Rev. Kurt Nagel, a pastor of Holy Family Parish in Washington state, is responding to the growing number parishes who have opted out of a campaign to repeal marriage equality by doubling down on the Church’s opposition to gay people. “The Catholic Church does not believe that people with same sex attraction are inferior,” he argued. “It is sometimes said to support the charge of bigotry that the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual persons are ‘disordered’. That is not true”:
It is true that the sexual DESIRES for persons of the same sex are disordered. That is, such desires are not ORDERED, or aimed, at the right end or goal. But we all have disordered desires — in terms of sex, food, power, money, etc. That is because, although made in the image and likeness of God, we are also fallen creatures.” [...]
Nagel argued that “homosexual persons” already have “the legal benefits of marriage” — thanks to the Domestic Partnership law enacted when Washington voters approved Referendum 71 in 2009.
“So our opposition to redefining marriage is not now a matter of denying anyone legal rights,” Nagel told parishoners. He acknowledged that the Washington State Catholic Conference opposed the 2009 Domestic Partnership law, as “obviously” a step toward legalizing marriage and “in part because we don’t believe such sexual relationships encourage the best lives and greatest happiness for homosexual persons.”
“The Catholic Church believes that creating this new legal and social institution of domestic partnerships is, on balance, not wise,” Nagel said. “But it is doable. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, believes that Gay MARRIAGE is simply not possible.”
It’s unclear how Nagel would respond to the very real and possible marriages of the thousands of same-sex couples across the country, but while his comments echo the sentiment of the Washington Archbishop — who has called on churches to take part in an effort to undo Washington’s recently-enacted marriage equality law — they don’t represent the thinking of all Catholic leaders or congregations in the state.
At least six Catholic parishes are avoiding the recall, partly because it is “hurtful and seriously divisive in our community.” Last week, Seattle’s Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church gave the Rev. Tim Clark a standing ovation when he announced that the parish would not be participating in the anti-equality campaign.
Opinion polls have consistently shown that Catholics reject the Church’s opposition to marriage equality, with nearly three-quarter of Catholics favoring “either allowing gay and lesbian people to marry (43%) or allowing them to form civil unions (31%). Only 22% of Catholics say there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship.”