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


Compiled by Father Tom Caswell, for the Inland Register

(From the Nov. 11, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register
Volume 9, No. 15
50 Years Ago: November 18, 1960

60-Bed Charity Building Completed

The 60-bed dormitory at Spokane’s House of Charity is now completed – and 30 of the beds are occupied by homeless transients. Even the spreads on the beds, no two alike, represent local charity.

The beds received their first occupants Oct. 21 – a week before the formal open house on October 30th with 300 local residents toured the hotel.

“Indications are that this will be a mighty tough winter,” Brother Martin, Hostel director, said. “We’re feeding 160 every morning, and from 240 to 300 at the 1 p.m. meal.”

The metamorphosis at N. Washington Street, from derelict, tumbledown hotel to streamlined, modern, inviting hostel with its facilities for rehabilitation, has been an act of faith on the part of Brother Martin and hundreds of laymen in every corner of the diocese who have donated money, materials, and time.

“Every day, somehow, we have enough food, and that in itself is a daily miracle,” Brother Martin said.

Currently, the hostel crew is worrying about Thanksgiving. They would like to give their hungry customers a bang-up feast, but the only food stuff now on hand is a wagonload of pumpkins and squash. Some will be used in pies, but time and kitchen facilities won’t add up to enough pies for the hundreds of men expected in the Nov. 24 lineup.

Here are the hostel’s food needs, which may be delivered to N. 526 Washington Street next week: 20-25 turkeys, coffee, cranberries, potatoes, canned vegetables, tinned milk, rolls, shortening for pies – and pies.

“People have been so generous to us,” Brother Martin said, “I’d like to thank them now for their Thanskgiving food offerings. I know they’ll be generous this time, too.”

Physical transformation at the hostel is not complete. To the rear of the building a 23x50 ft. cooler, walk-in freezer and laundry room is being constructed. Two sizeable contributions have made this new annex possible – $5,000 from the Welch Foundation, and $2,100 from a local donor.

Temporarily, bedding from the upstairs dormitory, and other hostel linens, are being processed free by Ted Poirer’s Baby Sanitary Laundry.

Along the west wall of the dormitory, nine rooms for Brothers and a chaplain’s room are in the finishing stages, plus a community room for the brothers. Friends of the hostel, Brother Martin said, have been invited to donate furniture. Plain, utilitarian furnishing will come to $150 for each room.

Although things have gone along “miraculously well” in this catch-as-catch-can charitable operation, more meal-a-month members are needed, plus more active members of the Good Samaritan League. Meeting the hostel’s $1,100 monthly bill for running expenses is adding to the sprinkle of gray in Brother Martin’s hair.

Adjacent to the dormitory, the six-stall shower room is virtually completed. It awaits only the laying of terrazzo floor tiles, the province of Peter Pagnutti and George Deeble.

Two candidates for eventual brotherhood are now helping Brother Martin at the hostel. More candidates, he hopes, will cast their lot for dedication to the destitute.

From the Inland Register
Volume 43 – No. 11
25 Years Ago: Dec. 5, 1985

Investigation of Seattle’s Archbishop Closed

SEATTLE, Wash. (National Catholic News Service) – Archbishop Pio Laghi, papal pro nuncio to the United States, praised and criticized Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle in a letter announcing that a two-year-old Vatican investigation of the Seattle prelate “is considered closed.”

The letter, released in Seattle Nov. 27, called for “greater vigilance in upholding the church’s teaching, especially with regard to contraceptive sterilization and homosexuality.”

In September 1983, Archbishop Hunthausen let a national convention of Dignity, a group which seeks to change the Church’s stand on homosexual activity, use his cathedral for a Mass. He publicly spelled out Church teaching on homosexual orientation and activity, but critics said that by letting the group use the cathedral he had conveyed a message that an active homosexual lifestyle is acceptable to the Church.

Shortly after the investigation was opened, the archbishop sent a letter to all Religious orders running hospitals in western Washington, restating Catholic opposition to contraceptive sterilization. One Catholic hospital which had been performing that operation in some circumstances stopped the practice.

Archbishop Laghi’s letter also asked Archbishop Hunthausen to “bring into clear focus” Catholic doctrines about Christ and the Church, Church teaching authority and the role of conscience.

It warned against liturgical abuses in the archdiocese as well, citing as specific problems general absolution, the proper first Confession-First Communion sequence and “routine inter-Communion” at weddings and funerals.

Archdiocesan marriage court practice, continuing education of priests and the selection and formation of priesthood candidates were also cited as problem areas.

At the same time, the letter had strong praise for many aspects of Archbishop Hunthausen’s leadership. It cited his “Gospel values,” “apostolic zeal,” “concern for peace and justice,” “clear ... loyalty to the Church” and “devotion and obedience to our Holy Father.”

It praised his efforts to form and encourage an active laity and to establish strong parish and diocesan structures carrying out reforms called for by the Second Vatican Council and the new Code of Canon Law.

The letter sharply criticized “extreme groups” and “obviously biased publications” which had carried on a campaign to have Archbishop Hunthausen removed from office. “You and your collaborators have suffered from exaggerated and mean-spirited criticism,” it said.

In a statement released Nov. 27 along with the pro nuncio’s letter, Archbishop Hunthausen said he has “already taken appropriate action” to handle some criticisms cited in the letter and is “firmly committed to dealing with each and every one of them.”

He also commented: “The areas of Church life that the letter singles out for affirmation are signs of the vigor and strength of this local Church and confirms the direction in which we have embarked.... I also wish to acknowledge and accept in an honest and open manner those several areas of concern that are set forth.”

The investigation of Archbishop Hunthausen dates back to November 1983, when Archbishop James Hickey of Washington, D.C., went to Seattle as a Vatican-appointed apostolic visitor to study complaints about Church life in the archdiocese.

Archbishop Hunthausen, now 64, gained wide national attention in 1981 and 1982 when he compared the Trident nuclear submarine base in his archdiocese with the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and began holding back half of his personal income taxes to protest the nuclear arms race. His speeches and actions in favor of unilateral nuclear disarmament sparked major interfaith peace efforts in the State of Washington and played a role in focusing national attention to the growing concern among Catholic bishops over the arms race. At that time, the bishops’ 1983 peace pastoral was still in its early drafting stages.

When Archbishop Hickey made his week-long visit to Seattle for the Vatican in November 1983, he said Archbishop Hunthausen’s stand on nuclear arms was not at issue. Many observers believe, however, that anger over the archbishop’s pacifism helped spark a campaign by conservative Catholics to get him removed from office.

Archbishop Hunthausen at the time attributed most of the criticisms to “reactionary elements within the Church which seem bent on undoing the renewal begun in our Church by the Second Vatican Council.”

(Father Caswell is the diocese’s Ecumenical Relations Officer and archivist for the Inland Register, and a frequent contributor to this publication.)


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