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

Regional Report

the Inland Register

(From the February 20, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

Archdiocese of Portland

PORTLAND – The Archdiocese of Portland and the Archdiocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting have been recognized by the National Committee on Catholic Scouting as a Quality Diocese in 2013. This is the fourth consecutive year the Archdiocese of Portland has been so recognized.

This award recognizes those dioceses in the United States that promote and achieve a quality Catholic Scouting program. It is an opportunity for the NCCS to salute those dioceses who truly deliver exceptional programs to youth members at all levels of scouting. Quality programs for youth are what the NCCS continually seeks, and is committed to supporting this goal. When a diocese earns this award, it makes a statement that they have provided their youth members with the highest quality program experience possible.

The Archdiocese of Portland Catholic Committee on Scouting serves youth and their leaders who participate in the Boy Scouts of America, American Heritage Girls, Girl Scouts of America, Campfire Girls and Catholic Daughters of America. Today there are over 50 units throughout western Oregon sponsored by Catholic parishes, schools and Knights of Columbus Council.

In 2013, the Archdiocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting hosted adult training, youth retreats and supported the creation of new units throughout the area.

Last month, Portland’s Archbishop Alexander K. Sample recognized 78 Catholic youth from 31 parishes with the various scout religious emblems earned this past year.

“Scouting is a significant component of comprehensive Catholic Youth Ministry,” said Deacon Thomas W. Gornick, Archdiocesan Scout Chaplain. “We are very proud of the outstanding work by the volunteers on our Catholic Scouting committee.”

PORTLAND – Bill Diss, pro-life director of the Knights of Columbus in Oregon, has been fired from his teaching job at Benson High School, a public school in Portland.

Diss, a member of Holy Rosary Parish in Portland, says he was targeted because of his pro-life activities. His attorney says further legal action is coming.

Diss, who worked at the school for 11 years, received good reviews from superiors before he began leading a campaign in 2007 against a large Planned Parenthood facility being built in Northeast Portland. That’s when his bosses began criticizing him.

When Diss refused to allow organizers of a Planned Parenthood program to enter his classroom, school officials began sending in observers and disciplining him.

Diss says his opposition to Planned Parenthood stems not only from abortion but what he sees as an agenda of promiscuity. When his students become sexually active, their grades and emotional lives suffer, he says. He blames Planned Parenthood for spreading a destructive message.

School officials say they fired Diss because of disrespect for students and peers and questionable teaching practices. The Portland School Board voted 6-1 for the ouster, despite the presence of groups of supporters, including students and local parishioners. Some held signs reading “We Love Mr. Diss.” Steve Buel was the sole dissenter. Archbishop Emeritus John Vlazny wrote a letter of support for Diss before retiring early in 2013, saying “it would seem that his rights as a citizen and his competence and dedication as a teacher are presently being undermined.”

Dana Cody, president and executive director of California-based Life Legal Defense Foundation, says the organization “will pursue every possible avenue in defending Mr. Diss’s rights in this matter.” Cody called Diss “a well-qualified teacher with a track record of success.”

Gayle Atteberry, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, criticized the decision as persecution against a Christian view of life.

Diss has appeared on local and national television news.

– Catholic Sentinel (Oregon Catholic Press)

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