Letters to the Editor

Abortion and the president

Contesting Francis X. Maier’s criticism of President Biden in the March 22 issue, Claire Marmion begins by saying, “Joe Biden is a man of faith” (Letters to the Editor, April 5). But is Biden’s faith ours? St. Pope John Paul II, addressing the U.S. bishops in Los Angeles on September 16, 1987, spoke about Catholics who do not adhere to Church teaching. He said: “Some are reported as not accepting the Church’s clear position on abortion. It has also been noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church’s moral teachings. It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a ‘good Catholic’ and poses no obstacle to the reception of the Sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching office of the Bishops.” In his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”), John Paul affirmed that procured abortion is murder, and that lawmakers who promote and approve laws permitting abortions are among those who are morally responsible for them. We have a grave and clear obligation to oppose abortion laws by conscientious objection. It is not licit to campaign or vote for them, except to make permissive abortion laws more restrictive so as to limit the number of authorized abortions (The Gospel of Life,” 58, 59, 73). “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 7:21). — Steve Serra, St. Nicholas Church, Laguna Woods

Courage on Palm Sunday

I was overjoyed to read Robert Brennan’s column on the Palm Sunday procession in Silver Lake online April 3 (also in this issue on page 26) and see that some parishes are not cutting corners on this beautiful tradition. There's been more emphasis in recent years on doing Eucharistic processions, which are good and important. But the Palm Sunday procession is the oldest one in the Church’s history (technically, Jesus himself started it) and one of the very few actually in the liturgical books. Sadly, this procession is often skipped or done in a parish parking lot to save time and effort. Bravo to St. Teresa of Avila Church for making this public profession of faith in the most challenging of circumstances. — Anonymous priest, Northern California

More than ‘disruptor moments’

I was stunned to see the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis paired with the COVID-19 pandemic as the two of the biggest “disruptor” moments for priests in one of Pablo Kay’s questions to Francis X. Maier in “Confession Time for America” in the March 22 issue. Each of these events did not just “disrupt” the lives of priests. One involved serious crimes by priests and bishops that destroyed the lives of thousands of children, and the other involved a deadly virus that killed over a million Americans. One was purely the fault of the Catholic Church, while the latter was the fault of a virus and those who would not follow the advice of medical experts to avoid its spread. One should never view the crime of child sexual abuse — or a deadly pandemic — as just a “disruptor” moment in a priest’s life. — Donald Bentley, La Puente

On presidential ‘embarrassment’

I take issue with Francis X. Maier's dismissal of both of our presidential candidates as “embarrassments to our system of government” in the March 22 issue.  Joe Biden is a man of faith, a family man, and a longtime legislator who has helped our country return to a productive nation after the pandemic, and much more. Though not a perfect person, he does represent many good qualities not evident in the other candidate.   — Claire Marmion, Seal Beach

Serra statue is where it should be

Thank you for your story on the return of the Father Serra statue in the March 8 issue.  It was with great joy that I saw the Father Serra statue returned and now in a fitting place at Mission Basilica San Buenaventura. There were many who worked for a peaceful resolution to the placement of this statue, and I’m glad he is at the last mission he personally founded. As a mission docent, I can use this statue and its return for enhancing our discussion of the California mission era and Father Serra’s vision for the missions and his great love for the people here. — Mary Mellein, Ventura

Gratitude for a beloved saint’s return

Reading “Standing Up for Serra” in the March 8 issue brought me back to August 2020, when I watched the statue of our beloved St. Junípero Serra removed from in front of the Ventura City Hall under the cloak of darkness.   I fell to my knees and wept for the tragic events that led to this, for the lies that were told about him, for the threatened violence by a small number of activists willing to vandalize and desecrate public property to advance their beliefs, and for the rising wave of anti-Christian rhetoric that was beginning to sweep our country. It felt so much like being present at the crucifixion and witnessing the suffering of an innocent and holy man. But I was blessed to be there when the statue returned, in the light of day, to Ventura on Feb. 29 and was installed in the garden of Mission Basilica San Buenaventura. As God can bring good out of the evil he permits, more people are aware of who Serra is. Today we can honor him and follow in his footsteps, continuing his mission to bring the good news to the people of California. Last year 300 people walked 35 miles over two days in the annual St. Junípero Serra Walking Pilgrimage, covering the Santa Barbara to Ventura Mission portion of the California Camino mission trail. Siempre Adelante! — Greg Wood is the coordinator of the St. Serra Pilgrimage 

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