Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Please, Can We Have Just A Little Reality Here?

Another blow to the hi jacked Jesus of the political right. This article, from which I stole this photo (I mean borrowed) is well worth reading.

Vermont becomes fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Montpelier, Vt., Apr 7, 2009 / 05:48 pm (CNA).-

Today Vermont narrowly became the fourth state to legalize same-sex "marriage" joining Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa, despite opposition from the governor and the local Catholic bishop. (Love the snide quotation marks.)

Unlike the previous three states who moved to allow gay "marriage," Vermont’s decision came through the legislature instead of the courts. The final vote in the House was 100 to 49, and at least 98 votes were required to override the governor's veto. (There it is again, the quotes, and as you will see, they are consistent.
Less than a day after Republican Governor Jim Douglas’ veto on the same-sex "marriage" legalization, both the House and the Senate received enough votes to override his decision. Douglas told the Associated Press that he was not surprised with the vote and remarked that the gay "marriage" issue was a distraction from the more urgent current economic situation.

"What really disappoints me is that we have spent some time on an issue during which another thousand Vermonters have lost their jobs," Douglas stated. "We need to turn out attention to balancing a budget without raising taxes, growing the economy, putting more people to work." (Please tell this to your fellow Republicans. Most of the US Catholic population would agree with you, that the economy is a big issue. Stop with the 'culture wars' until we can afford them, (not that we really can), because right now we can't and abortion statitics are going up. By the way, that's not Obama's fault.)

Burlington, Vermont Bishop Salvatore R. Matano had previously spoken to the judiciary committee regarding the Catholic Church’s position of same-sex "marriages."

According to the Vermont Catholic Tribune, Bishop Matano testified that the Church desires “the good for all people” and respects “the rights of our fellow citizens to seek the truth and pursue the common good.” Nevertheless, we “have the duty to uphold and to defend the traditional definition of marriage as it has been upheld and revered over the ages.” (The reality is the property rights of males concerning females has been "revered over the ages". I'll get into the 'common good' for gays in another posting.)

He continued by quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is our firm belief that “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring …” (I'd be more inclined to buy this argument if you reserved sacramental marriage to fertile couples. Oh, but then maybe sacramental marriage would be seen as a glorified pagan fertility ritual.)

Bishop Matano also emphasized that this “core teaching, which we believe to be rooted in God, does not allow the Church to give an alternate definition of marriage. ‘The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by Him with its own proper laws …God himself is the author of marriage’.
(Why, in a secular democratic society, with mulitple religious traditions, should the Church's catechism take precedence over the will of elected representatives?)

Despite his opposition, the announcement of the legalization of gay "marriage" prompted cheers from activists in the gallery and lobby. (Maybe they weren't Catholic.)

Wendy Wright from the Concerned Women for America commented on the vote legalizing same-sex "marriage" by saying that legislators are undermining society.

"Marriage is the unique relationship between a man and a woman who together provide children with the benefits of the two sexes, male and female” and “cannot be complete without both sexes. While government officials may change definitions, they cannot change nature. The first human relationship was between one man and one woman, and it became the foundation of all society,” she explained in a press release. (Tell that to the children who have one parent or are being raised in orphanages, or by gay parents. Then there is the story of Lot.
That one would have us believe that mankind is the product of generational incest. (Well actually, so does the Adam and Eve story.) Maybe we should only allow marriage between a father and his daughters---after drinking copious amounts of wine.)

“Vermont legislators' futile attempt to replace God by vainly redefining marriage eerily follows how that first man and woman acted on the first temptation -- and the root of all temptations -- to act as if they were gods,” Wright said. “That one decision by Adam and Eve to believe that they could 'be like God' separated them from God, destroyed the peace that they had experienced, and ushered in what some would call 'unintended consequences' of pain and destruction.” (This is just a tad bit of hyperbole. Lots of other creation stories don't even come close to suggesting the incestuous relationships between generations that Genesis does.)

She closed her statement by urging other states to begin working to protect the institution of marriage. (Maybe this is the message that Vermont legislators were sending. States don't really want to have millions and millions of dollars (out of state dollars at that)
pumped into an unconstitutional battle over the gay right to marry. Maybe they think it's better to leave all marriage benefits in tact than to take the other equality path, which is to rescind all benefits accrued to marriage.)


It may be that we are beginning to see the backlash over Proposition 8 in California. States seem to be taking a proactive approach to stopping this crusade before it can get started in their states. I'll be highly surprised if the Iowa Supreme Courst decision is challenged with a constitutional amendment. In the first place it can't make the ballot before 2012, and by then things could have really changed. That's another four years in which younger voters, who support gay rights, will have had time to mature to voting age. Demographics are not working in the favor of traditional marriage advocates.

Neither are their arguments. The specious procreative argument is just that, specious. Until Roman Catholicism stops sacramentally approving infertile marriages between heterosexuals this argument is silly.

I asked a friend of mine, who had such a relationship sacramentally approved, how this could be. He said their priest told them there could always be a miracle like with St. Anne having John the Baptist. The problem was in his case this would have been a whole lot more miraculous since my friend's wife had had a total hysterectomy. Menopause is one thing, but the complete absence of a uterus and ovaries is a whole different miracle ball game.

He sheepishly admitted it kind of bothered him, given a number of his friends are in committed gay relationships, and a whole lot of other of his Catholic gay friends are terrified of getting into one for fear of losing their jobs with the diocese or in specific parishes--not because they don't love someone. I appreciated his honesty about the hypocrisy. I also took his wedding photos and attended his wedding. I understood the importance of love and commitment and what this meant to my friend.

Here's the really hypocritical thing. Gay marriage will not effect heterosexual marriage, but civil unions do because this lesser contractual form is also available to heterosexuals, and they are legally easier to get out of. I have written about this previously.

In one of the comments posted about that article it was pointed out that with regards to the heterosexual divorce statistics addressing the reasons is pastoral, but condemning the results is legalistic. This, unfortunately seems to be the path of choice for the hierarchy. It doesn't matter if the issue is abortion, or marriage, or adoption, the pastoral choice regarding reasons for these choices is always ditched in favor of the legal solution--which is not a solution. This is the exact opposite approach taken by Jesus. He went to the heart of the issue, not the law regarding the issue.

I am getting so tired of legal solutions for pastoral problems. Please bishops, stop testifying in front of legislatures and cameras, and start being pastoral. Catholics don't need the state to enforce Catholic dogma, they need pastoral workers to help them through their moral choices. Is this really so difficult to understand? Using the state to enforce doctrine your sheep don't necessarily agree to is abrogating your pastoral responsibility. Maybe it's time you actually listened to the bleating of the sheep.


  1. affect, not effect

  2. Colleen, another great blog!

    I have to comment about the quote: ‘The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by Him with its own proper laws …God himself is the author of marriage’.

    The married state for a lot of people these days is an "arrangement" and not really "marriage." People try to love one another, but do they really? Isn't God the one we're supposed to love? And, if we love God, won't we then be able to love others?

    God is the author of marriage?

    Even heterosexuals who are "married" are really not considered to be "married" if they didn't have an annulment from a previous "marriage." There is just no pleasing this group of men who are not allowed to get "married", but all they do is talk about "marriage."

    LOL!!!!!! I can't help but laugh!!!

  3. Colleen, what a powerful conclusion. I especially like the line, "Using the state to enforce doctrine your sheep don't necessarily agree to is abrogating your pastoral responsibility."

    When we have to rely on the state to force people to accept what we regard as the only possible moral way, we also tacitly admit that this moral way is not persuasive in and of itself.

    And, as you so powerfully say, that is an abrogation of pastoral responsibility: a bishop's calling is not to force, but to persuade. It's to lead as a shepherd.

  4. Bill, I think the one point made in the previous post about our bishops moving from policy debates to personal pastoral attacks is another step down this road of confusing enforcement with pastoral response.

    Butterfly, if you really look at clergy defending marriage you have to believe that they no longer think they have the higher calling. Let's face it as long as celibacy is a mandatory requirement for ordination, it's not believable that our clerical folk think marriage is some sort of God created equal vocation. They certainly didn't think so for the first 1200 years.

    The only thing they have been consistent about is that gays can't partake in either vocation. Women can partake in one and straight males can opt for both, and best of all straight male converts can enjoy both at once! But where's the love?

  5. Annonymous, spell check only goes so far. At least I spelled it write. :)