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

The Best of The Question Box

by Father I.J. Mikulski

(From the June 21, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)

Father I.J. Mikulski Q. As a grandmother of many children I have been appalled at your narrow answer telling a mother she cannot get her baby baptized just because she doesn’t come to Mass. Yes, what would Jesus do? He told his disciples “Going therefore baptize them in the name of the Father,” etc., so who are you to change his words?

Please pardon the audacity of Q.B. scrivener but you’re leaving out the best part. Let’s review his last words:

“Go therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.” (Matthew 28:19)

Please note the part about “observe all the commands I gave you.” At the Last Supper, the first Mass, he took the bread and wine, he said “This is my body … this is my blood … Do this in memory of me.” The imperative words are “Do this….” That’s a direct command.

A decision to delay a baptism is not a punishment because baptism is neither a reward or a punishment. Baptism is a sacramental invitation to a way of life. Until that desire is there, everything stops.

The very nature of baptism demands a commitment. If parents are not willing to fulfill their promises there’s no sense going any further.

Q. As a recent subscriber I am asking why your editors require a full name and address for anyone who writes to your newspaper? That seems to me very overboard that might discourage sharing personal thinking with others.

A. Editors feel it’s responsible journalism to be truthful in all writings. The alternative is to allow anyone, conscientious reader or fanatic fringe vigilante, to take pot shots in print while hiding in the bushes of anonymity.

Strange as it may seem, there are a few rascals out there who use fake names and addresses while demanding truth in accountability. In such cases editors tend to doubt their sincerity.

Q. I am happy to see that the Vatican has spoken against the so-called revelations and apparitions in the U.S. while approving the Fatima and Lourdes shrines of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We need to be aware that some people just do not listen or care to hear the truth. Can you please explain this again?

A. All appearances of Mary Mother of Jesus or anyone else come under the single heading of private revelations. We need a major distinction between public revelation that is essentially a source of our faith and private revelation that is optional.

The core doctrines of our faith, which theologians call the “deposit of faith,” are rooted in the Bible and tradition, two sources of information God has made known to us. It’s the sum of all truths we believe. We don’t know everything but this much we know beyond a doubt.

Vatican II declared, “Sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate with one another. For both of them, flowing out of the same wellspring, come together in some fashion and form one thing and move towards the same goal.... Hence, both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal feelings of devotion and reverence.”

Private revelations are a different breed. Apparitions, visions, recent or ancient, persuasive or plausible, are entirely optional. You can be an exemplary Catholic without knowing anything about any of them. Our creed is based on the Bible and tradition, not apparitions or visions. Fatima and Lourdes have been declared genuine appearances of the Virgin Mary. The seal of approval means there is nothing contrary to Catholic doctrine. The rest is up to you.

In the USA we have had no affirmed appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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