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placeholder October 9, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Thank you

May God continue to bring mighty blessings to all who were so generous in supporting the collection for the Retired Priests of the Diocese of Oakland.

We are grateful for your financial support and continued prayers. Thank you!

Rev. Paul Vassar
San Leandro

Contraception mandate

Jim McCrea (Forum, Aug. 14) takes issue with the U.S. Bishops' attitude to the contraception mandate in Obamacare. He seems to me to be rather off-base.

The first condition of good governance is that government not itself act against the purpose of government; the abortion mandate must thus be opposed. Another condition is that government do nothing immoral, and promoting contraception is immoral because contraception itself is immoral.

Whatever advantage is thought to be acquired by contraception is better achieved by fertility-awareness-based methods of family planning, which are securer, safer, environmentally friendlier and more economical.

The motives of those who urge contraception need to be examined. The great biologist J.B.S. Haldane wrote in one of his Possible Worlds essays back in the 1920s that contraception ought to be made widely available at public expense because only nasty, selfish people would make use of it and so there would be fewer nasty, selfish people in the next generation (Planned Parenthood — under a different name — got into contraception precisely to limit the proportion of such nasty people as the poor and the Negroes). Haldane was mistaken: the availability of contraception apparently makes nastiness and selfishness more common (we have a sufficiency of evidence that the spread of contraception in a society tends to increase the acceptance of and demand for abortion, the nastiest deed of all), so other excuses have since been invented, but neither do these hold much water. Good public policy is that contraception be discouraged, not publicly funded.

McCrea objects to the bishops' opposition to the contraception mandate being linked with a call for religious freedom. Would he agree with the bishops had they opposed the mandate in a different way?

John A. Wills

Humility is key

One of our great saints reminded us that the three most important virtues are: humility, humility and humility. It truly is key.

Pride is the "father of all sin." It clouds our minds to think that we know better than the constant teachings of the Church, the Bride of Christ to whom He promised freedom from error in matters of faith and morals.

It's essential that we be open to the truth. We must read and study the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as history and some basic philosophy. During this most significant 500 year anniversary, I urge you to view the DVD series of The Augustine Institute, "True Reformers." You'll be amazed.

We have a sacred obligation to know the Faith, not only for ourselves and our salvation, but also for others who God brings into our lives, especially our children. Do you know what your children are being taught?

So many in the Church do not seem to see this crisis of faith. Some may recall the words of Pope Paul VI, "The smoke of Satan has entered the Church." Retired Bishop Rene Henry Gracida has an excellent blog: Abyssus abyssum invocat (Deep calls to deep), https://abyssum.org/author/abyssum.

I pray you'll take advantage of such great resources so you will better know and understand what is happening in our beloved Church, founded by Christ Himself.

This is also the 100th anniversary of Our Blessed Mother's apparitions to the children of Fatima. She showed them a vision of Hell and of how many souls go there because they have no one to pray or to sacrifice for them. God so deeply desires the salvation of all, but how many reject Him? Mary also told the children how much sacrilegious Communions offend God.

Prayer is indispensable, as is sacrifice. Too many Christians want Christ without the Cross. And too many want Him without His Church. To be able to bring others to Christ, fight against the evil in society and the apostasy in the Church, we must strive for personal holiness. May we heed the warning of Our Lady of Fatima.

David Zarri

Better understanding

As Catholics, we are all aware of the shortage of priests these days. I am also very grateful for the priests that we do have and realize we are very lucky to be able to have at least one at each church in the Oakland diocese.

However, as so many priests come to us from other countries, their English is hard to understand. While I honor them as a priest of course, and also feel guilty for being frustrated, it is very frustrating when I go to Mass (especially if I am desperate to hear some encouraging words), and cannot understand what they are saying.

After talking with some Catholic friends and family, and knowing that this is an issue for many, I thought I would write to suggest the diocese offer English as a second language classes for some of our priests. It could be informal and taught by lay people, mostly focusing on pronunciation. I'm sure the priests would like to be understood as much as we would like to understand.

I don't mean to sound disrespectful at all. I just want to understand.

Debra M. Troxell

Anti-Catholic bigotry

President Obama successfully infected the Democratic Party with his anti- Catholic, anti-Christian bias. For the first time in my memory, senators have attacked an appointee to the federal bench on the basis of her faith.

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin challenged her on her faith and expressed the opinion that she would not be able to move beyond "Catholic dogma" even though she explained how she would recuse herself anytime that arose.

Essentially they said "Catholics need not apply" to the federal courts. The candidate, Amy Barrett, is extremely qualified (except for her religion).

This anti-Catholic bigotry is a blot on the integrity and objectivity of the Democratic members of the Senate.

I lay the blame for this on Obama as it was not present until he showed his anti-Catholic, anti-Christian side. In prior times religion or race never arose, Justice Antonin Scalia is remembered as an outstanding justice even though he was a Catholic and a conservative. He was never subjected to such attacks.

Jewish appointees including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg were not attacked because of their Jewish faith. Black appointees were never cross-examined regarding their thoughts on racism. This is a new "litmus test" based on religious bigotry. You can read the entire story on various online sites, including Catholic World Report, Sept. 13.

It's time Catholics, and other Christians take a hard look at what the Democratic party has become. Are you willing to trust your future and your children's future to a party that has become primarily a base for religious bigotry and supporting positions you consider immoral or just plain wrong?

Don't accept the medias' views, Google up the party's platform, is it something you agree with?

Patricia Wiesner

Cristo Rey name

As sponsors of the new high school replacing St. Elizabeth's and with one staff person on board, the Christian Brothers won the competition to name it: Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay High School.

This left thousands of alumni and the general St. Elizabeth's community feeling disappointed and discounted that St. Elizabeth's is not in the title. A possible solution: instead of naming it Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay, call it Cristo Rey De La Salle (at) St. Elizabeth's.

Bob Norris

Morass of sorrow

The efforts of the Congressional progressive left, in tandem with a liberal media's attempts to blame the Trump administration for the current problems of the uninvited but loved border crossers can only be described as disgusting.

It was Congress under the Obama administration that authored and voted for open borders and DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. They, not Trump have created a no-win morass of pain and sorrow for citizens and the undocumented. U.S. citizens are now placed in a situation of demanding an unbelievable and emotionally painful solution to this massive influx of foreigners: do the illegals go back to their countries of origin leaving their U.S. born children here? Do the children pay the price of Congress' actions and are driven out of our country?

These are legislators eager to exchange the immediate gratification of lobbyists for promised votes at election time.

The church officials appear to be using these immigrants' plight just as are the politicos through creation of sanctuary churches.

Camille Giglio
Walnut Creek

Climate change

The Holy Father recently made the following comments regarding climate change and DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals:

"Pope Francis said of the unwillingness by some to admit climate change is real, "If we do not turn back, we will go down … And history will judge the decisions." He also noted the stubbornness of climate change deniers with a Biblical reference: "Man is stupid, the Bible said. It's like that, when you don't want to see, you don't see." "Those who deny it, should go to the scientists and ask them", the pope added. "They are very clear, very precise."

Pope Francis' comments on the reversal of DACA:

"I hope they rethink it a bit. Because I heard the U.S. president speak. He presents himself as a man who is pro-life. If he is a good pro-life believer he must understand that family is the cradle of life and one must defend its unity." In February 2016, Pope Francis said of President Trump's immigration attitudes, "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not a Christian."

Pope Francis through his words and comments encourages all of us who call ourselves "pro-life" to defend life in all its form. It is time to call upon all people who reject climate change, demonizing immigrants; not allowing refugees to enter our country; to see and feel in a Christian and humane way, this is "pro-life." It is the core of the teachings of Christ.

Joseph A. Maraccini

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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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