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 January 19, 2012 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. Letters may be edited for length or clarity. Remember to be charitable.

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    I too must add my voice to the many others who do not accept the new Mass changes. What is the hierarchy thinking of? All of the money and time spent on something that was not necessary when those funds could have been spent on helping struggling families pay their medical bills, their rent, utility bills, buy food, etc. Medical supplies are needed by our mission clinics in Third World countries, school supplies are needed by our mission schools in those same areas. They have to scrape for just the basic needs. The money used for the Mass changes could have been the answer for them.

    I somehow think the hierarchy has its priorities in the wrong order. Rather than face the very real problems in the Church and the world, they will do anything to avoid them. They do not have to worry about going hungry, not having medical care, not having a place to live or clothes to wear. They are well taken care of and always will be. Somehow I think they are missing Christ’s message to all of us.

    We cannot return to the past with all of its antiquated rules that were so illogical (why would anyone want to?).

    We need another (Blessed) Pope John XXIII. He was a breath of fresh air and made the changes the Church had needed for so long and still needs. Our Church was living in the Dark Ages before he was chosen to be our leader. Many of the pre-Vatican II teachings were not even Christian. This great pope was a saint and we need to continue praying that one day he will be canonized. He is more deserving than most others.

    “Lord, I am not worthy to receive You” is so much more meaningful and personal than “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.”

    Lorraine Derig, Omak, Wash.


    Donald Trautman, bishop of Erie and chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Liturgy, adamantly opposed the strong-arm tactics of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments when it forced its new translations on English-speaking congregations without the broad and educated input of bishops’ conferences, liturgical and biblical scholars. It’s unfortunate that there wasn’t more support of his levelheaded response to the nonsensical verbiage that we now experience in our liturgies. Vatican II fathers specifically called for clarity and intelligibility as guiding principles for liturgical reform. This new Vatican decree trumps these principles with its concern for exact Latin translations and syntax. And for what reason? Certainly not for clarity or intelligibility!

    Sentences of 72 and 82 words and those without subjects and predicates make no logical sense. One change, though appearing minor, provides a meaning that totally contradicts our faith. Jesus died for all people, not a select group, yet now the celebrant proclaims that the blood of Christ “will be poured out for you and for many” instead of “for all.” Saying “I believe” instead of “we believe” in the Creed splinters the assembly into individuals instead of a community, the Body of Christ. Asking God to “give kind admittance to your kingdom” portrays a cold request of a judgmental God compared to the former pastoral request of our loving God to “welcome into your kingdom our departed brothers and sisters.” Following are but a few of the nonsensical statements that are now professed: “… you should enter under my roof,” “And with your spirit,” “… we offer you firstly…” “…might to the praise of your manifold wisdom…” “we offer you this sacrifice of praise, or they offer it for themselves…” “…profit our conversion…” “… took the precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands….”

    Believers should be able to actively participate in the Eucharist without trying to listen and think as would a third-century Roman. I doubt that “ineffable,” “consubstantial,” “inviolate,” “oblation,” Ignominy,” “suffused,” and “unvanquished” are in the daily vocabularies of the majority of children, teens, and adults who come to the Lord’s Table to be fed. How do we parents encourage our children to participate when the words of communication defy understanding? We should be able to explain the richness and depth of the celebration without having to decipher the language that is used. I’m sure that Jesus used vernacular, not sacred, language with the commoners with whom he broke bread. And this just flies in the face of ecumenism as our Protestant brothers and sisters continue to use intelligible language. It is divisive in the local and universal Church.

    I hope Catholics who desire a more understandable and pastoral text will express themselves to their pastors and in print. For constructive critiques, research: Rita Ferrone: “It Doesn’t Sing,” Com-monweal; Mark Pattison, “Slavishly Literal,” NCR; Nancy Frazier O’Brien, “Former ICEL Anthony Ruff,” Catholic Herald; Joanna Waller, “Gained in Translation,” The Tablet; Arnold Angenendt, “Questionable Praise – Wisdom 85.3,” ATLA.

    Paul McDonnell, Spokane

    ‘Waste of time and paper’


    After reading the letter from the Hispanic bishops, I thought what a waste of time and paper. The article is designed to be posturing, protesting and anti-American. If the bishops are sincere and want to do something, consider helping undocumented folks apply for citizenship, learn to speak English, work to eliminate roadblocks for a green card and pave the way to be in the country legally. Put your energy where your mouth is.

    Name withheld by request

    Here to stay


    I want to express my great appreciation for Mary Rochon’s letter “Common good?” printed in the Dec. 15, 2011 issue of the Inland Register. It may be a good idea to reprint it several times a year.

    Likewise, I greatly appreciate the letter from Walter A. Stichart, “Liturgical changes.” Mr. Stichart’s “…personal level…” comments offered the reader wonderful examples of proper deportment, the reasons for them and encouragement to follow his example. So many of us (if we were taught at all) simply fall into routines failing to reflect on why we perform these simple gestures or acts of homage and how important it is that we do them.

    I am deeply saddened about Ms. Van Thiel’s personal experiences as a child (Letters, IR 11/17/11). There is no doubt that horrible experiences definitely alter how we view things. Regardless of the actions of a few, Ms. Van Thiel, you are an important member of the Mystical Body of Christ through the Roman Catholic Church, which is a great thing.

    Regarding Annette Barfield’s letter in the same issue, it saddens and frustrates me to know there are 50 years (not 40 years) of Roman Catholics who have not been taught (or have forgotten) why Latin was made the official language of the Church (too extensive to get into here) and how important it is to be as accurate as possible when translation from Latin into English. The history of our Church and traditions is extensive and frustrating at times but worthwhile to delve into.

    I was raised a pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic and have remained such. The changes (all the changes) violated for me many of the lessons I was taught growing up. Regardless of my confusion or frustration, etc., Holy Mother Church is who she says she is and I am here to stay, thanks be to God.

    Marilyn A. Ritner, Rosalia, Wash.

    Re-examine liturgical music


    In writing about the authority of bishops, the Council stated in Lumen Gentium (#25): “....and with watchfulness, they ward off whatever errors threaten the flock.” With that in mind, I wonder if it isn’t time for bishops (or their music commissions) to examine the wording of some of those popular songs, which so rapidly made it into the songbooks after Vatican II.

    Songwriters have had the liberty, it seems, of interpreting Scripture with their “based upon” texts. Nothing wrong with that. Some of the songs are very good. But are all the adaptations correct interpretations of Revelation? Among the songs not Scripture-based, there are, in my opinion, some questionable texts.

    I can list a dozen, but I will focus on two. One song urges me to be “Christ for one another.” No! I am a Christian – in him, with him, and through him. But I cannot be Christ. Only Christ can be Christ. Another song says “you and I are the bread of life.” Why are we taking these titles away from the Master? If I am all these things, then was it any big deal for our Lord to say he was all of them?

    It seems like words are being put into my mouth with which I am not very comfortable. I am not always good at offering the correct wording, but I am quite efficient at sniffing out what sounds like the wrong wording. Is this “sensus fidelium” or just “picky picky”?

    More suggestions could be obtained by creating a forum for parishioners to offer comments on the status of church music in their parishes. We have better wording now in the Liturgy; is it time to get better wording in some of the songs?

    Walter F. Stichart, Colville, Wash.

    Laity’s ‘indispensable’ role


    The document from Vatican II, Apostolicam Actuousitatem, presented on the 18th of November in 1965, recognized and noted that the laity were and have a “special and indispensible role in the mission of the church” (Flannery 766). Recognizing that statement, the changes in Vatican II inspired spiritually enlightening movements among the laity. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the laity created and attended Bible studies, retreats, days of recollection, as well as participated in prayer groups and classes at universities to increase their faith/knowledge. I personally had the opportunity to take part in each of these spiritually uplifting and rewarding experiences. It was a time as never before in which the Holy Spirit was alive and brought a spiritual vitality to my life.

    In scrutinizing the thoughts of the regressive changes to pre-Vatican II traditions, whereby the laity was subservient and unquestioning, I feel overwhelmed at the loss of what we had and where the Church will reside in the future. I feel that there have been gradual changes that indicate this movement, such as the recent revisions in the Mass text, that in my opinion negate the sense of community that we have strived to build since Vatican II. Among those changes, the claim that the use of Latin roots will enhance the liturgy is absurd. On the contrary, the vocabulary that we have come to know and value resonates much more meaningfully in our hearts. On another note, the request to no longer hold hands during the “Our Father” prayer (which for me, in a deeply moving way, has nurtured my sense of community,) has instead created a sense of personal isolation. In abstaining from doing this, we lose that sense of acknowledging and professing of Christ in each other through the touch of holding hands.

    It is equally disturbing that for more than 10 years while the changes in the Mass text were taking place, the horrors of the sex abuse have been going on and continue to. It is astonishing to me that the hierarchy finds it more important to focus on changing Mass text versus dealing with these scandals in an appropriate and honest manner. I personally feel that some small justice has been granted to the victims, only because of the commitment and faithfulness of those innocent parish priests who have had to meet the financial burdens as a result of these hidden scandals over the years.

    I continue to be deeply troubled and distressed with the manner in which the hierarchy has underestimated the intelligence, wisdom and spirituality of the laity. The culmination of these series of events has led me to question the validity and the lack of accountability of the hierarchy of the church.

    Constance Hutchinson, Nine Mile Falls, Wash.

    Death penalty


    Re: “Oregon’s governor declares moratorium on executions,” IR 12/15/11: When all the facts are known it is not difficult to support the death penalty!

    Since when do or does anyone have the right or power to interrupt the natural life span of a human being? If the individual (a murderer) has that “right,” why not the State?

    The main (or maybe) only regret a convicted killer has is that he or she “got caught”! And, when tried by ethical, legal, generously counseled means, sentenced and facing the consequences applicable to/of such crimes!

    We are facing major financial crisis in the world and our country where the poor all are being underfed, undernourished, neglected, while killers and their ilk are fed, housed and clothed, regardless of their criminal behavior and records! Innocent kids are facing hardships that that foster unfavorable behavior(s). Why not look around you, and stop to see at the potentials and lack thereof!

    To thine own self be sure, when all the facts are known!

    Dennis Kane, Chewelah, Wash.


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