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

Letters to the Editor

(From the July 1, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)



Thank you for printing the summer Mass schedule for the Spokane Diocese (IR 6/10/04). However, for those of us who travel, especially those of us who are senior citizens, we would appreciate other listed areas (twice a year) in the Northwest. We travel to the Washington and Oregon coasts as well as the Seattle area, and the listings in the past are truly helpful.

I realize that printing these listings twice a year is expensive, but they are very much appreciated!

Carol Bodeau, Wilbur, Wash.

Catholics, politics


The times demand strong leadership and witness from our Catholic hierarchy. Sacrileges committed against the Eucharist are manifest. One of the most egregious examples of this serious sin is when Catholic, pro-abortion politicians approach the altar to receive. Code 915 of Canon Law gives our priests and bishops a very clear directive on how to deal with these politicians. It says those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to communion.”

The two senators from the state of Washington, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, claim to be Catholic. Yet both have a 100 percent pro-abortion voting record. These votes include voting against the ban on partial birth abortion. A procedure the late senator Patrick Moynihan likened to infanticide. The Church says that those who cooperate with abortion commit a grave offense.

Bishop Skylstad, in his column titled “Engaging the Culture” (“From the Bishop,” IR 06-10-04), suggests that implementing this canon would be like using the Eucharist as a weapon. The traditional view of taking strong action like this has been that it is an act of charity. The Church wants the sinner to repent and obtain eternal life. Not being admitted to Communion charitably communicates that the sinner is in grave danger of being denied the heavenly abode.

I pray that our American bishops would be unified in enforcing Cannon 915.

Bob Runkle, Spokane


In a recent letter, Andy Kelly opines that the Church is placing its members in “an untenable position” of choosing between pro-abortion candidates and a group that supports such activities as “legalized murder” (a contradiction in terms), lying, torture, spending the nation into bankruptcy, corruption and so on.

There are two basic problems with these observations. The first is that it is confusing as to what “group” Mr. Kelly refers. From my observation of politics in recent years, the political party most guilty of the sins he cites is the same party that has abortion on demand clearly stated in its platform. Even if that were not the case, to somehow try to put economic or policy issues on a moral equivalency with the killing of the innocent unborn is truly “an untenable position.” Nevertheless, it is exactly this artful reasoning that leads to the election of those who will not stand up for most precious and least protected members of our society.

John Bacon, Spokane


I am puzzled by the accusation of Andy Kelly (“Catholicism and politicians,” IR 6/10/04) regarding the Church forcing us to vote for pro-life candidates in the upcoming election. While the Church does comment on political issues, she never endorses a particular candidate or party. Catholics must vote primarily on issues, not candidates. The Church has made it eminently clear that abortion is the gravest issue of our time. As Pope John Paul II says in Evangelium Vitae regarding the aborted child, “No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined.”

As Mr. Kelly said, there are many other issues at stake in this upcoming election, and the Church has a teaching on most of them, as long as they are issues of faith and morals. As one can see from the pope and other bishops’ comments, the Church has ordered moral issues in our world today based upon the innocence of the victims. Of course, if we could, we would elect a candidate who had a will to fight each and every injustice committed against human life. At a loss for such a candidate, we as Catholics must vote for that person who has committed himself to fighting the greatest injustice being done to the most innocent of victims. This year, it seems that this candidate is George Bush and he happens to be a Republican. If in the next election it is reversed, and the most committed candidate to fighting abortion is a Democrat, Catholics should vote accordingly. We must be committed to fighting the culture of death in all its forms (death penalty, euthanasia, suicide, torture, etc.), but we must start by defending the most innocent first.

Whether the Bush administration has done the things Mr. Kelly accuses them of doing is a question I am not going to answer. What I can be sure of, however, is that the Church has not put us in a position of “supporting corruption, or abortion,” as Mr. Kelly says. We, as persons with free will, have put ourselves in this position. We chose to be Catholic knowing that if we do so, we must believe certain things, and live a certain way. Part of this choice is to obey Church teaching on matters of faith and morals. Voting certainly falls under this category as it expresses support for particular moral issues. Sure, there are views held by George Bush that are contrary to Catholic teaching, but the Church has told us that we must vote with abortion in mind first because a human in the womb is the most innocent of victims. With this in our hearts, we must vote in any election on any political level for the candidate, regardless of party, most willing to fight for life in its most innocent forms, despite having disagreements with him on other issues.

We must not be so sophisticated as to vote based on other issues, and forget about the most helpless in our society.

Michael Birdsall, Spokane


In the midst of controversy, mistakes can often be made when the wrong questions are being asked. This seems to be the case with our pro-abortion Catholic politicians. The question we should be asking is: What should be done about pro-abortion politicians? not “Should pro-abortion politicians be denied Communion?”

Blanket statements either way concerning Communion are not wise. To say all pro-abortion politicians will automatically be refused Communion does not allow that person due process. To say that we will never refuse the sacraments for political reasons forgets how seriously the Church treats abortion. Anyone who cooperates in an abortion is automatically excommunicated – and shouldn’t be receiving the sacrament (CCC 2272).

The better question is: What should be done about pro-abortion politicians? This question helps us recognize that there is a problem that needs to be tackled. There is work to be done. There is an obvious public dichotomy between professing one’s faith, and deliberately acting contrary to that faith. And, surely, excommunication has to be one of the options (hopefully a last resort).

Our pastors have to embrace the fatherhood that they are called to. Fathers are not the most popular individuals in the household, but they are the most respected. They are often called to place their arm around the wayward son and invite him to change. They are sometimes forced to reprimand and even punish children that have disobeyed. A good father recognizes that unchecked error within a family may hurt not only the wayward son, but the others that may follow.

A Catholic that advocates the killing of innocent children is in extraordinary spiritual danger. A good father, out of love for his child, must take action. He must reach out and call him back from the precipice he is walking upon. The wayward son may not heed the call, but at least he will know that he is loved enough to be reprimanded. And the other children will embrace the passion of the father as he gives guidance to his family.

True fathers are motivated by love. And love is saddened when truth is hidden and innocent children are hurt or killed. Mercy requires that we reach out to our wayward brothers.

The maxim that bad things happen when good people do nothing applies here. Let’s stop debating the particulars and roll up our sleeves. There is work to be done!

Greg Fazzari, Walla Walla

Reconciliation, or retribution?


Just wondering.

The scandal of abuses by some priests and bishops in the Church seems to have no end. Every so often new accusations crop up seemingly from nowhere, creating additional shock waves in the community and congregations. Why so long to come forward? Just wondering.

At first the reports of abuse from the victims were obviously genuine. Their suffering and pain in remembering such events for years had devastating effects on them, and for some a finality which caused more trauma and suffering for their families. Has this same kind of upset been true of recent “victims”? Just wondering.

The hue and cry by most of the victims was for reform – drastic reform in the handling of reports of abuses and the urgent need for reconciliation and healing for the abused. Attempts have been made, but have they been adequate? Just wondering.

Recently a publication indicated that the monetary cost of settlements from pending lawsuits was $58 million. Is this the price of reconciliation and healing, or the price of retribution and compensation? Just wondering.

Since the bishops and priests basically have no money other than their salaries, all money in the Diocesan coffers comes from the members of the congregations. With this in mind, is it then the responsibility of all the parish’s members to pay out that $58 million? Just wondering.

Finally, is it possible that money has more healing and forgiving power than prayer? Just wondering.

Don Dehmer, Spokane

The Inland Register welcomes letters to the editor. Please include an address and phone number.

Address letters to:

Inland Register
P.O. Box 48
Spokane, WA 99210-0048


Fax: (509) 358-7302.

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