To Pastor Fr. Binh Ta, C.Ss.R. and Parochial Vicar Fr. Mark Scheffler, C.Ss.R. of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Parish, Seattle, WA
I looked around and saw young people. Any one of them could have picked up this tract and read it. My question is, “Do you really want young Catholics—or indeed any Catholics—to see this kind of material when they come to Mass?” And what about visitors to your church? Do you think they feel welcomed when the first piece of literature they pick up threatens eternal torment?
I was also distressed to see that your parish was distributing the Prop 74 petition. When you consider that around 53% of Catholics in this country support same-sex marriage, circulating such a petition in church seems unnecessarily divisive and demonstrates misplaced priorities. Parishioners should not have to listen to anti-equality messages when they attend Mass. Moreover, Archbishop Sartain’s letter supporting the Referendum reveals a very confused grasp of the social justice issues involved. He offers homosexual couples “respect” with one hand while denying them equality with the other. Gay and lesbian couples in this state do not want to hear nostrums about respect when they are treated like second-class citizens. True “respect” requires equal access to the benefits (including the very name) of civil marriage.
I know that many Catholics in the Seattle Diocese share my disappointment that Sacred Heart of Jesus did not join St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. James Cathedral, St. Joseph’s Church, St. Louise, Christ Our Hope Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and St. Patrick’s in declining to participate in this anti-equality effort.
What an irony that St. Maria Faustina Kowalska’s lurid descriptions of Purgatory and Hell were available in your pews on the same morning that you circulated a petition to deny loving same-sex couples the right to a civil marriage.