Thursday, April 19, 2012

Standing Ovation in Seattle Parish When Pastor Refuses to Attack Gay Community

Meanwhile, in Catholic reality land (I'm keying off the last posting about the magisterium and sci-fi fantasyland), Igor Volsky at Think Progress and Abby Zimet at Common Dreams report that when Father Tim Clark announced this past Sunday that Our Lady of the Lake parish in Seattle will not participate in Archbishop Peter Sartain's drive to gather signatures to remove the right of civil marriage from gay citizens of Washington, he received a standing ovation.

Father Clark's reflection on the parish's approval of his decision:

I deeply believe, and say this with boldness, that this approach [i.e., Archbishop Sartain's directive] is not in the mind of Christ....I only wished the archbishop could have experienced the sustained applause - the "sensus fidelium" - of the people. He needs to listen to this "voice." That is my prayer."

It seems clear to me that the voice that is far more compelling for top Catholic pastoral leaders these days than that of the sensus fidelium is the voice of powerful elite men bent on asserting their power and their entitlement as males in the face of growing resistance to that power and that entitlement.

The magisterium as it currently functions is rapidly unmooring the church from its foundations in the gospels and the life and practice of Jesus, who ate with outcasts and freely welcomed women among his disciples--and who invited women to the table, when they were considered threats to the ritual purity of male religious teachers of his time and place.  And as it unmoors itself from its foundations and becomes a bastion of heterosexual (and, in the case of many Catholic hierarchs, pretend-heterosexual) male entitlement at its very worst, it more and more closely mirrors the socioeconomic and political elites that it blesses today, and to whom it listens to the exclusion of all other voices--including the voice of Jesus in the gospels.

The actions the Vatican is now taking will energize those determined to claim patriarchy and heterosexual male entitlement as the birthright of authentic Catholicism.  It will, however, sap energy from many other faithful Catholics, who will continue to withdraw from the church outright or withdraw energy from the church, until the sound that one day soon characterizes many Catholic parishes will not be the sound of many hands applauding, but of one hand clapping.

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