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placeholder January 9, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Don't agree

Re: Dec. 12 Forum letters:

It appears that Robert, David, Jack, Michael, Jim and Kevin got exactly what they most wanted in the presidential election, but they still are not happy.

It seems there are some Catholics, myself included, who do not completely agree with them.

Jacquelyn Mason

Baptism prayer

A friend once told me a Mass should be offered before the body is buried, to assure prayers for the soul's safe passage into eternity.

Babies who have been aborted also need prayers for the safe passage of their immortal souls. I found the following prayer, which I think is extraordinarily beautiful. It came from the Precious Blood of Jesus Daily Devotional, Queenship Publishing Co.

"Through this prayer, large numbers of innocent unborn babies will be saved ..."

"Heavenly Father, Your love is eternal. In Your ocean of love, You saved the world through Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Now look at Your only Son on the Cross Who is constantly bleeding for love of His people, and forgive Your world. Purify and baptize aborted children with the Precious Blood and Water from the Sacred Side of Your Son, Who hung dead on the Cross for their salvation, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. May they, through the Holy Death of Jesus Christ gain everlasting life, through His Wounds be healed and through His Precious Blood be freed. There to rejoice with the Saints in Heaven. Amen."

Amelia Buzzell

China-Vatican pact

Pope Francis is reportedly about to sign an unnerving agreement with China over who will choose bishops. His negotiating team in China, once again "reportedly," has agreed, pending the pope's signature, that bishops in China will be appointed by the pope, but only from a candidate list chosen by the Chinese government. The pope could reject any candidate but would only be able to pick from a new slate chosen solely by the Communist Party.

There is a government-run "Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association" plus a "Chinese Catholic Bishops Conference," answerable not to the Vatican but to the Communist Party. They compete with the Vatican-run Catholic Church, with 10 million members who have endured 60 years of oppression.

The Chinese government has appointed, without Vatican approval, eight bishops. Three of them have been excommunicated by prior popes; several have children; two of them head up a diocese where there is already a Vatican-appointed bishop. Chinese authorities were set to appoint two more bishops by the end of 2016.

China insists the Vatican accept all 10 government-appointed bishops and it appears the pope will agree. Consider: Out of about 100 Vatican-approved dioceses in China, there are some 30 bishop-vacancies and another 30 where bishops are older than 75. This agreement means all new bishops would be exclusively from a communist government-list. Frightening!

Consider a bishop's powers — and be worried: Ordains priests, operates seminaries, including what is taught. Appoints deacons, leaders of Church organizations, and teachers; determines employee duties, opens/closes seminaries, elementary, high school, colleges and universities; interprets Church law; approves school curricula; hears confessions and dispenses absolution (or not); and controls budgets.

Further, archbishops and cardinals normally come from the ranks of bishops — as do popes. In addition, that the Vatican, a sovereign state, would accede its State appointment powers to the atheist Communist Party is troubling.

Since bishops would come only from the Communist Party candidate-list can they really have primary loyalty to the pope?

Might Chinese government-picked bishops be transferred around the world to evangelize (and in whose name would they evangelize?)

Can confessional confidentiality be trusted to bishops, or priests they ordain, whose allegiance might be to the Communist Party?

Will Church laws be interpreted or changed to conform to communist tenets?

The Voice strangely has not mentioned this tentative agreement. This agreement has nothing to do with papal infallibility. This is an organizational issue, i.e., who selects Church leaders, one of whom might be a candidate for Pope someday.

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, your diocese needs your pastoral guidance to understand this existential matter.

Joe Moran

A people issue

I was saddened to read some of the letters in the Dec. 12 Forum, which seemed to question clergy support for students who gathered in peaceful protest of Trump's election win. The pope, bishops, clergymen and anyone else who directly or indirectly opposed Donald Trump's rhetoric should be commended as patriots to their country and loyalists to their faith as they clearly understand the values necessary to lead our country. They aren't protesting for abortion rights; they are protesting against racism, bigotry and divisiveness.

In response to Michael Arata's letter (Forum, Nov. 7), yes I am a local union labor leader. As such, it would have been very easy for me to support Donald Trump, as many union members did, as he promised to renegotiate trade deals to bring back jobs, raise wages for US workers and reduce our trade deficit. Unfortunately, this election wasn't only about trade; it was about several issues critical to the well-being of our nation and its people.

Trump didn't just say all the hateful and divisive things you read and heard about, he campaigned on them. Donald Trump was not only a terrible candidate but he is a terrible person. To claim that his platform better aligns with Catholic values than that of the Democrats is ridiculous. Donald Trump is (currently) pro-life but that isn't the only life issue. Our economy, foreign affairs, gun control, capital punishment, affordable healthcare, nuclear weapons, climate change, and immigration, among so many other things, are protection of life issues as well. You know what else is an important life issue? Treating every human being with the respect and dignity we all deserve.

We live in a state with a large population of immigrants who bring their culture, their skills and their values to improve our country. I had to make a conscious choice this election, as did many other Catholics. This wasn't about a Republican or Democratic platform. It was about who we are as people of this nation. It seems hypocritical to me that a Christian could justify supporting Trump, not only based on what he's said and done, but for who some of his supporters are and the things they have done in response to his rhetoric.

Both Republican and Democratic platforms speak to certain issues which align with Catholic doctrine but this election was not a platform issue. It was a people issue and humanity lost.

Joseph A. Maraccini

Martin Luther

Other readers to The Voice have criticized me regarding my remarks about Martin Luther and any criticism I may have had of Vatican II and/or Ecumenism.

Now, Pope Francis went to Sweden for a joint celebration for Martin Luther. Tragic is an understatement. Martin Luther was excommunicated for his many anti-Catholic attacks of the Catholic Church. I have to ask why would our pope, the leader of my Catholic Church, celebrate with other Lutherans the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran revolt? How many Catholics have left the Catholic Church due to the heretical teachings of Martin Luther?

The message Pope Francis is now making is "there are no anti-Catholic instructions and guidelines from the teachings of Martin Luther and other Protestant churches." This joint celebration was a celebration that commemorates the Reformation that destroyed the unity of Christendom. Now, our Church leaders are teaching us that if we divorce; should we have an abortion; if we choose a gay lifestyle, no problem!

Christ allowed himself to be whipped at the stake, crowned with thorns and crucified because he wanted to teach us, a very strong statement that sin is not what He chose for us to live by. He could have come down on earth, in some fancy carriage, with Mary and Joseph and waved at us as He passed out beer and marijuana. But no, He allowed Himself to be crucified. He offered us a place in Heaven.

Pope Francis and his liberal cohorts at the Vatican seem to welcome and encourage this new age of liberal lifestyles, where anything goes.

Remind yourself, Christ started one church, the Catholic Church. These other churches have been started by persons who chose a more liberal, anything goes lifestyle. These religious groups were not started by Christ.

Rich Peterson

Mother's letter

My daughter had a near nervous breakdown crying over the election. It was so bad on her she couldn't talk about it. I write in the hope it will help her and calm people and stop the riots. By breaking windows and such, protesters aren't helping anyone and they are harming their own neighbors.

Do not be upset, please. This is America and we will survive. Don't think Trump will abolish Obamacare entirely. He may change the name, but the USA has always had some sort of coverage for all Americans long before Obamacare. Trump, I think will just eliminate the waste. You know already that most all people from other countries come here for our freedom and any benefits we have to offer, like education and medical coverage, etc. They hopefully will become Americans.

The elderly in our country, who are Americans and paid taxes all their lives are missing out because many of the services may be going to the newcomers who may be here illegally. However, Congress will not let Trump do anything they don't want him to do. So right there, that in itself, is a safety measure. Trump won't be able to move an inch without Congress backing him up. So please try not to worry.

I think many, many of the male population voted for Trump because many of the men in this country have lost their jobs. Many of the jobs have been sent out of the country. Trump can't do anything on his own. If memory serves me correctly, I think it was back in 1948 the media had predicted that Dewey was going to win over Truman. But it was a landslide and Truman won. Everyone was in shock.

But America did not collapse. We prospered even more and better. Those were tough times too. It was just after World War II and the world was still in a big mess, but America survived.

You have to have faith in God and in America. You have to think more positively about life. Lots of faith is what you need.

It is not the end of the world. You are still here. You are still alive and in relatively good health. You have a home. You eat regularly. America is so blessed. We support the rest of the world. We feed the world. But we want our prosperity back with the help of God. There is only one America. God bless America for all eternity.

Mary A. Cronin

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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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