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 May 18, 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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Fax: (509) 358-7302
I have spent four-and-a-half years working at Spokane’s Veteran’s Hospital in the 1980s, and more than five years at Hine’s Hospital in Maywood, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. I talked to many veterans and those who have been in combat during World War II, the Vietnam War and the Iraq war. Many of them could come and make a pulpit talk promoting peace.
We hear about the number who are killed during these wars, but so often forget those who have been disabled. I served those in hospice, those who have lost legs and arms, who have to have special care and so on, as well as prisoners of war. Hearing their war stories and the sacrifices that they make are too numerous to mention.
One who fought in the war picked out the wallet of a dead enemy soldier and found the beautiful picture of his two kids and wife and felt bad that one of his comrades had taken a father away from that beautiful family. It really hit home with him that we need to find a way to peace.
One veteran told me that he had a girl that he became friends with and she came over the hill and his buddy said don’t shoot her, as she came over the hill with explosives around her body. He had to shoot her so the bomb would explode far enough away so they wouldn’t be killed.
I got to know a veteran who was on the Death March in the Phillipines and death ship to Japan, but survived. He gave me a book that he wrote titled The Tears That Never Dried.
One ward I took care of consisted of handicapped veterans. There were seven chaplains for about 850 patients; I was there from October 1991-January 1997.
I was proud to be able to be for those veterans who did so much so that we can live in freedom.
Yes, I recommend we keep our VA hospitals in Spokane and Walla Walla. That is the least we can do for our veterans.
Father John Birk, Pasco, Wash.
Last winter the Washington State Legislature narrowly passed Sente Bill 2661, adding the words “sexual orientation” (moral action) to the list of protections from discrimination. The repercussions of this bill are monumental for all, especially Catholics who observe church teaching.
We could be fined for appearing to oppose such things as homosexual acts. In addition recent history shows such legislation is a precursor to same-sex marriage legislation. Catholics are called to respect the human dignity of all persons, but this law goes far beyond that. It would require that we condone acts that violate the laws of chastity. We must rebuke such false law.
By referendum, Washington State voters can repeal in a timely fashion legislation imposed upon them by the legislature. Referendum 65, “Tell Olympia No,” has been filed to repeal SB 2661. It requires the signatures of over 12,000 voters be sent to the Secretary of State before June 7. Our bishops opposed SB 2661.
As fellow Catholics I call on all, bishop, priests and laity, to take immediate action. Call 425-493-8707 to receive copies of Referendum 65. Then immediately sign, procure the signatures of other registered voters and mail to the address on the referendum. Don’t assume others will do it for you.
The more signatures received, the stronger message we can make against unjust legislation.
Joanne McCann, Spokane
Bishop William Skylstad, Bishop of the Spokane Diocese and president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, has urged his fellow bishops to get involved in the effort to pass a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex “marriage.” He stated in his letter, “Timely and focused efforts are needed to help the Catholic faithful form their conscience on such an important matter.”
The Senate is expected to consider a constitutional amendment on marriage June 6.
“I reiterate the importance of leadership by the bishops individually and as a Conference for the support of marriage and for its protection in society,” Bishop Skylstad said.
On a related topic, Washington voters are presented with the opportunity to revoke SB 2661, which would add sexual orientation, gender expression, identity, appearance, and behavior to state anti-discrimination laws. The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) opposed SB 2661.
Referendum 65, which is currently gathering signatures, provides Catholics with an opportunity to put this matter to a vote of the people. WSCC calls on Catholics to “remedy the institutions and conditions” of Washington state in a way that ends unjust discrimination but “in ways faithful to our beliefs and in a manner that looks first to the common good.” (WSCC statement opposing SB 2661.)
Please promote, preserve and protect marriage by 1) writing Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, asking that they support Senate Joint Resolution 1, the Marriage Protection Amendment (Senator ___, US Senate, Washington DC 20510) and, 2) sign Referendum 65, putting the issue of sexual orientation, gender expression, identity, appearance, and behavior and state anti-discrimination laws to a vote of the people.
Cindy Omlin, Mead, Wash.
Many thanks to Michael H. Walters for his insight and suggestion (“Letters to the Editor: ‘To victims of abuse,’” IR 4/27/06).
I am recommending the Litany of the Sacred Heart for its graces and wisdom, for the support and guidance we must need. Are we not each/all victims?
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us!
Pat Tkaczyk, Spokane