Seattle's largest Catholic church will not be taking part in signature-gathering to stop same-sex marriage, despite a recent call by Western Washington's Catholic leaders.And so Father Ryan has apparently decided that using this opportunity to preach and teach the truth about the grave moral evil of homosexual sex acts and the further evil of participating in the total sham of pretending that relationships based around that evil are in any way analogous to marriage is too "hurtful" for Seattle's cathedral parish.
Father Michael Ryan, head of St. James Cathedral, tells parishioners in a letter that gathering signatures for Referendum 74 would "prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community."
A recent letter from Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo to the over 200 plus churches in the Archdiocese approved and encouraged the gathering of signatures in opposition of the recently enacted same-sex marriage measure.
But Father Ryan says in his letter that the leaders left it up to each pastor to decide whether to participate.
Newsflash, Father Ryan: Hell will hurt. It will hurt the people whose emphatic and obdurate adherence to grave moral evil with full knowledge and sufficient reflection causes them to spend eternity there by their own sinful choices. It will hurt the straight person who fornicates or uses contraception; it will hurt the person who shacks up without Holy Matrimony, and it will hurt heterosexual adulterers and homosexual partners who contribute to each other's residence in eternal punishment because they decide that their sex habits are more important than God.
The Catholic Church didn't make up her teachings against sexual immorality yesterday. For more than 2,000 years she has taught that the path to eternal life is not the one traveled by those who persist in mortal sin. Those who obstinately and permanently reject the Church's teachings against sexual immorality, whether they wish to approve of adultery (even the kind that pretends to be a second but invalid "marriage"), of fornication (even the kind that pretends to be all but "marriage" but is really nothing more than the old story of shacking up), and of homosexual partnerships (even if they try to force the state to pretend that these, too, are somehow "marriages") do not have a place at the banquet of Eternal Life. The same thing is true for all those who embrace grave sin against any of the Commandments and who do not repent before they die. To pretend otherwise is to reject Christianity itself, to reshape Christ and His Church into something He and she are not.
I wish Father Michael Ryan could have met one of the priests I recall from my childhood, who would unhesitatingly have issued him one of this priest's not-so-coveted "Society of Judas Iscariot" memberships, complete with the buttons my priest friend would hand out or mail to those deserving of membership in this not-illustrious Society. Judas is the patron of all those who want to remake Christ and His Church into their own images, to suit their own agendas, to further their own plans. Judas wanted a different Christ than the Son of God; in our own day, people like Andrew Sullivan want a buddy-Christ who is cool with mortal sins so long as those sins are sexual in nature, but who is still opposed to the things Andrew agrees are evil and wants Him to be opposed to.
Perhaps Father Ryan's congregation is full of people like Andrew who think that if they pretend hard enough, Christ will not be Christ, sin will not be sin, evil will not be evil, and Hell will not be real. Wishing to avoid hurting anyone's feelings on earth, they're totally okay with abandoning those people to a less-than-positive eternal fate. It is one thing to support, encourage, and exhort our fellow sinners as we wish for the same for ourselves--but I know, from the depths of my own sinfulness, that those who help me were those who call sin by its real names and encourage me to weed it out of my life, and to keep at that focused gardening lest those weeds grow up again. But it is something different, something ugly and untrue and sad, to pretend that sins are good things and that it is "hurtful" to say otherwise to people who sit in the cathedral's darkness like stunned sheep who can't find their Shepherd.