall. We’ve heard G.W. Bush’s Christian talk, but how Christian is his walk?
By not adequately funding education and health care, we wonder how committed this “pro-life” president is towards programs that enhance the lives of children. And we know his support of the death penalty and war is not consistent with Christian values.

While I agree that John Kerry’s support of abortion rights is disconcerting, there is comfort in his honesty. Bush says he’s Christian, but refused to listen to the leadership of 115 million Christians in the U.S. who, in 2002, said that an attack on Iraq would be against Christian principles.

And the disrespect Bush has shown the Vatican makes me wonder if he’s listening to fundamentalists who view the Pope as the anti-Christ.

Carmen Hartono

Act according to conscience
I would like to respond to Rebecca McLeod (Forum, May 24, who said she agreed that Senator Kerry should not receive Communion because he does not support all Catholic beliefs. She even stated that “You aren’t supposed to pick and choose what parts of your faith to accept and follow.”

But in the Vatican II’s document on religious liberty, does it not state that “All are bound to their conscience faithfully” and that “The individual must not be forced to act against conscience nor be prevented from acting according to conscience, especially in religious matters.”?

It seems to me then that the Church finds that it is not wrong “to pick and choose what parts of your faith to accept and follow.” Rather it supports one deciding for oneself in certain issues.

Although I am too young to vote in the upcoming election, I find it foolish that one would vote for President Bush, even if one does not agree with President Bush on many issues, just because Senator Kerry is not a “true” or “complete” Catholic.

Gregory Promani
Via e-mail

Religion and politics don’t mix
As a Catholic, I have a lot of faith. I don’t believe politics and religion go together. You vote for the best man. The Church is confusing a lot of Catholics and I don’t go along with that. Keep our spirits up, not politics.

Ruth Castro
Castro Valley

Selective theology
I have read the full text of the pastoral letter by Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs in which he declares “Any Catholics who vote for candidates who stand for abortion, illicit stem cell research or euthanasia” ... “place themselves outside of full communion with the Church and jeopardize their salvation”... “and may not receive Holy Communion until they have recanted their position and been reconciled with God and the Church in the Sacrament of Penance”. He also throws in gay marriage for good measure.

Bishop Sheridan uses various arguments regarding God’s law to justify his position. However, he is very selective in identifying that which is in opposition to these teachings as interpreted by Rome.

He condemns the aforementioned actions but fails to apply the same punishments to those which also appear to be in violation, e.g.. support for the death penalty, birth control, married clergy, female ordinations, etc.

If we were to apply his litmus test, only he and a few other prelates would qualify to hold public office. Although he pays lip service to conscience and the voters rights, he very clearly tells us that unless we vote the Catholic ticket (as interpreted by him) we separate ourselves from the Church.

In reality he is trying to force Catholic religious beliefs upon the rest of the nation. He seems to forget Jesus’ admonition to “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s’ and to God that which is God’s.” We will answer to God for our actions.

Clifford R. Wiesner

Stop bashing Kerry
Some of the Forum letters on refusing Communion to John Kerry really upset me. For example, the young lady who said she registered Republican because of their beliefs. Does that mean that starting an unjust war and killing thousands of innocent people is just? That having a president that imposed the death penalty more than any other governor is just? That cutting back on social welfare programs and giving tax cuts to the rich is just.

She said Kerry would pick and choose which laws he would defend. She should be reminded that Roe v Wade is the law of the land. It was enacted when a Republican was President (Nixon) and a Supreme Court Justice who was appointed by a Republican cast the deciding vote.

If the Catholic Church is going to get involved in politics they can forget my financial support. My family has given money to several Catholic causes, but if they keep bashing Kerry and leave the lying Bush (remember WMD’s, uranium for Niger) they will not receive any further money from us.

Frank Buffett

Officials to be judged
I would like to commend all the bishops who have publicly declared that pro-choice Catholic leaders should refrain from reception of the Eucharist.

The Church clearly teaches that abortion kills a living human being and doing so is wrong, not because of Church doctrine but because the killing of the innocent is always wrong. Abortion is the most serious public sin in American history. Any politician who has facilitated abortion in his voting and has thus served as a silent conspirator should not receive the Body of Christ until there is full repentance.

I strongly disagree with public officials who say their moral beliefs should not influence their public decisions. They are wrong. If something is morally evil such as abortion, one can’t support it. We are never free to knowingly do immoral acts. A public official will not be able to go before the judgment seat of Christ and say they were a public official and they just did what their constituents wanted. They will be held responsible for what they do.

There is nothing wrong with a Catholic leader who gets his moral beliefs from his faith and the dictates of the natural moral law. They have the same right to draw on these sources in a democracy as the secularists have drawn from their own sources in forming their opinion.

I cast my vote for a strong public rebuke of pro-choice Catholic politicians. I also cast my vote against the Church compromising on this issue.

Jim Crowley
Walnut Creek

Look at all the issues
I think that people by and large have become one-issue voters. And this narrow-minded thinking has even traveled to our youth by the comments that were made (Forum, May 24). It’s disappointing to me that people can look at one issue, granted a very important issue regarding human rights, and decide their vote on that one issue.

Human rights, whether it is a unborn fetus, affordable health care, retirement with dignity, care for the hungry, care for the homeless, unemployment, out sourcing of jobs, to name a few, should collectively be weighed.

At the present time we have a very serious issue in Iraq. People are dying every day and we have still yet to be given true proof that this war was necessary for national security or if it was to line a select few pockets for profit. The point is there are many issues at hand to be considered in the forthcoming election.

I may not agree with John Kerry on all his positions, pro-choice being one, but I do believe this great country of ours has need for change due to the issues that I raised above. I hope and pray that Americans whether young, middle age or old recognize the need for change.

Joseph A. Maraccini

Support our president
Please tell me why we never see these sorts of news stories in your paper?

Our troops are doing tremendous work in Iraq and the foolish acts of a handful of young people are being blown up out of proportion. We need to remember what was really going on over there and what has been accomplished by brave Americans and brave Iraqis!

Please start printing stories that let people know our president, his cabinet and our troops are good people who are accomplishing great good in the world - even in the face of a terrible lack of support from those who should be rallying around them at this time!

Tracy Armstrong

A sad day
I wish to applaud Wayne Mortensen’s letter (Forum, May 24) regarding the responsibility of free will. It expressed my shared feelings beautifully. It is a sad day in the Church when some clergy will use the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist as a means of division instead of healing and wholeness.

Charlene Jones
Via e-mail

Sex abusers tolerated
Recently, Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs stated that Catholic politicians who are either pro-choice, support illicit stem cell research or euthanasia, as well as those who vote for them, may not receive Holy Communion. Bishop Sheridan extends this restriction to supporters of homosexual unions.

If these groups cannot receive Communion, why did Bishop Sheridan, and other like-minded bishops, not restrict Communion to priests who molested children? Where was their outcry? Some of the victims later committed suicide as a direct result of their abuse.

Not only could these abusive priests continue to receive Communion without limit, they could preside at eucharistic liturgies! And how is supporting homosexual unions more serious than sexually abusing children?

Furthermore, does it mean it’s okay for someone directly causing death to receive Communion, but those who indirectly cause death cannot? That seems to be the case with people who are pro-death penalty, versus those who are pro-choice.

How I long for a consistent pro-life ethic among our bishops.

Mark Gotvald
Pleasant Hill

Similarities in abuse
Regarding, the interesting juxtaposition of three of your articles on the front page of the May 24 Voice: Rightly, one analyzes and condemns the prisoner abuse in Iraq while the other two discuss the ongoing abuse scandal in the Church. Similarities abound.

Both had powerless victims, both had a strong sexual component and both were known about by people in authority with the power to put a stop to it. At least the Iraqi abuse does not seem to have involved children. Perhaps a more useful discussion would be an analysis of the circumstances that allow this type of psychopathic behavior to emerge in the first place. In the meantime, be careful where you cast your stones.

Frank Locke

A subversive agenda
Responding to Forum writers who’ve lately criticized Bishop Vigneron, and to Father Donald MacKinnon, who thinks that “Voice of the Faithful should be applauded, not censured” (May 24), I say that genuinely faithful Catholics say bravo and thanks to the Bishop for rejecting a VOTF advertisement.

Peter Davey, VOTF’s East Bay chairman, misrepresented the Bishop’s decision “as a sign that church leadership wants to distance itself from critical analysis. ‘It’s not like we’re preaching revolution here.’” (Contra Costa Times, Mar. 23).

In so saying, Davey also misrepresented his organization. VOTF is in fact “preaching revolution,” often through surrogate revolutionaries like Robert Blair Kaiser, VOTF’s principal speaker on January 12. Kaiser has elsewhere described himself as “more profane than pious.” His talk at Holy Spirit/Newman Center amply illustrated that self-characterization, with a recommendation that fellow dissenters “change Church teaching by ignoring it.”

Fortunately, Bishop Vigneron is not alone in recognizing VOTF’s motives and methods. As Newark Archbishop John Myers wrote in 2002, “the group has used the current crisis in the Church as a springboard for presenting an agenda that is anti-Church and ultimately anti-Catholic,” finding that VOTF’s real intentions are “to act as a cover for dissent with the Faith, to cause division within the Church; and to openly attack the Church hierarchy.”

Here’s hoping that Bishop Vigneron takes the next step, and directs the removal of VOTF and its subversive agenda from parishes of the Oakland Diocese.

Michael Arata

One more example
If in fact the Vatican’s foreign minister actually declared, as printed in the May 24 Voice, that: “the Iraq torture scandal…has caused more damage to the United States than the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks,” it is one more example of why the Vatican is no longer considered the moral authority or even creditable council to most American Catholics.

C. Fiore



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