CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS
TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION
BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS
1. In recent years, various questions relating to homosexuality have been addressed with some frequency by Pope John Paul II and by the relevant Dicasteries of the Holy See.(1) Homosexuality is a troubling moral and social phenomenon, even in those countries where it does not present significant legal issues. It gives rise to greater concern in those countries that have granted or intend to grant – legal recognition to homosexual unions, which may include the possibility of adopting children. The present Considerations do not contain new doctrinal elements; they seek rather to reiterate the essential points on this question and provide arguments drawn from reason which could be used by Bishops in preparing more specific interventions, appropriate to the different situations throughout the world, aimed at protecting and promoting the dignity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and the stability of society, of which this institution is a constitutive element. The present Considerations are also intended to give direction to Catholic politicians by indicating the approaches to proposed legislation in this area which would be consistent with Christian conscience.(2) Since this question relates to the natural moral law, the arguments that follow are addressed not only to those who believe in Christ, but to all persons committed to promoting and defending the common good of society.
I. THE NATURE OF MARRIAGE
AND ITS INALIENABLE CHARACTERISTICS
2. The Church's teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose.(3) No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.
3. The natural truth about marriage was confirmed by the Revelation contained in the biblical accounts of creation, an expression also of the original human wisdom, in which the voice of nature itself is heard. There are three fundamental elements of the Creator's plan for marriage, as narrated in the Book of Genesis.
In the first place, man, the image of God, was created “male and female” (Gen 1:27). Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level – the personal level – where nature and spirit are united.
Marriage is instituted by the Creator as a form of life in which a communion of persons is realized involving the use of the sexual faculty. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
Third, God has willed to give the union of man and woman a special participation in his work of creation. Thus, he blessed the man and the woman with the words “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). Therefore, in the Creator's plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness belong to the very nature of marriage.
Furthermore, the marital union of man and woman has been elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament. The Church teaches that Christian marriage is an efficacious sign of the covenant between Christ and the Church (cf. Eph 5:32). This Christian meaning of marriage, far from diminishing the profoundly human value of the marital union between man and woman, confirms and strengthens it (cf. Mt 19:3-12; Mk 10:6-9).
4. There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”.(4)
Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity... (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”.(5) This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries(6) and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.
Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”.(7) They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity.(8) The homosexual inclination is however “objectively disordered”(9) and homosexual practices are “sins gravely contrary to chastity”.(10)
II. POSITIONS ON THE PROBLEM
OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS
5. Faced with the fact of homosexual unions, civil authorities adopt different positions. At times they simply tolerate the phenomenon; at other times they advocate legal recognition of such unions, under the pretext of avoiding, with regard to certain rights, discrimination against persons who live with someone of the same sex. In other cases, they favour giving homosexual unions legal equivalence to marriage properly so-called, along with the legal possibility of adopting children.
Where the government's policy is de facto tolerance and there is no explicit legal recognition of homosexual unions, it is necessary to distinguish carefully the various aspects of the problem. Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.
In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.
III. ARGUMENTS FROM REASON AGAINST LEGAL
RECOGNITION OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS
6. To understand why it is necessary to oppose legal recognition of homosexual unions, ethical considerations of different orders need to be taken into consideration.
From the order of right reason
The scope of the civil law is certainly more limited than that of the moral law,(11) but civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience.(12) 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.(13) Laws in favour of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, 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.
It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behaviour, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon and the same behaviour as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man's life in society, for good or for ill. They “play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behaviour”.(14) Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation's perception and evaluation of forms of behaviour. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.
From the biological and anthropological order
7. Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them legal recognition. Such unions are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race. The possibility of using recently discovered methods of artificial reproduction, beyond involv- ing a grave lack of respect for human dignity,(15) does nothing to alter this inadequacy.
Homosexual unions are also totally lacking in the conjugal dimension, which represents the human and ordered form of sexuality. Sexual relations are human when and insofar as they express and promote the mutual assistance of the sexes in marriage and are open to the transmission of new life.
As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.
From the social order
8. Society owes its continued survival to the family, founded on marriage. The inevitable consequence of legal recognition of homosexual unions would be the redefinition of marriage, which would become, in its legal status, an institution devoid of essential reference to factors linked to heterosexuality; for example, procreation and raising children. If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties.
The principles of respect and non-discrimination cannot be invoked to support legal recognition of homosexual unions. Differentiating between persons or refusing social recognition or benefits is unacceptable only when it is contrary to justice.(16) The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it.
Nor can the principle of the proper autonomy of the individual be reasonably invoked. It is one thing to maintain that individual citizens may freely engage in those activities that interest them and that this falls within the common civil right to freedom; it is something quite different to hold that activities which do not represent a significant or positive contribution to the development of the human person in society can receive specific and categorical legal recognition by the State. Not even in a remote analogous sense do homosexual unions fulfil the purpose for which marriage and family deserve specific categorical recognition. On the contrary, there are good reasons for holding that such unions are harmful to the proper development of human society, especially if their impact on society were to increase.
From the legal order
9. Because married couples ensure the succession of generations and are therefore eminently within the public interest, civil law grants them institutional recognition. Homosexual unions, on the other hand, do not need specific attention from the legal standpoint since they do not exercise this function for the common good.
Nor is the argument valid according to which legal recognition of homosexual unions is necessary to avoid situations in which cohabiting homosexual persons, simply because they live together, might be deprived of real recognition of their rights as persons and citizens. In reality, they can always make use of the provisions of law – like all citizens from the standpoint of their private autonomy – to protect their rights in matters of common interest. It would be gravely unjust to sacrifice the common good and just laws on the family in order to protect personal goods that can and must be guaranteed in ways that do not harm the body of society.(17)
IV. POSITIONS OF CATHOLIC POLITICIANS
WITH REGARD TO LEGISLATION IN FAVOUR
OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS
10. If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.
When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.
When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided.(18) This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.
11. The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience of March 28, 2003, approved the present Considerations, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered their publication.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 3, 2003, Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and his Companions, Martyrs.
Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila
(1) Cf. John Paul II, Angelus Messages of February 20, 1994, and of June 19, 1994; Address to the Plenary Meeting of the Pontifical Council for the Family (March 24, 1999); Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 2357-2359, 2396; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Persona humana (December 29, 1975), 8; Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986); Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons (July 24, 1992); Pontifical Council for the Family, Letter to the Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe on the resolution of the European Parliament regarding homosexual couples (March 25, 1994); Family, marriage and “de facto” unions (July 26, 2000), 23.
(2) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life (November 24, 2002), 4.
(6) Cf., for example, St. Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians, V, 3; St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, 27, 1-4; Athenagoras, Supplication for the Christians, 34.
(7) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358; cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986), 10.
(8) Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2359; cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986), 12.
(15) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae (February 22, 1987), II. A. 1-3.
(17) It should not be forgotten that there is always “a danger that legislation which would make homosexuality a basis for entitlements could actually encourage a person with a homosexual orientation to declare his homosexuality or even to seek a partner in order to exploit the provisions of the law” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons [July 24, 1992], 14).
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
I have been receiving numerous posts to the effect that Christians should comply with the SCOTUS decision, as the Bible used to tolerate polygamy, Jesus said nothing on "same-sex marriage," the usual blather. Lets their be no doubt for Catholics:
In my life I have counted among friends and family, students and acquaintances heterosexual people who never married, people who are happily married, divorced people, people with annulments, homosexuals who are celibate, and those who now rush to be "married." It is with gtreat happiness that I have found a piece on recent events following the SCOTUS decision which perfectly expresses a Catholic view, and thus my own.
Monday, June 29, 2015
St. Paul writing on same-sex relations in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans:
St. Paul: ‘God Gave Them Over to a Debased Mind, to Do Those Things Which Are Not Fitting’ | CNS News:
'via Blog this'
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Obergefell and trans rights: the Supreme Court’s endorsement of identity-expression could help trans activism.:
“The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.” (Emphasis added.
'via Blog this'
“The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.” (Emphasis added.
'via Blog this'
Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.On a context note, the marriage issue has a particular resonance for the USCCB chief – the first chair of what was initially an ad hoc bishops' committee for the protection of marriage, Kurtz's 2010 statement that the nation faced "1973" for the institution (a reference to the court's sea-change ruling on abortion in Roe v. Wade) showed a communications skill that arguably launched him into the conference's top rank; the day after making the comment, the bishops elected Kurtz their vice-president.
The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.
Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.
I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.
Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.
Meanwhile, in the first statement from a group of prelates in a locale impacted by the ruling's strike-down of a ban, the bishops of Michigan have issued the following joint response:
Today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to redefine marriage represents a profound legal turning point in the contemporary and cultural understanding of spouses and family. We continue to teach that every human person deserves respect and compassion. The experience of same-sex attraction is a reality that calls for attention, sensitivity and pastoral care. While every person is called to love and deserves to be loved, today’s momentous decision will not change the truth of the Church’s teaching on marriage.In similar fashion, from another state whose ban was overturned – Nebraska – its three bishops have likewise issued a shared response:
The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman. This union brings two persons together and, because of their natural biological composition, each bring qualities to the marriage that differ from one another. Man and woman complement each other; they then become united as one in marriage and together are unique in their ability to create new life based on sexual and reproductive differences.
Every child has a mother and a father and even though each child deserves to be loved and raised by them together, we are conscious of and loving toward those circumstances in which this arrangement of a married mother and father in the home is not reality. Married couples unable to conceive children or family structures that differ – single parents, widowed parents, adopted children and those being raised by grandparents or other family members – merit compassion and support for their life situations, which at times can be difficult and challenging. The Church and her ministries must remain conscious of and respectful toward these differing dynamics, especially when support, counsel and love is sought.
Going forward, the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage will have a significant ripple effect upon the first amendment right to religious liberty. It sets the Church’s teaching about marriage in opposition to the law and will create inestimable conflicts between the state and religious persons and institutions. As the impact of the decision plays out over the coming weeks and months the Catholic Church will continue to preach the truth about marriage and will promote, in the public square, this truth as what is good for society and our world.
The Catholic bishops of Nebraska remind all people of good will that marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman. Marriage, as ordained by God, is the cornerstone of every human family, an ancient tradition in every culture. No one can change that reality. The truth about marriage is written into the complementarity of men and women in the context of the family. We encourage all believers to be witnesses to the goodness and beauty of marriage as God has revealed it, and by their example to foster peace, love, mercy and joy as a witness to that truth....from Ohio – whose marriage law was the direct focus of the case upon which the court made today's ruling – the following was just released by the state's lead cleric, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati:
Under the false banner of ‘marriage equality,’ the United State Supreme Court today redefined marriage by judicial fiat. In so doing, it has disregarded not only the clearly expressed will of the electorate in Ohio and other states, but also an understanding of marriage that was shared by virtually all cultures – secular as well as religious – until recently....here, from one of the US church's prime voices on the issue – and a USCCB-elected delegate to October's Synod on the Family – Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM Cap. of Philadelphia:
Every nation has laws limiting who and under what circumstances people can be married. This is because lawmakers have always understood that marriage does not exist just for the mutual satisfaction of the two people involved but for the betterment of society. Traditional marriage is the cradle of the family, the basic building block of society. As Pope Francis has reminded us, every child has a right to be raised by two parents, a father and a mother. Both parents are important, and they are not interchangeable. The sad reality that so many children are deprived of this right because of the crisis in traditional marriage does not make it any less important. It is deeply disappointing and worrisome that our courts do not understand this.
Although the decision is disappointing, it is undeniable that families headed by same-sex couples are growing in number and visibility. These families deserve everyone’s love, respect, compassion, sensitivity and, where appropriate, pastoral care from the Church.
The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision on marriage is not a surprise. The surprise will come as ordinary people begin to experience, firsthand and painfully, the impact of today's action on everything they thought they knew about marriage, family life, our laws and our social institutions. The mistakes of the court change nothing about the nature of men and women, and the truth of God's Word. The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God, and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today's decision....from Miami's Archbishop Thomas Wenski – one of the US' key defenders of Laudato Si', who's previously linked the marriage cause to Pope Francis' call for an "integral ecology":
The decision of the Supreme Court redefining marriage as merely an affective union between two people of any sex was disappointing if not unexpected. As the minority of the judges said in their dissent, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment.” This is simply a wrong, mistaken decision. Of course, this is not the first time the Supreme Court got it wrong....from another state that's seeing the overturn of a marriage ban, a one-sentence reax of St Louis' Archbishop Robert Carlson:
In the 19th Century, in the Dred Scott decision, the Court decided that a black man had no rights that a white person had to respect. In the 20th Century, the Court decided in Roe v. Wade that a baby could be killed in her mother’s womb at any time before birth. And now in the 21st Century, the Supreme Court makes another wrong decision.
Bad decisions lead to bad consequences and do not “settle” anything. Dred Scott made inevitable a bloody Civil War that cost more lives than any other war in our history and the racism that inspired the Dred Scott decision is still a cancer on America’s soul.
Roe v. Wade has resulted in more than 50 million abortions. Yet, abortion still troubles the conscience of America and an increasing majority of Americans reject “abortion on demand”.
This decision redefining marriage will also bring bad consequences. Losing the understanding of marriage in our culture as a conjugal union of a man and a woman in a permanent and exclusive commitment conducive to welcoming and raising the children born from such a union weakens the family as the basic cell of society; and it imperils the human flourishing of future generations. Allowing “an act of the will” to be substituted for “legal judgment” is a recipe for tyranny.
The decision issued today by the Supreme Court to effectively change the legal definition of marriage in the United States does not alter the unassailable truth that marriage is, and always will be, the life-long, life-giving union of one man and one woman....from the nation's capital, a measured, unsigned statement from the archdiocese of Washington, issued on behalf of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, likewise a US delegate to the Synod as a member of the body's 15-man governing council:
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling that in effect redefines the civil definition of marriage nationwide. The law of the land affirms that “marriage” in civil law may now include two persons of the same sex. While this is not the Church’s understanding of marriage, it is a definition confirmed by the Court....from Georgia – whose state ban was overturned with today's ruling – a similarly low-octane response from Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, a key USCCB moderate:
Our Catholic faith teaches that every person, regardless of race, creed, color, age, gender or sexual orientation, has dignity and is loved by God. The Church’s teachings on human sexuality and life reflect this truth.
Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a truth that predates courts and constitutions. This understanding transcends cultures, religions and all time – it is the foundation of civilization. More than just a bond between people who love and are committed to each other, marriage is also about creating and nurturing the next generation – something that requires both a man and a woman with their distinctive and complementary gifts. This is the reason that civil governments have given marriage special recognition throughout all of human history. Men and women are not interchangeable. Marriage is not ours to define. History, nature and revelation all profess these truths.
Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court changes none of this. The Court deals with civil law not revealed truth or religious faith.
The Court’s opinion rightly affirms the freedom of religious organizations to continue to express and teach the truth of marriage. Nonetheless, the Court’s ruling has the potential to create circumstances in which the Church’s teaching and practices may be perceived to conflict with civil law. As such situations arise, the local Church will have to undertake a moral evaluation to determine, on a case-by-case basis, the manner in which it will respond to this conflict.
Each U.S. Supreme Court decision that has ever been rendered has resulted in deep disappointment for some people and vindication for others. If we all agreed on the outcomes of these divisive cases, there would simply be no reason for the Court to convene. This most recent decision is no different....from the lead prelate of Texas as its ban was struck down, the response of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the USCCB vice-president as well as an October Synod delegate:
By the same token, every court decision is limited in what it can achieve; again, this one is no exception. It does not change the biological differences between male and female human beings or the requirements for the generation of human life, which still demands the participation of both. It does not change the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony, which beautifully joins a man and woman in a loving union that is permanent in commitment and open to God’s blessing of precious new life.
This judgment, however, does not absolve either those who may approve or disapprove of this decision from the obligations of civility toward one another. Neither is it a license for more venomous language or vile behavior against those whose opinions continue to differ from our own. It is a decision that confers a civil entitlement to some people who could not claim it before. It does not resolve the moral debate that preceded it and will most certainly continue in its wake.
This moral debate must also include the way that we treat one another – especially those with whom we may disagree. In many respects, the moral question is at least as consequential and weighty as the granting of this civil entitlement. The decision has offered all of us an opportunity to continue the vitally important dialogue of human encounter, especially between those of diametrically differing opinions regarding its outcome.
The decision has made my ministry as a pastor more complex since it demands that I both continue to uphold the teachings of my Church regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony while also demanding that I insist upon respect for the human dignity of both those who approve of the judgment as well as those who may disapprove.
The Supreme Court’s narrow majority decision today is gravely unjust as it attempts to change the nature of marriage. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error harming the common good and the most vulnerable among us. The ruling does not and cannot change what marriage really is. No one and no court can make what is false true....and lastly for now, the mid-afternoon statement from Pope Francis' principal North American adviser, Cardinal Seán O'Malley OFM Cap. of Boston:
Marriage is a perennial institution, with deep roots in who we are and in our nation’s culture and laws. Marriage is and always will be the union between one man and one woman. This truth is inseparable from the duty to honor the God-given dignity of every human person, to protect the beautiful truth of marriage, which concerns the essential well-being of the nation, especially children. Children have a basic right, wherever possible, to know and be loved by their mother and father together. The law has a duty to support every child in this most basic right.
With renewed purpose, we call upon all people of good will to promote and defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman for life. The redefinition of legal marriage to include any other type of relationship has serious consequences, especially for religious freedom.
Our Church will continue its efforts to support public policy issues, including a version of the marriage and religious freedom act, which would prohibit the government from discriminating against those who act in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is the union between a man and woman.
I encourage the faithful of the Archdiocese to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, and love for all our neighbors. Together, we must increase our efforts to strengthen marriages and families and rebuild a marriage culture. And, we shall continue to reach out with love and support to all people, including those who experience same-sex attraction knowing that all people are loved by God and are called to love Him.
As a citizen of the United States and a Catholic bishop, I am saddened by the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage.While the dust begins to settle, conspicuous by their absences as mid-afternoon turns to evening remain reactions from the heads of the nation's three largest dioceses – by population, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago – as well as Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the US bishops' designated leader in their efforts on the protection of traditional marriage.
The institution of marriage understood in its human, moral and legal dimensions is a fundamental building block of any society. The protection of marriage and families is a shared responsibility for all of us.
In a pluralistic society we inevitability face disagreements about important political and legal questions. But our division over this question in its moral, political and legal significance is particularly painful.
Certainly every citizen of this land, regardless of their sexual orientation, deserves to be respected in their personal and civic life. But enshrining same sex marriage in our constitutional system of governance has dangers that may become fully evident only over time.
I can only express my disappointment with the decision and invite members of my own religious community to remember and reaffirm the fundamental truths of our faith about marriage. At the same time, faced with a decision that embodies a quite different understanding of the meaning of marriage than held by the Church, we should as citizens and Catholics both protect our own deeply held values and participate with civility and charity in the continuing national discussion about this decision.
Now that SCOTUS has opined (creating a mess), friends of traditional marriage will need to defend it in the culture war, The best way to do this is to get a copy of Bill May’s booklet, Getting the Marriage Conversation Right, which has the best strategies for defending the nature of marriage. I have it already, and will no doubt need it soon.
May’s thesis, absolutely correct from the point of both history and social science, is that marriage is the only institution in existence that guarantees the rights of children to be united with their mother and father. Period. Pope Francis has said as much too many times to count. For the 4000 years marriage has existed as a social and legal institution marriage has been understood as the institution that unites a man and a woman to each other and any children born from their union. No other social structure does that.
Furthermore, the reason heterosexual marriage has enjoyed preeminence in society for 4000 years is not because of the bigotry or prejudice of the ancient pagan society that first gave marriage legal and social status. Heterosexual marriage was given priority over other relationship types common to the time (hook-ups with temple prostitutes, cohabiting, same-sex unions) because it, much more than any other relationship type, yielded several observable benefits that were necessary for the creation of an orderly society.
The first of these: Marriage unites children to their mother and father.
- Even compared to cohabiting couples, marriage comes out ahead.
- About 30% of couples who live together give up their children. It is almost unheard of for married couples to give up their children.
- Additionally, only children born in a marriage have a legal right to know who their mother and father are and to be raised by that mother and father.
- Any social movement that undercuts this fact does violence to the dignity of children.
The second: Children raised by married mothers and fathers do significantly better.
· He reality that children born to a married mother and father do better on all academic, social, psychological, spiritual, and interpersonal measures.
· Any social movement that weakens this fact does violence to the dignity of children
The third: No other relationship protects the financial and social security of women as does marriage.
· The middle-class does not exist without marriage.
· Married women are more financially and socially secure than women in any other relationship type (including lesbian relationships).
· This is true even of college-educated women (Although this group is most likely to be secure without marriage, only 37% of women have a college degree).
The fourth. Marriage socializes men.
In addition to the fact that married men are exponentially more willing to claim and raise their own children, married men are significantly less likely to commit violent crime than unmarried men.
· For example, according to the DOJ, 65% of crimes against women are committed by unmarried men.
· Only 9% of married men have committed a violent crime against a woman.
· This ratio holds up across the board for crime statistics.
The fifth: Marriage secures sustainable fertility rates.
· Even though the gap has narrowed somewhat, married couples still have more children than unmarried couples.
· De-population is the most serious social problem facing the West. As marriage rates have decreased, societies are not producing enough children to support their social infrastructure.
In sum, Gay marriage does not grant any benefits to society and in fact, undermines several:
- Gay marriage makes it discriminatory to say that ANY child has a right to a mother and father.
- Same-Sex marriage does not provide the same level of security for the partners or children raised in those households.
- Same-Sex marriage does not socialize partners to the same degree.
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Pope Francis, who says homosexual marriage is an
"attempt to destroy God's plan" and comes from "the
father of lies," Satan.
I have written about bishops who actually know how to bishop, to shepherd their flocks. Bishop Tom Tobin, head of the Catholic diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, is mist definitely one such shepherd. In reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling today that homosexual marriage is a right, Bishop Tobin said "a thousand courts" may rule what they want but gay marriage "is morally wrong" and a "rejection of God's plan for the human family."
Quoting Pope Francis, whose teaching has appeared here many times, Bishop Tobin further said that homosexual marriage comes from "the father of lies," Satan, "who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God."
"A thousand courts may rule otherwise, but the very notion of 'same-sex marriage' is morally wrong and a blatant rejection of God’s plan for the human family," said Bishop Tobin in a June 26 post on Facebook.
He continued, "As Pope Francis taught while serving as Archbishop in Argentina: 'Same-sex marriage is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is a move of the ‘father of lies’ who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.'"
"Despite the current trends of our society, or perhaps because of them, the Church must redouble its commitment to proclaim and defend authentic concepts of marriage and family as we have received them from God," said Bishop bthe bishop. "We will always do so, however, in a respectful, charitable and constructive manner."
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Boy, at this moment in my life is the following ever music to my ears:
EXTRAORDINARY FORM, HOMILIES
4TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
JUNE 21, 2015 FATHER ACERVO
Although the readings in the Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form this Sunday are different from each other, they both touch on a similar theme: Jesus scolds His followers for being afraid and for not trusting in His Power.
Jesus says, “cast your nets”, but Peter protests. We’ve labored all night. We did this and we did that and nothing has happened. It was only when they did as the Lord had commanded them to do that they made their catch.
The problem with us is that we always think we know better than God. If things don’t go the way that we think they should go, God is obviously making a mistake or He’s powerless.
This can especially be a temptation for us whenever we think about all of the suffering and evil that happens in the world. We know that there are a lot of bad things going on in the world today. Maybe we’re even struggling with some trials in our own lives. The temptation is to ask, “Where is God?” Why doesn’t He care? Doesn’t He care that there is violence? Doesn’t He care that there is terrorism? Doesn’t He care about what is happening to marriage and the family? Doesn’t He care that I’m sick or someone that I love is sick? Doesn’t He care that my children have fallen away from the faith? Doesn’t He care that there are so many who are poor and suffering?
Jesus, of course, does care, and He rebukes His followers of not having faith in Him. But not only that: He rebukes them for being afraid. And where there is fear, there is an easy target for the devil. Show me a disciple who is afraid, and I’ll show you a disciple who is ineffective.
Now, fear is a natural reaction. It’s understandable that there is some reluctance on Peter’s part when Jesus ask Him to cast his nets once again. But this wasn’t the only time that Peter and the other Apostles lacked in trust despite seeing the miracles and healings that Jesus performed. And so Jesus admonishes them because of it. If you believed in me and really knew who I am, you would have faith in me, and if you had faith in me, you would not be afraid.
Fear, as I said, is a natural human emotion. It’s a natural reaction to danger. Often times, it might prevent us from being reckless in the face of a real danger. Where fear becomes a problem is when it paralyzes us or when it robs us of joy, which often happens when we don’t trust in God. In our own lives, no matter what our vocation might be, whether we are a priest, or nun, or married person, or consecrated person, there will be trials and even the occasional crisis. God never said that following Him would guarantee a life of smooth sailing. But when these trials come up in our own personal life, when the world around us seems to be falling apart, this is not because God is asleep at the wheel. It is not because God doesn’t care. It is not because God is powerless or incompetent. Often times, these difficulties are nothing more than tests – opportunities to make the right choice. Opportunities to persevere and not take the easy way out.
So understanding this helps us when we’re trying to deal with the problem of suffering and evil either in the world or in our own lives. Suffering and evil are not good things, of course. But they test our faith. They test our willingness to persevere. And if we approach it in the right way, it can actually strengthen our faith and increase our joy.
When we find ourselves afraid or lacking in faith, a good thing to do is to pray for the virtue of fortitude. Fortitude is one of the cardinal virtues. It is the virtue that allows us to stand firm in the face of difficulties. It strengthens our resolve to resist temptation. The Catechism tells us that fortitude “enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause.”The fortitude of the martyrs was off the charts. I love the story of St. Lawrence. Legend has it that he was literally grilled to death. And as he was lying on the gridiron, his flesh roasting, he said, “turn me over, I’m done on this side”.
Why do we want to overcome fear? Because we want to be joyful. Pope Francis said that Christian communities become “sick” when they live in fear and fail to be joyful – even when times are difficult. This applies to individuals as well. He said,
“A Christian without joy is not Christian. A Christian who continually lives in sadness is not Christian. And a Christian who, in the moment of trial, of illness, of so many difficulties, loses peace – something is lacking in him.” What is lacking is an understanding of who Jesus is and what His messages say to us.
Why do we want to overcome fear? Because we want to be effective disciples. The Apostles would never be effective fishers of men as long as they continued to be burdened by fear or a lack of trust.
Again, Pope Francis says, “Do not be afraid. Ask for the grace of courage” so that when time seem to be tough, we can remain joyful knowing that the Lord is near.