Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Leters to the Editor

(From the Feb. 5, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

Merciful compassion


Recently you published a letter regarding contraception from a gentlemen living in Cheney, Wash. (“Letters to the Editor,” IR 01/15/04). I found this letter to be full of condemnation and lacking compassion for those who sin. I also question the veracity of much of the content of that letter.

The letter states “Contraception impedes God’s right to give children.” I did not know that God had “rights.” I thought God was the origin of “rights.” Is it a sin to chose to be childless? I have never heard a member of the Catholic clergy make such a claim. In this letter one can also find the following. “Can a couple determine who will be saved? For how can one be saved if one is not created?” Mary and Joseph chose to raise but one child. In so doing, did Mary deny anyone salvation? My understanding is that the Church teaches that a couple may remain without sin and childless (or without additional children) if both agree to practice natural family planning or sexual abstinence. Do not such decisions prevent conceptions? The Church does teach that artificial contraception is a sin because it denies our human nature. Our nature is the will of God and to deny God’s will is sin. But our nature also includes free will. Does God not permit us choice in procreation so long as we do not deny our nature in other ways?

I agree with the letter’s author when he states, “As Catholics we are obliged to agree with Church teachings.” The author then goes on to state, “We have compromised with the belief one can believe one thing while disregarding another” and “We pronounce the Credo with our lips while inwardly we reject those self-same teachings.” I think one should be careful in claiming that a sinner is also a heretic. Perhaps the letter’s author should read the Epistle of James, verses 2:12-13. “So speak and so act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” I belong to that Catholic Church.

Matthew Hunton, Liberty Lake, Wash.

New seminary


I am really enthusiastic about the new seminary. It will be of great benefit not only to the Spokane Diocese, but to the entire Church itself.

While the whole nation has been filling itself with self pity, Spokane is proof that that the priest shortage is not because of a lack of young men and women are willing to devote their lives to their Creator. Rather, it is because there has been no one like Father Darrin Connall to show them that they are capable of such duties, and can serve their Creator in so many ways as others before them have done. (Editor’s note: Father Connall is rector of Bishop White Seminary, Director of Deacons, Director of Vocations for the Spokane Diocese.)

In today’s modern, mixed-up world, many young men and women haven’t felt that they are capable of being priests or nuns. It has taken someone like Father Connall to break through to them and to convince them that they are truly capable and they are being called to do so.

It definitely shows the entire nation what Father Connall has proved to the Spokane Diocese: It only takes the courage and dedication, as he has shown, to prove that the Church is on a new threshold and can be even greater than in the past, if only the people will realize it and do the same in their own dioceses. This new seminary should also prove to all Serra Clubs that their work has just begun.

Andy Kelly, Spokane

Roe vs. Wade remembrance


On Jan. 22, we remembered the dreadful day, 31 years ago, when a liberal Supreme Court, determined that the Constiution gave one person alone, the mother, the right to choose whether she wanted life of a child of God to continue. The right of the child to live, the first guarantee of this same Constitution, was decimated.

Little mention of this anniversary was mentioned by Inland Register staff. Other than a short article about the national observance and a three-line mention of events at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, nothing else was written by staff. Given the constant hue and cry about “social justice” in the paper, the fact that you chose not to write about this event, strikes as both negligent and irresponsible. If “social justice” is truly the theme of this paper, then writing about the most egregious attack against justice, the right to live, should be the top priority of the editors.

Fortunately, three people in our diocese seemed aware of this sad anniversary and wrote stellar letters to the editor, well worth being reprinted and debated. In addition to their letters, an ad, paid for by the parishoners of Our Lady of Lourdes, was the only other mention of how this brutual day would be remembered. in Spokane. No mention of the Right to Life Candle sales nor the state- wide rally in Olympia could be found in the paper.

I hope the Inland Register will do better in the future. Catholic legislators in Olympia are leading the way to amend some of the strict, “pro-death” abortion laws in Washinton State. I pray that you will lead the way in informing the people of our diocese about these bills and how we as a Catholic community can support their passage. One bill would require parental notification before a child could receive an abortion. The other bill would give the woman seeking the abortion, the right to know the implications of abortion. This is your chance to prove that the Inland Register does believe that “social justice” is center to Catholic life.

Joanne McCann, Spokane

Martin Luther King


I watched the Jan. 19 program on Martin Luther King, and what struck me was the support – or lack of it – he received from white clergymen. In fact, a number of them urged him to call off his demonstrations; I do not recall they denounced the violence inflicted on peaceful demonstrators by policemen, firement and “respectable” citizens. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, supposedly a good Catholic, urged Dr. King to call of his demonstrations; he did not ask Sheriff Bull Conner to call off his dogs.

When Dr. King wanted to start a non-violent campaign against the Vietnam War – which we now know was our biggest foreign policy blunder – his fellow clergymen did not support him and left him twisting in the wind. As a result, the Vietnam protest was taken over by the godless, who by their tactics provided aid and comfort to the enemy, and perhaps lengthened the war.

Perhaps one reason for declining church attendance is that churches’ pastors tell the congregations what they want to hear, instead of the truth.

Martin J. Owens, Walla Walla, Wash.

Abuse elsewhere


Coverage of allged sexual abuse by minors by ordained ministers of the Catholic Church is no doubt newsworthy. However, while that may be a big news topic within the Catholic Church, there is another related topic that receives no coverage by the Inland Register, and very little coverage in the mass media. That topic is child sexual abuse by Protestant ministers.

Studies show that child sexual abuse is not a problem peculiar to the Catholic Church. On the contrary, studies show that the same problems of abusive ministers and supervisors that unrealistically brush off reports of alleged abuse are at least as common in the Protestant churches. One particular web site provides nearly 1,000 newspaper reports of such problems in Protestant churches:

Michael Smith, Spokane



Is the Eucharist really Christ? A case could be made that the real scandal facing the Church is not pedophile priests but a Church that has lost touch with its roots.

There appears to be a real effort to downplay the consecration of the Eucharist. Because of the diminished role that the Eucharist plays in Sunday service, many Catholics actually believe that the Eucharist is a symbol of Christ rather than the Body and Blood of Jesus. The intense desire by American Catholic Church leaders to promote the faithful gathering of people as a body of Christ has caused the real Body and Blood of Christ to be downplayed. In trying to copy what our Protestant brothers do so well we have sacrificed the one sacrament that makes Catholics different from other religions.

We now build churches without crucifixes. We keep the Eucharist hidden in some back chapel as if we are ashamed of it. No more red candle burning on the alter to remind us of his presence. No more ringing of the small bells to call attention to a miracle being performed at the moment of consecration. No more kneeling down after receiving Jesus in a physical form. No more genuflecting when entering a pew (Christ isn’t present, he’s hidden in the back). The appearance is that American Catholic leaders are almost embarrassed by the Eucharist.

In many cases perception is reality. Many lifelong Catholics feel comfortable leaving the faith for a Protestant religion because they see no difference.

In all truth, Protestants do fellowship, youth groups and praise and worship better than the Catholic Church. What we did better was the Eucharist. A miracle performed before our eyes at the mass. A physical presence of our savior whenever we walked through the doors. A candle burning to remind you that you were in the presence of holiness. The tinkling of bells at the consecration to call your attention to a wondrous miracle being performed right now.

Wow. I sincerely pray that someday we will return to our Catholic roots.

Tom Sherry, Liberty Lake, Wash.

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