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
The Question Box
by Father I.J. Mikulski
(From the Feb. 25, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)
Q. This may be an easy answer for you, but please explain why people of fundamental religions often seem to say I must profess the faith of their church if I want to be saved? I have never heard anyone from the Catholic faith say that to me. Since I donít profess either faith I ask you: Why do they talk like that but Catholic people do not?
A. The Catholic Church does not have exclusive rights to the eternal destiny of anyone and weíre happy to say itís not our choice. We leave the judging to God who knows everything about us, inside and out, public and private, secret and known, long-lasting habit and short weaknesses, and those very old sins from very long ago. God knows all.
We cannot answer for other denominations, of course. If someone establishes an absolute minimum requirement of being ďborn again,Ē as in John 3:5, we simply respond with the rest of John 3:5 that speaks of ďwater and the Holy Spirit,Ē a clear reference to baptism.
The Catholic faith believes in baptism as an initiation sacrament that will necessarily call for a lifetime of faith with beneficial sacraments to be added. That has been the Catholic faith for about 20 centuries.
Q. When I read the priest assignments I wondered how itís done. Weíre grateful to have the priest we have and we want to keep him. But how are such transfers decided?
A. Many meetings, consultations, suggestions and personal opinions as the bishop assigns the priest where heís most likely needed.
Effective administration of a parish is not always in proportion to popularity. In making difficult decisions popularity can often be a blown-up handicap.
Your question reminded me of an old story: A priest was recuperating in the hospital. The Parish Council discussed the idea of sending him a Get Well Card. The motion passed, 8 to 7.
Q. Did Adam and Eve have female children that are not mentioned? Is part of Genesis missing, lost or never completed? How can we explain something as basic as origin of humanity if itís incomplete?
A. Genesis is not genealogy. Genesis has many incomplete sections. They are pieces of a large puzzle without a diagram. Some parts match, some parts are missing.
For instance, we know Cain was the founder of a large city (4:17) where he fled after he killed his brother Abel. But where did those city dwellers come from? And there is another son, Seth, who does not appear until 4:25.
Were there females in Godís creation? Of Course. Wonderfully and fearfully made females. Genesis does not name them.
Q. May I ask something personal? Many of the pictures of priests seem very much out of date. Donít you agree? You may think my question is personal, but do you mind if I ask your age?
A. Why, no. Of course not. The Q.B. writer comes from a long line of sturdy peasant stock. Many generations of working at either end of the plow have developed a breed that retains a youthful spirit and a husky appearance despite pestilence, wars, drought, famine and assorted austerities. It runs in the family. Yes, Sen. Barbara Mikulski knows that. Yes, thereís another Father Mikulski in California.
Old Uncle Stefan was tough as a swamp oak until his death. And even what he died from was not very serious.
Q. I confess that I have never voted before in local or national elections. At my age (Iím retired three years) I wish to make up for my negligence. Is that considered a sin of neglect?
A. True, you have failed to be a responsible citizen. The Q.B. writer does not impose violations or penalties.
We enjoy the benefits of a democratic society that makes our style of government the envy of the world. With benefits come obligations. Itís not honest to enjoy the gifts of this blessed nation without paying our dues.
So get thyself to the nearest county office and get thyself registered to vote. And inform thyself of the voting issues.