Top Catholic Official Calls For Praying, Fasting, and Personal Sacrifice to Stop Marriage Equality

The highest-ranking Catholic in the nation says churchgoers should pull out all the stops to block marriage equality in the United States, even if it means sacrificing…something. They’re not really sure what.

Under the direction of the notoriously anti-gay Cardinal Timothy Dolan (pictured above), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops delivered this bulletin to parishioners around the country in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, the two marriage equality cases the Court heard earlier this year:

Bulletin Insert Marriage and the Supreme Court Spring 2013 by David Badash

Dolan was most recently in the news this Easter for demanding a group of LGBT Catholics literally wash their hands of sin before entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In April, he also refused a call for “pastoral assistance” from the director of the Ali Forney Center, a nonprofit organization offering services to homeless LGBT youth in New York City. Joseph Amodeo, the head of New York’s Roman Catholic archdiocese, left the junior board of the city’s Catholic Charities to protest Dolan’s insensitive response to the homeless shelter’s request for help.

As Christian rhetoric around marriage equality tends to do, the recent bulletin from the conference warns that the Supreme Court may soon try to “redefine marriage,” which, they say, would make this case “the Roe v. Wade of marriage.” (Because obviously Roe ruined reproduction for everyone.) Luckily, the church offers some simple ways that concerned Catholics can help fight the impending doom:

[The bulletin] goes on to call for prayer, fasting and personal sacrifice to achieve the goal of keeping same sex couples from enjoying the same rights as other married couples, and urges parishioners join the church’s anti-LGBT “Fortnight for Freedom” events leading up to the 4th of July.

“Be a witness for the truth of marriage in word and action,” the conference ordered American Catholics. “Take advantage of opportunities to speak about marriage’s unique meaning in conversation with friends, family, neighbors or co-workers. Share the truth in love.

The bulletin adds that, while “there are many ways to protect the basic human rights of all,” true Christians should oppose extending the rights of marriage to LGBT people because doing so “serves no one’s rights, least of all those of children.”

Never mind that fasting to protest equal marriage rights makes no sense in either direction. Overall, it’s not entirely clear from this bulletin what the bishops want everyday Catholics to sacrifice in defense of “traditional” marriage: Time? Money? A sense that they’re doing the right thing? Or something more disturbing that they’re not willing to say out loud?

For whatever reason, conservative Catholics are turning marriage equality into their battle, but the way things are going, it’s certain they’ll fail.

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