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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Catholics Withhold Donations From Church, Tell Lawmakers that Bishops Don't Speak for Them on Same-Sex Marriage

Posted by on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Two emails arrived this week from Catholics protesting the Seattle church's recent campaign against marriage equality. And they confirm what you'd suspect: The progressive laity, by and large, is supportive of allowing same-sex couples to get married, despite the recent decree from bishops and the Archdiocese of Seattle to stop a marriage bill in Olympia. The first letter is from a parishioner sent to one of the priests at St. James Cathedral:

Father -

There is an article on "The Stranger" blog regarding St. James Cathedral. Unfortunately, it doesn't make us seem like a very welcoming parish. The bishops do not speak for me regarding civil marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Regretfully, I need to withhold my 2012 pledged contribution to the Cathedral until I see what St. James Cathedral will do on this issue, which will likely be a ballot question in the Fall. I'm hoping that St. James Cathedral will not become complicit in the bishops' anti-gay politicking.

Thanks very much,

Dave Clemens
St. James Parishioner

I can't publish the letter he got back in reply, but let's say that the administrative staff was a little touchy. Thank you for sending it our way, Dave. Next up: an email forwarded by a state lawmaker. A Catholic constituent wanted to make clear that the Catholic church's lobbying campaign is not theirs:

I am writing to ask you to support the gay marriage legislation up for vote. I am a practicing Catholic, and I believe it is right and fair to help gay citizens have an opportunity to marry if they wish. I say this because I want you to know that all Catholics have their own opinion on this issue, and the Archbishop's conservative opinion is not one that I share.

Thank you for serving our district.

Seattle Archbishop Peter J. Sartain, of course, did speak for these two Catholics and all the Catholics in Western Washington when he testified before a senate hearing yesterday. Alongside people who said that gay marriage will spread disease and promote pedophilia, Sartain perpetuated his lie that gay couples deteriorate humanity's ability to procreate.

True, members of Catholic congregations should keep writing to their parishes and dissent from the bigotry of Sartain and Rome, but you know who really needs to speak up? Seattle priests. The priests—who we know don't believe this bigoted garbage—need to challenge their bishops on this issue as marriage makes its way to the November ballot.

Dear priests: Dare the bishops to take away your pulpit. Let them try, and if they do, let your congregation stand up in your defense. If Farther Ryan at St. James Cathedral stood up for marriage equality and Most Reverend Sartian made a move, his congregation (and most of the damned city) would wage a holy war in the name of equality. The worst thing that happens is that you're punished for spreading a message of love and doing what you know is right. That's what that Christ guy was all about, right?


Comments (41) RSS

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Posted by Bonzer Terriffic on January 24, 2012 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 2
Well, you see, here's the deal: It isn't a democracy. Nor should it be. Deal with it. Or don't. Knowing you, you won't.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on January 24, 2012 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Michael of the Green 3
Hallelujah, mr. Holden!
Posted by Michael of the Green on January 24, 2012 at 10:18 AM · Report this
Don't hold your breath Dominic.
Posted by Justin on January 24, 2012 at 10:26 AM · Report this
Keister Button 5
The bishops will only move priests from African nations and southeast Asia to replace the Western ones in response to this. It's not even about collecting more money from parishioners, it's about pointing out the splinter in someone's eye without pulling out the log in one's own.

Has anyone at The Stranger considered asking the local Ecumenical Catholic Church pastor Fr. Philip Knowles about same-sex marriage? If too shy or lazy, here is his most recent piece.
It is easy -- and I say this without meaning to be critical or uncharitable -- to be a Pharisee, to quote chapter and verse, quite independent of the lives at stake. In a less charitable vein, I can understand a noisy display of rule adherence when one's own house is rife with scandal that degrades the beauty and worth of those who are victims of the scandal. In this pressing human rights issue, the revelation of God is seldom seen or heard. God made all, and called it all beautiful. He did not call most of it beautiful and some portion of it "intrinsically disordered."
Posted by Keister Button on January 24, 2012 at 10:31 AM · Report this
I agree with #4. Catholic priests have been carefully conditioned to be fearful of authority, and like everyone else in this economy, are worried about losing their jobs, their health benefits, and their pensions. Choosing this moment to self-immolate may sound noble, indeed Christ-like (since he's the one after all who said "take up your cross and follow me") In practice, however, we live in a real world where Catholic priests are, in the end, just regular human beings trying their best to hang on like everyone else.

Still, keep the pressure on. Who knows, maybe a real gay martyr will emerge to challenge the hierarchy. Someone should be prepared to give him another job after he gets fired, however. That's all I'm sayin'...
Posted by tniel on January 24, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Report this
@2 What are you talking about?
Posted by cracked on January 24, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Report this
bedipped 8
True, rowdy, bear-pokin', important journalism. Thanks!
Posted by bedipped on January 24, 2012 at 10:43 AM · Report this
@7 Hasn't been to mass yet this morning and is feeling cranky.
Posted by maddogm13 on January 24, 2012 at 10:43 AM · Report this
thelyamhound 10
@2 - Maybe not, but in a sense, "the people" ultimately change any social construct--religion, government, marriage, family, art--either by consensus, egress, or force. Whether, in the case of the Catholic church, it is desirable to try the first before resorting to the second (to say nothing of the third) is a decision best left to those who, unlike you or I, have some investment in the notion of being Catholic.
Posted by thelyamhound on January 24, 2012 at 10:48 AM · Report this
I don't get why you can't publish the letter. If you are merely reprinting their words, start to finish, they can't claim libel or defamation, nor can they claim to be quoted out of context.
Posted by Clayton on January 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM · Report this
thelyamhound 12
@5 -
The bishops will only move priests from African nations and southeast Asia to replace the Western ones in response to this.

Seems we could get natural enemies in the Tea Party to join us in condemning this. Importing labor for tax-exempt non-profits? The nerve!
Posted by thelyamhound on January 24, 2012 at 10:51 AM · Report this
"The bishops do not speak for me regarding civil marriage equality for same-sex couples."

Yes they do. If you call yourself a catholic they speak for you. You don't get to pick and choose. You also believe that you are eating Jesus's flesh and blood. Not a symbolic act of remembering blah blah blah. His actual flesh and blood. You don't get to pick and choose.
Posted by Bohica on January 24, 2012 at 10:51 AM · Report this
@11 - because the copyright belongs to the author, not the recipient, and the author alone can decide if or how to publish.

The reply was forwarded to The Stranger by the recipient, and so it is not theirs to publish.
Posted by PortervilleNerd on January 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
thelyamhound 15
@13 - Maybe not as far as the church is concerned. But unless you believe that any religious doctrine is formally (and literally) "handed down" by divine, essentially anthropomorphic deity, your intellectual duty is to "pick and choose". I can't imagine I will ever see a unified body of assertions that appears both true and tenable in its entirety.
Posted by thelyamhound on January 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
Gus 16
These so-called Catholics really seem to be a little unclear on the subject of Catholicism and the Protestant Revolution.
Posted by Gus on January 24, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
kim in portland 17
Maybe that the RC is neither a republic or a democracy, this is not to say that money and witholding it does not speak, but that in a sense the Roman Empire is alive and well in 2012 complete with a grizzled emperor wearing a funny hat sitting on a throne? So it is not very far fetched to think that the majority of priests believe in the heirarchy and hold faith that the Pope was chosen by God to lead, so they are very likely inclined to follow and obey their 'emperor'. Just a thought...
Posted by kim in portland on January 24, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
thelyamhound 18
@16 - The trouble with so much of the Protestant Revolution is that, while it saved the West from the Catholic hierarchy, it replace Catholic scholarship with enslavement to the five solas. It seems to me that only apostate religion--or at least religion with a certain amount of room for apostasy--can survive scientific discoveries and subsequent, corollary intuitive posits that challenge biblical literalism.

All of which is to say that any religion (not just Christianity) would have to be small "c" catholic (that is, inclusive; reliant on multiple sources), bound neither by Rome's hierarchy's nor Protestantism's embrace of a narrow and common poetry.
Posted by thelyamhound on January 24, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 19
I don't get this Catholic insistence that the world will suddenly stop making babies if gays are allowed to marry. Did they not get the memo that the earth's population just recently surpassed 7 Billion? I don't think that the human race is in any danger of not procreating enough.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on January 24, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Michael of the Green 20
Can I just interject that I think the slog commenters are the smartest ones on the web? This thread alone. Wow.
Posted by Michael of the Green on January 24, 2012 at 11:17 AM · Report this
For a little inspiration, this is how the complete dutch Jewish community dealt with their American chief rabbi after he signed a letter calling homosexuality a disease in their name, they kicked him out (admittedly they where already longer unhappy with his orthodox fundamentalism). Now the European orthodox council threatens to suspend the whole dutch community in turn and throwing charges of fascism etc around but the dutch leadership isn't budging:…
Posted by dutchie on January 24, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 22
@ 13, Catholics (American Catholics at least) pick and choose all the time. You sound like a recent convert.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 24, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
you expect the priests to stand up against the catholic church on gay marriage? are you out of your mind? they didn't stand up to the church when it functioned(s) as a child rape ring, and you think they are going to stand up for gay rights? time to get real. the catholic church is an utterly lost cause. they haven't changed in 2000 years, they aren't going to change now. just call them out for what they are, hateful bigots. i was raised catholic, i should know.
Posted by philosophy school dropout on January 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Amalink 24
I always thought that part of the deal of religion getting tax-free status what the stay the fuck out of gov't. As long as they think they can get a say in what gov't does then they should help pay for it. Tax the bastards
Posted by Amalink on January 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 25
Why do you continue to call these people "Father?" That connotes some sort of intellectual or moral superiority. Fuck 'em.
Posted by Bauhaus I on January 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM · Report this

Because that's the way they're addressed. Judges are called "Honorable" regardless of whether or not they've got any honor, too. And it's not going to change just because you've decided to put a stick up your ass over it.
Posted by robotslave on January 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM · Report this

See previous umpteen posts on the topic, where this has been asked and answered many times over.

tl;dr: it's not illegal.
Posted by robotslave on January 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Or you could just leave the Catlick church and become Episcopalians, the one true faith
Posted by jeffy on January 24, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
If a priest is no longer content with obeying the Pope but still wants to practice essentially the same rites and uphold essentially the same beliefs, I'm sure the high-church Episcopalians would welcome him. There's absolutely no excuse for remaining a Catholic priest when you cannot respect what the Church demands of you.
Posted by sarah70 on January 24, 2012 at 1:17 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 30
fuckin' mackel-snappers.
Posted by scary tyler moore on January 24, 2012 at 1:28 PM · Report this

Or maybe, just maybe, the Catholic church does some stuff other than tell its members how they should feel about gay marriage. Stuff that, for some strange reason, those members seem to find almost as important as this single, monumentally important issue.
Posted by robotslave on January 24, 2012 at 1:29 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 32
@26 - well, they ain't my I'm keepin' the stick.
Posted by Bauhaus I on January 24, 2012 at 1:48 PM · Report this
"Farther Ryan", Dominic?
Posted by Lack Thereof on January 24, 2012 at 1:48 PM · Report this
@31 - perhaps if you were deprived of the right to marry, a scenario you've probably never even imagined, you too might find that it is a "monumentally important issue."
Posted by tniel on January 24, 2012 at 2:32 PM · Report this
"If Farther Ryan at St. James Cathedral stood up for marriage equality and Most Reverend Sartian made a move..."

Please learn the difference between farther and father.
Posted by Weekilter on January 24, 2012 at 2:48 PM · Report this
I like "Farther Ryan." It sounds Colonial.
Posted by Lori E. on January 24, 2012 at 4:20 PM · Report this
yucca flower 37
Wow, they withheld donations for same sex marriage? Even the people who want the church kiddie diddlers held accountable didn't get that!
Posted by yucca flower on January 24, 2012 at 6:13 PM · Report this
Geoff Farrow is a Catholic priest who was removed from his Fresno, CA, parish for publicly opposing Prop 8.…
Posted by DN on January 24, 2012 at 8:38 PM · Report this
Aside from waging a letter writing campaign the only other tool we have to influence the abuse of Church lobbying is to file a Complaint (Referral) with the IRS. Here is the form…. Also here is an explanation about the process of reporting suspected tax exempt status,… Upon reading the associated literature I was dismayed to discover that under the rules for a 501 (C)(3) a limited amount of lobbying is tolerated. The test is based upon what percentage of resources, time, money, volunteers have been committed to the lobbying effort. I am incapable of determining that value which is why I am sending in my form to allow the IRS the opportunity to investigate if a violation has occurred. The knowledge that they are being investigated by the IRS may subdue the zeal that a Church may be experiencing. I don't begrudge a Church exercising general advocacy , that's called a sermon. It's when they reach out as an organization and attempt to influence legislation that I feel they've stepped over the line. If you agree I urge you to download and file the form. The more voices heard the better.
Posted by Dopey on May 21, 2012 at 7:29 AM · Report this
Well, of course, any Catholic may "choose" what he or she wishes to believe, but then that makes that person a Protestant at heart. The Catholic Church is not a democracy, contingent on what people "feel" is right. It is an ages-old Church, founded by Christ Himself, with the promise that she would never be overcome by Satan. Filled with sinners, yes, some with as much evil intent as Judas Iscariot. Some ignorant and too lethargic to become informed. Some arrogant and using their power to beat down their fellow men. But some (like the Apostles and Mary and St. Augustine and on and on) embrace the Church's teachings as though from Christ Himself, because they are from Him. She is His bride and the two have become one by His blood on the cross. He sees the finished product; we only see a temporary part of Her journey to join Him along the way of His passion. We see the Judas Iscariots; Jesus sees the St. Pauls. We see the weak-willed; He sees the St. Peters. We see all of the negative; He sees sinners turned into martyrs. They died obeying the Church as the very voice of Christ Himself.

From the teachings of Rome there has never been and never will be something put forth that is anti-Biblical. The Old Testament and the New Testament (which was first preached orally before anything was written down) is a married couple. The Church is the offspring of the faith God has infused into His people. They cannot be separated. People who can't even find their way without a GPS or a map (most of us) haven't the foresight to judge why God has so commanded. Pick up a Catechism, laden with Scriptural quotes and explanations; read Chapters 1 and 2 of Romans; read Church documents. Become informed and understand or be someone who rejects the teachings because they don't "feel" right. But when one does that, one rejects the very voice of Jesus Christ Himself.

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, right? So as Moses -- a man anointed by God to lead His people -- a man who spoke face to face with God -- so God anoints a man today to lead His Church and He speaks to Him, sending His directions from the Holy Spirit to His people.

Posted by spoonerc on December 7, 2013 at 7:06 AM · Report this
thelyamhound 41
Well, of course, any Catholic may "choose" what he or she wishes to believe...
Not really. In philosophy, "belief" is the holding of a given posit to be true. The only way one can hold a counter-intuitive posit to be true is if the evidence contradicts one's intuition; the only way to hold a counter-evidentiary posit to be true is if a) other evidence points to a contradictory scenario or b) intuition suggests that there's something wrong with the evidence. Thus beliefs can change as data and temperament change, but one cannot change belief; and while one can believe something that is not necessarily true (so far as discerning truth is even within our power), one cannot believe something that one does not perceive as true. Belief is discerned, not decided; this discernment is an ongoing, dynamic process. Our beliefs cannot be nakedly counter-factual.

I think what you mean is that any Catholic may choose what tenets of Catholicism (which are different from, though related to, the articles of faith) he or she wishes to observe or obey. The fact that we use the word "belief" to describe that is just linguistic sloth.
The Catholic Church is not a democracy, contingent on what people "feel" is right. It is an ages-old Church, founded by Christ Himself, with the promise that she would never be overcome by Satan.
Fair enough. I left Catholicism when I realized that I neither believed its assertions, and determined that, in light of that, I would have to make decisions as to when and whether to obey its tenets in light of whatever date I find most credible.

That said, if a socially liberal splinter group that held the doctrines of the church to be symbolic in nature wished to maintain observance of certain rituals while allowing, say, same-sex marriage (or contraception, or the ordination of women, or a non-celibate priesthood, and so on), I don't see why they should be stopped; the question becomes one of who keeps the "Catholic" name, since small-c "catholic" is a (lovely) word independent of its having been co-opted, millennia ago by the institution.
God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, right?
So it is said. But assumes facts not in evidence. You're welcome to believe that, of course, but on what basis ought we to hold others accountable to that belief?
Posted by thelyamhound on December 7, 2013 at 1:11 PM · Report this

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