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 24, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

Regarding Letters to the Editor

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.

Send letters to:

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


Fax: (509) 358-7302

Climate change


Climate change is, and always has been, a feature of every environment in the universe. In relationship to a Christian understanding of eternal life, climate change is important in that persons, who through act or omission cause harm to other beings, will be held accountable by themselves, their neighbors, and God.

On a geological scale, life on Earth cannot possibly be ended by several hundred or thousand years of excess hothouse gas emissions. Life will surely change in form, just as it always has; and just as the dinosaurs of 65 million years ago were replaced by mammals, so will we be replaced by beings not ourselves, who will further God’s great unfolding plan.

To demand to control life beyond our allotted three score and 10, or thereabouts, is to fail to trust in God and in our own children. We will do our best to improve the situation we find ourselves in, and then we must let go. I recycle my cans and bottles, clean the street in front of my house, volunteer for local and national projects, and yet nothing I or anyone else can do will change the fact that of the 6.5 billion humans alive today, all will be dead and buried in just 100 years. It is not we who will inherit the Earth, it is our grandchildren, and they may be just a few.

God has a funny way of beginning with a clean slate with every new birth. Imagine a world with just 1 billion human inhabitants. That is a lot of people. In fact, scholars tell us that the Earth can easily support all of those people on a continuing basis as long as the sun holds out and the tides continue to ebb and flow, even without any special technological trickery. Is it not possible that God would like to oversee such a world? I do not propose to make that choice, but God may so choose, and I say with Blessed Mary, “Thy Will be done.”

Edward Sawatzki, Spokane Valley, Wash.


This letter is in regards to the letters about protecting the environment in the April and May issues of the Inland Register.

It’s very important for us to do everything morally possible to take proper care of the planet that God has provided for us to live on, especially since in not doing so we hurt the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters. In the discussions of the previous letters, though, I hope people don’t get the impression that limiting our God-given gift of co-operating with his life-giving power of creating new souls for all of eternity, in the name of preserving the Earth, is the moral and responsible thing to do. Let us not forget that after each day of creation God looked at what he had created and called it good. It was only after he created us – human beings in his image – that he looked at what he had created and called it not only good, but very good. I don’t mean to diminish his other creation in any way, but to limit the creation of eternal human souls for the purpose of protecting the finite earth is not the answer.

I do not have the answer, but God does. I trust that he will provide it if we turn to him in prayer and do our best to obey him.

As Catholics, we are very fortunate to have the church to teach us and to show us how to live in accordance with the way in which God created us to live. If people believe that in order to be good stewards of the earth we should obstruct our fertility, then this could quite possibly lead them to start (using contraception), which we already know from the great wealth of wisdom of the Church is very harmful to us individually and to our society as a whole. Not to mention the fact that many forms of contraception can actually destroy an already existing human life — i.e., the IUD, ‘the pill,’ etc.

We also know from that wisdom of the Church that the taking of human life in abortion is only increased by the contraceptive mind-set. We have seen the number of abortions skyrocket with the widespread use of contraception.

Being responsible disciples of Christ means upholding the dignity of human life, not destroying it or preventing it as a means to save it.

Christie Whiteaker, Suncrest, Wash.



In response to the article by John Thavis, the Catholic News Service report on the Church’s teaching on Limbo (“Limbo: ‘assessing an issue in theological evolution,’” IR 5/3/07):

I’ve always wondered why we honor the Holy Innocents as being with God in heaven. Some hardliners will say they had baptism of blood. Do not aborted babies have baptism of blood? Do not all children who are killed have baptism of blood? Isn’t it kind of ungodly to think those who have parted from this Earth without having sinned will not share in the Divine Presence?

Michael Gary, Spokane

Paying the settlement


Who will pay the financial penalty incurred by certain predatory and evil representatives of our own clergy? The laity. Who paid for the construction of the churches in which we receive our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, each week? The laity. Who will foot the bill for anything and everything the Church needs financially? The Laity. Where does the laity get all of the money to pay for these things? God. Since everything is a gift, the money is not ours to begin with.

So, what will we do without the money of the four horsemen, those “prominent” and wealthy members of our diocese who make all things possible? The answer is simple: Take that much longer to repay the debt by placing yet additional burden on the less affluent, hard-working, innocent families of the diocese.

Perhaps we should all follow the example of our wealthy friends and withhold our contribution toward the repayment of this undeserved debt. Yes, then later we could pool our resources and spend hundreds of millions of dollars building new churches since many of the old, sacred buildings built and maintained by generation after generation of those Catholics before us will be no more. Even if you do not like the decision to declare bankruptcy, it is here and it is real and the debt will be paid one way or another by the end of the year. Our diocesan pastor and successor to the Apostles, the Bishop of Spokane, discerned that our diocese should settle the financial claims against it in this manner in order to begin the healing process and to continue building the Kingdom of God here in Spokane.

It is true to say the clergy of our diocese, past and present collectively, have committed a mortal sin and grave injustice against the legitimate victims of sexual crimes (for which the specific perpetrators should spend their remaining years in prison in hopes that their souls will not be eternally lost), and also placed full restitution for these crimes on their flock. They are collectively to be blamed only in the sense that they are entrusted with the shepherding of the flock and guardianship of the body of Christ. We, the laity and members of the body of Christ, while we too must share the guilt, must collectively make restitution for these sins in order that the Church may be made holy once again. The clergy will help us sacramentally, prayerfully and publicly complete this sacrifice.

Make no mistake, the vast majority of priests have not personally committed these unspeakable crimes. There are many good and holy priests in our diocese. Like Christ, the unblemished Lamb, who bore the weight of the sins of the world and paid full restitution for us though he was innocent, so we now have an opportunity to truly be Christ-like. Of course, the difference is that the Catholic Church is made up entirely of sinners. Therefore, let us hope that God does not ‘withhold’ his mercy from us and call for our ‘resignation’ for mishandling the gifts He freely gave each of us.

To whom much is given, much is expected. God giveth and he taketh away. After all, it’s only family money. Let us quickly pay this debt so that we can focus our attention and resources on the real issues: proper selection and formation of priests, true obedience to the Magisterium and teachings of the faith by the clergy, true obedience to the Magesterium and teachings of the faith by the laity, personal holiness, proper catechesis, cultivating vocations to the devout life, detachment from earthly possessions, and much more.

Michael Sanborn, Spokane

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