A Publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
Catholic Voice Online Edition
Front Page In this Issue Around the Diocese ForumNews in Brief Calendar Commentary
Mission Statement
Contact Us
Publication Dates
Back Issues

Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland

Movie Reviews

Mass Times

Catholic Voice
Letters from
our readers

Why Junípero Serra
matters today

Enlightening perspective on how
the Church treated
Native Americans

placeholder September 21, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
  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
2121 Harrison St., Suite 100
Oakland, CA 94612

FAX: (510) 893-4734

Email letters to:


Losing influence

Since the 1960s, there has been a major value shift in Western societies from an authority-centered society to a person-centered society. Like a large tidal wave, our Catholic brethren have been dragged along with this value shift and have adopted much of its thinking.

While on the surface, the empowerment of people, as opposed to the dictatorial ways of some authority-centered societies, has seemed like a good thing, the belief that someone in authority is the custodian of certain truths has gone away and along with it, the concept of the "absolute." The individual now determines what is "right" and "true."

This shift to relativism shows up in the polls, indicating that less than half of the Catholics believe in the real presence and the Church's teachings on subjects such as gay marriage, abortion and premarital sex. These views have had an influence on our society. As we saw with gay marriage, we are no longer a united front that can steer its moral direction.

While the value shift that I have described was carrying along Catholic parents, lay teachers and others, the absence of religious in our classrooms, the de-emphasis of religious education in our Catholic universities, and the absence of any religious education from the pulpit weakened any possible foundation in Catholic beliefs.

So what can we do to right this pernicious trend? We can't get sisters back in the schools, but we can do a much better job of educating our teachers on the philosophical basis of our beliefs. At the same time, the Church must similarly start educating parents and laity.

The shift to person-centeredness is a good thing, but without respect for the truth and absolutes of the authority-centered society, it can be a recipe for disaster. I worked for the first company to introduce person-centeredness as a way of managing its employees. This company no longer exists, the victim of its own organizational culture. If we are not able to restore our influence, not only will the Church suffer, but indeed, the whole of Western society.

Pete DeLisi

Turning point

In every age there is a turning point, a new way of seeing and making sense of the world. Ten thousand years ago the climate had a 27 degree Fahrenheit variance from cold and dry to hot and humid.

People also changed: some domesticated goats and sheep, settled on farms and villages and sowed and harvested wheat; while others tamed horses and cattle and used the horse to steal cattle and raid the settled people. These horse people worshiped a masculine, high, sky god who sanctioned the conquest of the settled people and their feminine, cyclical, earthy, fertility goddesses.

Three thousand years ago temperatures stabilized to a 5 degree Fahrenheit variance and our religions settled into more or less mixtures of the two worldviews.

History is replete with repeats of aggressive outsiders moving in on comfortable insiders. The Vandal, Hun, Goth, Saxon and Viking peoples were assimilated into a viable Christian culture to create a new way of living; while the Germanic-Catholic, Slavic-Orthodox and Turkish-Muslim peoples and cultures in Yugoslavia never mixed and continue to conflict.

Yet today, the millions of people seeking "the-good-life" will not acculturate, but rather, will only further fragment our multicultural societies! Settle them with peoples like themselves, eg. Muslims in Bosnia.

Michael McCarthy

Support Iran pact

Aug 6 and 9 saw commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki making this a good time to ponder what has been done and what the future may hold.

In 1984, at the height of the Cold War, the Catholic bishops issued a letter urging an emergency nuclear freeze as a first step toward nuclear disarmament. On the strength of this letter, translated into Russian, my husband Cass and I joined two local priests and the Northern California Peace Conference in visiting the USSR and discussing the letter with both officials and ordinary citizens. Having lost 20 million people in World War II the Russians were eager to find a way for both our nations to reduce the threat of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction).

I believe the world was fervently praying. Not too many months later Mikhail Gorbachev came to power and initiated glasnost and perestroika softening the Communist system. Soon President Reagan met with Gorbachev in Reykjavik saying "trust but verify" as some nuclear accords were reached. Then the Berlin Wall fell and the USSR became the Federation of Russia.

Since, despite the signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, other countries developed the bomb with the result that today nearly 16,000 nuclear bombs exist worldwide, 94 percent owned by the U.S. and Russia. Very few of today's much more powerful bombs, with their attendant radiation and soot clouds knowing no boundaries, could render the earth uninhabitable.

The U.N., five of our closest allies and President Obama consented to a nuclear pact with Iran as the best way currently to prevent war. Pope Francis specifically approved it. Historically nations that were once adversaries have become allies. Readers should support the agreement as well.

Marlene Candell

Parents' rights

I am surprised the Catholic Church is not interested in forwarding the idea that parents have a right to make medical decisions for their children, especially since the ingredients in vaccines are something some Catholics would avoid if they could. The Church did not oppose SB 277, the law that mandates vaccinations with no religious or personal belief exemptions.

For instance: The Hepatitis A&B vaccine contains human diploid cells (cells containing two sets of chromosomes) derived from the normal lung tissues of a 14-week-old aborted male fetus.

Hepatitis B vaccine will be mandated to be given to all newborns when SB 277 goes into effect.

The Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella Virus Vaccine (live) by Merck contains human diploid lung fibroblasts derived from the lung tissues of an aborted female fetus.

Formaldehyde is used in almost every vaccine to inactivate the virus so the patient doesn't contract the disease. The question here is how much formaldehyde can one little baby body deal with.

Thimerosal (an organomercury compound) and mercury are both found in the flu vaccine. This will be a mandated vaccine. This is a government science experiment using our children as guinea pigs.

There is a referendum to overturn SB 277. More info can be found at: SB277Referendum.com.

Sharyn Obrigewitsch

back to topup arrow


Letters to the editor provide a forum for readers to engage in an open exchange of opinions and concerns in a climate of respect and civil discourse. The opinions expressed are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the Catholic Voice or the Diocese of Oakland. While a full spectrum of opinions will sometimes include those which dissent from Church teaching or contradict the natural moral law, it is hoped that this forum will help our readers to understand better others’ thinking on critical issues facing the Church at this time.

Copyright © 2015 The Catholic Voice, All Rights Reserved. Site design by Sarah Kalmon-Bauer.