Though Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain has launched a Catholic petition drive in an effort to repeal Washington's newly minted marriage equality law, not all parishes are obliging. In fact, a growing coalition of Washington parishes are refusing to support the anti-gay measure. Details follow.
Greg Magnoni, communications director for the Seattle Archdiocese, explained Archbishop Sartain's anti-gay campaign to the city's Fox affiliate. “This is an issue campaign," said Magnoni. "It is not a candidate campaign so we are allowed to participate in issue campaigns, especially when they have a strong moral dimension like this one does.
"In our opinion the redefinition of marriage is a far-reaching decision and it should be placed on the ballot for the voters to decide."
But a handful of parishes and churches refuse to be pawns in the Archbishop's anti-gay game plan.
Reports the Baltimore Sun:
In fact, Seattle’s St. James Cathedral—the home of the Seattle Archdiocese—is not taking part in the petition drive. The Rev. Michael Ryan, the pastor of St. James, said the petition drive is just too devisive to bring into the church.
At least five churches, including St. Mary's on Beacon Hill, are refusing to take part. The pastoral leader of St. Mary's, Tricia Wittman-Todd, said church members have a lot of different views when it comes to gay marriage.
“One of the biggest tenets of the church is to be inclusive and to be welcoming, and we were concerned that this would put people off and make people feel like they weren`t welcome,” she said.
In a letter sent to St. Mary's parishioners, Wittman-Todd wrote:
“After much prayer and reflection, I have decided we will not collect signatures at the parish. I am certain you will find ample opportunity elsewhere to sign whatever petitions you choose.
“This decision is based on two primary considerations. St. Mary’s mission is ‘House of God, Home for Everyone.’ One of our highest values is inclusion and welcome. I fear that the collection of signatures would be hurtful and divisive to our parish. I am particularly concerned about our youth who may be questioning their own sexual identity and need our support at this time in their lives.
“The second consideration is that as Catholics, each of us is asked to form our conscience and decide how to vote on this and other issues, i.e. tax policies, services to the poor, environmental laws, capital punishment, etc.”
Which sides of the marriage equality battle erupting within Washington's Catholic community are closer to espousing Jesus's teachings?
(Source: Baltimore Sun)