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Michele Jurich's article (Voice, April 11, 2011) sent waves of good feeling through me in the paragraph: "One powerful moment came when Julio Suarez reminded students of obligations to receive communion: Being in the state of grace. At that announcement several young people asked if there was an opportunity for Reconciliation before Mass, which was scheduled to begin in a few minutes. Some priests who had accompanied their youth groups offered, and other priests, who had just finished vesting for Mass, joined them on the school's quad as students lined up to receive the sacrament."
What a beautiful sight that must have been. Are these the students that we do not challenge for fear they may drop out and we lose them? You lose them by NOT challenging them. They get bored. They are intelligent kids. Give them the chance to grow in their faith. They had to tell us they wanted to be saved.
I see this year's Youth Rally has confession scheduled, during lunch, entertainment and games. I hope there is a "Julio Suarez" present, that can remind the youth, prior to lunch, entertainment and games that they have to be in the state of grace to receive communion. I can't remember the last time I heard that, anywhere.
Social justice obligation
It is puzzling to find letter writers attacking advocates of social justice as though they were dangerous subversives.
As Catholics, these writers are certainly acquainted with Jesus' mandate to his followers to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, free the oppressed and welcome the stranger. What they apparently do not understand is that, in order to implement that mandate, we need more than the charity of individuals. Help to the poor and the needy in times of crisis, however well-intentioned, does not suffice because it fails to address the causes of their problems. Numerous papal encyclicals, as well as documents by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, make it clear that working for social change is as essential a part of our faith as is charity. Theologians use the term "sinful social structures" to identify any systems that keep people trapped in poverty and hopelessness, encourage greed and selfishness, and perpetuate inequality.
I would encourage all those readers who are suspicious of the concept of social justice to look into the JustFaith program, which is regularly offered in parishes throughout the Oakland diocese. This informative and spiritually uplifting program will open their eyes to the reality of social sin, and to our obligation to resist it.
Key issues in 2012
The pro-life movement has long recognized abortion as the most important and fundamental issue of our day. For good reason, a candidate's position on the right to life has weighed heavily in the voting booth for those who believe in the dignity of life.
For years many have pejoratively called the pro-life voting block "single issue" voters. But Election 2012 can be different: we can shed the marginalizing "single issue" label.
With its contraception mandate, the Obama administration, the most pro-abortion administration our nation has ever known, handed social conservatives the traditionally "liberal" issues of "freedom of choice" and conscience rights. Pro-lifers now carry these mantles. We have been told we have no choice — we must offend our religious beliefs and pay for what others do in their bedroom including the use of abortion inducing drugs. This is an attack on our rights of conscience and religious freedom. In 2012, a vote for freedom and for conscience is a vote to protect the unborn.
Election 2012 will significantly affect the course of our nation for the remainder of history. What's at stake: The life of the unborn, the disabled and the sick; marriage redefinition to suit the fancies of a vocal minority; the traditional family that is on the verge of destruction; our First Amendment rights, which steadily disappear. That is why our involvement is critical to the future of our nation.
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