All Catholics are Obliged to Oppose the Legal Recognition of Homosexual Unions

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I put together a quick collage of teachings on marriage from Scripture, the Catechism and a couple of Apostolic letters written by Blessed John Paul II.

I want to emphasize that Blessed John Paul II was reiterating what the Church has taught for two millennia. Synods reaching back to antiquity have consistently taught these same things.

This is what the Church teaches about gay marriage. The sentence that I put in bold states the position those of us in the laity must take: All Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions. 

In another part of the same document, Blessed Pope John Paul II says that politicians who vote for gay marriage are committing a mortal sin. I think that applies also to anyone in a position of influence who supports the destruction of marriage. Jesus said, To those whom much is given, much is required. I think He meant any of us who are in positions of power and influence.

I have had the experience of leading people astray with my wrong-headed good intentions. It’s like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube to undo it later.

We are going through a season of upheaval in a society that recognizes no God except the one it sees in the mirror. Do not allow yourself to be swept up in this and contribute to leading other people astray.

I say that, not as an admonition, but as a plea from the heart of someone who has made this mistake. I can tell you from experience, you don’t want to go there.

Stop trying to pretend that you are smarter and your holiness and understanding of God’s requirements of you are somehow greater than those of His Church.

He told us that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church. But He didn’t say anything like that about you and me, deciding to be our own little magisteriums. He didn’t tell us that we could stand alone against the evils of this world by colluding with those evils.

You cannot broker a deal between Christ and the devil. That is precisely what a good many Christians are trying to do with gay marriage. Stop looking for an easy way out and be faithful. Yield your will to God’s will and follow, not lead.

I can tell you from personal experience that this is the only way, to walk the Way.

Marriage has three blessings. The first is children, to be received and raised in God’s service. The second is the loyal faithfulness by which each serves the other. The third is the Sacrament of Matrimony which signifies the inseparable union of Christ with His Church. St Thomas Aquinas.

This now is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh … and for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. Adam

For I hate divorce. To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty. So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife. God the Father

God himself is the author of marriage. The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. … Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” The woman, “flesh of his flesh,” his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a “helpmate”; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been “in the beginning”: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Precisely because the love of husband and wife is a unique participation in the mystery of life and of the love of God Himself, the Church knows that she has received the special mission of guarding and protecting the lofty dignity of marriage and the most serious responsibility of the transmission of human life. John Paul II

No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman … Furthermore the marital union of man and woman has been elected by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament. The Church teaches that Christian marriage is an efficacious sign of the covenant between Christ and the Church … 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 … all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions. John Paul II

Have you read, that in the beginning, God made them male and female, and for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and they two shall be one flesh? They are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man put asunder. Jesus Christ

  • JohnE_o

    As an outsider looking in, I notice that there’s an awful lot of things that Catholics are told that they are obliged to do – or refrain from doing, but don’t.

    • Sus_1

      You’ve got that right. It’s sickening.

      • oregon nurse

        So go ahead and throw in the towel Sus_1 if you think we’ll all be better off abandoning every moral teaching that isn’t followed perfectly.

    • FW Ken

      It’s called sin, or maybe just acedia. In any case, the Great thing about being Catholic is that when I sin, even for years, forgiveness is waiting at the back of the church on Saturday afternoons.

      • cminca

        Over and over again…….
        In other words–the forgiveness, and therefore the “sin”, are meaningless.

        • FW Ken

          Is that yours to judge?

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      Extremely astute of you to notice. Yes, in these waning days of the American Empire, many are indeed falling away.

    • Dave

      The Catholic Faith is a path to holiness. This implies that one is not holy at the beginning of the path, and it can be a long road. Now, one can sin at any point along the path, though of course it will happen less and less as we make progress through the graces available to us.

      The problem is less about sin, though, and more about people who are not following the path at all (and often are heading precisely in the other direction), yet claim they are.

      • Bill S

        people who are not following the path (to holiness) at all (and often are heading precisely in the other direction), yet claim they are.

        I, for one, am not seeking to follow any path to holiness and don’t claim that I am. I think the same applies to those who are just living their lives as best as they can, including same sex partners.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          “I, for one, am not seeking to follow any path to holiness.”

          All find what they truly seek (CS Lewis).

    • oregon nurse

      That’s why it’s so easy to be an atheist. Ultimately, that’s the whole point for many atheists isn’t it? No moral rules but your own and those can be remade over and over as comfort dictates. Sweeeeet!

      • Bill S

        It’s not easy to be an atheist. We have moral standards as well. For example, we know that it is immoral to discriminate against gays.

        • oregon nurse

          Moral relativists, as most atheists are, always seem to confuse discrimination or judgment against actions/behaviors with discrimination against the person. I feel sorry for people who believe they are nothing more than the sum total of their actions – therefore if you reject/hate what I do then you must be rejecting/hating me – because I have no worth beyond my actions. The human-doer vs the human-being. Sad.

        • FW Ken

          How do you know that?

          • Bill S

            How do I know that it is immoral to discriminate against gays? Easy. I just think of how I would feel if people discriminated against me.

            • FW Ken

              Otherwise known as the golden rule, borrowed from religious sources (one of them Christianity). However, that is not a universal human notion, as history clearly demonstrates. Specifically, atheist regimes have rejected it, add have all tyrannies.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          When will you ever learn that the word Bill S does not, in English, correspond either to the expression “most people” or to the expression “most atheists”? I could introduce you to millions of atheists who have discriminated against homosexuals to the extent of shoving them into death camps wherever they found them – eh, Comrade Stalin?

          • Bill S

            They should have known that what they were doing was immoral and not done it. No one should ever mistreat others because of the others’ sexuality. It just shows an ignorance of the difference between right and wrong or just a lack of caring about whether they do right or wrong.

            • oregon nurse

              The pedophiles are going to love you Bill S, seeing as how you think no one should ever be mistreated because of their sexuality. I’m quite sure they feel mistreated every time they get jailed for it.

              • Bill S

                That’s not discrimination. That is protecting children. You can’t compare gays to pedophiles.

      • JohnE_o

        I think the whole point for most atheists (and agnostics) is that they don’t see convincing proof for the existence of a Deity.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Yeah, right. Which just happens to make it so easy for them to deny any moral teaching they happen to dislike. And then to be amazed that there are people who regard immoral things as forbidden. All this started with your “surprise” at the fact that we regard a few things as forbidden, remember?

          • JohnE_o

            As you have done with pagansister above, you are attributing words in quotation marks to me that I have not used.

            Why are you doing this?

            • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

              Why, that was not a surprised tone at the discovery that there are things Catholic philosophy declares you should not do? “As an outsider looking in”, you seemed to find this rather strange and bewildering.

          • cminca

            So tell me the last time you stoned an adulterer.

            • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

              Do you even know what you are saying, or do you just put things down for the sake of filling a page? First find out whether the Catholic Church enjoins the stoning of adulterers and then open your mouth, you example of utter folly!

        • FW Ken

          That’s a very simplistic notion of how people come to believe what they believe.

    • fredx2

      The problem is that for the last 40 years, people were never given the solid background to understand why the church insists on positions that seem burdensome. Priests and religious were often leading the charge away from Catholicism, so its no wonder people were confused. Things have turned around in the last few years, and time will tell.

  • Bill S

    Religulous.

  • pagansister

    IMO, many of the younger Catholics do not have a problem with SSM. I taught with a couple of them. The younger men and women coming up, religious and non-religious, feel that those in love should be about to commit to each other, no matter the gender combination.

    • hamiltonr

      Forty years ago, it as the same way with abortion. Things will change. It may take time, but time is something the Church has in abundance.

      • fredx2

        Unfortunately, I am afraid that thousands of children will be messed up in the meantime, serving as guinea pigs for this great experiment. The claim that the studies show it has no effect are laughably bogus.

        • pagansister

          How about the children of divorce in heterosexual couples? How is a divorce harder on children of SS couples vs those of heterosexual couples? Divorce is not easy on anyone—unless it is actually a good thing for all, depending on the reasons for that divorce—-such as abuse of spouse or children being involved. That is, however, a different topic.

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            “Because there is one terrible evil in the world, we have to admit another.” Wonderful reasoning. I am sure every gangster, pimp and tyrant on Earth would applaud.

            • pagansister

              What you wrote in quotes is not my statement. You addressed it to me.

              • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                “How about the children of divorced straight couples?” You said that IN OPPOSITION TO FREDX2. In other words, you thought it was a sufficient answer to his view that children will suffer for this piece of faddish idiocy.

                • pagansister

                  Guess you feel that children of divorced SSM couples suffer more than children of heterosexual couples? No matter the make up of the parents, IMO, children suffer when their parents divorce. Yes, your first sentence immediately above( the 7 hours ago one) is almost mine, you just changed a couple of my words, so it is your interpretation of my quote, but the other starting with “because there is one——-” are not my words at all.

                  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                    No, darling, what you should say is that there should be no divorce and no homosexual marriage. What you are saying is that we should have both, and that the children should continue to suffer for the pleasure of self-seeking adults.

                    • pagansister

                      I “should” say that I would hope that there would be no divorces (which is unfortunately not realistic) no matter what the gender combination of the couples. I cannot say there should be no SSM because I would be lying. Pleasure seeking adults come in both forms of marriage.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      You are not arguing, only saying things. Pleasure seeking adults come in all forms – what the Hell does that mean? What is it supposed to prove? Murderers come in any party, yet somehow the Communist, Fascist, Nazi and Hezbollah parties are associated with murder, and the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, Moderates and Greens are not. Are you seriously going to sit there and just repeat “murderers can be found in all parties”? That means nothing; and so does “pleasure seeking adults can be found in any condition” (I refuse to admit that there are “two” kinds of marriage, any more than there can be a seven-legged man).

                    • pagansister

                      “Pleasure seeking adults come in BOTH FORMS of MARRIAGE” was my quote. If you are going to quote me, Fabio, please do so accurately. I was not addressing anything else but the subject of SSM. Your version of my quote enabled you to expand on what I wasn’t saying. I was not discussing murderers, etc. And I will continue to have no problem with SSM. :-)

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      If I had repeated your formula word for word, it would have been the same as to admit its validity. I did not change anything important; it is obvious that you mean that there are self-seeking persons in every condition of life. What else could you have meant? That there are self-seeking persons in real marriage and pretend marriage, but not elsewhere? That does not even make sense, and at any rate that was not what you were talking about. You are playing games with words, first, to get me to say what you want to say, and, second, to pretend that I have falsified what you said only because I removed the assumption I find unacceptable. But discussion on what you seem to regard as your principles would not be possible; it would soon be reduced to either accepting your demands or shutting up. And my mum did not bring up any quitters or any fools.

                    • pagansister

                      Whatever. You have twisted my words again so this is over for the moment. I meant what I wrote, and nothing else. It is my understanding that when one is quoted, the exact words should be used, not changed. Don’t use quotation marks if the exact words are not used. Why in the world would I play games with words to get you to say what I want to say? That is nuts.

      • pagansister

        Since I will probably not be around in 40 years (I’d be 109) I guess I will never know. However, I can hope that in that time frame SSM will not even make news anymore. I have,however, lived long enough to see Roe V. Wade be challenged.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          And you seem unwilling to draw the obvious conclusion.

          • pagansister

            Obvious conclusion?

        • FW Ken

          I also expect to be gone in forty years, and I also hope that at that time, same-sex marriage will not make news.

          :-)

    • fredx2

      The trouble is that in practicality, gays have a great deal of trouble committing to one person. If you do research on gay marriage monogamy, you will find plenty of articles where the gay couple initially tries to be monogamous, but after a period of time they find that they cannot do it. Something like 75% of gay men have casual sexual encounters outside the marriage, over and over again. This is probably because they do not have the same bonding chemistry that male-female bonds create. I shudder to think of the effect this will have on any children the couple may have.
      if gay marriage becomes accepted then we are accepting that marriage does not imply monogamy. I can think of no quicker way to destroy marriage.
      So, if there is no monogamy, and if there is no procreation, in what sense is it a marriage?

      • Sus_1

        Why is there a high divorce rate with heterosexuals? According to you they have the correct “bonding chemistry”.

        Children from gay parents will be harmed more from the people who are insisting that everyone has to live according to the Church teachings whether they belong to the Church or not.

        • pagansister

          All I can do is smile in agreement, Sus_1.

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            And run away from the numbers, which would tell you, if you actually believed in evidence, that bad though the state of marriage may be in a corrupt and viciously sexualized society, the state of homosexual relationships is infinitely worse. You notice the long term ones for the same reason why you notice an old man in a Boy Scout meeting: because he is an exception.

            • pagansister

              If one has enough “exceptions” then that can become the norm.

              • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                No, there will never be enough exceptions to make gold commonplace or chalk rare.

      • pagansister

        I have known 2 same gender couples, both happened to be women. One couple has been together over 15 years, but unfortunately one of the partners in the other couple died of cancer 7 years after their marriage. However they were faithful to each other and had no ideas of cheating. The other couple is still together, happily. Like heterosexual couples, it depends on the 2 people involved. I really am not sure that heterosexual couples can be held up as examples of what happiness is in a relationship. Lots of divorces happening in heterosexual couples too. It is what it is.

        • FW Ken

          Male and female same-sex couples have very different dynamics. Both single gay males and gay male couples are more promiscuous that females. It’s hard to get honest data these days, of course.

          • pesq87

            Actually, its that men have different sexual dynamics than women. Men, in general, are more promiscuous than women. And committed lesbian couples are at the far end of the promiscuity spectrum.

            • oregon nurse

              That is total BS. Lesbians don’t behave just like heterosexual women and you are just rationalizing. There is plenty of domestic violence and infidelity in lesbian relationships (google it) so at least some of them are acting more like men than women. It’s a well known fact among women’s health practitioners that domestic violence is a serious health problem for lesbians.

              • pesq87

                OK, as instructed, I researched it and found that rates of domestic violence in gay relationships “are comparable to rates of heterosexual domestic violence.” My citations are below.

                Alexander, C. J. (2002), Violence in gay and lesbian relationships. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 14, 95–98; Burke, L. K., & Follingstad, D. R. (1999), Violence in lesbian and gay relationships: Theory,
                prevalence, and correlational factors. Clinical Psychology Review, 19, 487–512;. Murray, C.E., & Mobley, A.K. (2009). Empirical research about same-sex intimate partner violence: A methodological review. Journal of Homosexuality. McClennen, J. C. (2005), Domestic violence between same-gender partners: Recent findings and future research. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20, 149–154; Pitt, E. L. (2000), Domestic violence in gay and lesbian relationships. Gay and Lesbian Medical
                Association Journal, 4, 195–196

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  Please notice the titles of the periodicals. These are periodicals dedicated to the claims and views of the GLBTetcetc “community”. If pesq87 finds that this sort of publishing can only claim that domestic violence exists among gays to an extent that is equivalent to what is found in the wider populace, then I for one am certain, of what I had seen both in private and in other people’s writings, that it is far worse. Because we know that the core of gay propaganda is to deliver an idyllic, trouble-free picture of homosexual lives, and that therefore even the admission that trouble exists at all means that it is much too huge in actual fact to be swept under the carpet.

                  • pesq87

                    Fabio, CSR is an academic journal, published by Pergamon Press (which publishes scientific and medical books and journals) and is edited by a professor of the UMD Clinical Psychology Program. Not exactly “dedicated to the claims and views” of gay people.
                    As to the other authorities, do you dismiss Christian writers when they write about the Christian experience? Do you dismiss published works about deaf people when they are published by Gallaudet University? If you have scholarly, academic, peer-reviewed authority that contradicts my post, please tell us about them, but don’t dismiss my research merely because it contradicts you.

                    • pesq87

                      Small error: I should have mentioned that the Journal of Interpersonal Violence is also not a “homosexual” publication, but a peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes papers in the field of criminology.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      Like I said, I know about peer reviewed. It all depends on which peers do the reviewing, and what they choose to review. As Karl Popper – the great philosopher whose ideas “peer reviewing” trivializes – used to say, institutions ought to be like fortresses: they should be well designed and well manned. Considering what has come out about supposedly hard science in the studies of Daniele Fanelli of Edinburgh – not to even mention Weathergate – I am not disposed to take peer review alone as a token of excellence.

                      At any rate that is not so important. My point is that in the face of massive media pressure to sanitize and glamourize homosexuality, even the admission that there is at least no less violence in homosexual relationships than in straight ones is very significant; and it is my view – I don’t expect it to be yours – that the likelihood of things being much worse is great, given to what an extent the realities of homosexuality in other areas (e.g. life expectancy) are covered up.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      Sure they are academic in form and origin. But I am willing to bet that no article written from the viewpoint of someone like me would stand one millionth of a chance of being read through, let alone rejected. I stopped believing in academic fairness and allegiance to truth over thirty years ago.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      Incidentally, Pergamon Press has a history of corruption and political abuse. I dare say they are terrific fellows now, but the late and dreadful Robert Maxwell built his fortune on licensing masses of East European scientific literature for publication, at the time of Soviet domination. In other words, he became rich by buying the rights of scientific work from Communist tyrants. Maxwell was corruption incarnate, his operations were consistently based on screwing suppliers, distributors and public (i heard a story of a little distributor that would make you weep), and by th time he committed suicide he had left one of the most monstrous corporate defaults in the history of a country, Britain, that knows a thing or two about them.

                    • oregon nurse

                      “CSR is an academic journal, published by Pergamon Press (which publishes scientific and medical books and journals)”

                      To make a limp paraphrase of that data quote – one journal article does not a body of science make. And a quick google of Pergmon Press’ owner certainly would make one question how legitimate the publishing decisions may have been.

                      Of course, if one reads pro-Catholic media one should expect a Catholic bias, no? Same for publications that are pro-gay.

                    • pesq87

                      Oregon Nurse, I’m not following your cryptic point about the owner of Pergamon Press. Its owner is Elsevier, B.V. a Dutch academic publishing company that publishes medical and scientific literature. In my mind, that bolsters their reputation, rather than weakens it. As Fabio states below: “they are terrific fellows.” It seems that the more you challenge me to do research for you, the more research I do, and all the more that research continues to support my statements.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      Let me explain about irony. Irony is when you make an absurd and unbelievable statement that is meant, in a more or less funny way, to imply the complete opposite. Why, what an admirable law officer that Eric Holder is. I don’t suppose Brazil will do much in the coming World Cup – at home, and being in any case the best team in the world. That is irony. So when I set out briefly the horrible origin of Pergamon Press in corruption, tyranny and international crookedness, and said of them “I dare say they are all terrific fellows now”, that was not meant to be taken seriously. An organization that has its root in total and systematic corruption does not turn into the Little Sisters of the Poor merely by being bought out when its founder has sunk into the abyss of his own corruption and sleaze.

                      What follows is not directly to do with Pergamon Press, but it will give you an idea of how corrupting was the personal influence of its founder. When Maxwell committed suicide and his empire collapsed, his two sons were both found to have been involved in the corruption and both did time in jail. His favourite daughter, Ghislaine – after whom he had named the yacht from which he jumped to his death – fled to New York City. And there she became the pimp and procuress of the famous paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          “The plural of anecdote is not data.”

      • pesq87

        fredx2, that might be true for gay men, but 97% of lesbian couples are together for life.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Funny, all my adult life in three metropoleis – London, Rome and Oxford – has been spent among the three per cent.

          • pesq87

            The plural of ancedote is not data.

            • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

              Sorry, knowledge of a whole field of literature over a matter of years is not anecdote, it’s expertise.

              • pesq87

                But you are claiming expertise in literature yet opining on homosexuality.

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  That particular literature is an epiphenomenon of homosexuality. It is a fact that homosexuality seems to go with a heightened artistic drive, and that there is a much higher percentage of homosexuals among the artistic profession than there in the general population, beginning with names that any civilized person ought to revere – Sappho, Virgil, Tchaikovsky. I imagine it is the sense of alienation, of distance from the commonplace, that drives the need to express oneself, to speak articulately, to be somehow heard. And you are speaking like someone who said “You can’t assess those people by what they say about themselves, because they are speaking”.

                  • pesq87

                    Oh for heaven’s sake, Fabio, the point is that Rebecca’s readers deserve to know if your stated opinions are those of an actual expert, and the answer is no; you are not an expert on homosexuality.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      Sez who? I am as much an expert as anyone who has spent years reading what they write of themselves. living with them, arguing with them, and working with them. I certainly am not an establishment stooge, and I am not likely to say what you want to hear. Too bad.

                      (But if you want to know whether i have a piece of paper entitling me to call myself a scholar, yes I have. An anthropologist, to be precise. But so do plenty of people whose opinion deserves no respect. If you are a paper fetishist, yes, I got my honors degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, after transfering from St.John’s College, Oxford – yes, that Oxford.)

                      And you don’t have to be an expert to laugh at the claim that 97% of lesbian relationships are stable. All you need is a tiny litle amount of life experience and an inability to believe flaming absurdities. Any person of sense ought to be expert to that extent.

                    • pagansister

                      Imitating the way you so bluntly put things — now I understand why you respond to folks the way you do—you feel you can because of your “advanced education” from schools with prestigious names.

          • pesq87

            A brilliant man I know once pointed out that that “The plural of anecdote is not data.”

            • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

              It’s an excellent quote, so I stole it. Hope your clever friend does not mind. However, the plural of nothing is nothing. ninety-seven per cent of lesbian relationships are stable? I can’t imagine who would make such a claim. As it happens, I have an unusual window on this world – one that I trust rather more than this kind of number-magic. Back in the nineties, I was for several year one of the best-known reviewers of comics in the UK, and I specialized in underground, independent, amateur and self-published comics. Over that period I must have sampled or read the best part of 200 comics and other magazines by lesbians (as well as plenty by gay men, but lesbians seemed to me to have the edge); not, or at least rarely, glossy professional publications of the Diva kind, more often stuff published with one’s little savings or xeroxed or printed out from computers, made not with any thought of profit, but simply because the authors wanted to make them. (The internet had not yet become completely dominant.) A good few of these had real merit, and a few were sensational. But my strong impression is that the first and foremost subject in all their work – distantly followed by accounts of unhappy relationships with straight families – was jealousy, betrayal, and agonizing break-ups. I was left with the very strong impression that women WANT permanence, but that homosexual women have trouble achieving it – and suffer horribly as a result. As a male homosexual friend of mine once put it , “There is nothing on Earth like a dyke fight”; and indeed, on the one occasion when I witnessed one in person – in a sense – it went on from ten in the evening to five in the morning, and I could hear every word through two locked doors. So, yes, I don’t believe in the permanence of steadfast lesbian relationships. I believe lesbians themselves want to believe in it, because if they faced the reality of how really impossible it is to be permanently loyal to anyone on a merely physical basis, they would be horrified. A particularly pathetic detail; a year later, I met by chance with the woman who had initiated the break – by being brutally unfaithful to her lover in public – and she immediately started asking me about her ex-partner; the very woman she had deliberately forced to break up with her in the most outrageous manner. And it turned out that she neither had not could see having another partner. So yes, she certainly wanted permanence. But she had made it impossible for herself.

    • Mary B

      I see it quite differently. I am 26 and strongly committed to the Church’s teachings–all of them. And my similar-age young Catholic friends feel the same. True, we are a small group compared to the hordes of SSM-supporting students of our college town, but as a group we are vibrant and alive. More importantly, we are getting married, having children, and imparting these timeless values to them while at the same time engaging with the secular world and changing hearts.

      Truthfully, it is the young Church that gives me hope for our future.

      • pagansister

        I taught in a very Catholic city in a very Catholic state, and I was pleased to see that a couple of the younger Catholic teachers (I taught in a Catholic elementary school) had no problem with SSM. Now that I’m retired, and have moved from that state, I do not have a current source of information. Views on many things sway and I have learned over many, many years that opinions on a subject do not stay the same—and that of SSM is one of those subjects.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Your use of the word “Catholic” here reminds me very closely of Oscar Wilde’s line: “You are correct that many people are trying to encourage me to visit your country. But why do you call them my friends?” And why do you call Catholic people who deny some of the basic teachings of the Church?

          • pagansister

            “And why do you call Catholic people who deny some of the basic teachings of the Church?” Because they were and are practicing Catholics. Amazingly enough there are practicing Catholics who do not agree with everything the Church teaches but are devoted to the Church.

            • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

              In English, “going through the motions” is a classic expression for lack of belief and false engagement. You see those people going through the motions of going to mass and you conclude that they are Catholic. No ma”am they aren’;t.

              • pagansister

                That would be your opinion, Fabio. I taught with those folks and I do not consider that they were just “going through the motions”.

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  Here comes the never-enough-staked, never-enough-dead, never-sufficiently-denounced, hideous, bloodstained ghost of the Irish heresy of ethnic Catholicism. When shall we ever bury this bloodthirsty monster, this abomination born of persecution and oppression? Catholicism, madame, is not an identity. You are not born in it. You cannot claim it, as you can a citizenship, by an official act and a signature. Catholicism is a FAITH. Understand? it is something you either believe or do not. If you do not, and if you don’t conform your acts to your claimed belief, then you are no more a Catholic than Adolf Hitler and Fidel Castro. Catholicism is a choice – and I wonder that people who insist so much on the value of choice when the choice is wrong should ignore its significance when it is central. You can only tell a Catholic – like the heroine who writes this blog – by what they do. You shall know them by their fruits.

                  • pagansister

                    As I previously said and I think, in spite of your voluminous words above, those I taught with were excellent examples of devote Catholics. I could tell by what they did, their fruits as you said—daily! Since you don’t know any of them, you really can’t make a judgement about them. I do know them and I feel a bit more qualified to do so. To actually think that ALL Catholics agree with EVERYTHING, totally without question, that the Church teaches, is, IMO, a bit naive, and I know for sure that you certainly are not naive. and yes, Catholicism is a faith, as are, all religions of the planet earth. In a way, you are born into it and call it an identity if indeed your parents are and they raise you in the Church. Whether one stays with that faith, is the choice one makes. And just for fun, but true, I am of Irish heritage—proudly so. Irish heresy? Cute.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      Yeah, right. These people proved their catholicism by supporting gay marriage. Please, don’t insist on talking like an idiot.

                    • pagansister

                      Ticked off because I disagree Fabio? So be it.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      Unreason has that effect. And not only on me either.

                    • pagansister

                      This response is to your “un-reason” answer. If indeed my responses are without reason, why do you answer?

                    • pagansister

                      You failed to answer my question as to whether you ALWAYS agree with absolutely everything, no exceptions, that the Church teaches—-no questions at all. Everything is just fine and you do as you are told, by the nuns or priests etc. If you have a doubt, would you even tell someone? I can’t believe that there has NEVER been any questioning at all in your life, as I think you are a very bright man.

                    • pagansister

                      “These people” are mature adults, who are devote Catholics who happen to disagree with the Church on this subject. That does not make them lesser Catholics, IMO. Let me ask you—do you believe totally in everything the Church does, everything it teaches, all the things done by priests, nuns, etc. No questions at all? If you question even one thing, does that make you a poor Catholic? The examples shown to me by those I taught with in the school were and are excellent examples of living the faith. Obviously the couple of teachers I used as an example of disagreement with the Church on this topic did not represent all the teachers I taught with. So, I will insist on “talking like an idiot” even though apparently that is the only way you can express your thoughts (name calling) of my opinion on this. Have a great day (or night?) Fabio. It’s been fun, as usual, conversing with you. My first reaction is below, then I decided to expand. :-)

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      And yes, indeed, your having an Irish inheritance explains a lot of things. Begining with the fact that you can tell when an Irish person – of whatever persuasion – is being honest: that is, when they talk passionate unreason. A reasonable Irishman is either an exile or trying to flatter you. So your bizarre attempt to make anyone accept the proposition that a person can be a Catholic while stepping all over a Sacrament and refusing to accept Church teaching suddenly seems easier to understand. I love Ireland, but it is a maddening place. Ireland is where you can call yourself a Catholic without having ever been inside of a church and while laughing at the proposition that the Lord is present in the Host – indeed, that would be typical. Ireland is also the place where you can call yourself a Protestant while believing in Transubstantiation, auricular confession, the consecrated episcopate and priesthood, indissoluble marriage, purgatory- AND having a violent distaste for congregational singing; like that famous Irish “Protestant”, CS Lewis. In Ireland, and only in Ireland and the countries where Irish catholicism has been overwhelmingly influenced by Ireland – England, Scotland, the USA, Australia – Catholicism is an ethnic identity handed down from father to son and from mother to daughter; the result of three hundred years of horrible oppression, viciously enforced and viciously resisted, which not only brutalized the Irish Church, but tribalized it. In no other country in the world would this idea of Catholic even arise. I am Catholic; my own brother, whom I like and respect, is not – for reasons that seem good to him. We went to the same nuns’ schools, to the same parishes, and to the same “oratorii” (Sunday schools) with these wholly different results. But if you called him Catholic merely because his mother is and his father claims to be, he would look at you as if your clock needed winding. And he would be right.

                    • pagansister

                      Sounds like being Catholic didn’t take with your brother. Different strokes for different folks. Do you worry about his soul? My sisters and I were raised in the Methodist faith—it took with them but not with me. One worries about my “afterlife” and the other accepts me for who I am and my beliefs. We 3 respect and love each other which is most important, not whether we agree on religion and faith. Yes, Ireland has been influenced by many invaders and not treated kindly by many. I do love the place—as well as my English, Welch, Scottish, and some German ancestry. The Irish ancestry didn’t come through as Catholic.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      Of course not. I never had the slightest idea that you had ever had any personal contact with the Church. When you said Irish, I thought of the Presbyterian minirity at once (one of my best friends is….). Which is why I mentioned that prize “protestant” Irishman CS Lewis, with his curious “protestant” faith in the historic episcopate, in transubstantiation and in purgatory. But one way or another, you are committed to a ridiculous and disastrous view of Catholicism (and Produstandism) as something you are born in.

                    • pagansister

                      The sister who worries about my afterlife etc. married a Presbyterian and raised her boys in that faith. Funny you mentioned that above. Me? None of the above. I’m totally happy just as I am and tend to disagree that I have a ridiculous and disastrous view of Catholicism and Produstandism (that’s some word). My personal contact with the Church was 10 years of Mass once a month with the children and those 10 years of teaching and reciting with the children the various prayers as well as being able to observe the great Catholic caring teachers I taught with.

              • Geoffrey Miller

                Fabio, nobody’s perfect. Nobody agrees 100% of the time with the Church’s teaching. Peter slipped up several times. Your requirements for being Catholic are even greater than the Apostles themselves could bear at certain points in their lives.

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  Rubbish. Of course St.Peter himself denied the Lord when the time of trial came. And then what did he do? He realized the horror of his guilt and wept bitterly. And not only that: we can conclude, from the fact that the threefold denial is one of the few episodes that feature in all the Gospels, that Peter had been spreading it around. Do Pagansister’s so-called good Catholics leave the impression on you that they would regret disloyalty and sin? And that, even if they did, they would do anything other than hide them and pretend they never happened? We hear a lot about Catholic guilt being a pathological and nasty thing, but most of the time people don’t feel nearly guilty enough, and the Church is right in trying to awaken the sense of guilt.

      • FW Ken

        Thank you, Mary. The closer I get to being part of the Church’s past, the more I treasure those who are her future.

  • Mary B

    “You cannot broker a deal between Christ and the devil.” Brilliant, Rebecca!

  • pesq87

    when he said “oppose” did he mean I should disagree with the concept or that I should actively attempt to prevent other people from getting civil gay marriages?. Both are meanings of oppose (in English).

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      What do you think? What would you have thought of a German in Weimar, who, receiving Patton’s famous order to come out and see the neighbouring death camp, should protest: “But I was always against it in my heart of hearts?” Only our actions prove the reality of our views.

    • Dale

      I think the phrase “all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions” came from a document written by Cardinal Ratzinger, when he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Pope John Paul II did approve it, though.

      The document was written to advise Catholics who discuss laws which would allow same-sex marriage or civil unions. Here is the full sentence which that phrase came from:
      If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians.
      http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html

      The fiirst sentence from the conclusion sums up the document:
      The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.

      My understanding is that we do not have to attempt to dissuade a same-sex couple from getting married. Depending on your relationship with them, you might want to make that attempt, but that would be a matter of prudential judgment. However, we are under an obligation not to express support for laws which would allow same-sex marriage.

      • hamiltonr

        Blessed John Paul II signed it and it is listed among his documents at the Vatican.

  • Geoffrey Miller

    Dear Mrs. Hamilton,

    You are a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Your authority is civil, not religious. You are thus not qualified to render this kind of judgment. Especially when Pope Francis himself has said civil unions are beyond the sphere of the Church and are a matter of the State. Saints and spiritual writers throughout the ages have agreed with him. You should really go back and read 1 Cor. 5:9-13.

    Whether non-Catholics can enter into legalized same-sex marriages or unions is really none of our business. Our business is to preach the Gospel, including a right understanding of human sexuality. But our fellow citizens are certainly free not to listen to us and should be under no compulsion in the matter.

    Sincerely,

    Geoffrey Miller, OSB Obl. Cam.

    • hamiltonr

      Geoffrey, I was not “rendering” any judgement. I was quoting Blessed Pope John Paul II, not misquoting him and mis-using what he said to support a position that is contrary to what previous popes have said on the subject, and which meaning he clearly did not intend to give to his words, as you are doing with Pope Francis.

      The fact that I am a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives does not disqualify me from doing this. I don’t know if being a Benedictine Oblate disqualifies you for what you are doing or not. But basic honestly should get in there somewhere.

      Sincerely,

      Representative Rebecca Hamilton, pew-sitting member of the laity

      • Geoffrey Miller

        Dear Mrs. Hamilton,

        Thank you for your prompt and courteous reply. I was initially afraid to post my comment, because I love reading your blog and generally agree with and appreciate what you have to say. That, and you are a state representative, which impresses and intimidates me.

        However, on this matter, bishops and other authorities in the Church are the only people who can say, in a public forum, what obliges and does not oblige the faithful in terms of political policies. We must be careful of placing too many requirements on people. Only the essentials of the Faith.

        All we as laity can say and require is that our fellow Catholics recognize the grave sinfulness of homosexual intercourse and not support it under any circumstance. In my case, I would never vote to legalize same-sex marriage or civil unions, but I would also recognize that such matters are beyond the principal concerns of the Church. And I would not bar someone who thinks civil unions, though wrong, are within the rights of non-Catholics to enter.

        Not everyone agrees with our Lord’s Gospel. We preach and convert what souls we can, but our energy and efforts will be wasted if we try to force aspects of righteousness on hearts who are not yet open to it.

        Sincerely,

        Geoffrey

        P.S. Even Cardinal Dolan has said that Pope Francis is open to a debate on this issue, and Pope Francis has said it himself several times. I do not see how I am misrepresenting our Pope.

        Source: http://time.com/13161/pope-francis-willing-to-evaluate-civil-unions-but-no-embrace-of-gay-marriage/

        • hamiltonr

          Geoffrey, you may not realize that Cardinal Dolan’s comment was the he hadn’t heard what the Holy Father said, but was basing his assessment of it on what the press has said about it. I’ve written about that statement and included all this. When you read it through, you’ll see the Holy Father said no such thing.

          There is no question in my mind that every single one of us, including the laity, are free to read the documents that the Vatican posts on its websites and quote from them. I quoted Blessed Pope John Paul directly and without editing. I also have read the entire document I quoted from — many times — and discussed it extensively with my pastor, as well as a bishop.

          I did not say anything about any particular person, btw. I made no judgement of any individual’s soul. I leave that judgement to the persons who read the quote. I also linked to the full document to help them think it through.

          If you disagree with what I said, feel free to do so. But telling me that, as a member of the laity, I have no right to say it is nonsense.

          • Geoffrey Miller

            In that case, if you have discussed it with your priest and bishop, then God bless your work. My prayers go with you. Your stance is not a popular one, but you must follow what Christ is saying through your bishop.

            I apologize and retract my concerns. I need to do my own discernment on this issue. Please keep me in your prayers.

            • hamiltonr

              Thank you Geoffrey. These are complex times for faithful Catholics. We all need to pray for one another.

  • john

    Once you accept the reality that sexual orientation is neither something that people choose nor can change, the position of every broad-based medical, psychiatric and psychological professional association, the basis for opposing marriage equality disintegrates. Sexual orientation is a status, not a behavior (e.g., someone can be gay and monogamous, but no one can be “bigamous” and monogamous). What possible, objective harm can come from two people committing themselves to each other? It it is not as if by doing so they are going to “convert” other people into being gay. Nor does banning gay people from marrying each other in any way make them somehow eligible to marry people of the opposite gender. Until someone can convince people that society is better off having gay people living lonely lives by themselves rather than extending to them the possibility of marrying the person they love, those in opposition will continue to see themselves becoming a smaller and more marginalized segment of the population.

  • john

    PS…Kudos to Pope Francis for opening the door. His exact words:
    Civil states want to justify civil unions in order to regulate (normalize) different arrangements of cohabitation; – prompted by the necessity of regulating (normalizing) economic aspects among people, for example in providing health insurance or benefits. This consists of different kinds of living arrangements which I wouldn’t know how to enumerate with precision. We must consider different cases and evaluate each particular case.”

    • hamiltonr

      He did not open any doors. His actual exact words are a clear underscoring of Catholic teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman. His comment on “civil unions” was an acknowledgement of the many anthropological forms it can take. The last sentence is a “we’ll take it under advisement” meaning, essentially, no.

      Here is the real quote without editing to make it say something it doesn’t.

      “Matrimony is between a man and a woman,” the pope said, but moves to “regulate diverse situations of cohabitation (are) driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care.” Asked to what extent the church could understand this trend, he replied: “It is necessary to look at the diverse cases and evaluate them in their variety.”

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        The trouble is that, after the simple and clear language of Pope Benedict, that last sentence sounds irresolute and politician-like. Yes, you know that “we’ll take it under advisement” means “no”, but we would rather hear just no.


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