The World Will Be Watching

(Holy Family Bulletin June 9, 2002)

At every Mass we pray for our Holy Father and for our local bishops. In addition we should offer additional prayers during these days for Archbishop Brunett, Bishop Thomas and for all the bishops of our country as they meet in Dallas from June 13-16. As the Archbishop explains in his letter (see below), the solution to this crisis will not ultimately come from a document, but from vigilance. We have to pray for our bishops that they will have wisdom and courage to carry out their duties of teaching, governing and sanctifying in the name of Jesus.

Besides the issue of sexual abuse of children, there are many other areas where the bishops must exercise strong leadership. Something which has been overshadowed, but is extremely vital is the supervision of theological instruction in Catholic Universities. Many parents have felt abused because they sacrificed so their child could attend at a Catholic University only to discover that professors were teaching contrary to the faith. To correct this situation, it has been required that by June 1 of this year, each professor of theology should receive a “mandatum” (mandate to teach) from the local bishop. Presumably this has happened at Seattle University and St. Martin’s College. Just as a lawyer or a doctor posts his certification so should a theology professor post his mandatum. There should be no secrecy in this area.

Another area we need to pray for our bishops is in confronting the urgent moral issues of our society. One of the most dramatic we currently face is the cloning of human beings. Although the great majority of Americans oppose cloning, some are trying to bring it in through the back door. You will hear people say they are against “reproductive cloning” but in favor of “therapeutic cloning” because of all the medical benefits it could bring. It sound nice, but it raises a huge question: Why is OK to clone a human embryo and then destroy it for research purposes, but wrong to allow that same embryo to develop into human child? The moral problem is obviously in the initial act of cloning a human embryo. Therapeutic cloning is more accurately called “clone and kill.” For a fuller explanation I encourage you to pick up the blue pamphlet “What the Church Teaches about Human Cloning.” As Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated, “Human cloning violates fundamental ethical and moral norms, and is to be condemned unequivocally.”

An opportunity to join other Catholic in praying for our bishops is the Taize prayer service this Thursday, June 13, 7:45 at St. James Cathedral. Also our chapel in the Ailbe House will be open, as always, twenty-four hours a day. Please try to come for an extra hour of prayer while the Bishops are meeting in Dallas.

We priests also need your prayers. Pray for us older ones, but also in a particular way for the newly ordained. As you know Fr. Armando Perez was ordained on June 9 with two other young men, Frs. David Mulholland and David Young. It is a great privilege for us that Fr. Armando celebrates his First Mass of Thanksgiving this Sunday at 11 a.m. here in Holy Family. As I mentioned last Sunday, you are also encouraged to pray for seminarians Thanh Dao and Peter Mactutis from Holy Family.

A place where your children (or grandchildren) can receive sound teaching is the Vacation Bible School which will take place during the final weeks of June and July. It is Vernon’s going away present to parish families before he enters the Dominican Novitiate in California. Please sign up your child or grandchild as soon as possible. The parents will be most grateful to you for getting their child into our parish Vacation Bible School.

Good news, the permit for the casino has been withdrawn and Safeway has promised not to lease that space to a casino! Please express your appreciation to our local Safeway. They have been good neighbors and have given wonderful support to Holy Family School and Parish.

Next weekend we say a sad farewell to Sister Mary Clare Hall. There will be a reception in her honor after the 5 p.m., 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Masses. Please come and show your appreciation to Sister Mary Clare for her great work.

Reminders: Communal anointing of the sick will be celebrated this Sunday, June 9, at 2:30 p.m. Filipino Pot Luck and Listening Session this Thursday, June 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. Graduation Mass this Tuesday, June 11, at 8:30 a.m. and Graduation Ceremony at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening. All are welcome to attend.

Some of you asked how the Neah Bay fishing trip went. Here is summary written by my younger brother, Louie:

phillip, greg, and louie went to Neah Bay planning to go fishing. we were the only people scheduled to fish on the sugarfoot boat, and the captain didn't show up because he either didn't know that we were signed up to fish or he didn't want to take just 3 people out on his boat. we got our $85 dollars apiece back. we went to the ocean and walked on the beach, greg bought a 5 pound salmon at Clallum bay, we went to Sol Duc hot springs and ate lunch and walked to Sol Duc falls, we stopped at Port Angeles on 8th street and saw the 2nd biggest Madrona tree in Washington State, and then we came home. it was less tiring then fishing, and we got home early. lawrence and i will be 53 on june 10th below is a link to some pictures from our excursion.

The world will be watching

By Archbishop Alex J. Brunett

One week from today, on June 13, 2002, I will join the other Catholic bishops of the United States for a three-day meeting in Dallas that promises to be unprecedented. The world will be watching, listening, speculating, and reacting. Perhaps no other meeting in the history of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has generated as much public interest and concern as this one, because it calls for a discussion and a vote by the bishops on a draft “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” — a comprehensive framework to deal with the sexual abuse of minors by clergy.

For the past six months, this topic has dominated news coverage by the media in this country and beyond. Day after day, the media report new cases of alleged sexual abuse of minors by priests and bishops, and its alleged cover-up by the church. These allegations are often followed by intense and prolonged public criticism, and oftentimes by priests’ resignations from active ministry. As you know, the Archdiocese of Seattle has been directly affected by the current crisis. But because we have had clear and comprehensive policies in place for many years, we have been able to respond to allegations quickly and responsibly, with concern and compassion for victims and their families, and for the safety of our children and young people. As your archbishop, I am proud of, and grateful for, all the work that has been done by countless people in this archdiocese to address the grave problem of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. I reiterate my support for all my priests who serve generously and graciously the people of God. They must not be painted with the same brush as that of the accused.

Nonetheless, like all of the bishops in this country, I am concerned about our upcoming meeting. I think about it, and pray about it, constantly. While the meeting promises to bring about courageous and much-needed initiatives that will more effectively address the problem of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, it has created high, and unrealistic expectations. Inevitably, many people will be disappointed, discouraged and angry because the meeting will not — indeed, cannot — produce an immediate cure-all to the crisis. It will not, and cannot, solve all of the problems. But it is an important step in that process.

The focus of the meeting is the safety and protection of our children and youth; the proposed charter recommends actions to ensure that. It recommends actions to assist the healing and reconciliation with victims/survivors; prompt and effective response to allegations; cooperation with civil authorities; disciplining offenders; and providing for means of accountability for the future to make sure the problem continues to be effectively dealt with through a national office and its review board.

The damage done by sexual abuse to the victim, the victim’s family, the church community served by the abuser, and the church as a whole, is too great not to take decisive steps to stop it. At our upcoming meeting, we bishops want — and expect — to do that.

We also want to restore the laity’s confidence and trust in the church and its leadership that have been shaken by the present crisis. We have been humbled, and we must now resolve anew to speak openly — with integrity, conviction and the examples of our lives. The living witness of the faith by clergy and laity is essential to the healing and strengthening of the church. As we anticipate the U.S. bishops’ meeting in Dallas — and what surely will be the dawn of a new era for the church in the United States — I ask for your continued prayerful support.


Secret Acts Made Public: "Locally, the Seattle newspapers printed a priest's picture, along with prurient accounts of his failings some two decades ago. Dark secrets have been exposed to all, including small children. But is that really what Jesus had in mind?" (June 23, 2002)

How Our Bishops Failed: "Since the late 60’s, bishops have tolerated open dissent to Jesus’ teaching on human sexuality. That leniency reached such an extreme that two successive Cardinals did not correct a priest who openly advocated man-boy sex." (June 16, 2002) )

To Forgive the Unforgivable: The sister grabbed the doctor by the shoulders and said, “I absolve you for what you've done. You must continue your work and not be crushed by guilt.” (June 9, 2002)

Broken Bread: If, like me, you sometimes get discouraged, I recommend a chapter from Everlasting Man, titled “The Five Deaths of the Faith.” (June 2, 2002)

To Forgive the Unforgivable: The sister grabbed the doctor by the shoulders and said, “I absolve you for what you've done. You must continue your work and not be crushed by guilt.” (June 9, 2002)

Broken Bread: If, like me, you sometimes get discouraged, I recommend a chapter from Everlasting Man, titled “The Five Deaths of the Faith.” (June 2, 2002)

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