Wednesday, August 6, 2008

California Catholics and Proposition 8

California bishops endorse Prop. 8 to halt ‘radical change’ of same-sex marriage
Sacramento, Aug 5, 2008 / 06:43 pm (CNA).-

The Catholic Bishops of California have endorsed Proposition 8, a measure on the California ballot that would ban what they called the “radical change” of same-sex marriage. Writing in a statement, the bishops explained Catholic teaching on marriage and also defended marriage’s natural functions in stabilizing society for the procreation and rearing of children.

“As citizens of California, we need to avail ourselves of the opportunity to overturn this ruling by the California Supreme Court,” the bishops urged in their statement, referring to the court’s May 15 decision mandating that same-sex marriage be enacted in the state.

The language of the ballot, which declares only marriage between a man and a woman to be valid in California, “simply affirms the historic, logical and reasonable definition of marriage—and does not remove any benefits from other contractual arrangements.”

The bishops declared that marriage is intrinsic to “stable, flourishing and hospitable societies” and is the “ideal relationship between a man and a woman for the purposes of the procreation of the human race.”

Criticizing the ruling of the California Supreme Court, the bishops argued the decision “discounts the biological and organic reality of marriage” and “diminishes the word ‘marriage’ to mean only a ‘partnership’,” making children no longer a “primary social rationale” of the institution.
Citing the Catholic Catechism’s teaching that “God himself is the author of marriage,” the bishops said that same-sex unions are not the same as opposite-sex unions. The marriage of man and woman embraces their “sexual complementarity” and is ideal for children, who are thus raised by both a mother and a father, they said.

“Marriage mirrors God's relationship with us-and that marriage completes, enriches and perpetuates humanity,” the bishops also wrote. “When men and women consummate their marriage they offer themselves to God as co-creators of a new human being.”

Further, they repeated that protecting the traditional understanding of marriage should not be seen as a disparagement of our brother and sisters who disagree with us.

The bishops concluded by saying that they “strongly encourage” Catholics to provide financial support and volunteer efforts for the passage of Proposition 8 and to vote in the November election.

Catholic News Agency contacted Protect Marriage, a California organization backing the proposition, for comment on the bishops’ endorsement but did not receive a response by press time.


What I really wish is that the Church would, once again, get it's act together. The above is a definition of marriage which places it's only real legitimacy in the procreation of children. To quote:

“Marriage mirrors God's relationship with us-and that marriage completes, enriches and perpetuates humanity,” the bishops also wrote. “When men and women consummate their marriage they offer themselves to God as co-creators of a new human being.”

Fine, if that's how you really see a sacramental marriage, then by all means reserve marriage for couples CAPABLE of procreating. The fact any heterosexual couple can marry, makes this whole anti gay marriage argument null and void. Invalid.

I have a friend who was married in the church. His wife, because of medical reasons had a hysterectomy. I asked him how they managed to get around the whole procreation thing, and he told me, I kid you not, that they got around it because maybe there would be a miracle. I was stunned.

I then asked him if he didn't feel like a freaking hypocrite, taking advantage of the miracle card, so he could be married in the church. He sheepishly admitted he did, and it wasn't really fair, but that's how the game was played. He is a very committed Catholic and wanted his relationship to be recognized by the Church. I attended his wedding because I appreciated his honesty.

I wonder how many more non procreative couples who have been married in the Church could admit that they feel somewhat hypocritical having to take advantage of the 'miracle card' while their gay brothers and sisters are left, not just out, but publicly condemned for their non procreative relationships.

Will these couples give their money and volunteer time to proposition 8, as their colluding bishops have requested. Guess what, given the emphasis in this pastoral letter, their marriages aren't sacramentally credible. They won't be engaging in sexual activity which is open to procreation. Given the above definition they are sham sacramental marriages. Sacramental marriages which were allowed to happen strictly because they were heterosexual couples. Don't tell me Catholic marriage is about procreation. Fundamentally it's about heterosexuality. period.

But then it's not good enough for these bishops to engage in hypocrisy in their own Church. They want to make it mandatory for the whole state. They make it sound like it's about procreation, but their own choices make that a complete lie. This is discrimination pure and simple. If the Roman Catholic Church really wants any credibility on the marriage as a procreation issue they should be advocating for marriage to be reserved strictly for fertile couples. period.

We'll never see that. Too bad. Had my friend been denied his marriage on the basis of the infertility of his relationship he would might have been more predisposed to really look at the gay marriage initiatives and what they really speak to. What they speak to is the valid love between two people, irrespective of children, and the desire to celebrate the relationship.

Nothing about this is a threat to the moral underpinnings of society. They threaten society no more than marriages between heterosexual couples who cannot or do not intend to have children. It's that simple. The rest of the baggage is fear mongering lies grounded in hypocrisy.

I really hope Catholic Californians come to their senses and either force the Church to quit marrying couples who can't or won't have children, or recognize the discrimination in that practice, and vote proposition 8 down.


  1. A third to a half of RC clergy and bishops are homosexual (Sipes, Couzens), and most of them are closeted and self-loathing. So the bishops' statement is a projection by many unhappy, self-loathing homosexuals upon gay people who are healthy and happy. Underneath their fancy theological concepts is this pathological reality: they want others to be as miserable as they are.

    But here is a spiritual reality: whatever is psychologically unhealthy can never be spiritually healthy. (The word "holy" derives from whole, heal, happy). The poison tree cannot bear good fruit.

    Here's the site of Equality California/ Vote No on 8. Donations can be made on-line or mailed to them:

    --John K

  2. Excellent points, John.

    Colleen, to add fuel to your arguments: Huffington Post has just put up a posting from Ruth Gledhill's religion blog in the Times of London in which Rowan Williams says he believes in gay marriage.

    The article features the Archbishop of Canterbury made in letters to another Anglican before he was Arbp. of Canterbury. He states, “I concluded [after study and reflection] that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.”

    The posting says that Rowan Williams now distinguishes between what he is expected to say as a bishop, and what he believes as an individual Christian and theologian.

    Still, dynamite statement, and good theology on his part.

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  4. John, your assessemnt about unhappy self loathing gay clergy is very good. I've run into that a couple of times where gay clergy are more vehement about gay marriage than some of the worst of the FO's.

    And you are also abosultely correct about "whatever is psychologically unhealthy can never be spiritually healthy. (The word "holy" derives from whole, heal, happy). The poison tree cannot bear good fruit."

    This is one of the few absolutes I actually ascribe to.

    Bill, I sure hope Rowan Williams doesn't spin this into the ground because he's on to truth.

  5. I loved the quote from Rowan Williams, Bill. Makes absolute perfect sense to see gay marriage in that context. jmkelley, your view makes a lot of sense in that misery loves company.

    Speaking of marriage, we have two weddings to go to this weekend. Interestingly, both couples are from cradle Catholic families that gave up on the religion a long time ago. In both families, the parents of these young couples have been married only once and together for over 25 years. At one wedding, a female Lutheran minister, a cousin, will be marrying the little dears. I'm looking forward in seeing her too because it has been a while. We went to her ordination many years ago and she's been very busy in her ministry. Also, one of cousin's son's just recently admitted to his parents that he is gay. I met him at a First Holy Communion party for his niece recently and he is a brilliant young man that came up to me and introduced himself to me, which nowadays seems almost taboo. I'm looking forward in seeing him too. What a family. The Pollock's rock!

    As an aside to the Pollock wedding, the grandmother of the bride offered to give her more money if she got married in the Catholic Church.

  6. Butterfly, I can so see my mother offering my daughter big bucks to get married in the Church.

    I have to admit they spent big bucks on my wedding. It was something else. It's hard to do a Polish wedding in a small cattle town, but we did our best.

    I hired a cross over country rock band to do the music for the reception. This was an effort to appease my wild college friends and my local friends. The hit of the whole night was when the band played a couple of polkas which they had learned specifically for this one night. I howled. My mother and father were in seventh heaven.

    Half way through the reception all the bars emptied and everybody wound up at the reception. A good time was had by all. Apparently there's nothing like a good eclectic band to break down social barriers.

    The priest who did the wedding was my good friend Fr. Dan Hillen. He of the Stained Glass art. One of the local parish's more wealthy contributors was so taken with him that he offered to bring Dan into the Parish and 'make it worth his while'. Believe me, that would have been one marriage made in hell. :)

  7. Tonight a Polish wake, tomorrow the wedding of the neighbor's daughter, and Sat. a Polish wedding. I think God wants me to be social this weekend, do you think? I've been such a recluse lately, it will be nice to be fed and dancing and just celebrating life.

    I can picture your wedding and can testify that Polish weddings are the most spirited and lively with lots of drinking and dancing and laughing. There are a lot of men cousins in my husband's family and all are married. Us gals, the cousin's wives, always have such a blast and the men reminisce about the old days when they got together as kids. Really great that we don't have to worry about drinking and driving because a shuttle will take us back to the hotel. Hope the men know when to quit the drinking. It will be a wedding to remember I'm sure.

  8. I have never been to a Polish wedding I didn't remember. Some of them thanks to photographs. :)