June 9, 2012
Dear Archbishop Sartain:
In response to your ongoing Annual Catholic Appeal, I will no longer be contributing financially to support the Archdiocese of Seattle. Your personal decisions on where to spend the limited resources, the time and effort, and the public voice of the Archdiocese have played a large role in this decision.
As a lifelong Catholic, I simply can no longer reconcile the core messages of Jesus and the essence of what it means to truly be Christian with the decisions you have made, the focus you have placed, and the statements you have proclaimed regarding your attempt to repeal Washington State’s civil marriage equality (Ref 74). I have read your joint open letter composed with the other bishops and find your logic overtly flawed and frankly, offensive. Worse than this, after much praying and attempting to interpret your words and actions in the most generous light, I still hold grave concerns that you consciously and deliberately are being deceitful and manipulative in your approach against civil equality – instead of taking the pastoral approach Jesus demands of you as an earthly representative of His Church.
I do not presume to know your heart or your intentions. I can only observe your words, deeds, and actions – both those you choose to do and those you choose not to. I fear you no longer ask yourself the simple question we pose to six years olds during formation of their own identities: “what would Jesus do?”
Archbishop, the people are the Universal Church. Your flock – to whom you are called to minister – we are the Church. Minister to us in love. Share with us the joys of our religion, our God, our beliefs and the freedom that comes from serving others. Religious freedom is not threatened by allowing two people who love each other to marry. Civil society is strengthened by bonds of love and commitment. A just society treats its members equitably. Individual religions can choose and remain free to choose which marriages they want to explicitly bless in a religious context. You know all these things and they are self-evident. Stop your campaign of hate, thinly veiled under a veneer of supposed morality.
I watch as friends and strangers alike leave the Church, actively pushed out by people like you. These are not light-weight Catholics and they are not fairweather Christians. They are the Church. They are your responsibility. They are Jesus in your pews.
I personally am here still, for the moment at least, not because of you, but despite you. It is a daily struggle for me to reconcile Jesus’s message and His call to live and act with Love, Integrity, and Service with the fact that the leaders of my Church have fallen into an intrinsically-disordered pattern in conflict with Jesus’s explicit instructions. I beg of you, I weep for your soul, and I implore you to pray again on this topic of civil marriage equality.
Perhaps one day the divisions so rife in the Church today will close. You are in a position to start that process. Rethink where you spend our treasure, refocus your efforts on how our community can heal, and stop telling your flock the door of Heaven is closed to them when it is so clearly not.
You will remain in my prayers.
Separately, on a different post I outline the Intellectual Dishonesty many of those people, including the Archbishop, employ in their quest to impose bigotry on our society.