"You aim at a devout life, dear Philothea, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God's Divine Majesty," says St. Francis de Sales in his book "Introduction to the Devout Life".
And we can all be Philotheas, as St. Francis notes: "I have made use of a name suitable to all who seek the devout life, Philothea meaning one who loves God."
So…I mentioned in a previous
post that Cardinal Schonborn’s support of an openly homosexual man who was
elected to serve on a parish council, garnered praise from all the wrong places
– in particular from the organization called “New Ways Ministry”. This group describes
itself as “a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics,” and it was banned by then-Cardinal
Joseph Ratzinger and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1999. With
supporters like that, you don’t need detractors.
On the other hand, over in the
Diocese of Seattle, there’s another battle in progress, also centered on the issue
of homosexual behavior. This one pits Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who is
trying to reverse the decision of the state of Washington to legalize
homosexual “marriage”, against the liberal “progressives” in the Church who
refuse to follow Church teaching on this issue.
Archbishop Sartain issued a carefully-worded
letter last week which said parishes would be “allowed” to collect signatures
for Referendum 74, which would put the same-sex “marriage” question before
voters in the November general election. He’s now receiving criticism and
condemnation from all the right
quarters: the liberal progressives are bashing him big-time.
One publication, The Stranger,
clearly supports the homosexual agenda and clearly demonizes Archbishop Sartain.
I am not familiar with that publication, but the Seattle Post-Intelligencercommented
that The Stranger “is finally
discovering happenings in the Catholic Church of which it approves”. Well, that’s
At any rate, several parishes –
including even the Cathedral
parish! – have made a very public point of their refusal to do any
signature-gathering for the initiative that would restore marriage to its
proper definition in the state of Washington. The Seattle P-I story
mentions St. Mary’s parish, where the “Pastoral Life Coordinator”, one TriciaWittman-Todd runs the show. She seems to be very
much in charge, even though the parish has a priest – listed as “parochial
vicar” on the parish website.
Ms. Wittman-Todd said in a letter
to parishioners (my emphases):
have decided we will not collect signatures at the parish. I am certain you
will find ample opportunity elsewhere to sign whatever petitions you
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.
Read: We’re “inclusive” – “unless we
have to include those who hold Catholic beliefs about the sinfulness of
homosexual activity.” And there are those other watchwords of progressives – “hurtful” and “divisive”. Fr. Michael Ryan, pastor of St. James Cathedral, used
exactly the same phrase (here).
(And Catholic Culture notes that Fr. Ryan has served on the board of directors of the National
Catholic Reporter, and has been a leading opponent of the new translation
of the Roman Missal.
In a variation on the theme, one
St. Mary’s parishioner reportedly
defended her dissident opinion and action by saying:
was all about inclusivity and love—the stand our bishop is taking is the opposite," [Barbara] Guzzo says. Along with an organizing committee, Guzzo
has formed a group called Catholics for Marriage Equality in Washington designed
specifically to resist Sartain’s campaign.
I cannot understand how those who
uphold Church teaching can be seen as “divisive”; it seems to me that those who
seek to undermine the Church are the ones causing division; they fail to
understand the importance and non-negotiable nature of obedience to the Church.
These dissident Catholics are simply saying, “I WON’T believe and serve God.” As
one commenter at Catholic Culture quipped, “’Non serviam.’ Does Lucifer collect
royalties every time his line is used?”
“Pastor” Tricia at St. Mary’s went
on to write in her letter:
particularly concerned about our youth who may be questioning their own
sexual identity and need our support at this time in their lives.
Holy smokes! For the love of God
and the salvation of souls, let’s make a great big deal about collecting
signatures for the express purpose of protecting
the youth! Let them know that they can question their sexual identity all they
want, but that there is a correct
answer, and it is their very own Catholic Church that teaches it!
Answer: TELL THEM THE TRUTH.
How can any Catholic think that
condoning and encouraging homosexual behavior is in any way a “loving” response
to grave sin? A truly charitable response is one that leads the soul toward
salvation, not damnation.
St. Mary’s priestess pastoral
life coordinator seems to have a problem understanding formation of conscience,
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, ie tax
policies, services to the poor, environmental laws, capital punishment, etc.
Yes, we must form our conscience.
And we are free to disagree with each other on the many issues that are not directly addressed by the Church – like taxes, environmental laws, and even capital punishment. But
as Catholics, we are NOT free to disagree with the Church on the grave
sinfulness of certain behaviors or actions (homosexual behavior, abortion,
contraception), and if we form our conscience so as to condone those actions,
then we have formed our conscience wrongly, and we are not in communion with
I have no idea how many people in
Seattle support the homosexualist activists (or even how many are simply passively
sitting by while the homosexual agenda poisons the Church in addition to
secular society). But probably by now, Archbishop Sartain has an idea – as if
he didn’t already! – as to who among the pastors he has appointed to look after
the flock is faithful to the Church, and who is not.
Perhaps it’s time the Archbishop
of the Diocese of Seattle took a look at the “Affirmation of Faith” Bishop Vasa
instituted in the Diocese of Baker a few years ago (see my post here,
and read the Affirmation of Faith here on
When Bishop Vasa introduced the
pastoral letter and the Affirmation, many homosexualist activists left the
Church – or at least their local parish, especially the one in Bend. It’s sad
to think of those lost souls. But I think they were already lost.
In parishes like St. Mary’s in
Seattle, it seems, those who engage in homosexual behavior are not corrected in
any way – that would be “judgmental”. But that failure of their pastors (or
even their fellow parishioners) to offer some information and correction will
not help them get into Heaven.
This is not a good sign.
Requiring that pastors and lay
leaders make an “affirmation of faith” could result in some much needed “housecleaning”
at the parish level. How many lay leaders parishioners would leave? Who knows?
And it’s not that we shouldn’t care about that. But what good is it for dissident
Catholics to come to Mass every Sunday and receive Holy Communion if they
engage in sinful behavior and refuse to acknowledge that it is a sin, even when
the Church teaches that it is? There are people who are living in sin and who
are receiving Holy Communion unworthily, bringing condemnation on themselves (1
expose sin for what it is. Those who want to persist in it may leave the Church,
but let’s not allow that fear to keep us from speaking the truth in love. At
least then, even if they leave, they will have been exposed to the truth. God’s
grace and mercy are surely abundant enough to bring them back into the fold at
 I know nothing about this publication, but I
found it sadly predicable that The
Stranger (along with its blog “Slog”), is a liberal/radical, “progressive”,
pro-homosexual publication by looking at the number of headlines that include
the word “sh**”. I really do not understand the affinity liberals seem to have
for that word, and for the f-bomb as well. To me, resorting to over-use of those words merely
suggests that the user lacks an adequate vocabulary and level of maturity to express himself in more
appropriate and specific ways. In other words, liberals, it makes you sound stupid.