Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Letters to the Editor

(From the August 16, 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
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    Fax: (509) 358-7302

    Marriage is a sacrament


    I am greatly troubled by a guest column in the Spokesman Review (Spokane’s daily paper) on July 14, 2012 by two persons who identify themselves as members of St. Ann Parish. I omit their names out of charity. They advocate an allegedly “Catholic” position in favor of same- sex marriage in the context of Referendum 74. They have naively allowed themselves to be used in furtherance of an established pattern of hostility by the S-R against orthodox Roman Catholics.

    The nature of marriage is in large part a matter of dealing with a sacrament. The nature of marriage has been explained and defined for 20 centuries by the Apostles, the Doctors of the Church, saints like St. Paul, St Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, popes, cardinals, bishops, and theologians. In evaluating who is right, I am sorry to say to the columnists: your personal views don’t hold a candle against those heavyweights. That is why I have to say that your views on same -sex marriage cannot be described as a legitimate position by Roman Catholics. Sam Tucker, Spokane

    Misplaced compassion


    Sister Julie Wokash’s letter to the editor titled “Be people of compassion” (IR 7/19/12) has inspired a response from myself; as I think her compassion is misplaced.

    Compassion for the sacred integrity of the Eucharist should be the focus here – not in place of compassion for the people at the funeral. I commend the celebrant for making it known that not all people were invited to participate in the receiving of the Eucharist. The priest at my mother’s funeral told the people attending that anyone who wanted could receive. One relative received, didn’t know what to do with t, so elected to throw it in the bushes in front of the church.

    So please, Sister Julie Wokasch, pray for our priests that they always do the right thing and praise them when they do. It isn’t easy to be the messenger, especially in circumstances such as this.

    Mary Rochon, Spokane

    Receiving Communion


    This letter is in response to Sister Julie Wokasch (“Letters,” IR 7/19/12).

    True compassion helps us realize the sacred in our lives. Casual sacraments are the temptation of a culture that has lost its sense of the sacred; casual sex, casual marriage, casual confession, and now, casual Eucharist.

    Is there any act sacred enough that we should examine ourselves prior to participating? When we allow people caught up in the emotion of the moment (funerals, weddings) to participate in sacred acts that they have formerly forsaken, we are helping them lose their integrity.

    Christ refuses no person – his invitation is to all. But, Christ is a gentleman – he never forces himself on us. Christ is not interested in a casual relationship – he seeks an intimate one. It is our choice whether to enter into this relationship.

    The invitation by Christ is to a fuller life. If this was easy, everyone would accept. But, it is not easy – for the fuller life makes demands on those that seek it. It takes commitment.

    The doors of the Catholic Church are wide open. We must honor and respect a person’s decision not to be Catholic. The Church has not refused them. Rather, they have freely chosen not to belong.

    The first Mass (Last Supper) was by invitation only – it was not open to the public (gasp). The fact that Judas received the Blessed Sacrament and still forsook Christ is not just a statement of Christ’s mercy, but of the depravity of man. Judas convinced himself that he knew better than Christ. And there are still those that are convinced they know better than Christ’s Church.

    It is compassionate to help others to maintain their sense of the sacred. The Church shows its compassion when it reminds the faithful that we must be an active participant and have a correct disposition prior to receiving the Blessed Sacrament. This is a holy and intimate encounter.

    Movement from a loss of the sacred, toward disobedience, rationally includes calling all who oppose you hypocrites.

    We all must work and pray to restore our culture’s sense of the sacred. God is.

    Greg Fazzari, Walla Walla, Wash.

    The dream is alive


    The dream is alive.

    President Barack Obama recently signed an executive order that will give an estimated 800,000 young people who are illegally in the U.S. “deferred action” status and a work permit. That was a bold thing for the president to do; it was also a good thing for him to do.

    The beneficiaries of this new policy must have been brought to the U.S. before they were 16 years of age, prove they have been here continuously for the past five years, and have graduated from high school, completed a G.E.D., or be presently enrolled in high school or a G.E.D. program. They must be at least 15, less than 31, and not have been convicted of any serious crimes.

    The anti-immigration crowd – Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, etc. – call it “back door amnesty.” I call it common sense.

    I have practiced immigration law in Eastern Washington – farm country – for the past 29 years. In that time I’ve met hundreds of these kids. My guess is that Rush, Sean, or Glenn haven’t met one.

    These kids are bright, tenacious, undeterred and in the U.S. illegally. As hard as it is for the “antis” to picture it, these kids are a significant part of the future of America.

    They were brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were just kids. They have zero culpability for the predicament they find themselves in. They’ve been educated at taxpayer expense, they’ve completed or are in high school, they have clean records, and they are good kids – just like their native-born citizen classmates. They will be the taxpayers who can help save our decrepit Social Security and Medicare systems. The U.S, is their only home.

    The idea of throwing out 800,000 clean cut “All-American” kids who are on the verge of making significant contributions to this country is the height of asininity.

    The response from Republicans to the “Deferred Action” proposal has been predictable. Virtually none have endorsed it and most oppose it. Mitt Romney criticizes it, saying it’s “short term” and “not comprehensive.”

    I ask Republicans: What ever happened to “compassionate conservatives” who can see the value in a proposal like this? What ever happened to practicality? What ever happened to common sense?

    The Republicans have been saying for years that only when we gain control of the border should we consider legalizing the people here. Well, that day has arrived. The last two years have seen the fewest number of people trying to cross our southern border in 40 years.

    So, if there was ever an element in the immigration debate that can serve as a catalyst to move this issue forward, it is the President’s DREAM ACT Deferred Action policy.

    The American people support it, the Democrats support it, and it’s time for Republicans to approach the immigration issue in an adult fashion and support this initiative, too.

    Tom Roach, Pasco, Wash.

    (Tom Roach has practiced immigration law in Pasco, Wash., for 29 years.)

    Thank you for letter


    Thank you Sister Julie Wokasch, for your letter “Be people of compassion” (IR 7/19/12). I have attended three Catholic funerals in the recent past and heard similar requests regarding those who are able to receive Communion. I felt very sad. There are loving ways to say what needs to be said and I pray the presiders recognize themselves in your letter and learn to lead with the compassion you described.

    Kathleen Schlicht, Spokane

    Eucharist is not a symbol


    I am writing in response to Sister Julie Wokasch’s letter in the July 19, 2012 Inland Register. She expressively denounced a priest for telling people at a funeral that they must be in a “state of grace” or in “good standing” to receive Holy Communion.  It seems obvious, that her problem is not with the priest, but with Church teaching. “His little speech,” as she called it, was perfectly in line with the Church norms of receiving Communion. She depicted him as being a pharisaical hypocrite, following “the letter of the law.” Christ did not send his disciples out into the world to hand out the sacraments randomly, regardless of belief.  From the beginning, Christ has called us to reform our lives. When we receive him, we reply amen, meaning “I believe.”

    Pope John Paul II stated in Ecclesia de Eucharistia, “The celebration of the Eucharist, cannot be the starting point for communion; it presupposes that communion already exists,” Though many fallen-away Catholics or even Protestants may want to receive Communion as a symbol of unity, we must remember that the Eucharist is not a symbol. It is the Real Presence which is to be taken with great seriousness.

    St. Paul addresses this in 1 Cor 11:27-29: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord… For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”

    I hope the “lost sheep,” as Sister called them, will remedy whatever it is in their lives that keeps them from being able to participate fully in the Life of the Church. We must pray for our separated brethren, bear witness with our own lives, and learn about this beautiful Faith of ours so that we might be able to explain it to others, if given the opportunity. This magnificent Catholic Church of ours: She welcomes everyone who believes in her teachings of Truth as handed down by Christ himself. We have creeds, catechisms, encyclicals and the examples of the early Church Fathers and saints through the ages that serve to teach, explain and defend our precious Faith. Many martyrs throughout history died rather than forsake “one letter of the law.”

    Sister was right about one thing: We all sin! It is great to have priests that remind us of that and provide us with the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that we can receive Communion worthily.

    I will end with a quote from St. John Chrysostom:

    “I beseech, beg and implore that no one draw near to this sacred table with a sullied and corrupt conscience. Such an act, in fact, can never be called ‘communion,’ not even were we to touch the Lord’s body a thousand times over, but ‘condemnation,’ ‘torment’ and ‘increase of punishment.’”

    Terri Neal, Walla Walla, Wash.

    ‘Need to be worthy’


    After reading Sister Julie Wokasch’s letter in the July 19 edition I feel moved to comment because she seems to imply that anyone, even non-Catholics or those who have not been reconciled to God through sacramental penance, should be allowed to receive Holy Communion. She calls those of us who uphold these criteria “letter of the law” people, asking that we use compassion instead.

    I wonder if many have read the inside front cover of our missal-ette, which states the “Guidelines for Reception of Communion.” My pastor kindly states these guidelines at funerals and suggests that anyone who is not able to receive Communion is invited to come forward with communicants, with their arms folded across their chest, to receive a blessing instead. I have not heard anyone complain about this directive and have seen quite a few people do this at our church.

    In the Bible Jesus Christ says that we need to be worthy so that receiving his Body and Blood “not be to our condemnation.” Jesus also says that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and indicates that it will not always be easy for us to find our way to him, so it seems that he expects us to have to put forth some effort and ask for his help and forgiveness for our sins.

    I think we need to be reminded of the tenets of our Faith more often in homilies. There is so much immorality in our society today, pulling us away from the Gospel’s teachings, that we really need guidance and to be reminded of what God expects of us.

    Beverly Burger, Spokane



    It seems that in an effort to bring an “idea” of unity, some people are willing to forsake what is sacred in our Faith. Sister Julie Wokasch seems to be one such of these who appears to have good, heartfelt reasons for abandoning the teachings of our Church regarding the treatment of the Holy Eucharist. Yet it is not the priest whom she mentioned who is the divider; rather, it is she, through her dissent.

    St. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, seems to be addressing this thought when he says, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgement to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.”(1 Corinthians 11:29). Thank God that we have shepherds that really care about our salvation and what we Catholics hold as sacred. The un-named priest of whom she spoke did a very compassionate thing for those attending the funeral and his words ought to give us all pause to ask ourselves: “Am I in the state of grace? Is there something that I am doing that is sinful or causing scandal which maybe I find cause to justify? Do I really believe all that the Church teaches?” These are the questions we all ought to be asking ourselves each and every time before we approach our Lord in the Eucharist; it’s called an examination of conscience. It would be wonderful if we were all in communion with each other, but, sadly, through our own choices, we are not.

    There is also the aspect of “house rules”: Nearly everyone I know has rules that apply to their home – some are negotiable, some are not. The rules that are non-negotiable apply no matter who is visiting. At my home, bed times are negotiable when we have company; not being mean to each other, not chasing the ducks or throwing rocks at the sheep are some of our non-negotiables, no matter what the age of the visitor. Our Holy Mother Church has her own “house rules,” there for good reason. In the front/back of many Catholic missals there are guidelines for the reception of Holy Communion: “...A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible...” One can also find guidelines for non-Catholics. These guidelines belong to the Church’s non-negotiable “house rules.” It would be different if we were consuming grape juice and crackers – we are not. We receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. His house, his rules. It is not for us to decide which “rule” we will choose to respect or ignore. May God bless this priest who stuck his neck out for what is true.

    Cheryl Wilson, Walla Walla, Wash.

    Unite voices


    Why is it that when a politician gets elected they suddenly become nine feet tall with an ego to match?

    About one year ago the Spokane Valley City Council denied a zone change preventing Catholic Charities from building low-income housing on religious land. This was in violation of the constitution’s First Amendment that provides for freedom of all religions to practice their faith. This flagrant disregard for ignoring our Constitution must be challenged.

    Catholics and all compassionate people must unite to voice their disapproval. Please e-mail your concerns to the mayor and other council members. Religious freedom is under attack. We must stand and be counted.

    Recently the council approved a zone change to allow high density of a housing development. Could there be a conflict of interest since two members of council are realtors?

    I have personally written letters to the Spokesman-Review (Spokane’s daily newspaper) and to the council, to no avail. The Inlander has thus far not published another of my letters.

    Together we can make a difference. Won’t you help the poor of our community?

    Bill Mihalic, Spokane Valley, Wash.

    Losing the sacred


    Progressive theologians like Kung, Schillebeeckx, Rahner and others do not have any right to act as the official teaching authority, the magisterium, of the Church. These modernist theologians’ triumphal fervor for a “new Mass” in the postconciliar period has caused what was sacred to be lost in the name of reckless efficiency. We have seen art modernized, music secularized, sacred liturgy vulgarized, laity apostatized, and clergy scandalized. The Holy Mass is not the outcome of a modern manufacturing process where we strive to meet the fashion of the secular world. The tragic fruit of this spirit’s “winsome doctrine” is empty churches and weak catechesis. This is not reform, there was no form to return to; but chaos and disintegration.

    In contrast, traditional Latin rite seminaries, Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and Institute of Christ the King, are at full capacity. Those Masses which I have attended in the Extraordinary Form are havens of young, faithful and large Catholic families. It is truly beautiful witness in the midst of this culture of death. This is the wonderful fruit of what you call an arcane and anachronistic liturgical rite.

    The faithful through the centuries never felt they were fenced out by Communion rails, that they wanted more androgyny in liturgical ministries, Latin use should be eliminated, or that the prayers or vestments in Holy Mass were repetitious. Please do not present strawmen to revise history, Father.

    Sacrosanctum Concilium is quite clear on its purpose. Please read past the opening paragraph; it is not “le Revolution.” In obedient painful silence we have endured five decades of clown, puppet, bongo and sitar, cookie, clay chalice, beach, interpretive ballet, and other “hip” innovations (sacrileges?). Progressives thought “church” had to be reborn in every age as you say, but new innovations served only to alienate the faithful. Our Holy Father called this the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture,” making our sacred liturgy into a banal and contemporary Mass production while breaching the beautiful ancient tradition.

    In contrast, our Holy Father presents the hermeneutic of continuity and renewal. The full and conscious participation you speak of is through communion with the Body and Blood of our Lord, and outside of this the Catholic Mass has no meaning in any age. Eucharist is Him in his blessed transubstantiation in this most Holy Sacrament. In reverence to his re-presentation come millennia of sacred art, music and liturgy, the living and vital deposit of faith received from our ancestors. Only with deepest humility and reverence we approach that sacrifice which gives life to the members. Per omnia secula seculorum.

    Blessed be our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, who in his wisdom gives full permission to use the Extraordinary Form in every diocese without hindrance to those faithful who desire. Take an hour to read the ordinary and canon of the 1962 missal. You may find it is as timeless and beautiful as does the See of Peter.

    Thomas Schoenberger, Spokane


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