But it looks like there are several Catholic parishes that won’t collect signatures for R-74.
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 parishoners 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.
Obviously, the Church collecting signatures at all for this referendum is a problem. There were exemptions carved out for them, and other religious organizations that didn’t want to perform same sex ceremonies. And yet, they can’t just live and let live with the law. Still, the parishes not participating is a great (even if small, and possibly overrepresented as a story) part of the story.
I don’t want to overstate this, because the Roman Catholic church remains very much a not-democracy, and the Archbishop Peter J. Sartrain, who has been foisting this petition drive on his parishes, sounds like a real not-peach. He’s been trying to muster Catholics in favor of Referendum 74, which would block Washington’s new same-sex marriage law.
But this outright refusal to accede to the Archbishop’s wishes touches on a post I made back in February arguing that the Conference of Catholic Bishops’ attempts to mobilize a “Catholic voting bloc” a la the conservative evangelical Protestant vote, would backfire badly. Yes, on paper the Church is very hierarchical; in practice, Catholic voters are much more diverse than the Bishops would like to admit