JULY 5, 2004





Consistent denial
Those who would deny Communion to public figures who advocate freedom of choice should be consistent, and with equal emphasis also deny the sacrament to those who openly support the death penalty. Both procedures take human life. “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”

Donald Donovan

Geographically-based sin
The letters in the June 21 Voice, relative to the election and faith issues, were provocative to say the least. I sympathize with the writer who noted the phenomena of geographically-based sin.

I live in Oregon part of every year and it would appear that I may vote for John Kerry if my chief reason is NOT his pro-choice stance, but I am to contact him and tell him I don’t approve of it.

However, should I visit Colorado Springs, I will apparently risk salvation if I vote for Kerry. When I visit my kids in Los Angeles, I am told that the Cardinal would welcome Senator Kerry to the altar and, presumably, myself as well.

In the spirit of looking for some continuity of episcopal thought, it should be noted that the bishops have a “Faithful Citizenship” document available on their own website which deals with Respect for Life issues from the womb to the tomb in a thoughtful, if somewhat lengthy, manner and emphasizes a consistent pro-life ethic very effectively.

I support the writer who asked for dialogue. We are, after all, looking at “respect” issues at many levels. The U.S. bishops’ own document calls for civil discourse; a respect for personal conscience suggests respectful dialogue; and if I remember my Natural Law theology correctly, the Spirit works from the top down and the bottom up.

Joan Leslie

Make cathedral look Catholic
What is wrong with having a cathedral that people will actually know is Catholic? The current design could easily be mistaken for a new hotel by anyone driving by. I’d be more inspired to get a room for the night, not to go in and pray.

My opinion has nothing to do with fearing the modern world. Father Schmit (Forum, June 21) states (and I agree) that “we just need to bring Christ to (the modern world) and allow Christ to incarnate it.”

How exactly does the current design choice for the cathedral do this? Is it because it is devoid of any human or historical references to Christ’s Church? Nonsense. If we shun where we came from, we will surely lose sight of where we are going. From the tone of Father Schmit’s letter, you’d actually think it was evil to build a cathedral that looks Catholic.

Let’s just admit that Craig Hartman’s design is one that a certain group of individuals prefer. Call a spade a spade. Please just don’t try to pass this off as what the modern Church looks like or what the parishioners of this diocese have chosen. There have been plenty of churches designed since Vatican II that you can tell in an instant are Catholic, and this is not one of them.

Minerva Mendoza

The only solution
Letters in the June 7 Voice dealt with death and real problems facing our Church and country. I feel the one —and only — solution that works, which was not mentioned, is the simple power of prayer.

I urge all readers to pray the rosary; a group of us pray every Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm for a solution to these and all problems.

Dan Lydon

Real prayers needed
The June 7 Voice article, “Teacher takes Castro Valley students on a cosmic walk” by Sharon Abercrombie smacks of paganism. Are these teachers disciples of Matthew Fox?

This world needs real prayers like the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, the Rosary, Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, etc.

The Almighty God’s hand is about to strike the world, so please give this matter urgent attention. Otherwise a lot of people are going to land in hell because of the garbage that is being taught to innocent children.

Nina D’Souza

Decoding Da Vinci
A number of books have recently appeared about “The Da Vinci Code.”
Most of them show the many falsities contained in the novel. Two can be recommended in particular. The first is Amy Welborn’s “Decoding Da Vinci: The Facts behind the fiction of the Da Vinci Code,” published by Our Sunday Visitor. This book is very readable. Doctrinally sound, its treatment of Opus Dei, while not perfect, is the best of all these books.

The second is Carl E. Olson & Sandra Miesel’s “The Da Vinci Hoax,” (Ignatius Press). This book is longer and more thorough. It aims to be the definitive treatment of “The Da Vinci Code”. It is also doctrinally sound.

Mary McMahon

The ultimate judgement
I applaud Jim Crowley (Forum, June 7) in his recognition that “abortion is the most serious public sin in American history.” I am baffled that in this great country we — the civilized, the educated, the leaders — not only allow but in some cases encourage the killing of babies. People who choose not to accept the seriousness of this sin and their role in the legalization of abortion are rejecting Christ.

With that said, they, as all us sinners, need the nourishment of the Eucharist. The Church is not in the position to judge who is worthy of Communion; none of us are.

Joseph Maraccini (Forum, June 7) states that we should weigh health care, retirement, homelessness, unemployment and hunger issues collectively with abortion. I strongly disagree. As long as those inflicted with poverty are alive, they have hope.

I don’t intend to make light of their suffering. However, the poor are not having life denied to them.

I am sure each voter can justify his/her vote. Yet, the day will come when each of us will face the ultimate judgment.

Karen Reedy

Causing divisiveness
Bishop Vigneron was right in not giving publicity to Voice of the Faithful. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. I have seen the letters recently in the Forum, and I can no longer keep silent.

My parish, which is not in the Oakland Diocese, has come under attack from this group. They have interjected themselves into concerns not of their business. They have caused devisiveness, and have used unprofessional, un-Christian tactics, all in the name of the VOTF. Our kind loving pastor has been unfairly attacked. Be careful what you ask for!

Maureen Scagliotti
Via e-mail

In VOTF’s defense
In response to Michael Arata (Forum, June 7), Voice of the Faithful associates with all Catholics who agree with its three goals, none of which are outside the teaching of the Catholic Church – a fact that several bishops have publicly affirmed. VOTF is not responsible for members’ or speakers’ opinions beyond the three stated goals any more than the Church is responsible for divergent opinions among its faithful.

We see nothing that VOTF does as being in conflict with the whole teaching of “Lumen Gentium” about the Church.

Vatican II’s call for the universal pursuit of holiness, for shared responsibility for the life and mission of the Church, and for an apostolate aimed at the transformation of our world, all arose from and depended upon an adult Church of prayerful, responsible, educated, thoughtful priests, religious and lay people working in concert.

Peter Davey
VOTF, East Bay

Don’t subsidize Cuba
The Cuban and U.S. bishops are correct about criticizing new economic sanctions on Cuba (Voice, June 7). Open dialogue and trade are needed.
But, as I wrote to my representatives in 2000 and every year since, I believe the populace of Cuba suffers the results of Castro’s communist dictatorship. The U.S. is neither responsible nor to blame.

All these years Cuba has been free to trade with other countries for the goods and services equal to those from the U.S. despite sanctions. If Cuba had the money.

Now the spin in Congress is to help the Cuban people. The U.S. taxpayers would go further into debt to be altruistic and patronizing, and aid would go on and on, controlled by Castro’s communism without virtue, ethics or honor.

If Castro’s Cuba is our communist enemy, and trading with the enemy is treason, then how could Congress (or anyone) consider subsidizing Cuba?

Philip Tribuzio

Love your enemy
President Bush refuses to accept the U.N.’s Geneva Conventions that there is to be no cruel or inhuman punishment. What happened to Lincoln’s declaration (on winning the Civil War) — with charity towards all; with malice towards none?
Arabs and terrorists are our brothers too, and we should treat them with love and kindness and decency. Jesus said, “Love your enemy” and “Do good to those that hate you.”

Catherine Clark

High cost of Catholic schools
Regarding Harold Verdun (Forum, June 23) who is upset because only two of the 18 Catholic high school graduates featured in the June 5 Voice will attending Catholic colleges, I think one of the reasons, and it’s a big one, is that Catholic colleges are just too expensive for the average family. It has been a struggle for most of them to pay for tuition of a Catholic high school.
State universities and even the University of California system offer excellent educations at a much lower price. I don’t know how families with several children manage the cost of private colleges. My hat goes off to them.

Wesley Risedorph
San Leandro


Want to write?
Contributions to Reader’s Forum should be limited to 250 words.
Letters must be signed and must include the writer’s address and phone number for verification purposes. All letters are subject to editing.
Mail your letter to:
The Catholic Voice 3014 Lakeshore Ave.
Oakland, CA 94610.
Fax: (510) 893-4734.
Our e-mail address is:
Opinions expressed in letters to Reader's Forum are the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Catholic Voice or the Oakland Diocese.
Official newspaper of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Oakland, California encompassing all of
Alameda &
Contra Costa counties.