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 April 29, 2010 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
Thanks very much for the article about Lysistrata and Greek Week at Gonzaga University (IR 3/18/10). The support of the Inland Register contributed greatly to the success of our production, just as was true of many recent GU productions and the Way Off Broadway Co. version of The Taming of the Shrew this past summer. We gave five performances of Lysistrata, and sold out every one, except for a matinee on a sunny Saturday afternoon, when we still had around 200 people in attendance. Not bad for a 2,400 year old Greek political comedy!
The Greek Week lectures and other activities at GU were also very well attended by a broad spectrum of community members, from college and high school students to senior citizens.
On behalf of all the faculty and students who worked on Greek Week and Lysistrata, thank you for your support.
Father Kevin Connell SJ, Spokane
Just a few days before the Feast of Divine Mercy (Editor’s note: the Second Sunday of Easter; April 11 this year), I read Father Larson’s article about confession (“Liturgy Reflections: Why confess to a priest?” IR 4/9/10). He noticed how the confessionals aren’t as full as they once were. While this may be true for some parishes, I’ve seen the opposite to be true in others.
I was hoping that he might encourage those of us who aren’t making good use of this sacrament to do so since it is one of the greatest gifts our Lord has given us. Instead, as I continued to read, he proceeded to do the opposite. He seems to reduce the sacrament to merely an extension of a therapy counseling session or an option that we might choose according to our own individual taste.
While the benefits of talking to a priest in person and hearing the words of absolution may be just two of the many reasons why God chose to forgive our sins through this sacrament, it can be dangerously presumptuous to assume that this is all it is. Sharing with us the history behind the development of this sacrament is nice, but he has forgotten to mention the very purpose of a sacrament.
By definition, a sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace instituted by Christ for our sanctification. Why would God require us to receive grace through the sacraments? I can’t presume to know the mind of God. Does the Catholic Church have the authority to interpret and proclaim the law of God? Well, since I am a Catholic by choice, for me the answer to that question is, yes. Should we try to just get away with the bare minimums of our faith because that would seem to be easier? Sure, we could choose to be legalistic about our faith and only go to confession once a year and only confess our serious mortal sins, but what kind of a faith and relationship with God would that provide? If a married couple chose only to invest the minimum amount of effort into their relationship, where would that leave them? Probably miserable and on the path to divorce.
Before I made the effort to frequent the confessional regularly (at least once a month is my goal), I can testify that my faith was in a miserable state of “lukewarm-ness.” God mercifully put in my path little encouragements to get me into the confessional. I resisted for a while, but finally gave in to his gentle nudges. I can personally testify to the miraculous transformation that the sacrament of confession will do for the soul. The last thing I wanted to do was tell my sins to a priest. But it was also the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.
We may not understand God’s ways, but if we just trust him and obey him, we will find ourselves overflowing with his love, peace, and joy. I urge you, Father, to give it a try. What have you got to lose?
Christie Whiteaker, Nine Mile Falls, Wash.
After reading Father Jan Larson’s article on “Why Confess to a Priest?”, it is no wonder that telling one’s sins to a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation is disappearing from Catholic life. He states, “People, I think, are simply choosing the way of celebrating Reconciliation that is richer symbolically and liturgically, and that best suits their needs.” This gives the impression that the Church is okay with people not going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for he goes on to say, “Our sins may be forgiven by speaking directly to God, or through Baptism and Eucharist, or even by doing good works.” He further says, “The ritual shape that forgiveness has taken through history has varied according to the needs of the times and the insights of the community of Christ’s faithful.”
Our Protestant friends believe that their sins may be forgiven by speaking directly to God, and in some instances this may be true, but I cannot find anywhere in the Bible where this is considered the norm. It is my understanding that Baptism forgives all sins prior to baptism, but not future sins. I believe that Father Larson is way off base and is not teaching Catholic doctrine, for I cannot find anywhere in the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church that supports his views. I believe the Catholic Church is a Biblical Church. Therefore, if I am in error, please advise what Catholic doctrine supports his view.
Duane Sanger, Newport, Wash.
I am writing to voice my concern that the Catholic Church has been and continues to be on the path of acting as a political progressive/liberal organization which promotes the political agenda of socialism in the United States of America. This is alienating many Catholics who staunchly believe the doctrines of the Church with the traditional teachings and do not want to be part of what I believe is a socialist agenda in the reform of the United States from a republic to a socialist form of government.
Jesus preached that individual responsibility for our brothers. Jesus preached that it is the responsibility of the individual to share with those less fortunate. He said if you have two coats, give one to someone who has none. He gave us the story of the Good Samaritan. There are no stories that taught government aid, there are no stories that mandated taking from the rich to give to the poor. There are stories about forgiveness, about working hard, and increasing the value of what we are given. There are stories of sharing, and be generous. It is written that the poor will be always be with you, and they will be, no matter how many social justice programs are implemented.
Charity cannot be mandated. The Catholic Church has been an inspiration for centuries, demonstrating how to give, how to share, and how to be effective on a grassroots level with combating poverty. I am truly disturbed to see the Catholic Church progressively supporting progressive, liberal social justice programs which eliminate capitalism as the cornerstone of the economy. Without this, there will be fewer jobs, less ability to share with those less fortunate. These policies also support abortion, euthanasia and medical healthcare rationing. This is wrong! And to see the Catholic Church make a nominal effort to scold those who promote bills with abortion funding written in to them is an overall sham!
I will continue to be a Catholic, but will not support the support the stance the Catholic Church is taking on social justice. I will not idly stand by to see the Catholic Church actively work towards socialism in this country. I pray that the bishops and the clergy who are railroading these programs through wake up before it is too late!
Peggy McCoy, Spokane
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