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 May 19, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)

The Inland Register welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must be signed, and include an address and phone number for verification. Names may be withheld upon request. Send letters to:
Editor, Inland Register
P.O. Box 48
Spokane, WA 99210-0048

E-mail: inlandregister@dioceseofspokane.org

Fax: (509) 358-7302

Please limit letters to no more than 500 words. Remember to be charitable.


Draining the swamp

Editor:

I read Mr. Kelleher’s letter wondering why priests may seem reserved and withdrawn (“Letters to the Editor,” IR 4/7/05). I agree with him that much may be caused “as a result of the world’s pressures.” Certainly priests bear the burden of caring for the Church, and like the rest of us, are sometimes overwhelmed by the continual bad news via the media.

As an illustration, I recall something a civil engineering friend once said to me. He said, “When you are standing hip-deep in the swamp, and surrounded by a herd of hungry alligators, it is hard to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp.”

Kenneth O. Lindblad, College Place, Wash.


Turn the culture

Editor:

We have a responsibility to our fellow countrymen to help turn our culture around.

There are many Catholics within our country that were given a false hope that with the change in pontiffs, there would somehow be a change in doctrine within the Church. There have been numerous occasions even within our diocese where leaders have hinted that a great change was coming.

Too many have been misled. With the expedient election of Pope Benedict XVI, many have had their hopes dashed. But they were false hopes.

It should never be our goal to change Christ’s Church, but rather, to allow Christ’s Church to change us. Although we can and should work within the Church to make it stronger, the Church can never deny the Truth that it proclaims.

We live in a culture that is in decline. Members of our culture that buy into this decline claim that the Church needs to become more “progressive.” By its very nature, the Church is the most progressive institution on God’s good Earth. It will never change in order to accommodate a declining culture.

The Church has the answers for how to pull our culture out of decline. Our culture is not the remedy for the Church, but rather, our Church is the remedy for our culture.

We as a Catholic people need to get behind the beautiful teachings that the Holy Spirit has given us through Pope John Paul II, and put them into action. The very survival of our culture is at stake. And there is little doubt that Pope Benedict XVI is the perfect man to lead us.

At times the truth hurts. But it must be proclaimed nonetheless. The Church cannot and thus will not change its proclamations on sexual morals or any of the other myriad of issues that misguided Catholics try to champion.

Let’s embrace the beautiful teachings of our Church, and in exercising obedience to those truths, allow those truths to set us free. It is only then that we can utilize those truths to help set our culture free.

Greg Fazzari, Walla Walla, Wash.


Ordination

Editor:

Daniel Olstad’s letter (IR 4/28/05) places some interesting images in my mind regarding married priests.

People do make mistakes when choosing a “lifelong” partner. How would parishioners take it when their pastor and his wife divorced? Got an annulment? Remarried? Had a “knockdown-drag-out” over the kids and the house?

What if one partner had an extramarital affair? Eventually the whole parish would know it; what then? Transfer the priest-couple to another parish?

Some marriages experience these things. Some married people molest boys and/or girls. How would marriage help a priest who succumbs to these sins?

Is a parish required to support a pastor with 10 kids? Or perhaps they should practice artificial contraception, in which case your pastor-couple would be in continual sin.

Hopefully, the pastor-couple would practice Natural Family Planning, although in many a diocese, no one ever hears that there is such a thing.

I’m not sure I’ve covered all the possibilities for scandal, but there are a few. I know that priests are spread thin, but seriously doubt that married priests are the answer.

Deacon Walt Weid, Spokane


Editor:

I want to respond to a letter to the editor in the April 28, 2005 Inland Register titled “To the new pope.” This person states, “I wish to make this public appeal: Please allow our priests, not just those that are converts to the Roman Catholic Church, the option of being married without having to forfeit their ecclesiastical duties, and let woman become priests. Whatever position the Holy Father takes on these sensitive issues I will continue to be an obedient and submissive member of the Catholic Church.” I am responding in all kindness and charity on this subject, because it seems like many Catholics do not fully understand or have knowledge about the teaching of the Catholic Church on married priests or allowing women to become priests.

There are certain matters in the Church that are of discipline and that can be changed due to circumstances, for example, the fast time before Holy Communion. Married priest is a discipline of the church. It is possible the Holy Father could allow priests to marry but would probably not be the most prudent thing do to, considering that a priest is a representative of Christ and should identify with him as closely as possible. Besides, recent statistics from current seminarians overwhelming believe to retain the current discipline of priestly celibacy. Reports from Protestant ministers (that have families) converting to the Catholic faith, that are allowed to be ordained, still believe that the current norm of priestly celibacy should be retained.

The second matter is of greater importance and of misunderstanding: allowing woman to become priests. This is not a discipline of the church or a current “position” that Pope John Paul II held that could be changed by Pope Benedict XVI. It is part of the deposit of faith that all Catholics must believe. John Paul II stated in his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, May 1994: “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” Cardinal Ratzinger, as prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated on Nov. 8, 1995: “This teaching requires definitive assent ... it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium ... by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.” Being obedient to the Church is believing that only men can be priests.

The real issue is how we get more vocations to the priesthood. Orthodox dioceses, Religious orders, and countries (such as in Africa) where the faith is vibrant have no problems with getting vocations to the priesthood. What is needed is a strong practice of our faith and much prayer. Regarding the decline in vocations, Benedict XVI, as Cardinal Ratzinger, had this to say: “The primary consideration, therefore, is: Are there any believers, and only after that — will they produce priests?” (The Tablet, April 19, 1997)

David Sattler, Spokane


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