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Category Archives: Catholic Church

The Next Target in the Same-sex Marriage War

Now that the Supreme Court has failed the American people and are forcing states to accept same-sex marriage, what is the next target of same-sex marriage proponents? Dominic Lynch has the answer: after Obergefell, churches are next.

ThinkstockPhotos-122468669Chief Justice Roberts's Obergefell dissent lays the stakes on the table:

Today's decision, for example, creates serious questions about religious liberty. Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is -- unlike the right imagined by the majority -- actually spelled out in the Constitution. Respect for sincere religious conviction has led voters and legislators in every State that has adopted same-sex marriage democratically to include accommodations for religious practice. The majority's decision imposing same-sex marriage cannot, of course, create any such accommodations. The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to "advocate" and "teach" their views of marriage. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to "exercise" religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.

How do we get from "marriage equality" to churches forced into performing weddings that violate their teachings? Lawsuits.

Imagine a same sex couple who consider themselves deeply Catholic want to get married at the Catholic church of their choice. They approach the pastor and he declines to officiate the wedding or be a party to it. The spurned couple might then file a non-discrimination lawsuit against the pastor and his parish making the simple argument that because same-sex marriage is a right protected under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, a parish cannot discriminate in who it weds and who it doesn't.

The religious liberty protections of the First Amendment can only hold up so long when put under the scrutiny that drove Burwell. Play some mental gymnastics a la Roberts and suddenly a centuries-old protection of religious liberty fades away. "Prohibiting" could be construed to mean "Congress can't prohibit except when..." And "free exercise" could take a similar meaning: "Churches can practice their faith freely except when..." It's not a far stretch to suggest this can happen. If Burwell happened, this can happen.

Advocates of same sex marriage have avoided discussing religious liberty protections outside of some editorials that scoff at the idea that the free exercise of religion would ever be threatened by the gay marriage movement. Ultimately, our society is one step away from the previously unthinkable stage of government-coerced marriages in churches.

Unless Congress, governors, and state legislatures act immediately, government-coerced weddings are a matter of when, not if.

Pope Francis: Children Need a Mom and a Dad

Last Sunday, June 14, 2015, Pope Francis stressed the importance of children having both a mom and a dad, further emphasizing that marriage can only take place between a man and a woman:

ThinkstockPhotos-154331985Addressing around 25,000 followers from the Diocese of Rome, the pope said the differences between men and women are fundamental and “an integral part of being human.”

The pontiff likened a long-lasting marriage to a good wine, in which a husband and wife make the most of their gender differences.

“They’re not scared of the differences!” the pope said. “What great richness this diversity is, a diversity which becomes complementary, but also reciprocal. It binds them, one to the other.”

Heterosexual marriages not only ensured couples’ happiness, the pontiff said, but were deemed essential for good parenting.

“Children mature seeing their father and mother like this; their identity matures being confronted with the love their father and mother have, confronted with this difference,” Francis said.

Full article is available via Religion News Service

The Unimaginable Dignity of Marriage

Pope Francis recently released a catechesis on the “Unimaginable Dignity” of Christian Marriage, by drawing upon the teachings of St. Paul to describe the responsibility and meaning of marriage.

“St. Paul says that Christians — all of them — are called to love one another as Christ loved them, that is, “to be subject to one another” (Eph. 5:21), which means being at the service of one another.”

croppedcouplesunrise“The husband — Paul says — is to love his wife “as his own body” (Eph. 5:28); to love her as Christ “loved the Church and gave himself up for her” (v. 25). But do you husbands who are here understand this? To love one’s wife as Christ loves the Church? This isn’t a joke, it’s a serious matter. The effect of this radical dedication required of man, for the love and dignity of the woman, after the example of Christ, must have been enormous in the Christian community.”

Marriage, the union between one man and one woman, is a statement to the world, and especially one’s own society, that one stands for human dignity and the responsibility of love. Marriage is a man and a woman continuing the human race as deigned by God, by serving each other and the human race in love and example.

“Men and women, who are brave enough to carry this treasure in the “earthen vessels” of our humanity  — these courageous men and women —  are an essential resource for the Church, and for the world. May God bless them a thousandfold for this.”

Source and quotes via Aleteia

Pope Francis Speaks Out Against Gender Theory

Pope Francis, who is renowned for his humility and compassion for all, has recently spoken out again in defense of sexual complementarity within the family. The Pope had strong words for advocates of gender theory, radical feminism, as well as any attempts to deny the crucial and beautiful differences between males and females:

POTD_Pope-baby_2521172c...Man and woman are the image and likeness of God. This tells us that not only is man taken in himself the image of God, not only is woman taken in herself the image of God, but also man and woman, as a couple, are the image of God. The difference between man and woman is not for opposition, or for subordination, but for communion and procreation, always in the image and likeness of God.

Experience teaches us: to know himself well and to grow harmoniously, the human being needs reciprocity between man and woman. When this does not happen, we see the consequences. We are made to listen to and help one another. We can say that without reciprocal enrichment in this relationship — in thought and in action, in affections and in work, also in faith – the two cannot understand in depth what it means to be man and woman.

Modern and contemporary culture has opened new opportunities, new freedoms and new depths for the enrichment of the understanding of this difference. But it has also introduced many doubts and much skepticism. For instance, I wonder if the so-called gender theory is not also an expression of a frustration and resignation, which aims to eliminate the sexual difference because it no longer knows how to face it. Yes, we risk taking a step backward. The removal of the difference, in fact, is the problem, not the solution.

Aleteia has made the full text of the Pope’s catechesis available here.

Making the Rounds: Bishops Endorse the March for Marriage

Thanks to Aleteia for their recent article promoting our upcoming March for MarriageIn the article, Aleteia provides some quotes from a letter written by two leading bishops to their fellow American bishops:

USCCB-LogoThis year, the March for Marriage is getting a specific endorsement from two leading Catholic bishops.

Bishop Richard Malone and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairmen of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth and Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, respectively, have invited Catholics to take part in the march on April 25.

Writing to the U.S. bishops, the two bishops said, “The March will be an opportunity to stand for the good of marriage in our nation, to pray for our Supreme Court justices, and to demonstrate our commitment to the well-being of children. It complements well the bishops’ Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty. The anticipated decision of the Supreme Court positions itself to be the most important judicial ruling in our nation since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision declaring a constitutional right to abortion. The March is an important witness to a movement dedicated to building a culture of marriage and the family, and it serves to remind all people that a Supreme Court ruling will not decide the issue of marriage any more than Roe decided the issue of abortion. We are deeply grateful for any support you can offer for this March.”

Thank you to everyone for supporting our annual march, as well as to Aleteia for helping to spread the word!

USCCB Promotes the March for Marriage

Bishop Richard Malone, Archbishop of San Francisco, is encouraging all bishops and the faithful to attend the March for Marriage on April 25, 2015!

Malone-Cordileone-to-Bishops-3-26-15-March-for-Marriage-2015

Should Christian Business Owners Refuse, or Reallocate?

ThinkstockPhotos-459568745Across our nation, we hear news about Christian florists, bakeries, and now, a pizzeria being forced to close after turning down business pertaining to same-sex wedding ceremonies. And what has ensued is an affront to America's liberty laws: Christians are being slammed with lawsuits under the pretense of “discrimination” when in reality, it is the LGBT activists who champion and practice discrimination.

Fr. John Zuhisdorf suggests that Christians utilize a different tactic. When a same-sex couple approaches a Christian business owner for a same-sex wedding ceremony, Fr. Zuhisdorf suggests that Christian business owners accept the business, but donate every dollar of the profits to support pro-marriage and religious liberty causes.

In his blog post, Fr. Zuhisdorf explains:

Tell them that the food and services will be just fine.  And then inform them that all of the money that they pay for the services will be donated to a traditional pro-family lobby.   If it is something like catering, where your employees have to be there to provide services, tell them that all your people will smile, be professional, and everyone of them will be wearing crucifixes and have the Holy Family embroidered on their uniforms.  Then show them pictures of your uniforms.  When the truck pulls up, speakers will be playing Immaculate Mary.  Show them the truck and play the music.

“Oh, you would be offended by that?  I’m so sorry.  You approached us because we are Christians. Right?  We are happy to provide services for you and we are grateful that you chose to come to our Christian catering business.  We just want to be of help.”

Then tell them that you will take out an ad in the paper to let everyone know what you did with their money, thanking them by name for their business so that you could make the contribution.

I suspect this approach, if adopted far and wide, would put an end to attacks on Christian businesses.

It certainly is an interesting approach, and if practiced, would undoubtedly generate many more news stories. As our nation battles to protect religious liberty, it is not a bad idea to have multiple tactics at the ready. Business is business, but marriage is the foundation of our society. Ultimately, when it comes to marriage, there can be no compromise.

Catholic Bishops Encourage Faithful to March for Marriage

Thanks to Marriage: Unique for a Reason for promoting the 2015 March for Marriage!

BishopBishop Malone and Archbishop Cordileone have once again invited and encouraged the Bishops and the faithful to take part in the March for Marriage on April 25, 2015, three days before the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the constitutionality of states’ preserving the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Writing to the U.S. bishops, these two Chairmen wrote, “The March will be an opportunity to stand for the good of marriage in our nation, to pray for our Supreme Court justices, and to demonstrate our commitment to the well-being of children. It complements well the bishops’ Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty (www.usccb.org/pray). The anticipated decision of the Supreme Court positions itself to be the most important judicial ruling in our nation since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision declaring a constitutional right to abortion. The March is an important witness to a movement dedicated to building a culture of marriage and the family, and it serves to remind all people that a Supreme Court ruling will not decide the issue of marriage any more than Roe decided the issue of abortion. We are deeply grateful for any support you can offer for this March.”

No Child Deserves to Be Orphaned

459428949In today’s world, it is not unusual to hear of fathers who are so busy with their work that they hardly, if ever, have time to spend with their children. In a recent address to his general audience, Pope Francis warned that such a lifestyle creates “orphans at home.”

He explained that many problems children encounter can be traced to these “absentee fathers”- fathers who when physically at home, don’t take time to actually be with their kids.

The absence of the paternal figure in the life of little ones and young people produces gaps and wounds which can also be very grave. And, in fact, the deviances of children and of adolescents can in good part be traced to this absence, to the lack of examples and of authoritative guides in their daily life – to the lack of closeness, to the lack of love on the part of fathers. The sense of orphan-hood that so many young people live is deeper than we think.

They are orphans, but within the family, because the fathers are often absent, also physically, from home but above all because, when they are home, they do not behave as fathers, they do not have a dialogue with their children. They do not fulfill their educational task; they do not give to their children – with their example accompanied by words --, those principles, those values, those rules of life that they need.

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Compared to his recent remarks praising mothers, Francis’s words for fathers seem harsh. However, the Bishop of Rome is not looking to praise only one parent or disparage the other, but rather highlight the importance of children being raised by both their mother and their father.

Francis stated that “a society without mothers would be a dehumanized society, for mothers are always, even in the worst moments, witnesses of tenderness, dedication and moral strength.” In the same way, a society without fathers is “lost”. Children look to their fathers as leaders of the family, as the one who will defend them and their mothers from the world, and quite simply, children need fathers for paternal guidance.

Francis himself acknowledged that his words were tough, but promised that next week he would speak about “the beauty of fatherhood.”

To state it simply, children need both a mother and a father. To deprive a child of one or the other is akin to orphaning them. Every child deserves a mother and father to foster, teach, and love them. No child deserves to be orphaned.

Pope Francis: Marriage Shows "The Reciprocity of Differences"

In Rome on Sunday, Pope Francis presided over the marriage of 20 couples at Saint Peter's Basilica. In his remarks during the celebration, the Holy Father spoke beautifully about the meaning of marriage and family. From The National Catholic Register [emphasis added]:

Pope FrancisMarriage, [the Pope said]... is about "man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man."

"Here we see the reciprocity of differences," he said.

[...]

"It is impossible to quantify the strength and depth of humanity contained in a family," he said, as demonstrated through the "mutual help, educational support, relationships developing as family members mature, the sharing of joys and difficulties."

"Families are the first place in which we are formed as persons and, at the same time, the ‘bricks’ for the building up of society."

Read more here.

"A New Totalitarianism is Developing Under the Cloak of Freedom."

A fascinating interview was published yesterday in The Catholic World Report that you won't want to miss.

In it, German sociologist Gabriele Kuby talks about her new book, The Global Sexual Revolution: The Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom. Here's a brief sample of what she has to say:

Gabriele KubyWhen the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 we all had this hope of freedom and entering an era beyond ideology. But while we were delighting in that hope, powerful forces prepared for the next step of the global sexual revolution. Don’t ask me who these forces are, but I see this revolution taking place at a global scale, with a clear intent to destroy the basis of the family. The destruction of the family uproots every single human being. We become atomized human beings who can be manipulated to do anything.

A new totalitarianism is developing under the cloak of freedom.

Read the whole interview here.

Bishop Rozanski: "Family" is "the Basis of Society"

Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, former auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, will be installed tomorrow as the ninth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield.  A Western Massachusetts news site posted a curiously-written article about the new bishop, a vocal marriage supporter.

Mitchell T. RozanskiThe article wasted no time in criticizing the sex abuse scandals of the 1990s and then went on to imply that Pope Francis somehow holds a different view on marriage than the official position of the Catholic Church:

Last September, Francis, in an interview, said abortion, contraception and gay marriage had become an "obsessed" focus in the Church. Last July, he also said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge."

However, Church teaching that married love is between a man and a woman, for the purpose of reproduction, as ordered by nature, that itself was ordered by God, is not likely to be modified, no matter the pastoral approach to it.

Notice how the article implies that Pope Francis's comments signify a break in Church teaching.

In reality, Pope Francis's "who am I to judge" comment was a continuation of what the Catholic Church has always taught--that those who are attracted to the same sex are called to chastity and should not be subjected to unjust discrimination.  Also notice how the article omitted the portion of the pope's quote denouncing the formation of a "gay lobby."  To include that would be an admission that Pope Francis isn't the radical doctrine reformer many want him to be (so would including anything about Pope Francis's opposition to redefining marriage when he was Cardinal Bergoglio).

The article did, however, include very wonderful comments from Bishop Rozanski on the importance of family - although it was evident that the author of the piece did not take kindly to these observations:

What we offer as Catholics is to strengthen the family as the basis of society. When there is a solid family life, there is less likelihood of crime, there is less likelihood of drug use. The children grow up with a solid foundation. And that is a foundation they can take all through their lives.  And, as a Church, what we are saying is that God made us male and female, and that the institution of marriage is so crucial. It is a sacrament of the Church, if the sacrament is well lived, then the children and future generations will benefit.

Bishop Rozanski is absolutely correct.  When children grow up with a married mother and father, they are much less likely to experience poverty, juvenile delinquency, or drop out of school.

The bishop's defense of marriage is rooted in love for all members of the human family and concern for the welfare of children and society as a whole.  His charitable, truthful comments about the family as the basis of society should inspire Catholics and non-Catholics alike, even if they do upset liberals in the media and those who wish to turn Church against itself by unfairly twisting the words of the Pope and other leaders.

Catholic Bishops Slam "Unprecendented and Extreme" Executive Order

The bishop-Chairmen of two USCCB Committees slammed President Obama’s July 21 "gender identity" executive order for its lack of religious freedom protection and "flaws in its core prohibitions."  This new "non-discrimination" executive order, aimed at preventing workplace discrimination against LGBT persons, opens the door to discrimination against Christians and those with deeply-held beliefs about the nature of marriage and human sexuality.

Catholic BishopRe-iterating the Catholic Church's opposition to unjust discrimination and sexual conduct outside of marriage, the bishops outlined how this new executive order "implements discrimination" and why Catholics and people of goodwill should oppose it.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth said:

Today’s executive order is unprecedented and extreme and should be opposed.

In the name of forbidding discrimination, this order implements discrimination. With the stroke of a pen, it lends the economic power of the federal government to a deeply flawed understanding of human sexuality, to which faithful Catholics and many other people of faith will not assent. As a result, the order will exclude federal contractors precisely on the basis of their religious beliefs.

ObamaMore specifically, the Church strongly opposes both unjust discrimination against those who experience a homosexual inclination and sexual conduct outside of marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman. But the executive order, as it regards federal government contractors, ignores the inclination/conduct distinction in the undefined term “sexual orientation.” As a result, even contractors that disregard sexual inclination in employment face the possibility of exclusion from federal contracting if their employment policies or practices reflect religious or moral objections to extramarital sexual conduct.

The executive order prohibits “gender identity” discrimination, a prohibition that is previously unknown at the federal level, and that is predicated on the false idea that “gender” is nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality that can be chosen at variance from one’s biological sex. This is a problem not only of principle but of practice, as it will jeopardize the privacy and associational rights of both federal contractor employees and federal employees. For example, a biological male employee may be allowed to use the women’s restroom or locker room provided by the employer because the male employee identifies as a female.

 

"Victory for Pro-Life, Pro-Family Catholics and Other Christians"

From Aleteia, more on the recent marriage victory in Europe:

...the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) lowered the boom on European progressives. And, the wind was taken out of the sails of American liberalism.

[...]

FamilyMoreover, whereas U.S.-based agitators for same-sex marriage have pulled off their boldest accomplishments through the judicial usurpation of politics, the European high court has challenged that angle of approach. In its ruling, it declared that no member nation can be forced to accept same-sex marriage. At least at the European level, the question about the legalization of same-sex marriage must remain a democratic or political question.

[...]

The European court's claim flies in the face of pro-same-sex marriage legal arguments so often heard here in the U.S. Those arguments object that civil unions that are not converted to state-recognized marriages impose a second-class legal status on homosexuals. Europe's court disagreed.

Read the rest here.

Cardinal George: "American Liberties" Are "All Being Traded Off in Favor of Freedom of Sexual Expression"

It is becoming more and more apparent that the redefinition of marriage is incompatible with religious freedom. In his recent column, Francis Cardinal George of Chicago reflected on this rising conflict within the United States. Subtly taking to task those who claim marriage supporters are on the "wrong side of history,"  Cardinal George warned that "We should also be concerned that we are on the wrong side of what nature teaches us and therefore at least over the long run, headed for historical failure as a society."

The Cardinal's scholarly and pastoral words embody wisdom we should all heed:

Cardinal GeorgeIn this country, we do not fear being killed for our faith. What, then, are we afraid of? We are afraid that the institutions that perform the works of mercy that have been integral to the church’s mission for centuries will be forced to become, effectively, government institutions, given permission to exist only if they do not act as Catholic. At stake are Catholic hospitals, Catholic universities and Catholic social services, precisely as Catholic. At stake also is a society that once permitted many different voices and faiths to contribute to the common good without compromising their collective conscience.

The issue has clustered around the HHS mandate that insists that any institution serving the public must treat women’s fertility as an enemy to be suppressed for the sake of women’s freedom. In fact, the government has made many exceptions to this rule, but has steadfastly refused to exempt Catholic institutions. The issue is therefore in the courts.

ChristianityThe imposition of a definition of marriage that destroys the natural meaning of marital union is becoming another test case for religious liberty. The law now holds that men and women are interchangeable in marriage, as if children did not need both a mother and a father to be born and raised with some security. These are laws that mark societies in decline, demographically as well as morally.

What has happened to our vaunted American liberties? Except for property rights, they are all being traded off in favor of freedom of sexual expression.That “freedom” has become the trump card in almost every social dispute. While the public conversation plays the game of liberal versus conservative, there is really only one issue: freedom versus tyranny, a tyranny masquerading as compassion and suppressing legally differences that seem to threaten abstract “equality” [emphases added].

Americans are concerned about the economy, and rightly so. We are concerned with the loss of our place in the world, and rightly so. We should also be concerned that we are on the wrong side of what nature teaches us and therefore, at least over the long run, headed for historical failure as a society.

Read the rest here.