More Inexplicable Behavior from Bp. Cupich of Spokane

Some time back Bp. Cupich decided, for completely incoherent reasons, to stiff arm 40 Days for Life, as well as to try to crush any involvement by clergy and seminarians in this fine, widely approved by American bishops, peaceful witness to human life. He partly backed down, due to embarrassing publicity (as near as I can tell). But his icy treatment of the prolife movement in Spokane continues. Witness this recent letter to me from John Weingarten, who heads Spokane’s 40 Days for Life:

Hi Mark,

I’m working on another anti-Catholic/anti-life problem at our largest “Catholic” hospital in Spokane, Sacred Heart Medical Center. After hearing numerous reports that women patients who give birth at Sacred Heart are routinely offered tubal ligations and/or have artificial birth control recommended to them, I communicated my concern to Bishop Cupich about a year ago. The response was less than useful.

Three weeks ago, I sent him another letter with a request for a response within a couple of weeks. In it, I told him I planned to make this issue public if he chose not to take this issue seriously.

So far, one woman who worked at Sacred Heart and was offered a tubal ligation when she was a patient there, has agreed to go public with the story. I’m looking for others who are willing to speak up, but there seems to be enough anecdotal evidence that it’s time to move forward with this story.

I sent the following letter via certified mail to Bishop Cupich on November 8th and confirmed with his secretary Mary Cole that he did receive it.

Here’s the letter I sent. Please feel free to use it and also don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions prior to posting, if you choose to post this.

Thanks so much for all you do, and for your help with this.

—————

November 8, 2011

Dear Bishop Cupich,

In a previous letter, I wrote to you about numerous reports I and others had received from women who had been patients at Sacred Heart Hospital. After delivering a baby, these women were asked what sort contraception they would be using; or they were offered tubal ligations. In your response a couple of months later, you stated that you had contacted Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, then CEO of Providence, and that he had assured you everything was being done in accordance with Catholic ERDs.

I sent you a reply on January 24, 2011, expressing my appreciation for the attention you paid to the issue, but at the same time requesting additional guidance about what we should do in the future when such reports come to our attention.

On the one hand, reports of hospital practice in conflict with Catholic ERDs may reflect a misunderstanding of the ERDs or inaccurate perception of what is actually occurring at the hospital. On the other hand, they may reflect an inadequate understanding by Hospital personnel of what the ERDs require, or of the commitment that a health care provider makes when providing care at a Catholic hospital. Since my previous letters, I’ve heard even more reports from women who have been patients at Sacred Heart and corroborated what we told you in the first letter. I just heard from a woman who observed such practices while she was employed at Sacred Heart, and then experienced them when, as a patient, she was offered a tubal ligation as though it were standard procedure—which it apparently is. She has given me permission to give you her name and contact information so that you can verify these facts to your satisfaction. She is also willing to have her name and story publicized if it will help move Sacred Heart Hospital toward fostering a culture of life.

The lack of response to my previous letter left me wondering whether you were both inclined and able to exercise the type of oversight that the Hospital apparently requires. While I lack the authority that you, as Bishop, have over institutions that identify themselves as Catholic, I have some ability as well as responsibility to call attention to practices that are in grave conflict with Catholic moral teaching. Because you would be significantly more effective in accomplishing this goal, I would very much prefer that you address the situation directly. However, in the absence of a response from you, I intend to accept the offer of this brave woman to make her story public—along with many others who have had similar experiences. I would profoundly regret the damage that would ensue from publicizing the disconnect between the ideals of a Catholic hospital and the practice at Sacred Heart, but I would regret even more the silence at the continuation of the evils that these reports suggest.

Women (and men) who are admitted to Sacred Heart Hospital for medical treatment ought to have the confidence that the treatment they receive will be consistent with Catholic moral teaching. Although many patients are not Catholic, and many hospital personnel are not Catholic, the practices within the hospital should consistently reflect Catholic teaching. In many ways it is precisely the non-Catholic patients and non-Catholic hospital personnel who are most likely to be harmed by a failure to ensure that Catholic values in health care are not only preached but practiced.

I apologize in advance if this letter seems abrupt or impertinent. But in the belief that it is my moral duty to take these steps, I hope that you will forgive any defect in the manner of presentation.

I’ll look forward to your response within the next couple of weeks.

In Christ,
John Weingarten

I got this letter a couple of weeks ago and figured, “Maybe the bishop is just busy”. So I waited with the expectation that, surely, a Catholic bishop would respond to a respectful letter from a member of his flock with a legitimate concern about a grave matter. I wrote John a day or two ago and asked if he’d ever heard back from Bp. Cupich.

Nothing.

The good people of the prolife movement in Spokane deserve better than this contemptuous treatment from their shepherd. He’s treating devoted children of the Church (and friends who are ready to serve him) like enemies. Why?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Confederate Papist

    Why, indeed.

    We must pray for this shepherd, but respectful actions by the Spokane flock should be encouraged.

    What would be the next step? I know what I’d like to do (go above the bishop’s head), but is that the right step?

  • Babs

    The next step is to ask for a face-to-face, isn’t it? Giving all opportunity to the bishop to explain or change his response would respect our magestarium and give the flock a more direct answer on which to act. It may well have to go farther and we want the Church to see that the lay are trying to act with courtesy.

    • Mark Shea

      The laity are acting with courtesy. Meanwhile, it’s hard to have a face to face with somebody who lacks the courtesy to acknowledge your existence.

  • Michelle

    How is it respectful to basically say, “Do as we say or we’ll make this public”? I would imagine it was the not-so-subtle threat of publicity that could have influenced the bishop not to respond. The case should have been laid out, with the offer from the witness to come forward, and without any threats of public exposure. That doesn’t mean that the problem could not have eventually been taken to the public, once all other avenues of redress were exhausted … only that it was stupid to threaten the bishop with that possibility in a letter requesting his intervention.

    • Mark Shea

      Given that bishop has a history of pointedly ignoring and privately attempting to make war on prolifers, only altering course when the prolifers make public his actions, I think it’s perfectly sensible to make clear to him what’s what. Prolifers didn’t begin this. He did. They have a perfect right to a response and to not be treated with contempt. They also have a perfect right to alert the public to gross violations of Catholic teaching and episcopal refusals to address such violations.

  • wj

    First, a question: Should a bishop respond to every question sent to him? Some do, some don’t. If they start, believe me, they could be overwhelmed with responding to ridiculous letters. This is not a ridiculous letter, but we don’t know the bishop’s policy regarding such letters.

    Second, it is almost universally the practice of bishops to not publicly respond to allegations of violations of the ERDs by Catholic facilities in their diocese. The practice is to address the matter, presuming it is, confidentially with the facility. I know personally that the majority of allegations of violations of the ERDs turn out to be false, usually based on misunderstandings.

    What the bishop should, in my opinion, is at least acknowledge the letter and say that he is looking into it.

    • John Weingarten

      I pretty much agree with everything you say. If Bishop Cupich had simply acknowledged the letter–the original letter sent more than a year ago, said he was looking into it behind the scenes, there would have put the issue to rest. Back then I would have given him the benefit of the doubt, assumed he was indeed looking into it and would take appropriate action, if action needed to be taken.

      However, given that he has not been responsive and has not, at least as far as I can tell, taken this issue seriously, this third letter was sent in hope and prayer he would take this seriously.

      You are also correct, as I understand it, that many reports of ERD (Ethical and Religious Directives) abuses are likely false. That’s why, in my correspondence I never said these things are happening, but rather said I’ve heard many reports from people who told me they are happening, and asked Bishop Cupich what further steps we in the pro-life community could or should take to help him when we received future reports.

      I hope this helps clarify some of the issues.

      John Weingarten

  • Dale Price

    Because he can.

  • B.E. Ward

    Does Sacred Heart Radio offer an Archbishop’s Hour on KTTO? Seems like that might be a good opportunity to ask him about his position.

  • Sam

    Let us just back up the truck one minute. Bishop Cupich has been on the job for about 18 months and so far seems to be doing a great job. I looked up “40 Days for Life” and it appears not to be a Catholic organization. I don’t know their history. I would suggest that there are established Catholic pro-life organizations to support instead of this “johnny come lately.” I looked at their website and they seem to be interested in confrontational activities.

    Sounds like Weingarten (the Spokane 40 days guy) is looking for some free publicity and the good Bishop won’t play along with his plan.

    I would recommend that pro-life Catholics stick with mainstream organizations with an established track record.

    • Mark Shea

      40 days for Life is endorsed by the USCCB and enjoys wide support from the American bishops. You apparently have no clue about them if you think they are “interested in confrontational activities”. I would recommend that you have a clue of what you are talking about.

  • Babs

    Wow, when I lived in Atlanta, I could get a face to face with our bishop easily. Heck, I ran into him almost every time I went to adoration. I never realized it would be hard to get an appointment.

  • Sam

    Mark, I did google the local Spokane 40 days operation. I found a website that had not been updated in over a month. It appears to be a small organization that “claims” 300 members. I would say that I am pretty close to the mark by suggesting that this Spokane chapter seems to be little more than this Mr. Weingarten and he is desperate to get a little publicity. It is unfortunate that trying to embarass Bishop Cupich is part of his plan.

    I would repeat my recommendation that pro-life Catholics stick with established mainstream organizations like American Life League and Priests for Life.

    • B.E. Ward

      Sam:
      Really?
      Does googling one chapter of a national campaign give you a good perspective?
      Have you been following the story from the beginning?
      Did you read the links in Mark’s original post?
      Do you ever watch or listen to EWTN?
      Do you want to call Barbara McGuigan tomorrow on The Good Fight and ask her what she thinks of the campaign?
      If you like Priests for Life, how bout writing or calling Fr. Pavone privately to ask what he thinks of the campaign?
      Is it a tad disingenuous to presume Mr. Weingarten’s motives?
      Do you really think he sent certified mail to the Archbishop in an effort to embarrass the man?

      Mark:
      You might as well shut-down the comments here and delete the post! Mr. Weingarten has been exposed, the Archbishop has been given a dignified exoneration, 40 Days for Life has been ruled a quaint, meaningless operation, and we can all move on. *dusting off hands*

    • Tammy

      The national leadership of 40 Days for Life live in my city and Im in good contact with people who are active in their efforts across the country. From a close up perspective, David Bereit and Shawn Carney are the real deal. It is true that 40 Days is an ecumenical organization, but they are good Catholic men leading strong and faithful families.

      While Im a bit skeptical and don’t put people on pedestals, from what I have seen close up, they and their organization is well directed and trustworthy.

  • Sam

    Dear B.E.

    I do follow all of the EWTN programming you mention. By the way, Cupich is a bishop, not an archbishop, since Spokane is a diocese, not an archdiocese. As for my interpretation of Mr. Weingarten’s choice of action, I did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday. I can look at the fact that I am an avid reader of Catholic media, our local Catholic paper in Spokane, the fact that nobody in my parish (one of the largest in Spokane) has ever heard of this gentleman and conclude that he would like to get a little publicity for his group.

    As for shutting down comments, by all means if all you want is kudos for this obscure little Spokane group. I would suggest that if Weingarten is legit, then he has nothing to fear from a full discussion here.

    Mr. Weingarten needs to understand that if the mainstream media in Spokane picks up on this matter, they will use it as a means by which to do some “catholic bashing” that they are more than eager to do.

    Prudence is a virtue. Discernment is a gift. The gentleman needs to consider the big picture and how his actions may bring more harm than good to the pro-life movement.

    • John Weingarten

      Dear Sam,

      When we in the pro-life community hear about lives being lost to the abortifacient effects of birth control, and the effect on women’s bodies and souls from tubal ligations reportedly performed at Sacred Heart Hospital, not to mention the surgical and chemical abortions often sought when other birth control methods fail, how can we stand back and do nothing?

      My message sent to Mark had nothing to do with 40 Days for Life, and had nothing to do with wanting publicity for either the local or national organization. (By the way, although I would dearly love more participation in the 40 Days for Life campaigns in Spokane, I don’t make any money from them. In fact, they cost my wife and me time and money, which we are pleased to spend on this life-saving effort.)

      The message was only about the communications I’ve tried to have with our bishop about the lives being lost and/or led astray by the reported activities at Sacred Heart Hospital.

      I do know how the media can spin things and would rather not have this issue aired in public, which is why I asked Bishop Cupich in three letters over the course of a year to act on this information, or at least let me know he’s taking this loss of lives and souls seriously.

      If you would like any further clarification about the issue at hand, or 40 Days for Life, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 40daysspokane@gmail.com

      He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
      Martin Luther King Jr.

      In Christ,
      John

    • http://www.communionantiphons.org Andy, Bad Person

      the fact that nobody in my parish (one of the largest in Spokane) has ever heard of this gentleman and conclude that he would like to get a little publicity for his group.

      You’ve asked every person in your large parish?

  • Vickie

    Just to add my two cents: Forty days for Life has been active in the Washington DC area. They are fairly well know around here in the pro-life community. Mr Weingarten’s letter did not come off as abrasive or overly demanding to me.

  • Fraybird

    Yes please, let’s back the truck up to a few weeks prior to his installation which was September 3, 2010, 15 months and 1 week ago. Mr. Weingarten asked for the Bishop’s endorsement of the upcoming fall campaign and did not even get back to him!! Last January he voiced concern over the SHMC tubal ligation practices and basically dismissed him as a liar. In subsequent correspondence, he voiced concerns over the bishops lack of clarity on life issues in general as well as the 40 days for life campaign and was responded to by one of the bishops handlers and was “rewarded” by being dismissed from the Pro-Life Committee via one of his handlers. That’s an intelligent decision, take your most involved advocate off the front line and appeal to the flock you are committed to life. Good luck with that. Enter the fall campaign and his refusal to allow Priests or Seminarians to pray in front of PP, which was a huge blow to both the campaign, the desire for most of us, including myself, to jump into the belly of the beast with minimal holy protection, as well as our confidence in his ability to shepherd the flock on the Inland Northwest. His arrogance and his leadership skills are seem to be carbon copied from those coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and I, for one, am OVER IT!!

  • Margaret

    I have no idea what the “correct” next step is. But perhaps a spiritual bouquet, quite a substantial one, from the people of the diocese on behalf of their bishop, would be in order?

    I am not in diocese, but I will kick things off by offering my daily Rosary for the next five days for him. Other lovely additions to a bouquet could include Mass, Holy Hours, devoted reading of Sacred Scripture, corporal works of mercy, chaplets, etc.

    Is anyone local to the area willing to organize this? A reasonable collection period and cutoff period of perhaps a week or ten days could be established, and then the “bouquet” presented to the bishop, via a staffer or the mail if necessary.

  • A Random Friar

    I have been personally involved with 40 Days for Life in several locations. While not a Catholic body, welcoming members of all faiths, it’s probably more Catholic than most groups. Regular witnessing always included praying the rosary (aloud, but not disruptively), holding signs up, and the occasional hymn (again, aloud, not overly loud).

    Every person participating in said 40 Days was required to sign a statement of understanding that this would be a non-violent and non-confrontational event. In none of my time there did I encounter anyone even initiating a conversation with a clinical client. I have not witnessed initiated contact with clinical staff, although judging from Abby Johnson’s book, UnPlanned, there were exchanges of pleasantries sometimes across “enemy lines.”

    It is a fairly loose organization, but it’s not a marginal one in the pro-Life community.

  • ANNE

    Per Code of Canon Law, Bishops can be removed from Office. By all means contact the Vatican when deemed necessary with documentation included. Check out CHAPTER II, LOSS OF ECCLESIASTICAL OFFICE. Can. 184 §1. An ecclesiastical office is lost by the lapse of a predetermined time, by reaching the age determined by law, by resignation, by transfer, by removal, and by privation.

    We need holy, strong Bishops who adhere themselves to the ” CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC, Second Edition” and teach their flocks to do the same.

    See today’s internet video – “A DISASTER” by RealCatholicTV, and what we can do about it.

  • ANNE

    TYPO – should read “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition”.

    Give CCCs as Christmas, and other occasion gifts. :)

  • M

    Margaret–A spiritual boquet has already been done for our Bishop, but please do keep our diocese in your prayers. It is as if our holy priests are floating on little lifeboat rafts with the Mother Ship no where in sight. Dive further into our diocese, and you will find holy priests without the covering and backing of their shepherd–who is supposed to be their spiritual father. Immaculate heart of Mary, Pray for us!!!

  • Gabriel Austin

    It seems to me that our bishops do not recognize, and have failed to repent, their behavior during the sex crisis. They begin to sound like a bunch of trial lawyers, quibbling over minor points, to distract from the major point: their behavior, their sinful behavior during the time of “filth” [Benedict XVI’s expression]. It would be more worth while for the USCCB to give over issuing pamphlets which few Catholics bother to read, and proclaim a day or two or a week of repentance in sackcloth and ashes.
    Fine words butter no parsnips; we sheep can not survive on fine words.

  • Sam

    Wars are not always fought with direct frontal attacks. Sometimes battles have to be fought with more subtle means. The criticism of the Spokane Bishop seems to be based on his unwillingness to put priests and seminarians in the “frontlines” so to speak. The criticism interprets a difference in strategy as being a flag of surrender. Have you ever considered that the local paper in Spokane (the Spokesman-Review) is owned by a family with long ties to Planned Parenthood. What sort of coverage do you expect for some sort of “made for media” event with priests and seminarians front and center? You don’t get paid to think those kinds of things through, and the long-term good of the diocese and its mission to advance the message of the Church. A Bishop does.

    The mission of ending abortion is a long chess game, not a quick game of checkers.

    • John Weingarten

      Sam,

      I’m confused. The issue at hand is reports of tubal ligations being performed and birth control being recommended at Sacred Heart Hospital.

      I’ve asked you to contact me at 40daysspokane@gmail.com if you would like further clarification about either issue, and you have my full name–my real name–so I’ve made communications with me quite easy.

      I understand that people are loathe to imagine a bishop not performing his duties in the most appropriate fashion, and with the best interests of the diocese and the Church in mind. (I certainly don’t claim to understand our bishop’s heart, mind, or motivations.)

      I guess I would ask, what would you do in regard to these issues–tubal ligations and birth control–after receiving no indication that your bishop is taking the issue seriously? Do you consider that issue–artificial birth control and tubal ligations–intrinsically evil? If not, I can see why you keep looking at the 40 Days for Life issue. If so, and if you truly believed lives were being lost and souls led astray, what would you do?

      One of the reasons the sex abuse scandal was able to blossom into the huge mess it did was a blind faith in the bishops’ ability to do the right thing with the best interests of their diocese and the Church. I think if more folks had shined a light on what they knew many years ago, perhaps we could have prevented some of what we are going through now.

      Instead, many thought, it seems, “I’m not paid to think about those things. The bishop is, so I’ll just trust he’s doing the right thing.”

      I do appreciate your concern for the diocese and the Church. I believe we both want the same thing in the end.

      In Christ,
      John

  • Kirt Higdon

    I think in cases like this that all you can do is pray for the bishop and work around him. Some pastors and individual priests will be supportive in a low key way even if the bishop is not. Trying to get a bishop removed or disciplined requires a commitment of resources which would be better used directly against the abortionists.

  • Jim Dorchak

    What leads you (us) to believe that our bishops are “Pro-Life”? Just because they are bishops does not mean they are BISHOPS! I am sure that historically in the USA our bishops are now as much politcal appointments as much as they are in the Anglican church in England. There are of course wonderful exceptions to the rule where we find a Bishop who is a BISHOP, but for the most part I think that it would be most prudent to observe the consistent actions of your particular b(B)ishop and look for a trend. (The key word here is trend)
    Does your BISHOP stand up for all that is Catholic consistently, or is he weak on his voice, weak on his position? Does he blow in the wind on pro-abort politicians? Does he show up (like Bp Dolan) and “Celebrate” mass for the homosexual crowd. (is that a conflict of Dogma or what?) Does you bishop push the anti death penalty issue hard but is no where to be found as babies are murdered every day down the street from the chancery?
    In bishop Cupich’s case we have an established trend. It appears the bishop lauds in the lime light of inconsistencey, lapping up the joys of his political appointment. (We should be so blessed… 3 squares a day, no money poblems, a palace to live in) Another example would be bishop Ochoa. What a solid politician this man is as well. The list goes on and on.
    Do not be blind to what is right in front of you. If your bishop is a slouch get over it and get on with it. Pray with your feet and your wallet.
    Jim Dorchak

  • M.Z.

    Given the divisiveness of the pro-life caucus generally – you can see the excommunications in even this combox – I can understand why a bishop could find better things to do.

    • Jim Dorchak

      My goodness I can see why you would have better things to do than save the lives of the innocent as well. After all what is more important?

    • Elu Thingol

      The pro-life “caucus”? Is that like the pro-Resurrection Caucus, the pro-Incarnation caucus, and the pro-Immaculate-Conception caucus?

      Fidelity to Church teaching on abortion, or anything else, doesn’t constitute factionalism. Your description of pro-life Catholics as “divisive” is Orwellian and, simply speaking, bizarre. It is the Church’s teaching itself that is divisive, because there some people who refuse to accept it and who find it a distraction from the real business of the Church, which is pretty much identical in their minds to the national platform of the Democratic Party.

  • Sam

    First for Mr. Dorchak:

    By all means let us paint with a broad brush and not bother to get some facts. You have said that Bishop Cupich is lazy and lives in the lap of luxury and sits around enjoying his appointment. That is downright libelous. Bishop Cupich came to the Spokane Diocese from South Dakota where he had a nice, relatively calm job. Spokane has been coming through a gut-wrenching bankruptcy case that was being wrapped up by the previous bishop. The Spokane Diocese (which is of modest means) had to come up with several million dollars to make compensation for some priest sex-abuse cases going back 40 years ago. As the result, the Bishop lost his residence (which was nothing special anyway) and now Cupich lives in a dilapidated 110 year old rectory with some other priests. Hardly the lap of luxury. He is still enmeshed in wrapping up aspects of the bankruptcy that have come undone due to some technicalities. Hardly a dream job. He has impressed me with his intellect and his dedication to the people of our diocese, especially the poor. I don’t know anything about the other bishops you mention, but Cupich has done nothing pro-homosexual here.

    To Mr Weingarten:

    The above letter is Exhibit “A” as to why it is a mistake for you to go tooting to the media and blogs like this. You get uninformed comments from every Tom, Dick and Harry who is completely clueless but wants to complain about the Church.

    As for the original issue you raised, namely practices at Sacred Heart Hospital: There are many orthodox, practicing Roman Catholics among the people who work there, ranging from nurses, doctors and others. I know many personally and they would not stand quietly if SHMC were doing sterilizations and birth control willy-nilly. If you know anything about Catholic doctrine, you know that a woman is not REQUIRED to die because of an ectopic pregnancy, and thus the life of the unborn child can be ended in order to save the mother. The same is true for issues of birth control. For example, a woman may have a history of cancer. The hormones of pregnancy can trigger a recurrence of that cancer, and thus contraception is permissible. These are cases by case instances. I am sure somebody’s Aunt Mildred took a chance and came through the pregnancy OK. Or case where women have diaabetes, heart disease or other medical issues that can kill them if they become pregnant. They are not REQUIRED by Catholic doctrine to risk their lives by allowing pregnancy. Medical science has come a long way, but can’t solve every problem that can arise in pregnancy.

    Final comment. This whole row is a great example of how Americans think that because they live in a democracy, the Church should be run that way also. Not true. As a descendant of the Apostles, we owe our bishops some loyalty. There are hundreds of issues a bishop deals with every year and he is not going to make everybody happy. Keeping everybody happy is a sign of a lousy bishop. Bishops are not perfect, but it really irriates me when dissidents of the left or right feel they know best and feel they have to go public to vindicate themselves.

    • John Weingarten

      Dear Sam,

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. When you say you know many Sacred Heart Hospital workers personally who are good Catholics, and you know they wouldn’t stand by silently in the face of sterilizations being performed and birth control being recommended “willy nilly” I would ask if you have actually asked them the question. Perhaps some are not actually aware of the issue. (Most hospital workers don’t work in areas this issue would even come up.) Perhaps others have tried to speak up and have been ignored. You seem to imply you would condone them speaking up but you condemn my efforts to speak up.

      You said there are exceptions to the Church’s rule on abortion, citing ectopic pregnancy as an example, and exceptions to the birth control doctrine. Your statements are categorically untrue.

      You are correct that in a situation where the woman’s life is threatened, the disease or condition may be treated, even if that treatment can be foreseen to end the life of the unborn child. For example, in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the portion of the woman’s fallopian tube containing the unborn baby could be removed. That’s an effort to save the woman from likely harm or death, but not a direct attack on the unborn child. This is not just semantics. It goes to the heart of Catholic doctrines on life.

      As for artificial birth control, there simply are no exceptions. Before I cite Humanae Vitae, consider that most forms of artificial birth control can have an abortifacient effect, which means they can kill very tiny unborn babies. For grave reasons, such as cancer that could be exacerbated by a pregnancy, a couple could use Natural Family Planning to avoid pregnancy indefinitely. If even the slight chance of a pregnancy while using NFP is too much of a risk (keep in mind there’s a small chance of pregnancy with every form of artificial birth control too) then this couple must use abstinence to avoid pregnancy.

      Here is the relevant section from Humanae Vitae –
      —————
      [T]hat sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it —in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.
      —————

      Finally, I understand our Bishop is spending a great deal of time dealing with the bankruptcy issues in our diocese, but if that prevents him from even looking into these matters of life and death (or appointing someone to look into it for him), then I believe we have our priorities upside down. Further, it is precisely this sort of reaction–not taking credible reports of abuses seriously–that got this diocese and others into the mess it’s in.

      God bless you for your concern for the diocese and the Church.

      In Christ,
      John

    • Jim Dorchak

      First to Sam:

      By all means Sam lets paint with a broad brush and fail to get the facts. I have never seen a Bishop get fired from his job, loose his ability to feed his family, and not have a warm bed to sleep in every night. Some of us have SAM! You assumed that I spoke of the lap of luxury which is downright libelous. As to the gut wrenching bankruptsy, you also made assumptions that some of us have not personally gone throught this very scenario? That is downright libelous.
      I myself would wrather go through a gut wrenching bankruptsy as opposed to a brain wrenching partial birth abortion.

      The facts are that the bishop was absent on this issue and remains absent. Which to me factually is a lack of leadership.
      Also in you summation “This whole row is a great example of how Americans think that because they live in a democracy” we do not live in a democracy we live in a representative republic. Of course this has nothing to do with the bishop being absent in leading on this issue, but it does speak to my original point which was to stop looking for leadership from a bishop who can or will not. Move on life is too short. Pray with your feet and money.
      Jim Dorchak

  • M

    I believe that when Bishop Cupich first arrived to Spokane, he said “Put the mission first, and the money will come.” Isn’t that the same thing as the scripture, “Seek Ye first and all these things shall be added unto you?” I only wish our Bishop would practice what he preaches. I’m in full agreement with John W. on this issue. Furthermore, in regard to the Bishop “doing nothing pro-homosexual here,” all one has to do is take a look at GU and see that he has done nothing to educate his flock in matters of church teaching on the homosexual issue. Now, I realize that he doesn’t really have jurisdiction over GU–it is run by the Jesuits, but he certinly has the power to remove ‘catholic’ from the insitution. Any faithful catholic in the spokane diocese knows full well that GU is no longer operating as a catholic institution. Infact, heretics have run a muck at that place! Even one of the most active and loved priests on that campus was recently ‘schooled’ on an episode of “The Vortex” for his complete ignorance of church teachings on the issue of homosexuality–that he vocalized publicly in a university article. Did the Bishop shepherd him, and carefully tend to his soul in helping him understand the beauty and truth of Humane Vitae? Apparently not, this same (young) priest continues to speak in ignorance. YET, jut a handful of miles away, in Spokane Valley, there is a HOLY, priest being slandered, as well as mercilessly petitioned against simply because his parishoners do not understand that our church is not a democracy. Where is our Bishop to back him up? These parishoners continue to come against him, when our Bishop could have squashed their whole evil agenda weeks ago! Our Lady of Guadalupe–you spoke to the bishop’s heart in Guadalupe all those years ago, please speak to our bishop of spokane, and transform his heart. Help him to remember that he cannot please both God and man, but rather, if he “seeks your SON first, all these other things shall be added unto him.” Amen.

    • Jim Dorchak

      Thanks M. Well said…

  • John Weingarten

    Amen! By the way, I know for a fact that Bishop Cupich is well aware of the pro-homosexual, pro-unmarried sex, and anti-Catholic and anti-Christian activities taking place at Gonzaga. He approved a performance of the V-Monologues, said it would be okay for the Washington State governor (perhaps the most pro-abortion governor in the United States) to be the commencement speaker at the Gonzaga Law School (scheduling prevented her appearance) and has not taken any action regarding the outrageous statements made by the Director of University Ministry, or other dissenters of Church teaching on campus – not even using his moral authority to voice his concern.

    FYI, I’ve heard firsthand from three students that the Religious Studies Department at Gonzaga is a “hostile environment for Catholics and other Christians.” Bishop Cupich has been made aware of this and has shown the same level of concern he has for the life issues at Sacred Heart Hospital.

    • Jim Dorchak

      John
      Absoulutly amazing! Thank you.

      I guess that bankruptsy (the one Sam told us about) must be taking up every hour of every day of the week for the whole staff of the chancery and diocese. Man those are some real busy people, probably working 14 hour days like many of us out here in the hinterlands.

      You know I can easily see a big company working to meet time lines and make production each quarter to stay ahead of the tax man and provide an income for the employees all the while making a small profit for the share holders, all the while battling the bankruptsy….. ah wait a min…. what business is the Catholic Church in again?

      Souls…… Oops

      And these 40 days for life people what the bishop’s help. The audacity.

      • John Weingarten

        Exactly. We’re an audacious bunch.

        • Jim Dorchak

          Do not give up John. There are a lot of us Catholics through out the country who are saying our daily prayers for you and others like you who are fighting the good fight. Till then pray with your feet and wallet.

  • M

    God bless you both John and Jim. Thank you for standing on the truth! It’s the lukewarm souls that pains poor Jesus the most.

  • Joejoe

    And now the rumor is he goes to a Chicago still reeling from Bernardin. I refuse to despair but … oh my.

  • ranger01

    Hmmm…what an excellent choice for Chicago. A lukewarm milktoast son of V2.
    Pray hard.

  • John Byde

    Hi Mark, I don’t always agree with what you say, but you are spot on with this. Many thanks for your work!

  • Athanasius Reliquiae

    In the Age of Francis, are we surprised by the bishop’s behavior?