the bishops

We got a letter in our parish bulletin from the Archbishop of Seattle about Referendum 74.  You know, the referendum that might exist if it gets enough signatures, that will put the issue of gay marriage out to Washington voters. I’m already irritated that there is a letter about this, then I read this line: “We support Referendum 74 and have approved the gathering of signatures in our parishes over the next few months.”

EXCUSE ME??!!  They then have the decency to say that no one is allowed to collect signatures on Easter.  But seriously.

When I came into the Catholic church it was an election year.  I remember because I was 16 and really irritated I couldn’t vote for John Kerry (Lot of good that would have done in our blue state).  Since I grew up in the capital, we felt especially close to local and national issues so I was quite “informed.”  I also remember how a rogue parishioner once left us all right-winged pamphlets on our windshields one morning while we were celebrating mass.  I was still discerning my place in the Catholic church and this shit pissed me off.  I was like, “I’m not sure I can be a Catholic if it means I have to vote Republican.  I mean, pro-life sure, but all the way Republican?  That’s sort of a deal breaker for me.” To an extent that’s where my ideologies have remained since. I cling to my hippie loving liberal heritage like it’s a piece of my Olympia born identity.  Anyways, the only reason I kept going to mass was because I heard the pamphlets pissed off Father, and I thought it was awesome that I could go to church and get to know God, but still be trusted to make my own decisions when it comes to voting.

I understand that the Church opposes gay marriage. I don’t think it’s correct and I will explain why in another post, but until I get a chance to sit down the USCCB and give them a stern talking-to, I have accepted that I am just going to have to agree to disagree.  However, what pisses me off is that they are going to be gathering signatures outside of mass.

I honestly think that is would piss off Jesus too.  Of course, Jesus said that not everyone was made for marriage (Mat 19:12).  But he also said, “My house shall be a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves. (Mat 21: 13)”  Politics does not belong at mass.  Nor does it belong outside of mass, and it sure as shit doesn’t belong in the hands of the parents whose children I teach, wondering why on Earth I’m not being “obedient” to the Bishop’s wishes because I won’t sign the damn paper.  I have no problem with the Bishops telling us what we “should” do about Referendum 74.  But I have a problem when they begin to force my hand. Is that really helping to lead the flock toward right relationship with each other and God?

It’s like the bishops are trying to make Catholicism the most unappealing, backward, conservative way to live.  With the recent HHS controversy and this referendum they have managed to distort our teachings, which when you get to the heart of them are pretty damn beautiful, into the headline: “Catholics want women to have millions of babies and gay people to have no rights!”

My point is:  I can’t think of many activities that are worthy of doing right after mass, right after the miracle of the Eucharist.  So please, don’t ask for my signature when I am filled with the joy and peace of Christ.



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