Washington parishes reject call to oppose gay marriage
At least six Catholic parishes in the Seattle area have ignored the call from the Archbishop of Seattle to gather signatures to repeal Washington State’s new marriage equality laws.
Governor of Washington Chris Gregiore signed legislation in February which will allow same-sex marriage in the state but opponents have until June 6 to collect 120,000 signatures to cause a referendum.
Reverend Tim Clark of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church received a standing ovation during a service when he announced that his parish would not be participating in the petition as requested by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain.
“I am happy to report that Our Lady of the Lake parishioners 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 an email following the announcement.
“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.”
Father of St James Cathedral Michael G. Ryan has also stated his and the cathedral’s opposition in the move in an email circulated to parishioners.
“After discussing the matter with the members of the Cathedral's pastoral ministry team, I have decided that we will not participate in the collecting of signatures in our parish,” Ryan said in the email.
“Doing so would, I believe, prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community.”
In the letter sent to parishes Archbishop Sartain states the wide reaching impacts same-sex marriage will have on the state.
“We believe that the redefinition of marriage is such a far-reaching and radical decision that it should not be left simply to a vote of legislators and the signature of the governor,” he said in the letter.
“The key to understanding the Church’s view of marriage can be found in the two fundamental ends or purposes toward which it is oriented: the good of the spouses and the procreation of children. Man and woman are created as complementary in God’s plan.
“It is important to remember that all Christians are called to chastity, and sexual intercourse is so intimate and significant that it is intended only for a man and woman in marriage.”
Other churches who have stated they will not participate in the petition include St Joseph Church, St Mary’s Church, St Patrick Church and Christ Our Hope Catholic Church.
The full letter from the Archbishop of Seattle can be viewed HERE