Sensus fidelum baby! For all you non-brainiacs, that means priests don’t have to listen to Church teaching or their archbishop as long as they surround themselves with people who agree with them.

It’s being reported that a priest is openly defying his archbishop and seems to be completely getting off on it. He’s even sending emails to the media about it. I’m unsure if he’s going to perform some kind of victory dance on the parish lawn but I wouldn’t be surprised. What? It could be for a nice charity like Planned Parenthood or a marriage equality group.

Seattle Pi reports:

The congregation at Seattle’s Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church gave the Rev. Tim Clark a standing ovation Sunday when he announced that the parish would not gather signatures for a referendum to repeal same-sex marriage.

The parish became the sixth in Seattle to opt out of the petition drive for Referendum 74 that has been endorsed and foisted on parishes by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain.

“I am happy to report that Our Lady of the Lake parishoners have been overwhelmingly and, thus far, unanimously supportive of the decision I made NOT to gather signatures in support of this Referendum,” Clark wrote in response to an e-mail.

“The standing ovation experienced during one of the Masses says less about me and much more about the health of this parish. I only wished the archbishop could have experienced the sustained applause — the ‘sensus fidelium’ — of the people. He needs to listen to this ‘voice.’ That is my prayer.”

You’ve got to wonder how many Catholics have scrambled out of that parish and found a decently Catholic parish to attend. But there might be slim pickings in Seattle as a number of other parishes have also refused. I’m unsure if they too are emailing reporters about their “standing ovations.”

But the Rev. Michael Ryan of St. James Cathedral reportedly said that the archbishop’s wishes in this case, “prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community.”

Yes, let’s just tell people what they want to here to make them happy. Who cares what happenes to them after they die?

Archbishop Peter Sartain is asking Catholics to sign their name to put traditional marriage to a referendum.

Mind you, the archbishop is hardly donning gestapo boots. He’s gone out of his way to say that all persons “should be treated with respect, sensitivity and love,” but he also didn’t water down the Church’s teachings.

But Father Clark reportedly responded by telling the media:

“When I first read the archbishop’s letter I was troubled by the content and his intentions,” Clark wrote. “In conscience, I could not allow signatures to be gathered, to allow the faith to be politicized in this way.

Wait, what faith are we talking about again. Oh yeah, the sensus fidelum one that he makes up as he goes along. And it gets worse from there. He reportedly wrote:

“What troubles me is the message this whole approach sends which I find discriminatory and insensitive. To follow through with his wishes would be hurtful, divisive and a countersign to what we are trying to foster in this Catholic community in Wedgwood.

“I deeply believe, and say this with boldness, that this approach is not in the mind of Christ.”

Uhm. Father Clark, it wasn’t Jesus giving you the standing ovation. It was just the Catholics left in your parish.

I went over to the parish’s website and found “Father Tim’s Corner” where he wrote this:

Because the strategy behind this crusade has—unintentionally, I believe—a discriminatory and insensitive feel to it. However, if you wish to support this Referendum, that is your civic right. But, I must admit, the ovation I witnessed at the 9:30 Mass after I made my intentions known was overwhelming. And I thought to myself: How I wish the Archbishop was present! Something is being said within the echo of such applause that needs a hearing. Since our student days in Rome, I’ve always known him to be a deeply prayerful and genuinely good person. My fear is that the approach he’s determined to take will only undermine his authority in the Archdiocese and I would never want that to happen. Such a thought only saddens me because of my friendship with him and of my love for the Church.

Two things about this. The first is that he says that if you want to support it, “it’s your civic right” but then says that you should probably know that pretty much everyone else in the Church is with me on this.

Secondly, he claims that the archbishop’s actions will only “undermine” the authority of the archdiocese. But isn’t that actually what Father Tim is doing?