Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Letters to the Editor
(From the Jan. 15, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)
With the changes in the Mass instituted by the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), there has been a bit of confusion here and there about exactly what to do and when to do it. However, the musicians of the diocese would like everyone to know that as far as the music is concerned, we are on top of things.
Effective immediately, we would like to ask that the following update be put in all parish hymnals: For the hymn “Let Us Break Bread Together,” so that the music might better reflect and reinforce the changes in the communion ritual, please substitute the word “feet” for the word “knees” wherever it occurs. Thus, the text will now read, “Let us break Bread together on our feet; let us drink Wine together on our feet; etc.”
Edward Schaefer, Spokane
Recently, a man from Walla Walla wrote your paper regarding the contraception issue in the Church today (“Letters to the Editor,” IR 11/13/03). I thought it took a lot of guts to do so and commend him for his effort. He made the point that there is a silence on the part of the Church with this particular doctrine and I wholeheartedly agree with him. We, as Catholics, have shunned confronting this issue for many years and, ironically enough, even more so after the issuing of the encyclical Humanae Vitae by Paul VI. We live in the spirit of Vatican II but omit the movement of the Holy Father that proceeded in the wake of that great council. This being, of course, the universal condemnation by the Holy See on all forms of artificial contraception.
As Catholics, we are obliged to agree with Church teachings. This not only includes pronouncements made ex cathedra by the pope but also encompassing the entire body of the deposit of faith. The holy truths of the infallibility of the pope, devotion to Mary, the succession of bishops, sacraments, and yes, the Church’s stance on contraception belong to the same body of doctrine in Holy Mother Church. To accept one truth while rejecting another nullifies and tears down the whole until subjectivity, confusion, and chaos reign.
We, as Catholics, have grown comfortable and lethargic in this area. We have compromised with the belief one can believe one thing while disregarding another. We pronounce the Credo with our lips, while inwardly we reject those self-same teachings. We are a Church divided, and this schism generates from the notion of subjective selection. And perhaps in no other issue is this truer than the point of artificial contraception.
If the polls are true, then many Catholics do indeed use artificial contraception. I would like to point out a few things for them to consider in their choice of conduct. Contraception impedes God’s right to give children. The greatest gift the creator can give a couple is a child for they reflect his beauty, innocence, and image as nothing else does. They are so dear to him to the point Jesus said, “let the little children come unto me.” They are images of God, but more specifically do they resemble him in their little souls. They are created in his likeness and as we contemplate God’s divinity and goodness so does he contemplate his creation and the image of him marked upon each and every one of us. The question arises: Can there be too many images of God in this world? God wills all men to be sanctified and saved, and one day, God willing, reach heaven where we will see his face in the beatific vision.
Can a couple determine who will be saved? For how can one be saved if one is not created? To use artificial contraception is man’s choice of deciding who will have the possibility of salvation and who will not. It eliminates the children we might have had and the ones they might have had unto generations and generations. We remove legacies. We remove our progeny. Everything passes in life but our children remain and as we are created in God’s image, our children are created in ours.
Not only does this issue involve stopping life but in the case of the pill, IUD, and other abortafacients it can also take life. The Pill kills – and that’s the truth! Dr. John Bruchalski’s article on the Human Life International website states: “While the predominant mechanism of action for the pill is the inhibition of ovulation, it also thickens the cervical mucus and can interrupt implantation of the early conceptus by altering the lining of the uterus. Such interruption is an abortion.”
It is not fitting for a Catholic to take the life of one’s child and yet millions do, sometimes unawares, other times not, and yet the Church and the family are left the poorer because of it.
As catechists, parents, and yes, clergy, we have silenced the issue. The abortion issue has many defendants; contraception, however, very few indeed. Our pulpits are silent and the issue is avoided like the plague. The theological, philosophical, and scientific reasons the Church uses for not allowing this act are not researched and expounded to the faithful. We are, as it were, struck dumb in fear.
The time to speak is now. The pope long ago exhorted us to be not afraid. Pope John Paul II has personally addressed this issue many times and it is time for us to do likewise. It is time to practice what we preach; and the fruit will be in the children that fill our pews, the world, and even heaven itself.
Jeffrey Grinstead, Cheney, Wash.
Soon, the Jan. 22 anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade will be upon us. Sadly, much work remains to be done within the Catholic community to change the hearts and minds of Americans. This also extends to our own religious institutions of higher education.
The results of a study commissioned by Cardinal Newman Society and reported in the March issue of Catholic World Report show that students at many “Catholic” campuses turn more pro-abortion during four years of “Catholic education.” Based on annual surveys by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute (HERI), the study provides the only accurate data on student development across several Catholic colleges. Students at 38 Catholic colleges participated in HERI surveys of freshmen in 1997 and seniors in 2001. Findings include:
• Whereas a majority of students entered Catholic colleges pro-life (55 percent opposed to legal abortion, 45 percent in support), many graduated pro-abortion (57 percent pro-abortion, 43 percent pro-life).
A full report may be read at Catholic World Report. After reading it, we might ask ourselves, “Why are our campuses holding up the commencement speakers below as role models for our impressionable young people as they enter into adult life?”
• Boston College Law School (Boston, Mass.): U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer gave the commencement address on May 23, even though he supports the Roe v. Wade abortion decision and wrote the majority opinion in striking down a Nebraska law banning “partial-birth” abortions!
• College of Saint Rose (Albany, N.Y.): New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the commencement address and received an honorary degree on May 10, even though he’d just signed a bill making free “morning-after” pills (which cause early abortions) available in city health facilities and ordered mandatory abortion training for OB-GYNs in New York City public hospitals!
• College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Mass): Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball, gave the commencement address and received an honorary degree on May 23, even though he advocates abortion on TV and endorses “keeping abortion constitutionally protected”!
• Mount Saint Mary’s College (Los Angeles, Calif.): U.S. Congresswomen Loretta and Linda Sanchez gave the commencement address on May 10, even though Loretta Sanchez received a 100 percent rating from NARAL in 2002 for her votes against a partial-birth abortion ban and to expand access to abortion, and Linda Sanchez says defending abortion is one of her top priorities!
• Notre Dame College (South Euclid, Ohio): Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell gave the commencement address on May 10, even though she advocates keeping abortion legal ’til the baby is viable outside the womb! National Public Radio once called her “one of the Ohio state legislature’s most vocal abortion rights (sic) advocates.”
• Bellarmine University (Louisville, Ky.): Abortion advocates Owsley and Christy Brown received honorary degrees on May 10, even though just one month earlier, they’d hosted a $500-a-plate fund-raiser to benefit One Voice for Choice, a nationwide coalition of abortion activists.
• Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, Calif.): Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano gave the commencement address and received an honorary degree on June 16, even though she’s forcing Catholic social-service agencies to pay for contraceptives (which cause early abortions) for their employees. In her previous position as Arizona’s Attorney General, Napolitano helped send a 14-year-old girl to Kansas for a third-trimester abortion, which is illegal in Arizona.
More colleges and universities are listed but due to lack of space, this is an incomplete list. Go to Catholic World Report for the full listing.
Susan Bacon, Spokane
Sixty or more years ago, my father told me, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In general, that has turned out to be real good advice. Now, however, it seems the advice is, “If it ain’t broke, fix it ’til it is.”
Whether we stand, sit or kneel does not, ipso facto, insure a full Communion among people. As a crib Catholic, and having discussed different religions for well over 60 years, it has been apparent for a generation I have a closer Communion with many non-Catholics than those “Catholics” who reject Church teaching.
All the bishops need to be supporting those priests who speak proudly in support of our pope and Church teaching. We have a generation and a half of “Catholics” who cannot explain the Roman Catholic position on cloning, artificial contraception, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, fornication, masterbation, abortion, in vitro fertilization, etc., etc. – the list goes on!
How can people try to put into practice what they don’t know? The lack of teaching squarely falls on the shoulders of bishops. For those bishops and priests who openly support the pope, we are thankful. It dispels the idea of an “American Catholic Church.” Without the pope, there is no Catholic Church!
Don Heinzen, Spokane