Monday, April 30, 2012
Saint Mary's Church in Seattle deserves better than Tricia Wittmann-Todd
Tricia Wittmann-Todd, the "pastoral life coordinator" who refused to circulate petitions in support of Referendum 74, the ballot measure to roll back Washington's same-sex "marriage" law, even though Archbishop J. Peter Sartain asked parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Seattle to do so, is at it again. This time, in her weekly message to parishioners of St. Mary's Church in Seattle, Tricia is commenting on the sixth and seventh chapter of Acts to imply that same-sex unions are called for because of the demands of "justice."
She writes, "This story is a good reminder that ours is a very long and complicated history, and that the Holy Spirit chooses to manifest Herself in first one and then another. Certain things remain constant in our faith: worshipping God, care for the widows and orphans...and a radical equality for justice that includes all people all the time."
Note Ms. Wittmann-Todd's use of vertical inclusive language when referring to the Person of the Holy Spirit. This even though the Vatican has made it clear that, "..in keeping with the Church's tradition, the feminine and neuter pronouns are not to be used to refer to the Person of the Holy Spirit." (See here). Apparently Wittmann-Todd has a problem not only with her Archbishop's authority but with authority in the Church in general. For this reason alone, her competence to serve in any capacity, even at the parish level, is in question.
In her weekly message, Wittmann-Todd writes, "Many have expressed concern and anger that Archbishop Sartain has been appointed to 'overhaul' the Leadership Conference of Women Religious...What will this mean for the countless women religious who have been and continue to be foundational for most of us in our spiritual lives. They have taught us the faith in school and church..."
Some foundation. We are witnessing its fruits in the United States today: emptying churches, seminaries and convents and a Church which needs to be re-evangelized, a mission territory where so many Catholics, like Wittmann-Todd herself, do not even understand the fundamentals of the faith.
If Wittmann-Todd had been given a solid foundation in the faith she would understand, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirmed in its document entitled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, that "civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience. Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person." (No. 6). Thus, "laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason...the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good." (No. 6).
Wittmann-Todd lacks a solid foundation in the Catholic faith. For this reason, she should be removed immediately from her position as "pastoral life coordinator." Faith, as defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is "..a personal act - the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself" (CCC, 166). Faith is a response to what has been divinely given. In other words, a response to divine revelation. Faith is not merely a subjective feeling which we work up within ourselves. St. Thomas Aquinas says [Summa Theologiae II-II, I, 2, ad 2] that: "The believer's act [of faith] does not terminate in propositions, but in the realities which they express."
If Wittmann-Todd has difficulty accepting the Church's teaching, which is divinely revealed, and her authority, how can she faithfully serve a Catholic community?