DECEMBER 15, 2003
Official newspaper of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Oakland, California encompassing all of
Alameda &
Contra Costa counties.






Affirm our good priests
I am the mother of a priest. I can speak from personal experience. It is extremely painful to endure the recent negative aspersions having been cast upon our loving and devoted priests who, by association, have been lumped into an unthinkable category. From what the secular media has projected, the priesthood of the Catholic Church is contaminated with a plethora of perverts.

The percentage of priests who have so blatantly violated their vows is statistically non-significant. In my personal view, those transgressors are examples of candidates for the priesthood who somehow slipped through a chasm in the evaluative process.

Candidates are psychologically screened during their formation. There are clues to be observed by any skillful and perceptive psychological professional that would indicate the presence of psychopathy in a client. It is incumbent on the expert to pursue what he/she may view to be a possible issue for further exploration. As a retired professional in the field, I may offer some credibility to that exhortation.

Competent therapists are acutely tuned into picking up such indicative behaviors. That is not to suggest it is easy to pick up on pedophilia or ephebophilia per se, but individuals who have engaged in that type of aberrant behavior will have presented symptoms prior revealing some sort of abnormal symptomology that would prompt further investigation. The therapist will thus, at the very least, suggest that ultimately the individual may not be suited for ordination to the priesthood of the Catholic Church.
The focus upon the priesthood needs to return to its truth. These men have chosen to dedicate their lives to us purely and with humility and dedication. As Catholic Christians to not recognize and affirm priests who are obviously serving within the rectitude of their vocation is an egregious violation of trust in our “One, Holy and Apostolic Church.”

Name withheld by request

Beyond what God intended
I am responding to the letters (Forum, Nov. 17) on the situation of Terri Schiavo. I wonder if most people are not aware of the “death processes” that are being used throughout the world today.
My mother-in-law passed away last year after spending her last five years in a lot of pain and millions of health benefit dollars. Her end came within a few days after we advised the doctors to switch to “Comfort Care” treatment, something that I had just learned about as a way to stop artificially prolonging a life.

Basically, she was 80 years old and all of her major organs were starting to fail. However, medicine has now reached the point where the use of equipment and fluids can keep the body “going” a lot longer than nature or God intended.

To help understand some of the concepts of this process, I recommend the following website:

David Brusiee

Dangerous viewpoint
Father Gerald Coleman’s commentary (Voice, Nov. 3) on the Terry Schiavo case disturbs me for several reasons:
It describes human beings, who are owed the highest respect, by the most undignified term, “vegetative.” It cites medical “ethicists” rather than Church authorities to claim that people who are described this way are “dying.” (Medical “ethics” has become a contradiction in terms in these days of embryonic stem cell experimentation, legalized abortion, selling of fetal body parts and killing of the elderly and handicapped.) It re-defines dying in a most dangerous way. The man making these comments is called a “moral theologian,” and he is the president of our diocese’s seminary.

Catherine Norman

Change U.S. policy
On Nov. 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her teenage daughter were massacred in El Salvador. A U.S. congressional task force reported that those responsible were trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

Every November since 1990, people who are part of the SOA Watch have gathered at the school, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, to commemorate the massacres and to call for the closing of the school and for change in U.S. policy in Latin America.
A prayer service, led by Franciscan Father Louie Vitale, was held at the Oakland Catholic Worker House to bless those from the East Bay who were to be part of a 120-person group going from the Bay Area to Ft. Benning, Nov. 21-23. They joined thousands of religious and lay people from across the country.

I participated for the second time because I felt I must walk for the suffering people that I met in El Salvador and because I must protest the immorality of this school that has been operating in our country for 57 years. It cannot be ignored.

Please call your Representative and ask that he/she support HR1258, which calls for the closing of the school.

Faye Butler

When are humans human?
In last month’s Catholic Voice (Forum, Nov. 17), Daryl Suzakawa informs us that “the Nazis did not decriminalize murder. They declared some categories of human beings not legally people – Jews, homosexuals, the physically infirm and ‘useless mouths.’”
But just as the Weimar Supreme Court created these categories of non-humans, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 (Roe vs. Wade) created a group of non-persons when it declared that previous to viability, the human organism is in a state or condition of existence other than life.

Frederick Arend

Message from Saudi Arabia
As a patriotic American working in a dangerous corner of the world, I am gratified by the support of my fellow Americans back home in trying to make conditions better for me and our fellow Americans here in the Middle East.

Many servicemen and women have come here, and some have died, fighting to ensure a peaceful future for this region and the entire world. Their task, and that of our President, is far from an easy one. But I am gratified to observe the fervor and dedication they exhibit in carrying out their dangerous duties.

I realize that there will be times of difficulty in the struggle to make the Middle East a more peaceful place to live. But the long-term goal of a more peaceful world should be kept in mind during these difficult times. I encourage all my fellow Americans back home to continue to give their full support to our far-sighted President and to the servicemen and women fighting in the Middle East.

Please keep them and all of us Americans residing in this dangerous part of the world in your prayers; and let’s hope that all of us can strive to bring about the long-term goal of a peaceful, democratic region that experiences the end of conflict and disharmony and the birth of peace, concord, and brotherly love.

Kim Hester
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Salute to veterans
To those who serve and have served, I salute you.
To those who have taken the pledge to defend our constitution, I salute you.
To those who have completed the rigorous training, who have stayed thecourse and made the grade, I salute you.
To those who stood lonely nights on watch, I salute you.
To those who have received the “call out order,” who bid farewell to families and friends, I salute you.
To those who have faced that which needs no repeating, I salute you.
To those who have mourned the loss of comrades, and have yet endured, I salute you.
To those who a nation owes so much, our very freedom, I salute you.
To those who serve and have served, I salute you.

Dorian J. Cougias
One among many who have served
Via e-mail

Constitutional attack
Recently I wrote a letter (Forum, Oct. 20) stating that the Vatican’s effort to amend the U.S. Constitution based on the teachings of the Catholic Church is a direct attack on the First Amendment (Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion.) In the following issue of the Catholic Voice, Jim Crowley took issue with that letter.

I want to respond on two points. First, I do not believe for a second that gay civil marriages or unions are an “attack on the common good” or are “too high a social cost.” I especially do not believe that our “culture will collapse.” That is because I don’t have an irrational fear of an evolving society but have an abiding faith in society’s ability to change for the better.
Second, Mr. Crowley argues the U.S. government should make laws banning gay marriages by citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1603) and Archbishop Sean O’Malley.

Thank you, Mr.Crowley, for proving my point.

Diane Worrell

A welcome addition
I am delighted with Bishop Allen Vigneron’s column, “Be on watch for God to act” (Voice, Nov. 17). For the bishop to have a regular column will be a very helpful way for him to shepherd us.

Catherine Clark

A Christmas gift
It isn’t Christmas unless Christ and His Mother are the center of our holiday celebration. Many of the world’s greatest painters portrayed Jesus and Mary together. Among them, Our Mother of Perpetual Help is one of the best known and loved.

To celebrate this season, we Redemptorists offer a free picture of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and the beautiful inspirational reflection, “Mary’s Help Means Hope!”

To obtain a copy, write to: Brother Patrick Considine, 1633 N. Cleveland Ave., Chicago, IL 60614.

Redemptorist Fathers
St. Michael Church

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