Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Cardinals Chirp About The Judge


Personal Blog of Cardinal Mahoney of The Archdiocese of Los Angeles - 8-4-2010

Today it was announced that U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker has ruled that Proposition 8 which was enacted by the People of California is unconstitutional. His decision fails to deal with the basic, underlying issue--rather he focused solely upon individual testimony on how Prop 8 affected them personally. Wrong focus. (No actually Judge Walker focused on the lame and inventifacted arguments of your side.)

There is only one issue before each of us Californians: Is Marriage of Divine or of Human Origin?
(A secular judge does not decide matters of theology and faith, but matters of secular constitutional law. Catholicism is still free to discriminate in it's sacramental interpretation.)

Judge Walker pays no attention to this fundamental issue, and relies solely upon how Prop 8 made certain members of society "feel" about themselves.

Those of us who supported Prop 8 and worked for its passage did so for one reason: We truly believe that Marriage was instituted by God for the specific purpose of carrying out God's plan for the world and human society. Period. (I doubt this is even remotely true.  You did it because it fit your political and theocratic agenda.  If you were actually defending 'god's' plan, you'd be advocating for male polygamy and the status of women and children as chattel property.)

Every single religious faith community in our known history has held this belief since recorded history began. Every indigenous group discovered down through history also understood this belief about marriage, and carried out cultural and religious practices to sustain that belief. Marriage is of divine origin, and that belief is embedded deeply into the heart and spirit of human beings--also described as the natural law for the human family. (Total inventifact.)

Judge Walker assumes that the institution of marriage is of human and civil origin, and therefore, that "marriage" can mean anything any person wishes to ascribe to the institution. Wrong. (No, Judge Walker was correct.)

The union of a man and of a woman in a life-long loving and caring relationship is of divine origin. No human nor civil power can decree or declare otherwise.

It is too bad that Judge Walker chose to listen to anguished voices about their perception of marriage rather than plumb the depths of the origin of this divinely inspired institution. (Actually, I think he did plumb the depths and discovered you are totally inventifacting.  Oh and by the way, most of the anguished voices were those advocating for prop 8 and those he did ignore.)

For many of us, we will continue to believe that God is the origin of marriage, and we will follow God's constant revelation to that effect.

We in the Roman Catholic Community are totally "pro-marriage" and "pro-family" precisely in the understanding God gave when the first human beings received the breath of God's spirit.


Poor Roger, now he's down to looking silly.  His only two rebuttals are Judge Walker did not take God into his decision and he based it on the 'anguished' emotional testimony of a few gay couples.  I suspected the proponents of Prop 8 were going to have some trouble rebutting the points Judge Walker made, but really, this is so lame.  It almost makes me wonder if Mahoney produced this lame rebuttal on purpose, sort of going through the motions because he's expected to go through the motions.  Pretty much like someone who knows the bridge game is lost, but has to play every last card until there are no more.

The Prop 8 crowd ran pretty well playing the trump card of gay marriage 'hurting' straight marriage and family life, but when that canard was trumped by the facts, there aren't many arguments or cards left to play.  I guess God becomes the wild card in this scenario, the deus ex machina of solutions.  It's too bad constitutional law is not based on theology.  I exactly precludes playing someones definition of 'what god wants' as an argument.

Cardinal George, in the USCCB rebuttal, played the 'what the people want' card.  That's a pretty weak card because two years after Prop 8, polls show a slight majority of Californians now in favor of gay marriage.  It appears that change is fueled by a change in the attitudes of Hispanic Catholics.  Maybe they are remembering what happened to their indigenous ancestors when a theocratic state trampled all over their culture in the name 'of what god wants'.  

As an Anglo Catholic maybe Cardinal Mahoney forgets that Our Lady of Guadalupe presented herself as a pregnant single mother, not a married matriarch.  The message was as much about the importance of children as the future of humanity, not heterosexual marriage.  The standard family model in indigenous culture was not one man/one woman,  but extended families of grand parents and aunts and uncles and cousins and even adopted family members.  It took the tribe to raise a child and there were good reasons for that.  One of the most important reasons was to teach the child the importance of seeing themselves as part of an inter dependent community, not an isolated individual. 

It is the western notion of nuclear family that conveys the message of isolated individuality.  When that nuclear family implodes, as it does over half the time, the isolation experienced by the children of that mini tribe escalates enormously.  When this last ditch attempt to promote the nuclear family is finally spent, I sincerely hope we take a serious look at the whole notion of the nuclear family. We might just find that when it comes to raising our future generations it's not a very good idea at all---except for the global economic system which absolutely needs a work force unencumbered by attachments which hamper employee mobility. 

If we actually took a real look at the nuclear family we might find it has sacrificed the whole notion of the good of the family and it's children for the sake of the good of the corporate economy.  We might find this very recent understanding of the 'healthy' nuclear family has actually sacrificed God's design for that of Mammon's design.  Perhaps this whole crusade against gay marriage is actually designed to stop society from embarking on that kind of analysis.


  1. Issue is really: Is the Constitution of Divine or human origin? Because Judge Walker decided on the basis of the Constitution. Which is exactly what a judge is supposed to do.

  2. Well said. I am waiting for the hierarchy's collective crania to explode. It also causes me to wonder what else they have to hide besides their complicity in sexual abuse.

  3. Colleen, I reacted strongly to a different part of Mahoney's reaction. He states, "Judge Walker chose to listen to anguished voices...rather than plumb the depths of the origin of this divinely inspired institution." I find that shocking, or not so shocking in light of what fruit the hierarchy bears. Mahoney derides the judge for listening to the anguished, something I would assume Jesus did regularly and well. Why shouldn't he listen to their cry? Because they are wrong. What should he listen to? God, not those people crying out. A preferential option, indeed. We shouldn't listen to those who are living the Beatitudes, because they're misguided in their perceptions and therefore able to be dismissed.

    I am most perturbed by this lack of generosity in our leaders. The women who wish to serve as priests are evil, because that's not their place. The homosexuals who wish to marry are evil, sullying up God's wholesome plan. We all become more evil by being around them. On the other hand, the priests who abuse have an indelible holy mark, forever chosen to lead and confer Jesus through the sacraments. The bishops didn't know anything, and as soon as they did they cleaned up all the problem and it is done. The Vatican pronouncements are just poor PR, not planned out that way at all. And any who disagree? Stupid, faithless, enraptured by Satan, selfish, hedonistic, unschooled, unsophisticated like us.

    I always hesitate to label something or someone as evil. Them's fightin words, and judgmental past what I feel I'm allowed to say. But those whom you continue to identify, the people who use fear to control and cripple those who wish to learn the ways of God ... I can't find another way to describe them. To revisit a previous topic, I understand and even applaud those who leave the church for those reasons, even when I feel called to stay.

  4. Their question: "There is only one issue before each of us Californians: Is Marriage of Divine or of Human Origin?"

    I agree with your answer Colleen. Marriage, in my opinion, is only going to be as Divine and Human as the couple decides for themselves by their own Free Will without any outside influence or interference!

    The Church needs to butt out! Theology, and a sick one at that, does not belong in secular laws! First of all, these RCC hierarchs need to read the US Constitution and if they don't agree with it then they should not even dare call themselves US citizens or attempt to even say that they are in the interest of the people of this nation. Their Will does not having anything to do with God's Will. They are off their rockers!! If they think theology should dictate the laws in this country, then they should join forces with Iran!!!!!! Now there is an example of real "theologically" driven laws that create the circumstances for discrimination of all kinds which causes suffering like that which was imposed upon Jesus Christ. Whippings and crucifixtions. The hierarchs are going to have to decide whose side they are on: Jesus Christ or Satan.

    Word verif is culesse - They are clueless about the Divine!

  5. mjc I pondered for awhile on just why Mahoney used the word 'anguished' and came to the conclusion he felt it was less loaded than the usual rightwing use of 'ranters and ravers' for gay marriage rights activists.

    I felt he was trying to make the point that the arguments for gay marriage are based in emotion and not reason. A point made much more in your face in the USCCB response.

    Which is itself funny since the rightwing is appealing to the irrational emotions of it's own base as Judge Walker pointed out.

    It seemed to me Roger the Dodger was trying an end around kind of dodge--and not very successfully I might add.

    Right on butterfly. Marriage is as divine or secular as the couple chooses. Even the Church sacramentally recognizes that in both the rite of marriage and the annulment procedure. God just witnesses what two people vow to create.

  6. TheraP -

    Agreed - the Judge did exactly what a judge MUST do: decide soley on the basis of US law.

    US federal law is founded in the Constitution, which expressly forbids any favoring OR oppressing of ANY form of religion. Thus, neither religious Doctrine NOR Canon Law have a leg to stand upon (of themselves) in a US court of civil law.

    And...NO, the US Constitution is neither of divine origin NOR is was it intentionally founded upon 'Christianity'. While it is true that some of the basic concepts of essential human freedoms therein ARE coherent with Christianity, the Founding Fathers DID NOT intend to create a 'Christian nation'.

    ...nor were most of them 'Christian' in any conventional sense of that word. Most were at best nominal members of a given denomination for mere social acceptability purposes. Yet neither were they opposed to this or that relgion. They wanted everybody to be welcome here.

    A court of civil law has NO business dictating Canon Law; and this Judge rightly avoided that pitfall. A church or denomination is free to permit or deny sacramental marriage as they deem proper to their members. Fair or not, the govt. has no right to interfere with such.

    ...and neither does ANY church, denomination, or 'group' have the right to tell the govt. to deny or abridge the Civil Rights of ANY person or group of ppl.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  7. Funny how Cardinal George appeals to "majority rules" when it comes to marriage equality. As you say, he may be factually wrong on that point, but do you think he'd say the same thing about abortion rights? Just wondering.

  8. How about majority rules for birth control? Or women priests?

  9. It seems obvious that the vast assets & influence of the KOC have been used by Opus Dei for policy implementation. And to tighten their grip on the politics of the US.

    Their arguments are flawed on many levels, as they were intentionally designed to attack the lunatic fringe to support them. To stir up fanaticism.

    A man & woman are wed before a judge in a civil wedding. Are they 'married'? No...not in the sense of a Sacramental Marriage. BUT...that does not mean that God will not bless their union! The key point of wedded union is the honest commitment of the two contracting parties. Sincerity. All else is dross, in the final analysis.

    The argument of procreative ability as being the key qualified becomes silly. Else those who are sterile/infertile or above child bearing age cannot be wedded. One could take this further (in fanaticism...) & claim their union is no longer valid, as they will not spawn! It is THAT silly!

    Yes, in the context of Sacramental Marriage, the at least theoretical ability to procreate 'goes with the territory'. Yet historically, the Church has denied marriage to the sterile, infertile, impotent.....

    By what right DARE they do such things? Yet the Vatican did, for centuries.

    The fact that Judge Walker is gay will surely be used as a rallying cry of even more Fanaticism. Complete with cries of 'prejudice'; that he should have recused himself. which I would ask: it might have been equally valid to demand he recuse himself if he were a str8, married Catholic.


    Anon Y. Mouse

  10. We honestly cannot "say" whether God views a civil marriage, where two parties vow themselves in a marital union, as not sacramental. The fact that the union occurs outside a church setting, for whatever reason, does not limit God's action. And since the partners are the ones who confer the "sacrament" on one another, God alone knows what graces flow through their marriage vows to each other and for each other. (The Vatican may view this differently. But I personally don't KNOW how God views it! That's my point.)

    It occurs to me that people didn't live as long - or very long - when the Vatican came up with its canons on the sacrament of marriage. And thus this argument about procreation may indeed have "worked" so long as most people died before they reached the end of their ability to procreate. This especially affects women, of course. Though it appears recent research indicates that as men age their procreative ability lessens too.

    Nevertheless, this line of thinking, carried to the extremes that Mouse has pointed out, is a powerful argument which the Vatican is going to get impaled on, I believe. For how they can counter it? And how can they counter that infertility is a problem for even younger couples?

    It all gets very murky - because rather than grounding doctrines in logic, they choose the doctrine first and then contort logic to try and justify the doctrine (as IF it had been grounded in good theology to start with!).

    More and more the Vatican is tying itself in knots! Gordian knots, it would seem. And they have no doctrinal "sword" with which they can cut the knots - unless they simply reverse some "doctrines" they are holding onto for dear life!

    The laity are just too darn savvy now! And the group of savvy laity is only expanding - perhaps exponentially. It's almost amusing at this point - were it not that so many good people are getting hurt by Vatican intransigence.

    Word is: inlie (Vatican lies?)

  11. I find it interesting how the sexual orientation of the judge wasn't made an issue of by the people who wanted the ban to stand up in court - until AFTER the ruling was handed down against their position. Or maybe it was and I just did not see any of it. Either way, the proponents of the ban are now looking like they are spreading their sour grapes around. Bitter.

  12. They never mentioned it, Veronica, till now. They could have lodged a complaint or something. But then again the other side could have lodged a complaint for someone being heterosexual!

    Good point though!

  13. I have my theories on why they didn't make an issue of the judge's sexuality.

    He was a Reagan appointee who took on gay clients as an attorney, even to the point of suing the estate of an AIDS victim for payment.

    There was also the question of setting a precedent they may not have wanted set about recusing oneself for personal issues. Such a position would have opened a similar door about recusing certain Supreme Court judges whose overt Catholicity might also be used to recuse them on this issue.

    I suspect it's for the above reason that Walker made the point about refraining from constitutional interpretation based in personal morality rather than objective facts.

    This case has all sorts of interesting facets that could get even more interesting as time goes on. At this point it wouldn't surprise me if the Supremes refused to hear this case should it make it that far.

  14. Colleen, that's my bet! My bet is they will let this stand! Better than wading into Vatican vs Constitution... and that way no one's "vote" will ever become public.

  15. TheraP -

    It is also valid to note that every 'Sacramental Marriage' NOT a marriage! Those entered into unwillingly, insincerely, immaturely, to hide one party's homosexuality,etc.....are NOT marriages. For the simple reason that they are based in LIE.

    I made the point that while a man & woman joined in a civil wedding are not 'married', there is no overt reason to assume that God would not bless their union. Again - the key issue is the sincerity of committment. After all, God blesses such unions with children to whom He ensouls. Entrusting their care to the parents.

    As to a 'savvy laity' this is the worst nightmare for the Vatican! You do not need a Doctorate in History to know that keeping the 'simple' to their benefit. Otherwise they will start asking questions:

    "Where did all the money go?"

    "Why are obviously gay priests allowed to exist - but not lay persons?"

    "Where exactly did God give you guys the 'authority' to decide who may/may not marry? Or to disguise Divorce as 'Annullment'?"

    Anon Y Mouse

  16. Colleen -

    I agree with the general theme of your assessment of WHY Opus Dei/KOC/LSMFT*, et. al. kept silent about the judge's orientation. It would have opened Pandora's Box.

    Currently we have a clear Catholic majority on the SCOTUS - ALL of which have some link to Opus Dei. Some more obvious then others. And NO Protestant Justice!

    So, as to recusals.....all 6 of them would have to step aside. And 'they' (Opus Dei) knows this. So they simply will not 'go there'.

    The more interesting question is whether or not they DARE to take this to the Supreme Court.No matter what the outcome, it is a complete disaster for 'them'.

    1. If they support Walker...then you have an uproar about the Catholic Justices (linked to OD) being 'unfaithful Catholics'. With much hand-wringing, wailing & lamenting.

    2. If the rule against Walker.....then they have set themselves up for the villagers to storm Chanceries (and the OD HQ in NYC) with pitchforks & torches! It will be seen as a clear abuse of intentional undue influence of (a) religion in US federal law.

    It all depends on which battle they are prepared to fight.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  17. I think it is very poor tactics for a Catholic to scoff at the idea that marriage is of divine origin. But as the US Constitution entails no subscription to that idea it is probably overreaching to expect US judges to uphold it. The love between two men or two women is also of divine origin.

  18. All of creation, of course, is of Divine origin, anonymous. But how civil authorities interpret law is what's really at stake here. For no laws are restricting how the church, or any religious authority, might choose to view matrimony.

    This is a civil matter. No matter how much some religious people and institutions want to protest that fact.

  19. Thank you so much for the inclusion of your take on the nuclear family. This is the same analysis that we made in the early days of the Gay Liberation Front - the early seventies. The gay movement was not always about fighting just for "gay civil rights". We tried to understand the common source of oppression of ourselves as well as other groups in society. Our understanding of our oppression (internalized and societal) came from and was initially taught to us by the women's movement that identified the historically artificial nuclear family as the institution used by patriarchal capitalism to establish it's economic control of women's and other oppressed peoples lives. The oppression of women was the basic societal oppression and our oppression as gay people (and other groups) flowed from that in different specific ways for gay men and lesbians. Eventually we could not translate our ideas into an effective political program and our movement was eclipsed by the Gay Activist Alliance and other reformist single issue civil rights movements which were not interested in alliances or links with other oppressed groups.

    Gay marriage challenges the nuclear family mythology even as individual gay and lesbian people try to become part of the institution.

    I can only hope that as gay people do become included in the institution of marriage that this will have a positive liberating effect on ALL people's sexuality which has been so wounded, demonized and over-moralized for far too long by both Church and State. Michael Ferri, Whidbey Island, WA

  20. Thanks for reading Mike. I really think the true issue for our time, precisely because it effects so many other issues, is global corporate capitalism.

    Like you I have come to the conclusion it's past time single issue groups start to see the forest instead of their own personal tree. This is a tactic which the coporate interests are more than happy to fuel. While individual trees may indeed be chopped down, the entire forest will be taken over and everyone will lose.

    The big problem is all the money is on their side, most of the media, and they are incestuously entwined with the largest religious institutions. When one controls the money, the media, and the churches one has a lot of cultural control.