Just saying no: Some Seattle parishes decline to circulate petitions against gay marriage referendum

And one of them is the cathedral parish.  Details:

A growing number of Seattle’s Catholic parishes are saying “no” to Archbishop J. Peter Sartain’s offer that churches become signature gathering points for Referendum 74, the ballot measure to roll back Washington’s recently passed same-sex marriage law.

St. Mary’s Parish in the Central Area, and the new, growing Christ Our Hope parish in downtown Seattle, are the latest to decide petitions won’t be circulated on their premises.

The decision at St. Mary’s was announced by pastoral life coordinator Tricia Wittman-Todd in a “Dear People of St. Mary’s” letter.  She 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.”

St. James Cathedral, seat of the Seattle Archdiocese, told its parishoners Wednesday that it would not serve as a gathering point for anti-marriage equality petitions.  St. Joseph Parish has said no petitions will be permitted on the church campus.

The spreading dissent — although couched in respectful terms — comes at a time when the Catholic hierarchy is asserting its authority.

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