I read with grief and disappointment the statement released by the Vatican this morning declaring that the Roman Catholic Church will not recognize or allow church blessings of same-sex unions because they are inherently “not licit.” The statement goes further to say this stance is reaffirmed at this time because “God cannot bless sin.” It is all a terrible disaffirmation of humanity which we claim was created in God’s image and is inherently “good,” and my heart goes out to all who read this news as one more way some leaders in the Church have foisted humiliating pain and oppression upon a subset of people meant to separate them in spiritually abusive ways—and that add to violence and rights abuses. I regret this, I reject this, and I write to say, on behalf of the people of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, I am sorry for the harm this latest statement will cause. The Church can and must do better.
Nearly thirty years ago, Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle began blessing same-sex unions despite pressure from some leaders in the Episcopal Church to prevent that. This cathedral has served as a safe haven and welcoming home for people of all orientations for decades, and we worked in support of Washington state’s initiative in 2012 to ensure the right of same-sex couples to marry. I am glad to say the General Convention of the Episcopal Church and its House of Bishops have since embraced this position as well.
As Dean, I would say to you: your union is not illicit, your marriage is indeed blessed by God, and we know the Church is the richer for your presence and witness in our midst. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome here!
Yours, In Christ,
The Very Reverend Steven L. Thomason
Dean and Rector
Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral | 1245 10th Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98102