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 Feb. 2, 2006 edition of the Inland Register)
The Inland Register welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should be no longer than 500 words. Letters must be signed, with address and phone number for contact, but names will be withheld upon request. Remember to be charitable.
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I believe that when we place anything on a pedestal, we risk it being knocked to the floor and broken. Who, in our American culture, and in the many other cultures of the world, were ever put on a higher pedestal than the American clergy and, yes, members of Religious communities? Father, coming to our house, ranked right up there with a visit from the president, and Father could rant and rave from the pulpit about the fires of hell, and how there was no longer any respect for authority. Now we know that all too often Father was creating a lifetime of hell for the young boys he was training as altar boys, taking on camping trips and giving a “safe” place to sleep at the rectory.
And today, lying on the floors of our churches and Religious communities are the fragments of what was a culture of privilege, a culture of making gods where we had the clay feet of humanity.
For any of us who have had a precious item broken, we know how difficult it is to piece it together with glue. We may have a semblance of our former treasure, but like me, my beautiful, hand-crafted, hand-glazed ceramic piece will no longer hold water. It does, however, hold the memory that someone loved me enough to give me such a treasure. And memory is where I believe we need to be led: the memory of the cross.
Imagine our world today if the God become human, hanging on the cross, had said, “Mother, I want you to sue those who have stripped me, whipped me and nailed me to this wood. I want you to seek emotional damages, take their temples, their synagogues and drain them dry of any possibility to continue in their ministry because they have abused me.” Instead, he said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
I believe, as someone also abused by a member of a Religious community, that my healing has not come from suing the innocent. My healing continues to happen as I seek the grace of forgiveness, and the understanding that pedophilia is as much an addiction as alcoholism, gambling and over eating. Yes, we need to protect our children, but are we protecting them by depriving them of churches, schools and religious education programs in the effort to get even with a few broken people? Let’s rise as the Christ and create a new face on an old reality.
Sister Julie Wokasch, Spokane
So often, I read articles presenting negative happenings in the Church and go away wondering about our present, and about the future of the Church. Therefore, I was much encouraged to realize that our pope, Benedict, is indeed hopeful about the future.
I enclose a copy of an article written in the monthly newsletter of the Fraternity of Priests, which includes a quotation from a publication by the pope, at that time Cardinal Ratzinger, in which he reviews several hopeful developments in the Church. In this article (The Visitation, Vol. XIV, No. 9, August 2005) he is quoted as follows:
“What sounds full of hope throughout the universal church – and this even in the midst of the crisis that the Church is going through in the Western world – is the upsurge of new movements that no one has planned and no one called into being, but that simply emerge of their own accord from the inner vitality of the faith. What is becoming apparent in them – albeit very faintly – is something very similar to a Pentecostal hour in the Church. I am thinking for instance of the Charismatic Renewal movement, the Cursillo movement, the Focolarini, Communion and Liberation, and so on… I find it marvelous that the Spirit is once more stronger than our programs and brings himself into play in an altogether different way than we had imagined … It grows in silence. Our task – the task of the officeholders in the Church and of theologians – is to keep the door open to them, to prepare room for them…
“The period following the Council scarcely seemed to live up to the hopes of John XXIII, who looked for a ‘new Pentecost.’ But his prayer did not go unheard. In the heart of a world desiccated by rationalistic skepticism a new experience of the Holy Spirit has come about, amounting to a worldwide renewal movement. What the New Testament describes, with reference to the charisms, as visible signs of the coming of the Spirit is no longer merely ancient, past history – this history is becoming a burning reality today.”
Kenneth Lindblad, College Place, Wash.