Dissent over marriage in WA

When Washington state's Governor Christine Gregoire signed signed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in that state, opponents promised to wage a fierce campaign to prevent the law from going into effect through a ballot referendum. The Archdiocese of Seattle has pledged to help gather signatures to place the issue before voters and offers some resources here.

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain asked pastors throughout the archdiocese to collect signatures from their parishioners, but at least a handful of parishes have declined the request. From seattlepi.com:


The congregation at Seattle’s Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church gave the Rev. Tim Clark a standing ovation Sunday when he announced that the parish would not gather signatures for a referendum to repeal same-sex marriage.

The parish became the sixth in Seattle to opt out of the petition drive for Referendum 74 that has been endorsed and foisted on parishes by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain.

“I am happy to report that Our Lady of the Lake parish-oners have been overwhelmingly and, thus far, unanimously supportive of the decision I made NOT to gather signatures in support of this Referendum,” Clark wrote in response to an e-mail.

“The standing ovation experienced during one of the Masses says less about me and much more about the health of this parish.  I only wished the archbishop could have experienced the sustained applause — the ‘sensus fidelium’ — of the people.  He needs to listen to this ‘voice.’ That is my prayer.”

Other parishes to shun the signature drive have includes St. James Cathedral, St. Joseph Church, St. Mary’s Church, St. Patrick Church and Christ Our Hope Catholic Church.

In several parishes, pastors have said that gathering signatures against marriage equality would, in the words of the Rev. Michael Ryan of St. James Cathedral, “prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community.”

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Jim McCrea
6 years 9 months ago
United we stand. Divided we fall.

¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!

Can't be clearer than that.
Tom Maher
6 years 9 months ago
Washington state government is controlled the Democrat party who
like the Democrat party everywhere suppresses all dissent to the party line.  Democrats themselves do not have input into the platforms of the Democratic party.  Who could forget Nancy Pelosi imfamous words to the Democrats in control of Congress in 2010 on the Health Care legislation "You can read the bill once you voted to approve the bill."  And then they wonder why a majority of Americans have always been opposted iintensely the new health care law  Republicans' and independents' interests? of course ?ar?e ?totally ?unrepresented when the Democrat?es take control of the national or st?a?te ?governm?e?nt.?  Why should the wider ?public be excluded from having their say on public poli?c???y????
6 years 9 months ago
The Catholic Church, like the Democratic Party everywhere, strives to stifle dissent. Whether a lawsuit is the best use of church funds, or is likely to produce the desired result are prudential judgments. The people paying for the lawsuit are not allowed to express their own insight into the issue, under the old Democratic Party mantra of "pray, pay and obey." Until "listen" becomes part of the mantra, the Church will always stand divided. And, P.S., it won't fall. Jesus promised it won't.
6 years 9 months ago
Whoops, senior moment. I meant to say "referndum" when I wrote "lawsuit." The point is the same.
David Pasinski
6 years 9 months ago
Is that legal to solicit signatures for a particular bill in Church? I know sometimes there are postcards available or addresses of legislators with coded language about expressing concerns or dissatisfactions, but can a church collect signatures this way?
Tom Maher
6 years 9 months ago
Tom Blackburn # 3

Washington state is a government not a church.  Your "so's your father" agrument does not work.  In a democracy, governments are accountable to all the people, the wider public, not just the party insiders that happens to have majority control for the moment.  The Church's mission is not up for a popular vote nor does its views  need to be changed to be in harmony with the wider public.  Apples and oranges Mr. BLackburn.  Two different insistutions. urn   which has a different mission very different than the political insiders of the Democratic party.  

And look what happened at the ballot box in 2008 in California on this very issue of same-sex marriage.  To everyone's surprise the amendment to ban same-sex marraige overwhelming passed in a Presidential election that overwhelmingly elected Democrats in very blue state such as California.  The wider California electorate had a radically differnt view than the Democratic party establishment on same-sex  marraige.

So it is important that the wider public be heard.  The wider public should be heard from at the ballot box.  The public policy needs public approval not just the say-so of Democrat party bosses unrepresentative of the wider public.  
Crystal Watson
6 years 9 months ago
I saw that story in the news too and when I read that the people in the pews had given the priest a standing ovation I felt so proud of them - those people are a better reflection of the gospel than the archbishop.
Dan Moriarty
6 years 9 months ago
Regarding comment #7 above: the masses at St. Patrick's ARE innovative. They include things like a choir that uses sign language along with singing, and other innovations to be more inclusive of many differently abled parishioners. Can you believe the gall?  At St. Mary's, Tricia Whitman-Todd has been a pastoral leader for years. It basically means that, while she clearly cannot  do the sacramental things only a priest can do, she works closely with the priest pastor as a pastoral leader of the community. Nothing terribly rebellious about that. Even those who reject the notion that the women to whom the risen Christ first appeared were "priests" in the early Christian communities can hardly doubt that they would have played pastoral leadership roles.

This habit, visible on blogs and in comment threads all over the internet, of trolling parish websites for signs of unorthodoxy and then snidely attacking or dismissing them as somehow less than truly Catholic, is troubling. It reminds me more of the divisive public discourse of party politics than it does of Christian charity and the spirit of unity that ought to be the hallmark of our communion.

Social justice is solidly rooted in Catholic Christian tradition and has been for many generations, upheld by popes of every theological stripe. If anything, it is disturbingly marginalized in the community life of most parishes, given its centrality in the documents of the hierarchy as well as its grounding in mainstream Catholic theology.

But presumably this desire to set the 10 Commandments over and against Catholic social doctrine is really born of what basically boils down to a "progressive-conservative" divide. Here is where I'm baffled, though, because I have never seen an Archbishop ask parishes to do this kind of political campaigning at mass around a "progressive" issue. I'm sure Archbishop Sartain would appeal to Catholic social justice teachings in defending his own public activism on gay marriage. And I have no doubt there would be more "conservative" pastors who would decline to participate in similar campaigning handed down from the chancery were it regarding the Church's opposition to a given war, the pope's recent echoing of many of the economic positions of the Occupy movement, or stewardship of Creation as manifest around an issue like the Keystone XL Pipeline. So, does being more "conservative" or disregarding an entire canon of Catholic doctrine from Rerum Novarum to the most recent encyclicals really make one more orthodox or authentically Catholic?

The parish leaders declining to participate in what they know would be a divisive, alienating, even scandalous campaign for many of their parishioners are doing their best to be good pastors. I've recently seen "pastoral theology" or similar attempts to avoid alienation dismissed with the same tone in which social justice often is, with regard to the decisions not just of local pastoral leaders but of Cardinals in archdioceses like Vienna and Washington, DC., precisely around the issue of how to treat our gay brothers and sisters within the Church. This dismissal of pastoral considerations is a dangerous trend for a Church that pretends to be the Body of Christ. He was, afterall, the Good Shepherd. I hope we can tone down the angry, politicized reactions here and try to hear the very Christian struggles of the church leaders who have chosen to decline Archbishop Sartain's invitation.
Robert Dean
6 years 9 months ago
Oh, Mr. Maher, put a sock in it, won't you, and while you're at it, learn the difference between a noun ("Democrat") and an adjective ("Democratic").
paul constantine
6 years 9 months ago
Regarding Post #7 above-wrong St Joseph's Parish. The one in question, to which I belong, is staffed by, among others, Fr. John D. Whitney, SJ (Pastor), Fr. Jack O'Leary, SJ (Senior Priest in Residence), and Deacon Steve Wodzanowski. Terrific people, all.

In fairness to the Archbishop and taking nothing away from the churches cited in the article, he left the choice of collecting signatures up to each pastor. 
Tom Maher
6 years 9 months ago
Kent Dean # 10

Is it not factually the case that the California voters approved a state consistitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in the 2008 election?   Or is that you just don't like to hear what factually happened let alone deal with the implications of what happened in California? 

But if even solid blue states like California are n?o?t? ?f?o??r? ?s?a?m?e?-?s?e?x? ?m?a?r?r?i?a?g?e? ?w?h?y? ?s?h?o?u??l?d?? ??a?n?y?o?n?e? ?a?s?s?u??m???e? ?t?h??a?t? ?t?h?e? ?s?t?a?t?e? ?o?f? ???W?a?s?hsinton is?? ? ???
Tom Maher
6 years 9 months ago
Kent Dean # 10 continuation 

But if even a solid blue states like California are not for same-sex marriage, why should anyone assume that the state of Washington voters will be for same-sex marroage?  And why assume that even Catholic Democrats in Washington will approve of same-sex marriage when they did not in California?  There is no certain "sensus fidelium" in support of same-sex marraige.  In the hands of the voters same-sex marraige will fail in Washington state. 
Crystal Watson
6 years 9 months ago
Tom Maher,

If Californans were to vote today, they would overturn proposition 8 which had banned same-sex marriage ... http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2012/0229/Support-for-gay-marriage-rises-among-California-voters-poll-finds
Tom Maher
6 years 9 months ago
Crystal Watson # 14

Again factually after the Consititutionsl ban on same-sex marriage was approved by the voters in Califronia in 2008 attemps were made to take new votes to repeal the  ban.  But the repeal efforts failed to get enough signatures to put the issue back on the ballot.  This remains the case today.  There is no viable voter initiative in California to repeal the sane-sex marriage ban.  All effort for repeal the California ban are in the courts not with the voters. 

Whenever voters are allowed to vote on the same-sex marraige issue leven in very blue states same-sex marriage fails by significant margins. 
John Shatkis
6 years 9 months ago
The Roman Catholic doctrinal position on ''same sex marriage'' is based on an underpinning philosophy of ''natural law'' (originally Aristotle and later adapted for use in the theology of Aquinas) coupled with a philosophical philosophy of the human person that posits an ''intellect'' (spiritual in nature) that ''knows'' the essence of things.  So this epistemological approach to understanding ''nature'' has led the Church down an erroneous doctrinal path for centuries.  Problem is, contemporary philosophical research finds no rational evidence for an immaterial soul in humans with an intellectual faculty capable of knowing ''essences.'' To propose a ''natural law'' theory based on the old philosophy is speculative.

Experience and observation support the fact that a sizable portion (10%) of our population experience same sex attraction as part of their being human.  For that population this experience is ''natural'' just as opposite sex attraction is ''natural'' for the others.  For one part of the population to place limits on the civil rights of another group, such as limits on who can be married, based upon erroneous doctrines (religious or theological) currently offered by the Roman Catholic Church is not just or being truthful to the evidence.

I believe all the truths that the Roman Catholic Church teaches but not all that the Church teaches is true.  This is where analysis and discernment need to be applied to philosophical, theological and religious teaching.
Carlos Orozco
6 years 9 months ago
The anti-Church has work to do. It can't just wait for the AntiChrist. It's already a whore.
Kate O'Hanlan
6 years 9 months ago
"Natural law" is bogus. It's a "theosophy" and uncredible.
Scientific evidence rules.
ALL (not some, all) of America’s established experts on family, mental health and child health agree that America would benefit if same-sex couples could have civil marriage to protect their families. Here is why:
The National Library of Medicine scientific research publications all confirm that sexual orientation is natural, biologically induced in the first trimester of pregnancy, morally neutral, immutable, neither contagious nor learned, bearing no relation to an individual’s ability to form deep and lasting relationships, to parent children, to work, or to contribute to society.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are like handedness: biological, unchangeable, innocent. We used to think left-handed was evil, as in “sinister” which comes from Latin for "left", force lefties to use their right hand, even though they never really changed handedness.
Research reveals variable hormonal levels in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy permanently affect child’s neural circuitry for sexual orientation and gender identity to express on a spectrum between straight and gay, same or opposite gender.
Kate O'Hanlan
6 years 9 months ago
A little extra testosterone secreted from the adrenals during early pregnancy affects the baby girls’ brains causing nearly half to be lesbian, a tenth to be transgender. Also, a girl twin baby simply sharing the womb with a boy co-twin, in which some of his testosterone from his amniotic fluid gets into her blood, causes about one fifth of girl co-twins to be lesbian. These girls also have the bone structure and physical coordination of boys, so they are good in sports, and thus the stereotype.
The opposite is also true: a bit less testosterone than usual in a boy's blood during early pregnancy can make him light in the loafers or transgender. If a boy's mother has delivered many older brothers before him, which caused her to make blocking antibody to their male proteins, then the youngest brother receives lower levels of testosterone in his blood, resulting in about one fifth of boys with many older brothers being gay. These boys have the physiology and verbal skills and excel in language and visual arts, slightly more like girls, and thus the stereotype.
Most homosexuals and most heterosexuals will say that they had no choice to be how they are because they were born on the far ends of the spectrum. They firmly claim they were "born that way." But, some straight and gay folks feel it WAS and IS definitely a choice for them because they were born closer to the middle of the biological spectrum between straight and gay: they are bisexual. Their orientations don't change from straight to gay, they simply have brain wiring that attracts them to both. All orientation is hard-wired prenatally and none can change it. It is all biological and innocent, and not contagious or changeable.
Kate O'Hanlan
6 years 9 months ago
Everybody has an opinion about same-sex marriage, but what does the scientific research reveal about the health and welfare of children and families in same-sex marriages?????
Rather than make gay rights a popularity contest, lets ask America’s best experts on family, mental health and children what the research shows is best for all American families. From the American Psychological Association: homosexuality is a normal sexual orientation; homosexual relationships are normal relationships.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists, National Association of Social Workers, Child Welfare League of America, North American Council on Adoptable Children have endorsed civil marriage/adoption for same-sex couples because marriage strengthens mental, physical health and longevity of couples, and having two parents (of any gender) provides greater health, legal/financial security for children. Research confirms that children develop perfectly normally. Even the American Academy of Anthropology has issued a policy statement that says access to civil marriage by same-sex couples will not harm our social order. Visit the websites of these non-partisan, national professional and certifying associations for their policy statements.
If we don't listen to professional experts on national family health and welfare, then we are simply voting our religious beliefs or personal bias into state and federal laws, and harming the families of gay and lesbian couples, especially those with children.


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