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 May 17, 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.

Send letters to:

  • Inland Register | P.O. Box 48 | Spokane, WA 99210-0048
  • E-mail:
    Fax: (509) 358-7302

    Health care


    This letter is in reply to the column in your recent issue that was written by Nancy Frazier O’Brien (“Another Catholic ‘swing vote’: Supreme Court gets the health reform law,” IR 4/19/12). There are many fallacies about a government health care plan. First of all, we are the government, and just as the first Christians took care of each other, we should remember the Bible says “to each according to his need.”

    It would be a moral good to extend Medicaid to all who are in need, in lower income brackets. However, we are the most uninsured industrial nation as far as health care goes, and we spend more for it than any other developed country. Many people who are in the middle income brackets cannot afford health care as it is offered in our country now.

    Let me tell some true stories.

    One is about a man who was working for an employer who decided to drop the insurance plan. The man, who had a preexisting condition, ended up paying one third of his salary for insurance that still carried a very high deductible and did not cover all of his medical needs.

    The other man had a family, and he saw his deductible double every few years. Then, the other man had a son who had recurring leukemia. He relapsed three times. In the middle of all this, the man’s employer changed insurance companies, and the new company did not want to accept the son, because of a preexisting condition, After many phone calls and letters from the man’s employer, the Children’s Hospital, and the little boy’s doctors, the insurance company accepted the boy on the policy. However, if you have ever had a gravely ill child, you can imagine you do not need any more stress in your life.

    These men were all sons of mine. I know the stories to be true.

    Are we going to say that a child in the womb is more important than children already born? Are we going to reject health care for everyone, because we feel that the government is not us? That we, the people, don’t have a moral responsibility to help all of our families in this country who are struggling with medical insurance issues?

    Judith DeVon, Oroville, Wash.

    Rise to hope


    Loved Cheryl Wilson’s letter (IR 4/19/12)! Thanks be to God for this Catholic mother. She personifies what Bishop Cupich was talking about when he quoted Pope Benedict XVI in the bishop’s “Called to Serve” article in the same issue. The pope’s statement: “Our aim is simply to help purify reason and to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is just.” This tells us what the bishop meant when he emphasized what Jesus taught.

    I was reminded anew of Jesus’ humility, charity, detachment from the things of this world as we are led by wisdom and purity of soul, bringing us to conversion and amendment. It is this very amendment which points out the horror we should have of sin, and the resolution of obedience to the will of God by mortifying our senses, developing a strong detestation of deceitful, worldly and fraudulent life practices which bring on ever greater suffering through trials and tribulations when a true crucifixion of our weakness would solve so many problems.

    Rising to hope we could learn the Truth which sets us free, by following the examples of Jesus’ Mother, thereby realizing our own reward and heavenly crown to be gained. Thus it is, we journey through God’s Word, and prayerfully obtain the graces promised in Sacred Scripture and the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

    Thank you, Father Bishop Cupich, for renewing this inspiration for us. May God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit bless you and keep you.

    Constance L. Brenner, Republic, Wash.

    Archbishop Tutu


    “Honoring Tutu at graduation comes under fire” by Tom Quinn, news editor of the Gonzaga Bulletin (April 12, 2012). Apparently Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the commencement speaker for this year’s graduating class at GU; that involves an honorary degree to Archbishop Tutu.

    A petition created by Gonzaga alumni and supported by a group of GU faculty has accumulated more than 600 (now more than 700) signatures in support of its stated goal of rescinding the invitation to Archbishop Desmond Tutu for this year’s commencement address.

    Arguments listed by those who oppose Archbishop Tutu’s invitation to campus include his stances on controversial topics like abortion, contraception, and gay marriage.

    GU spokesperson (a Jesuit priest) and director of University Ministry said Tutu’s stance on abortion does not disqualify him as commencement speaker.

    Tutu, who is an archbishop in the Anglican Church, has been criticized by Catholic groups, including the Cardinal Newman Society, which has labeled Tutu as pro-abortion rights for his endorsement of a constitutional amendment that would make abortions easier in his home country of South Africa, as well as his endorsement of Marie Stopes International, an organization that performs abortions.

    “He has supported people who have been involved with abortion and that’s unfortunate, and it’s against what I believe in,” the GU spokesman said. “But that doesn’t mean that everything he said is bad, and I can’t make a decision based on one issue like that. No one does and anyone who says they do are not being honest with their own integrity. Is bringing attention to one issue (out of three or four) and ignoring the other 2/3 issues not a lack of integrity?

    Again the word integrity is used by the GU spokesperson, “You have a Nobel Prize-winning archbishop who is a person of integrity, and an individual who stood for ‘the faith that does justice’ pretty much for the times he was ordained in 1960 on.”

    Bishop Tutu (in 1984) received the Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement with overcoming apartheid in his native South Africa over 28 years ago.

    There are five non-negotiables in Catholic teaching: 1) cloning; 2) euthanasia; 3) same-sex marriage; 4) embryonic stem cell research; and 5) abortion. To ignore same-sex marriage, abortion, and contraceptives would be a form of lack of integrity. It is important that we look at the whole picture. The laity/church are looking for leadership, especially from our Religious. As we have seen here, when laity are not lead, we feel compelled to draw attention to injustice.

    Remember the phrase, “If you want peace, work for justice.” As laity, we have obligation/responsibility to be a voice for the least of our brothers and sisters. The unborn cannot speak for themselves, so Catholic/Christians, people of good will, must be willing to be that voice of truth. We, as a people of God, are called to worship in spirit and in truth. What is truth? Truth is, Archbishop Desmond Tutu should not be honored as the commencement speaker at GU’s graduating class ceremonies this spring.

    Don Kaufmann, Spokane

    Investigating women Religious


    The American women Religious recently put under investigation by the Vatican do not deserve such treatment. The Vatican has chosen to ignore cardinals, bishops and priests who sheltered and moved pedophile priests throughout their dioceses. There have been no reprimands unless one considers being sent to a villa in Italy a reprimand. The costs to members of these dioceses due to lawsuits concerning pedo-philes has soared into millions of dollars. It should be noted that the same behaviors occurred in Ireland, Canada, Austria, and Germany, to name but a few of the countries.

    Let us give thanks to the American Women Religious who established hospitals, staffed and directed Catholic schools, served inner cities, the imprisoned, the poor. They also sent missionaries to distant countries working under challenging conditions to provide care and education. Many of you who are reading this letter can do so because of the skills they taught you. Many can compose a song, play a musical instrument, lead a debate also because of their teaching. Hosts of young people learned the catechism of the Church, the comfort of the sacraments and the love of God and concern for their neighbors because of their teaching.

    Thank you, women Religious of the Diocese of Spokane. Thank you to your individual Provinces for educating you to serve us.  You have made a positive difference in our community.

    Carol S. Barber, Spokane

    Thank you for article


    Thank you for your April 19, 2012 article about the “Hearts on Fire” Catholic Men’s Conference (“‘Hearts on Fire’ men’s conference ‘so needed, so welcome,’”). It was truly a worthwhile day for giving men an incentive in where the Holy Spirit is leading them in their lives.

    And, incidentally, I am the unidentified man in the picture with Bishop Blase Cupich with whom he chatted with before the conference.

    Patrick Kirlin, Spokane Valley, Wash.

    Making others feel unwelcome


    Why is it that some among us go out of their way to tell others that they are not welcome to share the fullness of Eucharist with us? I was at a funeral Mass at one of our Spokane parishes three weeks after celebrating the institution of the Eucharist. A good portion of those in attendance were Christians who practice their faith in non-Roman Catholic assemblies. They were all followers of Christ who believe that the Body and Blood are received at Communion. Yet the presider made a crisp, clear, and deliberate pronouncement of unwelcome to receive this gift from the Divine. He then proceeded to instruct the undesirables about the ground rules and provided them with the choice to either come forward with crossed arms to receive a blessing from one of the chosen or to politely remain seated in the pews. Is this proclamation of inhospitality really necessary?

    It seems as if there is a total lack of awareness of the caustic atmosphere that descends upon the community of believers when presiders attempt to be overzealous enforcement officers. Baptisms, Confirmations, First Communions, weddings, and funerals are times when families and friends come together to celebrate new life. They are intended to be joyous community celebrations that can be greatly enhanced by the presence of a pastoral presider. The last thing needed is a brash statement of exclusivity of reception of the Eucharist. Is it really necessary for presiders to take advantage of these often inter-religious gatherings as a platform from which to flaunt the Church’s restrictive teachings? Would it be asking too much to refrain from making such an elitist pronouncement? I hardly believe that Christ looks approvingly upon such insensitivity ... rules or no rules.

    Paul McDonnell, Spokane


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