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placeholder January 18, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
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Rev. Hoye, really

The Voice (Jan. 4) contains a bizarre and potentially cruel quotation made by the Rev. Walter Hoye. In the article dealing with the Jan. 22, 2016 Standing Up 4 Life Rally, Rev. Hoye says, "I'm all for ... repealing Obamacare."

Really. The purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to make health care universal, or nearly so, in the US and to curtail health care costs in the US which far exceed costs in other developed countries. The ACA was not an abortion statute, its purpose was to increase health care coverage.

Rev Hoye, and his ilk should be careful about what they pursue. Under the ACA the number of Americans without health insurance has fallen from 18 percent in 2013 to 11.9 percent in early 2015. I think increased coverage is in the public interest. About 17 million people are newly insured. In 2010 the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the annual net cost of the ACA coverage expansion provisions would be $172 billion by 2019. In 2015 the CBO reduced its estimate to $132 billion, a $40 billion annual savings. Medical costs are rising at a significantly lower rate as a result of the ACA.

Prior to enactment of the ACA, 45,000 Americans died prematurely each year because they did not have health insurance. That number is and will continue to drop like a "rock." The ACA is succeeding.

Perhaps Rev. Hoye and his colleagues want 17 million to lose health care — I do not know, but that will be the result if the ACA is repealed.

Robert Kennedy said in the 1960s that, "The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who stand idle in a time of moral crisis." It may be that the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who would in a cruel manner strip 17 million of their health care. For certainly, stripping 17 million people of health care would constitute an insidious moral action. At least that is what the Jesuits taught me 50 years ago and, I doubt that the Jesuits of Pope Francis have changed in the interim. Let us hope that Rev. Hoye rethinks his position. His position would result in cruel consequences.

Peter Wilson

Homosexuality, again

The last few issues of The Voice contain letters of increasing levels of anger about erotic tendencies and behavior — all, I imagine, from well-intentioned people, but definitely on two different sides.

How are we to reconcile these hostile opinions, or even, a lot of the time, make sense of them? For, indeed they make little sense when critically analyzed. They depend for their arguments on the doubly misleading improper concept /homosexuality, which conflates orthogonal categories and assumes unwarranted parallelism.

When we internalize the impropriety of this concept we reject homosexualism and homophobia equally as (if I may quote my own work "Albatross") two sides of the same counterfeit coin.

Can we invite these currently quarrelsome people of good will to restate their positions, so far as logic makes that possible, in internally consistent language, using proper categories? There are two main categories involved, viz. genital behavior and the sexuality of an organism's eroticism. Can they start by listing the possible values of each of these categories? Can they then translate their increasingly bad-tempered theses into statements using proper categories? Can they drop the plain nonsense they are to some extent now uttering and restate the rest coherently?

Of course they can, but will they? I warrant that if they do they will find themselves much more in agreement. But perhaps linguistic analysis is too psychedelic for them.

John A. Wills


Three letters (Forum, Jan. 4) rationalized homosexual activity, claiming or implying that no New Testament passage shows Christ forbidding it. But in Mark 7:21, Christ includes "unchastity," adultery and licentiousness among evils that defile humans.

Jude 7 characterizes Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction as punishment for "sexual promiscuity" and "unnatural vice." St. Paul, whose apostolic associations included at least Peter, James and John — and who received Christ's own direct revelation — was likewise 2,000 years closer to Christ's earthly ministry than Forum writers now.

In Romans 1:26-27, Paul himself warns of punishment for "degrading passions" — e.g., females who "exchanged natural relations for unnatural," and males who "gave up natural relations with females…," and "did shameful things with males," thereby receiving "due penalty for their perversity."

USCCB, observing that "homosexual acts" are inconsistent with having been "created in God's image and so degrade and undermine our authentic dignity as human beings," cites Romans 1:26-27.

"Michael" (Forum, Oct. 26), who introduced himself as a local "practicing Catholic … who is also gay and committed to a chaste life," noted that many homosexuals grow up in alienating, strained households.

Honest behavioral analysts — those not genuflecting reflexively to the thoroughly compromised American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association — often diagnose the same etiology.

As Michael indicated, difficult life experiences accompanying the homosexual condition underscore the Catechism's expectation that homosexual persons "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity."

But Michael rejected an "accommodated conscience" that radically redefines "chastity" to permit homosexual acts, and which ignores an understanding that God's grace enables true virtue.

Since homosexuality fits "within the story of the fallen creation," Michael suggested that perhaps God allows the condition as "a path back to holiness and perfected unity with the Creator." That saintly outlook comports with the diocesan Courage Ministry (650-450-2286).

Regarding insinuations that miserable circumstances within some heterosexual marriages should validate homosexual parenting, Michael answers: Bad situations created by some individuals don't justify overturning Church teaching or societal norms. "Children deserve a father and a mother," he says, and "To muddy the waters by condoning same-sex unions in which children are raised is an injustice to future generations."

Michael Arata

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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.

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