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placeholder May 8, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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I see many articles and letters on poverty that are heavy on victimization and blame our economic system. I never see anything about "personal responsibility."

Here are five simple steps to avoid poverty:
• Don't have children unless you are married.
• Graduate from high school.
• Get a job … any job.
• Avoid consumer debt.
• Stay away from crime and other vices.

Earl W. Rupp
Pleasant Hill

Social justice

How disconcerting to read from a sister so confused, deceived or both, (Forum, April 17).

Saul Alinsky was a committed Communist who despised our American dream and lauded that of the atheistic Soviet system that was responsible for the murder and death of tens of millions.

He was not motivated to help the disaffected through justice, but rather through totalitarian forms of socialism that reject human dignity and worth, and recognize the common good or the state as the ultimate good. He and his ilk sought to reject God and our God-given rights for the all-powerful state.

The letter by Patricia Gallagher says she and her followers "were marching and working to rebuild, not disrupt." Alinsky worked to build movements to tear down our country. He used fellow travelers and the gullible to that end.

I wonder if she knew that the march was primarily organized and funded by abortion promoters and George Soros' dirty hands? Pro-Life women's groups were shunned. What building up was accomplished by excluding pro-life women's groups from the march?

I am still looking for those bridges she and her fellow "workers" built, and for any positive outcomes that helped women, the poor and the stranger.

And how odd to find a letter in a Catholic newspaper that revers "Mother Earth." That is a rather ancient paganism that is antithetical to our Christian faith. It certainly has nothing to do with Pope Francis and our Catholic teachings.

It is good to voice concern for social justice — but social justice consistent with the teachings of our Church, and without association with evil. Ends do not justify means and, as the Church teaches, it is never OK to justify and accommodate evil to produce a good.

Richard Stanaro

Bad role model

Regarding Patricia Gallagher's letter (Forum, April 17), she commented on an earlier letter regarding the writer's distain for Saul Alinsky. She claimed Alinsky had empowered her to join the Women's March for dignity and respect for women, housing, health care, legal and economic justice as well as numerous other social issues.

It makes me think back to the times of Christ, when the masses were waiting for a savior who would overthrow the tyrannical government, and when Jesus did not deliver as society demanded, they crucified him delivered by the hands of one who knew him best, but understood him least.

There is something to be learned by remembering the past. Rather than raising our fists and marching in protest, are we spending our times on our knees in prayer for our country and all its people? Do we bow in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in the same manner as we march in San Francisco? Do we study the Catechism and read the Holy Scriptures with the same dedication as studying Saul Alinsky? The Mother of All Mothers, the Blessed Virgin Mary is a perfect source of feminine advice and guidance. Perhaps Gallagher should look to her as well.

Nancy Crabtree

Good letters

It is heartening to read letters in the Forum that are well thought out, empathetic, logical and informative as are the letters in April by Ann Frobose, James A Erickson, Louise Labal, Pat Buchanan and Patricia Gallagher.

Maybe it augers a welcome change of tone in the editorial selections of The Voice. An extra welcome dimension is the humble self-revelation employed by Ann Frobose in her declaration that she learned from her mother's faults as much as from her virtues. Knowing Ann's authenticity, hers is a teaching easy to receive and perhaps will help me catch my own defensive and judgmental reactions to the words and actions of the president and other politicians I instinctively distrust.

Tom McMahon


David Thayer (Forum, April 3) makes some good points about illegal immigration and our sovereign borders as he pleads for the Church to stay out of politics. Dream on.

In the same issue, Rev. Ismael Gutierrez asks us to support immigration reform as he welcomes a large Afghan family through the Refugee Resettlement Program. And on Page 10 of that issue we learn how Catholics are asked by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops "to accompany" these refugees in their resettlement.

Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch recently wrote about how this resettlement program works. The U.N. "vets" applicants (mostly Muslim) for resettlement and then the U.S. government pays voluntary agencies such as Catholic Charities $1,850 per refugee (including children) and up to an additional $2,200 for each refugee if the agency shows that it spent $200 and gave away $800 worth of donated clothes, furniture or cars. The agencies also collect money from federal, state and local grant programs — "Marriage Initiative," "Faith-based," "Ownership Society," etc.

It's no wonder the USCCB likes this program; it collected $534,788,660 in taxpayer money for refugee resettlement programs over the last nine years — more than $91 million in 2016. Nationally, Catholic Charities has grown into a huge $3.8 billion operation. Financial motives may be getting in the way of charity as traditional charity works are lessened to favor refugee resettlement.

California consistently receives at least 22 percent of incoming refugees, a disproportionate number of whom end up on welfare. Catholic Charities assigns parishes to sponsor the refugees and collections are taken up to get them housing, cars, furniture, gift cards, etc. Interestingly, Charities has "almost no real responsibility" for the refugees and is not even required to know where they live after four months. The parish is on the hook after having had no choice in the selection of the refugees. Thanks, USCCB and Charities, for this "political" opportunity for compassion — for mostly Muslims.

What's more, our Christian brothers and sisters are being wantonly persecuted and killed in the Middle East and getting passed over by the Refugee Resettlement Program in favor of ... you guessed it ... mostly Muslims.

Matt Lopez

'Virtues' advantage

Most Catholic elementary schools consistently rank higher than public schools in terms of academic outcomes. Catholic elementary schools also have a widening "virtues advantage" compared to California public schools. I say this because the California Legislature continues to pass laws that push age-inappropriate sexual topics and gender confusion deep into elementary school textbooks and administration.

As a result of these misguided laws (e.g. SB48, SB18, SB179) more parents will soon be seeking alternatives to public school. Home schooling is becoming increasingly popular. When parents discover what is now being taught in California public schools starting as early as second grade, interest in Catholic schools may also increase.

Catholic school administrators seeking new students would do well to advertise this "virtues advantage" along with their other program strengths. How can this be done in a positive way? The answer can be found in the Catholic Catechism: Emphasize the development of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit in our Catholic schools.

The 12 fruits of the Spirit: (charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity) are exactly the virtues most parents still want for their children. Why not specifically include them in school promotional materials and highlight them on Catholic school websites?

Our Catholic faith is a light shining in the darkness. A Catholic school placing that light on a lampstand will do better in this environment than a Catholic school which hides the light under a basket.

Mike McDermott

Face facts

Carmen Hartono says that we need to face the "facts of life" (Forum, April 3). I agree, let's face the facts of life. Fact: Human life begins at the moment of fertilization/conception. To paraphrase Hartono, the fact that an unborn child is a human being with human rights cannot be dismissed.

An unborn child is surrounded by a woman's body, protected by a woman's body and nourished by a woman's body. But it is not, scientifically speaking, part of the woman's body. An unborn child has its own unique DNA pattern distinct from that of its mother.

Hartono goes on to say that even a farm animal should not be raped and forced to bring a baby into the world, let alone a woman. Rape is an unspeakable crime and my heart goes out to any woman who has suffered such a terrible ordeal. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court decreed that rapists cannot be executed for their crime. Is it right or fair to sentence an innocent unborn child to death for a crime that he or she had nothing to do with?

If farm animals were being ripped to shreds or dismembered, I'm sure that liberals across the country would rise up in anger and demand that the farm be shut down and the offending farmer be criminally prosecuted. And yet millions of unborn babies have been killed in precisely the manner. We know now that in some cases they were dismembered in such a way as to preserve their organs for sale.

So, I agree, let's face facts and acknowledge that unborn children are human beings and that their human rights should be respected.

Robert Burke

When I was a stranger

Kudos to The Catholic Voice for continuing to report on the immigration issues. In the April 3 issue there was another wonderful letter from Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ. This was the third issue in a row the bishop has stated without equivocation what our Christian stance should be toward immigrants, refugees and migrants.

There was also an excellent homily by Deacon Noe Tuason that presented a very balanced and challenging view of the question. There was also an article on how the LDS community has partnered with Catholic Charities of the East Bay to provide refugee resettlement services. So many people of good will are reacting to the injustice being advocated by the Trump administration. We cannot stand by and let the forces of division and isolation speak for us.

Particularly poignant were the arguments by both the bishop and the deacon that we are Christians first and U.S. citizens second. The values of the Gospels take precedent over man-made laws. Throughout the New Testament we are admonished to welcome the stranger and care for the vulnerable.

We often hear: "but these people are criminals. They are here illegally." The bishop and deacon both counter that just because a person is here illegally does not make them a criminal. Almost all of these people are law-abiding citizens, fleeing poverty. They pay taxes, are not a drain on society and are trying to make better lives for their families. We have all broken the law by getting a traffic ticket or some other misdemeanor, but we weren't automatically branded a criminal. Nor should these people be called criminals.

The bishop outlined specific actions that he is implementing in the diocese along with promoting informational training and workshops. We should all do our best to inform ourselves of this issue and to work in our parishes and communities to foster a comprehensive, responsible, Christian solution to the problem. Only then will we be able to say, "When you were a stranger, we welcomed you."

Dennis Wasco

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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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