Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Letters to the Editor

(From the October 15, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

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    Reading the column by Father Mark Pautler (“Quadragesimo Anno: And also with you … And with your spirit,” IR 9/17/15), his sadness and, maybe, some confusion, over the lack of enthusiasm of his contemporaries for following the teachings of the Catholic Church is apparent. In this, Father Pautler joins many parents of middle-aged adults who are equally sad and confused. Having reared our children to attend Mass and receive the sacraments, nothing prepared us for the wavering faith and easy-going attitudes of our children regarding God.

    It is amazing how God’s love for us and the right to heaven are taken for granted. So many forget that just as in life we have certain obligations if we are to have food, clothing and shelter, we have obligations imposed by God himself if we are to aspire to heaven. The commandments came first, and then Jesus revealed the New Covenant. Because the New Covenant emphasizes love rather than punishment, it seems many choose to believe the original commandments no longer hold true, although Jesus himself said they do. This leaves many older parents with the question: What did I do wrong?

    There is also the matter of people who consider themselves good Catholics who support laws contrary to both the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus. How can this be? What have our children taken away from the catechism taught during the 1960s and beyond? It would seem they did not learn to put God first and neighbor second. Instead, they have a view of a permissive God rather than a loving one who wants what’s best.

    Margaret Kienbaum, Spokane



    I wanted to let the editor know, I was somewhat bothered by the tone of the September Inland Register, and wanted to write with regards to page 6 – a parish in Portland blessing a totem pole headed to Montana – apparently to stare down the wicked spirits behind mining coal for Asia (“Pope’s encyclical cited as totem pole blessed on way to coal mines,” IR 9/17/15)? I think it’s worth questioning: Have we so arrived to Church “belief” in man’s steering to ill future “climate” that we are prepared to shame those Catholics in the honest professions of coal mining and rail transportation? For all the scientists of the world (or the Church) know, we are overdue an ice age. Thanks be to God for the Industrial Revolution?

    If, however, we believe now “global warming” is so significant a worry that we must shift aggressively away from coal, there is great news in the phenomenal natural gas production capabilities coming on across the U.S. and also around the world. More than anything we might now insist upon, this gas is on its economics succeeding at obsoleting coal and reducing air pollution.

    In either case, we should remember though that God gave us these fuels, and the minds to find them and use them for our families in our serving him – no? Without being in favor of overconsumption, we do have a big world to feed, house, and so forth – and as importantly, to get to know.

    If there should be a scandal in our energy production it is that we are flaring gas around the world for want of pipelines to market its abundance! When burned, gas forms mostly water vapor, and some CO2. While we pump for petroleum and liquids, we burn off to no use a great deal of the abundant gas coming up with it. If nothing else we should be demanding pipelines so gas can power our shift to electrified transportation – our cities could certainly benefit there.

    At the same time, some seem negative about our Pacific Northwest hydro, which is cleaner still, whilst enamored of solar and wind. At the micro or remote level perhaps they have a future. But as significant energy collectors for distribution it is not clear they are all that friendly vs. gas: Great energies go into their manufacture, erection (and coming replacements), and some  exotic metals too, mined mostly outside the U.S. and our mining impact standards. They must also pair with gas or other plants anyway, to cover demand when the wind isn’t cooperating – no free lunch!

    If we care enough to get involved, shouldn’t we use our minds to understand a little better how things actually work?

    What’s more, should not the Church’s voice be focused more carrying the Holy Father’s lead (St. Pope John Paul II’s as well) in criticizing materialism and drawing attention to its human costs in the first place, rather than heading up a fashionable blind alley that will cause many who would otherwise hear and be converted to disregard the message? What’s more important: the how or the what?

    Paul Didelius, Walla Walla, Wash.

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