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Category Archives: Catholic Church

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.

NOM President Featured in Legatus Magazine

Brian Brown, President of NOM, and his family were recently featured on the cover of Legatus Magazine as part of their coverage of the upcoming extraordinary synod of Catholic bishops on pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization.

"At a time when the definition of marriage and family is being distorted almost daily, The Vatican is about to convene a synod on the family that many hope will bring clarity to a culture in confusion," Judy Roberts wrote.  The gathering is expected to reinforce Catholic doctrine on marriage and family.

Catholic experts quoted throughout the article explained the purpose of this synod and how Catholic teaching on the nature of marriage cannot change.

Brown was quoted extensively throughout the article, as was March for Marriage speaker Archbishop Cordileone.

Brown told Legatus that claims that the Catholic Church will change its teaching on marriage are untrue:

“On the issue of marriage as the union of man and woman, Pope Francis has repeatedly been strong.  The synod is an opportunity to reassert the beauty, hope, the love that is the natural family."

Archbishop Cordileone agreed, saying:

"Church teaching can’t change.  Otherwise, we’re into that dictatorship of relativism.”

The article ended with a final quote from Brown:

Regardless of the issues it takes up, NOM’s Brian Brown sees the synod as an opportunity for the Church to make clear the truth about marriage and the great good it does for society.

“To be pastoral is not to go with the times,” he said. “Nothing has changed on that front. It wouldn’t have been right for the Church to embrace what was going on in Rome in the early periods of the Church or any culture that clearly contradicts the truth. It’s a misunderstanding to think that pastoral means to fit in; to be pastoral is to stand up for the truth in and out of season.”

The full article, titled Family Under Fire, is an informative read for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  Marriage defenders, regardless of their faith, will understand and appreciate the truths about marriage that the article conveys--and the importance of defending these truths against an increasingly hostile, secular culture.

ICYMI: Important New Vatican Document Strongly Reaffirms Catholic Church's Teachings on Marriage and Family

In a recent document, The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization, the Vatican re-affirmed the Catholic Church's ancient teachings on marriage while addressed many modern challenges to the institution.  The Instrumentum Laboris, or "working document," is a preparatory guide for an upcoming Extraordinary Synod of Bishops - a gathering of the Church's leaders worldwide - which will focus on problems facing the family in the modern age.

Last year, the Pope asked for input from around the world, from Bishops, theological experts, and the laity, and the document frames most of its observations in terms of these "responses."

Referencing the differences between true marriage and same-sex unions, the document explains:

On unions of persons of the same sex, the responses of the bishops' conferences refer to Church teaching. 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.

[...]

The responses describe... where States have introduced legislation recognizing civil unions or so-called “marriages” between homosexual persons. In some countries, the situation reflects a real redefining of marriage, where the couple is viewed only in legal terms, with such references as “equal rights” and “non-discrimination” without any thought to a constructive dialogue in the matter based on the deeper anthropological issues involved and the centrality of the integral well-being of the human person, especially the integral well-being of the children in these unions.

[...]

Every bishops’ conference voiced opposition to “redefining” marriage between a man and a woman through the introduction of legislation permitting a union between two people of the same sex.

Describing how "the legal systems in many countries are having to make laws on situations which are contrary to the traditional dictates of the natural law," the document cites both "homosexual unions" and also "gender ideology":

VaticanVery few responses and observations demonstrated an adequate, popular understanding of the natural law.

The responses and observations also show that the adjective “natural” often is understood by people as meaning “spontaneous” or “what comes naturally.” Today, people tend to place a high value on personal feelings and emotions, aspects which appear “genuine” and “fundamental” and, therefore, to be followed “simply according to one’s nature.”

[...]

Situated in this context is the increased diffusion of the ideology called gender theory, according to which the gender of each individual turns out to be simply the product of social conditioning and needs and, thereby, ceasing, in this way, to have any correspondence to a person’s biological sexuality.

Family Saying Grace before MealThe need to find an effective, positive, and winsome way of teaching the faith, however, is a central concern for the Vatican, and and so the document takes pains re-affirmed the Church's teaching on the importance of family

Many responses see a need to go beyond simply condemning this ever-pervasive [gender] ideology and to respond with persuasive argumentation against this position, now widely spreading in many western societies. In this way, the Church’s position on the subject of fatherhood and motherhood will be a strong voice in the anthropological change which some very influential persons are promoting.

[...]

The family is acknowledged in the People of God to be an invaluable asset, the natural setting in which life grows and develops and a school of humanity, love and hope for society.

[...]

One of the great challenges of the family today consists in attempts at its privatization, running the risk of forgetting that the family is “the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another” (EG, 66). What needs to be clearly delineated is the idea of the family as a resource in society, that is to say, a source of the essential virtues for a life in community. In a family, a person learns a sense of the common good and experiences the goodness of living together. Without the family, a person is unable to emerge from his individualism, since it is the only place to learn the power of love to sustain life, and “without a love which is trustworthy, nothing could truly keep men and women united. Human unity would be conceivable only on the basis of utility, on a calculus of conflicting interests or on fear, but not on the goodness of living together, not on the joy which the mere presence of others can give” (LF, 51).

The entire document is available here.  It is a very interesting read that should put to rest the claims in many quarters that the Catholic Church under Pope Francis is anywhere near changing its teaching on the nature of marriage.  But it also should encourage marriage defenders, and not only Catholic ones, with its affirmative and clear analysis of the challenges facing the family today, and its positive restatement of ancient truths in answer to modern questions.

Bishop Morlino: Marriage is First "Domino" of Civilization

Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, said he is "deeply saddened" by a federal judge's recent judicial activism against Wisconsin's marriage amendment.  Bishop Morlino promised to continue defending marriage and its vital role in society.

Bishop Morlino said, in part (emphasis added):

DominosMarriage is, and can only ever be, a unique relationship solely between one man and one woman, regardless of the decision of a judge or any vote. This is not based on any private sectarian viewpoint, but on the natural moral law that is universally binding on all peoples, at all times, and inscribed into our human nature, as man and woman from the beginning of creation. It behooves us to safeguard the sacred ecology of all nature, especially of our human nature.

In striking down the constitutional amendment in our state which protects marriage, the court has, once again, shaken one of the most precious and essential building blocks of our civilization. There can be no question that the best formation for children is in the home of their biological mother and father, generally speaking, and we should always have a greater concern for future generations than we do for ourselves.

Marriage, between one man and one women with openness to children, is an element of the very first “domino” of civilization. The very nature of marriage naturally generates life. When that first “domino” falls, everything that is good, true, and beautiful, which is rooted on the natural family, is seriously threatened. If the “domino” of true marriage falls, then fall all subsequent “dominos.” This is demonstrated, too often, in a culture that increasingly chooses death over life.

Bishop Morlino's full statement is here.  He encouraged priests, deacons, and faithful lay Catholics to "continue to speak strongly about the truth and beauty of marriage."

Defending Marriage Tops Agenda on First Day of US Bishops Spring Meeting

At their spring meeting, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have already begun focusing on the defense of marriage.

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage and speaker at the March for Marriage, said that an anti-marriage decision from the Supreme Court "would undoubtedly have a profound impact on the nation."

LifeSiteNews reported:

BishopsMuch of the opening day of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops 2014 Spring General Assembly on Wednesday was devoted to the defense and promotion of marriage.

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, led the charge by telling his brother bishops: “We are at a critical point in this country as it comes to defense of marriage in the law.

Archbishop Cordileone outlined the grave situation for the defense of traditional marriage and resulting threats to religious freedom.

During a presentation about the upcoming World Meeting of Families, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput noted that this meeting "comes at a time when,” there is a great “confusion about the nature of marriage and the family.”

Echoing Pope Francis, Archbishop Lori, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, recently said the family is "under attack."  He also said (emphasis added):

Let’s understand that challenges to religious freedom are parallel to challenges to life and family. What is called for is not just a short-term effort, but a movement that brings together life, marriage, service to the needy and religious freedom.

We have to take the long view, as the pro-life movement did in 1973, and ask for God’s grace to keep going. We are talking about the creation of a true civilization of love that is pre-eminently a work of faith.

Hypocritical Liberals Try to Shame Archbishop Cordileone

The mayor of San Francisco, liberal politicians, and a group of radical activists who call themselves Christians are attempting to shame Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for his involvement with the March for Marriage.

Ironically, in a letter to Archbishop Cordileone, the group quoted both Pope Francis and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, implying that Archbishop Cordileone's support for marriage is somehow at odds with his duties as a Catholic archbishop.

Completely ignoring the parts about searching for the Lord and having good will, the leftists wrote, "...while not all of us agree with official Catholic teaching on marriage and family, we appreciate the many statements from Catholic leaders defending the human dignity of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, especially the recent words of Pope Francis: 'If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?'  Pope Francis' words echo the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that lesbian and gay people 'must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.'"

The irony in this is unmistakable.  The letter goes on to imply that refusing to accept the redefinition of marriage is "unjust discrimination," and that advocating for the redefinition of marriage is somehow an action of goodwill.  (Newsflash: Pope Francis has spoken repeatedly about how redefining marriage is an attack on the family, the importance of children growing up with mothers and fathers, and the sanctity of marriage.)cordileone

The letter ends with a suggestion that Archbishop Cordileone not speak at the March for Marriage and instead "join us in seeking to promote reconciliation rather than division and hatred."  Ironically, the signers of the letter are the ones promoting division by trying to divide the Catholic Church, which has always and will always teach that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, a Sacrament ordered toward bringing the sexes together to create new life.  Furthermore, there is unity among faithful Catholics and Christians in regard to marriage--there is agreement that it is quite possible to protect marriage, and the basic human truths it reflects, without being "hateful" toward anyone.  In fact, Archbishop Cordileone spoke about this at last year's march.

The signers could have been much clearer about their intentions by simply writing, "We ask you to join with us in opposing the teachings of your religion under the guise of 'promoting reconciliation.'"

Bishop Conley: "May We Bring the Principles of Our Faith to the Public Square"

Most Reverend James D. Conley, bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, wrote a beautiful piece on the importance of witnessing faith in the public square.

Photo Credit: Ted Kirk, The Journal-Star

Photo Credit: Ted Kirk, The Journal-Star

Without the influence of truth on public life, the rights of the unborn, the poor, and the marginalized can be discarded.  Without the participation of religious believers, the principles of justice and freedom are replaced with reckless pursuit of comfort and pleasure.  Without active protection of rights, religious liberty—and indeed, all liberty—stands perilously close to being lost entirely.

Our democracy can serve the common good. But only when believers, capable of discerning the common good, participate in public life.

This election year, we’ll consider candidates for state and national offices.  And, if we want our state and nation to serve the common good, we have a moral obligation to vote.  And when we do vote, we ought to consider the candidates and their position in light of the received teachings of our Church. In light of justice.  In light of truth.

Catholics helped to form our nation. And over the past two centuries, Catholics have bled and died to protect it. Their legacy is in our hands. To be faithful Catholics, we’re called to be faithful citizens.  May each of us work to build a just and free nation.  And may we bring the principles of our faith to the public square, and to the voting booth.

Read the rest of Bishop Conley's article at the Diocese of Lincoln's website.

Bishop Conley is a stalwart advocate for marriage.  His compelling words about bringing faith to the public square resound with many people of faith, not just Catholics.

Marriage and Witness at Notre Dame

Michael Bradley, one of the co-founders of the Notre Dame pro-marriage group Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), wrote a piece at Public Discourse on witnessing the truth about marriage at Notre Dame.  He criticized the school's refusal to recognize SCOP's as an official university club, explaining:

NDOn April 30, the university rejected SCOP’s request to become an officially recognized student club, citing a “recommendation” by a group of student government officials who judged that “there was not a need” for SCOP’s presence on campus.

The official reason given for rejecting SCOP’s application is “redundancy,” a transparent reason for rejection that even a momentary glance through the names of some of the more than 500 recognized student clubs punctures. Additionally, when pressed to identify the groups the missions of which allegedly make SCOP’s acceptance redundant, the president of the aforementioned student government group listed several groups that don’t at all claim to advocate for child-oriented public policies.

Notre Dame’s decision to deny SCOP’s application is rooted in either culpable ignorance of SCOP’s mission and purpose or barely veiled hostility toward SCOP’s true mission and purpose.

Furthermore, the rejection letter came from the same Student Activities official who told SCOP leaders in early April that the SCOP petition was “inaccurate” and suggested that its language would make some members of the Notre Dame community feel “unwelcome.” She further intimated concerns that the petition’s authors were misquoting their sources, and took twice as long as official Student Activities Office policy standards dictate to return a request (which was filed on behalf of a recognized student group) to publicize the petition in Notre Dame’s student center.

As demonstrated by their resilience, the students of SCOP are not going to back down.  They are diligently and tenaciously standing up for marriage on campus, despite the apparent hostility of some of their peers who do not share their pro-family sentiment.  Marriage defenders can look forward to what SCOP will accomplish on campus in future years.

Marriage Debate Has High Stakes

The stakes have never been higher as advocates of redefining marriage continue to push for a radical reordering of the most basic foundation of society.

A recent article out of Oklahoma describes many of the concerns that pro-family advocates have about the push to re-define marriage, particularly as it relates to religious liberty:

 ...for opponents the damage of legalizing gay marriage is more than a paper shortage or legal procedure. Unless lawmakers carve out broad protections for those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds, they see the trend of current court ruling favoring gay marriage as an erosion of freedom of expression and conscience rights.

"If same-sex marriage is established in law, it will be increasingly difficult for anyone who holds to the traditional view of conjugal marriage to maintain a witness to that truth under such a decision," said Matthew Franck, director of the Witherspoon Institute's Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution in Princeton, New Jersey. "Church-run schools, employers, adoption agencies, child-service agencies run by religious organizations — all of these institutions and private concerns will be adversely affected."

The article briefly explores the history of marriage redefinition in the United States:

coalitionavatarOn Nov. 18, 2003, Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court decided in favor of same-sex marriage in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, saying that "barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution."

The justices gave legislators 180 days to change the law, and when the solons didn't, same-sex marriage was permitted. At 12:01 a.m. May 18, 2004, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the first in the state and the nation, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples...

"It was a massive mistake and a betrayal when the Supreme Judicial Court foisted same-sex marriage on the people of Massachusetts, and it remains so today," lamented Brian J. Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage, which supports the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The Massachusetts decision "started the same sort of lawlessness that we've seen with judges (elsewhere) saying they have the right to define marriage for a state, subverting the democratic process."

Brown said the "redefinition of marriage has had consequences" beyond what proponents concluded. In Massachusetts, the state has "deconstructed gender" by referring to mothers and fathers solely by the word "parent" in official proceedings, he claimed, and in schools, "kids are now taught their parents are bigots if they support the traditional definition of marriage."

The traditional marriage advocate said when the Massachusetts Senate refused to consider a voter-signed petition calling for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, it started a trend of elected officials in other states refusing to defend marriage laws and amendments passed by voters and/or legislatures.

In Oregon, state Attorney General Ellen Rosenbaum declared three months ago there was "no rational basis" for the 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, according to the Oregonian newspaper. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled Brown's group "had no (legal) standing" to defend the measure in that state.

Franck noted that the state imposing a false definition of marriage on everyone has alarming consequences:

"Just look at what happened to Catholic Charities, which ceased adoption services in Massachusetts in the aftermath" of the 2003 ruling, he said. The Roman Catholic social-service agency shut down after the state required the agency to place children with same-sex married couples.

Advocates behind the push to redefine marriage have disregarded the well-being of children, who benefit from mothers and fathers shaping them in different, important ways, and demonstrate a shocking lack of tolerance for those who understand that marriage is a unique institution worth protecting.  The state's redefinition of marriage violated Massachusetts Catholic Charities' deeply-held beliefs about the nature of marriage, forcing them to close, and subsequently hurt the children who Catholic Charities would have otherwise been able to place in loving homes with mothers and fathers:

And other religiously linked institutions with admission, employment, housing or other policies prohibiting same-sex couples may face challenges, said attorney Nicholas Miller, director of the International Religious Liberty Institute at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, which is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

"States may not have as strong a religious rights lobby as there is at the federal level," Miller said. Despite the fact that the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not endorse same-sex marriage, Miller said Adventist- and Catholic-owned hospitals in California are being required to provide employee benefits to same-sex couples.

Greg Scott, a spokesman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is litigating in several states to support traditional marriage, said the group hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will continue its view that marriage should be defined by the states, as it expressed in its 2013 ruling, U.S. vs. Windsor, which struck down the prohibition against same-sex marriage in federal law.

"We hope the Supreme Court stays consistent," Scott said. "Marriage is worth fighting for and there are a lot of people that do believe that. Perhaps a wrong decision at the Supreme Court will inspire millions of Americans to rebuild a culture of strong marriages and understand again what marriage is about."

...Lawmakers could pass exemptions protecting a quasi-religious social organization such as the Catholic-based Knights of Columbus from having to rent its banquet facilities for a same-sex marriage reception, said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois and an advocate for religious exemptions to same-sex marriage laws.

"To some extent the Knights of Columbus is a religious group (and) if you say we're going to treat every kind of membership hall as a public accommodation, you're putting them at risk (in) that if they won't yield on their religious conviction, they'd have to celebrate something they can't endorse," Wilson said.

She said it should be up the legislatures to determine where to carve out protections for individuals, businesses and faith-based institutions that adhere to religious beliefs that prevent them from recognizing same-sex marriages.

We the PeopleThe final paragraphs of this article are stunning to anyone who believes religious organizations and business owners should be able to freely operate in accordance with their values:

But same-sex marriage proponents vow to fight any exceptions for public facilities or services, whether owned by a religious institution or not.

"There is a problem when organizations want to have it both ways — open to the public for a revenue stream, but asserted to be private (religiously private or otherwise) when it comes to rules that regulate commercial activity," said Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel and director of the Law and Policy Project at Lambda Legal in Los Angeles.

That goes for religiously affiliated social service agencies as well.

"Those services are offered pursuant to state licensure and professional ethics rules for protection of the public," she said. "If the state and/or profession includes nondiscrimination rules within the standards for those services, the religious organization has a choice: either offer licensed services to the public for a fee in conformity with the applicable standards, or don’t offer them to the public."

The notion that religious organizations must conform with arbitrary "nondiscrimination" standards seems to be more important to Pizer than the First Amendment and the rights it grants all people.

The core of society and the basic human freedom of religion are at stake as Americans work to protect marriage.  The battle to uphold marriage has never been more essential.

ICYMI: Oregon Catholic Conference Blasts Ruling to Redefine Marriage

The Oregon Catholic Conference, which represents the Archdiocese of Portland and the Diocese of Baker on issues of public policy, expressed their strong disapproval of Judge Michael McShane's ruling to redefine marriage:

Gavel in MotionThe Oregon Catholic Conference is deeply grieved by Judge Michael McShane's ruling to redefine marriage. It is a travesty of justice that marriage, as the foundation of society, received no defense in the U.S. District Court. Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, in an extreme dereliction of her sworn duty to uphold the law, refused to represent the interests and the people of Oregon. It is a sad day for democracy when one federally appointed judge can overturn, without any representation, the express will of the people of Oregon.

Despite the judge's ruling, authentic marriage remains what it has always and only been according to God's design: the loving union between one man and one woman for the mutual benefit of the two who have become one flesh and any children born of their union. Redefining marriage confuses the true purpose and meaning of marriage. An act deliberately ensuring that more children will grow up motherless or fatherless is not an act of love. The Oregon Catholic Conference will continue to uphold the true meaning of marriage and advocate for genuine marriages and families in Oregon, and it urges all people of good will to continue to reject the flawed notion that a pairing of two people of the same gender constitutes a marriage.

Pro-Marriage Notre Dame Students Remain Resolute

Students for Child-Oriented Policy, a group of pro-marriage Notre Dame students, remains resolute in their endeavor to be recognized as an official university club.  The University of Notre Dame denied them official status as a club on the grounds that other groups at Notre Dame have similar missions.

Fox News reported:

Notre Dame DomeThe group, Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), was rejected in an April 30 letter from the university’s Student Activities Office to Tiernan Kane, the club’s proposed president. The decision was based on a recommendation by the university’s Club Coordination Council, a division of student government, that found the club’s mission “closely mirrored” that of other undergraduate student clubs at the 12,000-student university.

“In evaluating a proposal, approval is based on several things,” read the letter to Kane. “We consider the general purpose of a club, uniqueness to campus, proposed activities, a clear constitution, a strong understanding of budget planning, projected membership, opportunity for membership, among other things.”

Due to the perceived duplicative mission of the group, SCOP’s proposal was rejected, according to the letter, which did not reference other university-recognized groups.

“As such, the Club Coordination Council felt there was not a need for another similar-type club,” the letter continued. “You are encouraged to contact the Club Coordination Council’s Social Service Division to learn about collaborating with the existing clubs working toward your mutual goals.”

SCOP, which was founded in January, is comprised of Notre Dame undergraduate and graduate students focused on the debate about marriage in Indiana, where the school is based, according to its Facebook profile, which had 69 members as of Tuesday.

“SCOP's overarching concern is that policymakers are failing to approach their task with a view to how those policies will affect children,” the group’s Facebook page reads. “They seem to conceive of policy only as it will affect the stable, independent adult with resources. We see this approach affecting a number of important political issues, not just the current question about the definition of marriage. Still, marriage is both foundational and at a critical point in this state and country, and therefore, SCOP has decided to focus on the issue in its initial conference.”

The group seeks to unite a network of students across The Hoosier State in favor of “child-oriented policies,” according to its organizers.

“We reject the view that the young have agreed to redefine marriage,” the group’s Facebook page continues. “Rather, we think that they have not explored the meaning and importance of marriage.”

Messages seeking comment from Kane and other SCOP students were not returned early Tuesday.

Kane told The Cardinal Newman Society he believes Notre Dame should take the lead on marriage, much like it did in publicly voicing its support for the Dream Act and other controversial topics.

“The Catholic Church's teaching on marriage, which is universally intelligible to human reason, is informed by a tradition of philosophical reflection that reaches back at least as far as Plato,” he said. “As the nation's premier Catholic university, Notre Dame has the ability, and thus the responsibility, to contribute to -- indeed, to lead -- public discourse about marriage.”

Notre Dame Marriage PetitionA petition created by the group calling on Notre Dame to “take up the defense of marriage at this pivotal moment in the national discussion” had 948 signatures as of Tuesday.

“We understand marriage to be that natural institution that unites one man and one woman in a comprehensive sharing of life ‘ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring,’” the petition reads.

Timothy Bradley, another SCOP member, indicated that the group is undergoing an appeal process in hopes of reversing the decision.

The full Fox News article can be found here.  The students told the National Catholic Register that they do not use religious arguments to advocate for marriage:

...Kane, the prospective SCOP president, said CCC mistakenly conflated his group with being a “Catholic” organization.

“SCOP is not a religious group,” Kane said. “Our application clearly conveyed our group’s nonpartisan, nonsectarian focus on public policy as it relates to issues that specially affect children.”

McEntee declined to discuss CCC’s discussion and vote — a two-thirds majority is needed to approve a club application — in greater detail because the process is meant to be confidential. CCC’s student membership is also private.

In its proposed constitution, SCOP describes itself as a group whose purpose is to “educate and energize the public, especially young people,” about a child-oriented approach to public policy. Although its public-policy prescriptions, which Kane said are derived from reason, align with Catholic teaching, he said SCOP is not meant to be “an explicitly Catholic organization.”

...After SCOP was established in January, its first step was to circulate a petition that called upon the university to take a clear public stand in support of the true definition of marriage and to take “serious and sustained action” to improve the public understanding of the natural institution.

When SCOP drafted its petition, the Indiana Legislature was debating a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Both chambers of the legislature approved the amendment, which required approval in another legislative session before it could be presented to Indiana’s voters.

Tim Bradley, a Notre Dame student and the prospective treasurer of the group, said SCOP pushed the petition because the group believed Notre Dame’s administration had been “totally silent” on the issue.

“The way we see it, Notre Dame has a responsibility to witness to the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Tim Bradley said.

It's clear that SCOP will not back down when it comes to defending marriage on campus.  They are boldly defying the liberal myth that young people think marriage should be redefined.  Hats off to these courageous students who continue to stand up for marriage!

Pennsylvania Catholic Conference Denounces Marriage Ruling

The Philadelphia Catholic Conference, which represents the ten Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, sharply criticized Tuesday's ruling on marriage:

Pennsylvania’s longstanding Defense of Marriage Act was passed by democratically-elected officials and recognizes marriage as between one man and one woman.  Today’s decision by one federal judge speaks to the confusion and misunderstanding among many today about the fundamental building block of society: the family.  Every child has a basic right to a mother and a father united in marriage as a family. Today’s decision does not change that.

Yes, marriage is a personal relationship, but it is not merely a private affair between two people. It is a relationship with great public significance and, since it is the foundation of the family, it affects the wider society. By God’s design, every child has a mother and a father. Circumstances may prevent a child from being raised by his or her own mother and father, so we stand in solidarity with single mothers and fathers who work responsibly each day to raise their children. However, marriage is the way society provides for children’s needs. The redefinition of marriage enshrines in law a denial of the rights of children to a mother and a father united in marriage.

The Catholic Church teaches that all people are made in the image of God and that everyone has inherent dignity. No one should face unjust discrimination. But human experience, considerable social data, as well as our religious convictions, lead us to see clearly that children thrive best in a stable family grounded on the marital union of one man and one woman. Catholic opposition to same-sex marriage is not a statement about the worth of human beings who experience same-sex attraction, but a statement about the nature of marriage itself.

Archbishop Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which is sending a fleet of buses to the upcoming March for Marriage, remarked:

Marriage is more than a private arrangement between two people. It's a public commitment of love and fidelity, and it's ordered not just to companionship but to creating and rearing new life. This is why every child deserves a mother and a father in a loving marriage, and the child is the fruit of that love.

All men and women are formed in the image of God and deserve our respect. But attempts to redefine the nature of marriage, no matter how well intentioned, damage a cornerstone of our human interaction and ultimately work against human dignity itself.

 

 

 

Why All Forms of Marriage in the Old Testament are Not Equal

Advocates of redefining marriage sometimes cite the Bible, pointing to the variety of marital forms in the Old Testament.

Richard Whitekettle at Public Discourse explains why not all forms of marriage in the Old Testament are equal:

98989969While it is certainly true that marriage takes various forms in the Old Testament, and that no direct condemnations of these various forms are ever made, Robinson, Pauw, and those of like mind are missing or ignoring or dismissing one very important interpretive feature of the Old Testament: its narrative trajectory.

[...]

The Bible presents the history of the world as involving its creation (the pre-fall world), its fall, and its continuation as a fallen world (the post-fall world). In other words, the Bible understands the world to have been made in a certain way, to have fallen apart in a certain way, and to continue on in a certain fallen way.

Consider, then, the eight marital forms in light of the pre- and post-fall structure of the history of the world. The only marital arrangement found in the ideal, pre-fall world is the man + woman arrangement....

[...]

While formal deviations from the standard emerge in the fallen world of the Old Testament, a material deviation never does. It was not considered a viable, material form of marriage, even in the fallen world. Thus, while the variety of marital forms in the Old Testament cannot be used to support the notion that same-sex marriage does not deviate from a biblical norm, the common and exclusively heterosexual character of the various forms of marriage found in the Old Testament (together with the prohibition and condemnation of homosexual behavior itself in Lev 18:22 and 20:13) rules out the possibility of support even further.

Some people of faith make arguments in support of marriage based on their religious views.  The scriptural narrative Whitekettle examines is important for Christians to understand so that they can be ready to address the claims that because a variety of unions are described in the Old Testament, it is somehow okay to redefine marriage.

Read Whitekettle's full piece here!

Pope: "The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman."

From CNSNews:

Pope FrancisDuring his General Audience speech at St. Peter’s Square on Apr. 2, before a crowd estimated at 45,000, Pope Francis first cited Genesis, saying, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them. … Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."

"The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman; not only the man, not only the woman, but both of them together," said the Pope. "God’s covenant with us is represented in that covenant between man and woman. And this is very beautiful."

"When a man and a woman celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony, God as it were 'is mirrored' in them; He impresses in them his own features and the indelible character of his love," said Pope Francis. "Marriage is the icon of God's love for us."

Read more here.

"Notre Dame, you have a voice..."

A group of plucky students at Notre Dame made news this week with a petition to the University officials "to take up the defense of marriage at this pivotal moment in the national discussion surrounding this foundational institution."

Notre DameThe Cardinal Newman Society provides more details:

The petition was created by members of the newly formed Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), made up of undergraduate and graduate students at the University...

[...]

A co-founder of the group, Tiernan Kane, told The Cardinal Newman Society that he believes the university should take the lead on marriage.

"The Catholic Church's teaching on marriage, which is universally intelligible to human reason, is informed by a tradition of philosophical reflection that reaches back at least as far as Plato," [Kane] said. "As the nation's premier Catholic university, Notre Dame has the ability, and thus the responsibility, to contribute to--indeed, to lead--public discourse about marriage."

[...]

Senior Michael Bradley, a co-founder of the group, told The Cardinal Newman Society that the administration has been "entirely mute on marriage" while publicly supporting the Dream Act and other contested political issues.  [Bradley] said, "Notre Dame, you have a voice, and it would mean a lot in defense of Church teaching."

Bravo to these brave young men and women!