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 July 19, 2012 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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The church was full of people grieving the loss of a very special young woman who had, in some infinite way, changed all of our lives. I believe, from what I read in the Gospels, that Jesus would have reached out and healed her, if he had met her on the roads of Galilee. Instead he gave her to us, for 33 years, so she could reach out to heal us, be the suffering Jesus in our lives.
The homily was wonderful, the music so special, the reverence intact, until the presider made his little speech, saying those not in the “state of grace” or in “good standing” with the Catholic Church were not welcome to receive Communion. There was an audible gasp from numerous people.
Do we not meet, in the Gospels, Jesus giving his Body and Blood, for the first time ever, to all of his apostles; the ones he loved, some who were soon going to betray him? He didn’t confront Judas until after that first transubstantiation moment, when in essence, the bread and wine became his Body and Blood. He didn’t confront Peter until after that first communion he shared with all of them. Jesus confronted, not one person, until after he said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19). Then, after he shared the totality of self with the assembly, Jesus says, “... the hand of the betrayer is with me at this table” (Lk 22:21).
The congregation that gathered that day had its “lost sheep.” The assembly that gathered that day had its “doubting Thomas.” The Body of Christ that was there that day was bruised and broken and I feel went home even more damaged. The shepherd among us had the perfect opportunity for reaching out in healing and gathering: instead he scattered, even more, by getting caught in the letter of the law instead of the law Jesus came to proclaim, the Law of Love.
Jesus certainly had his problems with the letter of the law people. The Law of Moses said a woman caught in adultery was to be stoned. When the church leaders of his time brought such a woman before him, he asked her to stop sinning but he also invited those, wanting her stoned, who were ‘’without sin” to do the stoning. John tells us the “audience drifted away” (8:9).
Jesus’ great struggle was with those who expected a lot from others but sinned themselves. He called them hypocrites. We all sin; priests, Religious men and women, married people, single people. It’s why Jesus came. The sin Jesus had a difficult time dealing was that of hypocrisy, that pretending to be what we’re not. The woman caught in adultery is the only sexual sin Jesus speaks of, and yet, in the Gospels hypocrisy is mentioned at least 20 times. The Jesus of the Gospels is hard on letter of the law people. Let’s be like Jesus, who was a person of compassion for those who were doing the best they could with what they had. Just look at those he chose as his best friends. What an interesting bunch they must have been! What an interesting bunch we are!
Sister Julie Wokasch CDP, Spokane
To paraphrase the famous line by Tom Burlinson in the movie The Man from Snowy River, two recent writers to the IR (6/21/12) are “welcome to share my pew anytime.” And if they would prefer to kneel and receive Holy Communion on the tongue in our Church, I am sure they would be allowed to do so, as well. To the best of my knowledge “devotion” or “the act of being devout” is not a sin. Receiving Our Lord in good conscience and being fully aware of his Real Presence and a fully practicing member of the Roman Catholic Faith in actuality is, however, prerequisite, regardless of whatever other actions are being followed/allowed.
Thanks be to God for the wonderful testimony of Faith practices by the faithful and true people in our diocese, and the Church throughout the world.
While we are on the subject of conscience, how do you feel about the right to practice one’s conscience in advising others against contraceptive use and abortions? My goodness, it has become an insane playing field in the political arena. How can people cry for civil liberties in one breath and deny life in the next? The Fortnight for Freedom of Religion prayers initiated by the United States Bishops recently, to be said June 21-July 4, 2012, may need to be prolonged indefinitely. I intend to pray for this intention for as long as needed, and I can still form a conscientious thought.
God bless and guide our Church always.
Constance L. Brenner, Republic, Wash.
On Monday, Sept. 17 at 5:30 p.m., a Mass in remembrance of children who have died will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in Spokane.
When we gather as a community, we make statements about what we believe. The most fundamental statement we make when we gather to remember children who have died is that all life is important. Lives that are short, lives that gathered no worldly acclaim, even lives so hidden that only the parents knew they existed – all these lives are important.
People never “get over” the death of a child, and the death of a child affects many more people than the parents. Siblings, grandparents, extended family, classmates, friends and neighbors all mourn. A person does not get over the loss of a child, a person gets through it, and learns to live with the loss. One of the important lessons is that it is possible to feel joy again after losing a child. It may take months, but joy does return.
Mourning changes as the years go by. What begins as a pain-filled and bewildering experience evolves. Never are we more aware of our helplessness before God than when a child dies. “Why, God? Why?” has few answers and none that satisfy logic except that illness and accidents happen to those of all ages. Even when mourning evolves to acceptance that God’s ways are not our ways and we have no control over death, we still wonder why. We watch through the years, marking the milestones. Often, a child of the same age serves to remind us of the milestones. Grade school and high school are relatively easy to imagine. Adulthood is less clear because no one knows how a particular person will change as an adult. Though the memories are always colored by sadness, eventually we come to a place of gratitude that God created the life whose loss we mourn and made it part of ours.
We gather to remind ourselves that we are not alone. When parents, relatives, friends and neighbors gather to remember a child who died, it becomes clear that few lives are untouched by this kind of loss. Even when children are casually part of our lives, they still belong to our community and they matter.
Part of remembrance is coming to terms with the fact that we often blame ourselves when our child dies. “If only I had known…” or “If I had done this differently…” come to mind, however little those thoughts are warranted. Our human failings come back to haunt us – “I could have been more patient, or loving, or generous.” A difficult fact to accept is that sometimes others blame us as well. This blame is a burden in the midst of an already painful time. Both blaming ourselves and the blame of others is partly a way of denying the fact that God controls life and death. We come into this world because we are created by God, and we leave it at a time of God’s choosing. In the face of that lack of control, we blame ourselves and others blame us. We gather to place all of this before God, experience his loving mercy, and to learn to forgive ourselves.
We gather to remember, to mourn, and to celebrate as a Church community. We remember that all life is important by remembering that this particular life was important. Though we grieve the loss, we celebrate that God gave us that life and we are grateful to have been part of it. My hope is that this will be an annual Mass of remembrance. If we take time out to remember, honor, and to celebrate, we can live more peacefully with the memories the rest of the year.
Lisa Weber, Spokane
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