WASHINGTON: 63 Former Catholic Priests Issue Letter Supporting Marriage

Sixty-three former Roman Catholic priests, who have a collective 800 years of service, have issued a statement supporting Washington state’s Referendum 74.

“We are uneasy with the aggressive efforts of Catholic bishops to oppose R-74 and want to support the 71 percent of Catholics (Public Religion Research Institute) who support civil marriage for gays as a valid Catholic position,” they said in a statement. Former priest Pat Callahan, who organized the statement, added: “This is the first public action we’ve taken.” Callahan was in the Catholic priesthood for 15 years. Washington, Maryland and Maine will vote on marriage equality this November. Minnesota is voting on a constitutional amendment that would enshrine marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. The ex-priests in Washington are taking a lesson from the playbook of their counterparts in Minnesota. Minneapolis-St. Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt has warned any active priests opposing the gay marriage ban to keep their feelings to themselves. With no threat of ecclesiastical retaliation, three retired priests and dozens of former priests have made public statements against the proposed amendment.

My guess is that most of these former priests are gay.  And I can’t wait for Bill Donohue to respond.