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 Oct. 4, 2007 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. Letters may be edited for length or clarity. Remember to be charitable.
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Fax: (509) 358-7302
Dear fellow Catholics:
As someone, like yourself, who has struggled with a proper response to the call to assist in the settlement of the abuse claims against our church, I feel compelled to speak out in favor of compassion and justice.
The bishop and our priests are in a difficult position. As members of the fraternity of clergy who were the abusers they may be reluctant to speak out too forcefully. In fact, they are victims too, suffering along with all the rest of us, and perhaps more. So, I feel it is up to us, the lay members of our diocese, to speak out forcefully.
For myself, Christ’s call in Sunday’s Gospel, “Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple,” (LK 14:27) struck me powerfully. Rarely are we given such a clear example of how we can “take up (our) cross” than the call to provide the victims of abuse with restitution. It is our cross, it belongs to each of us, whether or not we had any role in the abuse. It was members of our family who committed the abuse, it was members of our family who covered it up or failed to act. It is only we who are in a position to act on behalf of the victims.
It doesn’t matter how the victims will use the money they received or that they are asking for money. In fact, the substitution of monetary recompense in lieu of vengeance as a remedy for injury is deeply embedded in Christian tradition. But that is neither here nor there. Our church has been given the opportunity to settle the issue by the victims and that should suffice. It is time to forgive. And if we cannot forgive the abusers, which we should, since Christ seeks the redemption of all souls, we absolutely must forgive the victims for whatever shortcomings we think they may have. Anything else would simply perpetuate the injustices already done to them.
Every time we pray the Our Father we say “ ... and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I think of how Christ was offered the opportunity in the Garden of Gethsemane to reject God’s call to him, and that he didn’t. We are not being asked to give up our life, only a little of the material wealth that we received from God’s bounty to begin with. I believe this is our Gethsemane. Certainly it is hard, no one wants to accept this cross, who would? But we now have the opportunity to respond as Christ would have us respond, to the best of our ability and means, and to do less is to fail Christ.
The Our Father also tells us, “... lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Another rendering of that passage goes “... put us not to the test but deliver us from the Evil One.” I believe that we are now being “put to the test” and that the only Christian response is to help. I urge each of you to reflect and pray not on whether you should give to help settle the claims, but on how much you can and should give.
Peace be with you.
Steve Blewett, Spokane
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