If N.J. archbishop John Myers is right, then only Catholic marriage should be legal (and all Protestants are living in sin)

I got married in New Jersey. Since I’m not Catholic, I didn’t have a Catholic wedding.

Newark Archbishop John Myers seems to think that shouldn’t count as a legal wedding. And he says any Catholic who disagrees with him should be cut off from the rest of the sacraments as well:

In a sweeping pastoral statement to be made public today, the leader of more than 1 million North Jersey Catholics urges them to vote “in defense of marriage and life,” and warns that the passage of same-sex marriage laws might lead to a government crackdown on their religious freedoms.

… He also said in the statement, a copy of which was provided to The Record before its release, that Catholics who disagree with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on marriage should “refrain from receiving Holy Communion.” He said he issued the statement because of what he described as a lack of clarity on the subject by other bishops.

By “lack of clarity,” apparently, Myers means that some of the other bishops are not also theocrats willing to shred Vatican II and their church’s acceptance of religious pluralism under secular government.

Dignitatis humanae, SCHMIGNITATIS humanae. John Myers does not care for Vatican II’s teachings on religious freedom.

Myers is not a smart man, and American law seems beyond his grasp, so I will try to put this as simply as I can.

The legal right to marry is wholly and completely separate from any sectarian teaching on marriage. No church or sect may be compelled to marry anyone its doctrine forbids marrying. Nor can any church or sect interfere with anyone’s right to be married in a civil ceremony.

Civil marriage is a civil right over which the Catholic church has no jurisdiction. The Catholic sacrament of marriage is a religious rite over which civil authorities have no jurisdiction. This is why the Catholic church is free to deny marriage to people who are legally divorced, and why such people may still be legally married in a civil ceremony or in another denomination.

Baptist couples may legally marry in New Jersey. That does not mean that the Catholic church in New Jersey is legally required to marry Baptist couples. Nor does the freedom of Baptist couples to marry entail a loss of religious freedom for Catholics.

Jewish couples may legally marry in New Jersey. That does not mean that the Catholic church in New Jersey is legally required to marry Jewish couples. Nor does the freedom of Jewish couples to marry entail a loss of religious freedom for Catholics.

Atheist couples may legally marry in New Jersey. That does not mean that the Catholic church in New Jersey is legally required to marry atheist couples. Nor does the freedom of atheist couples to marry entail a loss of religious freedom for Catholics.

And when, sometime soon, same-sex couples may legally marry in New Jersey, that will not mean that the Catholic church in New Jersey will be legally required to marry same-sex couples. Nor will the freedom of same-sex couples to marry entail a loss of religious freedom for Catholics.

Newark Archbishop John Myers does not believe, and does not understand, the preceding paragraph. He does not believe or understand any of this.

Myers really seems to think that if civil authorities recognize that civil rights belong to all citizens, then somehow his authority as a bishop over his church will be diminished.

That is nonsense, but due to such nonsensical fears, Myers has abandoned any pretense of belief in secular government and is calling for theocracy. He is saying that every Catholic must support civil laws that apply Catholic doctrine to everyone — even to non-Catholics. He is saying that any Catholic who believes in the First Amendment, any Catholic who believes that non-Catholics need not be bound by government enforcement of Catholic doctrine, must therefore be denied access to the grace of God.

Is there any way to limit Myers’ pronouncement so that it only applies to LGBT non-Catholics? No there isn’t. If civil marriage law must comply with Catholic doctrine, then Protestant marriages and civil marriages are also contrary to “what we believe to be the truth.” If John Myers is right, then any marriage not presided over by a Catholic priest in good standing is not truly valid. If you haven’t kissed Myers’ ring, then you’re living in sin.

Here you go, Myers, let me Google that for you.

 

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  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    If you haven’t kissed Myers’ ring, then you’re living in sin.

    Some rapper should include this line in one of their songs.
    Or, well, with the grammar corrected to bring it into line with the appropriate register.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    They really don’t check who’s taking communion, though, do they? I took communion attending Catholic churches during visits from/with my grandmother, like, four times when I was young before I found out it was supposed to be for Catholics only.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    They really don’t check who’s taking communion, though, do they? I took
    communion attending Catholic churches during visits from/with my
    grandmother, like, four times when I was young before I found out it was
    supposed to be for Catholics only.

     Not usually, unless the priest wants to make a point by singling you out. My mother-in-law is divorced and remarried and has no problem taking communion anyway.

    (My wife has stopped taking communion recently, because she hasn’t been to confession since the last time she committed any of the sins you’re not supposed to take communion if you’ve committed. Of course, she doesn’t plan on giving up her support for equal rights, so confession may be a moot point (She’s in the “Civil unions for everyone” camp))

  • Persia

    Maybe you had one of those crazy hippie priests who thought the Church was supposed to be welcoming or something.

  • aunursa

    Jewish couples may legally marry in New Jersey. That does not mean that the Catholic church in New Jersey is legally required to marry Jewish couples.

    I’ll recycle this Jewish joke…

    At an Orthodox wedding, the bride’s mother is pregnant.
    At a Conservative wedding, the bride is pregnant.
    At a Reform wedding, the rabbi is pregnant.
    At a Reconstructionist wedding, both the rabbi and her wife are pregnant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    Heh; I’d heard the three-line version, but this one’s even funnier.  One of my cousins is a female Conservative rabbi and mother of two children; I wouldn’t be surprised if she officiated some weddings while pregnant.

  • Tricksterson

    If you don’t mind a personal question asked purely for the sake of curiousity which are you?  From previous posts I’m assuming you’re not a secular Jew.

  • http://twitter.com/lizbee Liz

    The curious thing is that in the early days of Australia’s existence as a penal colony, it was Catholic marriages that weren’t recognised by the state, and so my ancestors were regarded as living in sin.  (Actually, the women were simply categorised as whores.)

    Perhaps the Archbishop should consider trying some history, if not compassion and basic common sense?

  • Tricksterson

    Yeah but without the compassion or common sense the history would be meaningless to him.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    … He also said in the statement, a copy of which was provided to The Record before its release, that Catholics who disagree with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on marriage should “refrain from receiving Holy Communion.” He said he issued the statement because of what he described as a lack of clarity on the subject by other bishops.

    Given the state of the Catholic church lately, it sounds less like he is trying to exclude progressive and middle-of-the-road Catholics from the church and more like he is proposing the church abdicate any sectarian authority over all but the most fanatical.

  • Carstonio

    Fred is right in saying that people like Myers have abandoned any pretense of belief in secular government. The conscience arguments used against the contraception mandate worked the same way – these appeared to define the conscience so broadly as to be incompatible with any type of society other than one where all citizens were Catholic and where all institutions public and private were Catholic as well.

  • Carstonio

    While government shouldn’t force clergy members to officiate for gay or divorced couples, there’s something definitely wrong when someone licensed to perform a civic function gets to decide who to serve or not to serve. It’s like the clergy members, or those who act as paladins for the clergy’s consciences, are defining the terms of their interaction with civil authority. Just as government has no authority over a religion’s marriage rites, a religion has no authority over government’s civil marriage laws. I would be very uneasy if, say, government stripped the licenses of clergy members who refused to officiate for certain types of couples, but that doesn’t make the clergy’s refusal any less wrong. Ultimately the best solution would be to move to the French model where clergy members have no legal authority at all.

  • Tricksterson

    Which is why, unless they also become JPs or Notary Publics or some other civil rank with the authority to perform civil marriages i don’t think clerical maariage should be anything but a religious ceremony.  I practical terms, since you already have to get a marriage license it wouldn’t really alter anything.

  • Münchner Kindl

     This was what French eng. suggested in the other thread (and everybody misunderstood):

    make marriage recognized by the state ONLY a state act; that is, if you want tax benefits by the state, you must get married in a state office, not by a religious person. (And why for pete’s sake should an even nominal secular country like the US allow religious person to make marriages at all instead of only state officials?)

    If couples want to marry religiously, it’s between them and their priest, but they need to show a state marriage license before. If they only marry religiously, the state ignores their marriage.

    This would do away with a lot of the confusion of mis-informed people, and also make it clearer that the US is a secular state and not a (vaguely-Christianish) Theocracy (because of how things are done in practise despite 1st Amendment).

  • The_L1985

     “This would do away with a lot of the confusion of mis-informed people,
    and also make it clearer that the US is a secular state and not a
    (vaguely-Christianish) Theocracy”

    That’s exactly why it won’t happen.  The GOP as it exists today wants a Christian theocracy.  They’re not even particularly subtle about it.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    That’s exactly why it won’t happen.  The GOP as it exists today wants a Christian theocracy.  They’re not even particularly subtle about it.

    Eh. What the GOP wants is both more simple and more complex than that.

    They want power and money. End of story. It’s not about theocracies or social agendas, it’s about power and money.

    Right now, they find *promising* a theocracy to be a useful tool for obtaining power and money. But they don’t actually *care* about getting the theocracy. They care about the power. And the money. If tomorrow morning, everyone south of the mason-dixon line unexpectedly turned atheist, the GOP would drop the theocratic thing in a heartbeat and find something else to use as a tool to get people to give them power and money.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    Right now, they find *promising* a theocracy to be a useful tool for
    obtaining power and money. But they don’t actually *care* about getting
    the theocracy. They care about the power. And the money. If tomorrow
    morning, everyone south of the mason-dixon line unexpectedly turned
    atheist, the GOP would drop the theocratic thing in a heartbeat and find
    something else to use as a tool to get people to give them power and
    money.

    I think it runs deeper than that. They not only push Christianity, but a specific version that strenghtens all their negative traits: authoritarnism; anti-illectuality; fear of the other tribe; fear of the outer world; … all this ensures that their power will last and people won’t question it. It works not only for the hucksters in the church who exploit the gullible, and for those who deceive themselves about fighting epic battles against demons when they ban Harry Potter books or home-school; but also allows the politicans to access that pool by saying the right code-words.

    I don’t want to glorify atheists – too many people in Europe are neither honest atheists nor agnostics, but apathetic about religion*. They may leave the church to avoid the tax / tithing, or stop showing up to service, or they may stay, but it’s not a big question.

    Still, those who activly become atheists, often from previous disappointment, or merely theists, or Christians of a different flavour like liberation theology, “Hell does not exist, but love does” , gospel of for the poor not of prosperity – all those people would challenge authority and the rich, and therefore, the main part of GOP. It would be rather hard for them if the majority of people started thinking indepently, questioning what the old white men tell them, looking for truth instead of believing Fox and Glenn Beck, stop thinking of their tribe only …

    * in a certain way, many of church-going christians are, too – they never question anything or wrestle with their belief or morality, they just follow the ritual and accept what the pastor tells them.

  • Ross Thompson

    I don’t want to glorify atheists – too many people in Europe are neither honest atheists nor agnostics, but apathetic about religion*. They may leave the church to avoid the tax / tithing, or stop showing up to service, or they may stay, but it’s not a big question.

    Personally, I think that’s the best kind of atheist; I don’t think that much about whether Thor exists; why should I need to debate the existence Jehovah?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I married Catholic. One of my big fears about doing it was that the priest would stick something in the homily against marriage equality (This seems like a dick move. I’m fairly sure the priest we’d originally wanted to do the service wouldn’t have done it, but he took ill and we had to get a substitute in a hurry. I went to a Catholic wedding in boston a few years ago where the priest did indeed insert a piece to the tune of “It’s so good to see all these people gathered here to celebrate and reaffirm that marriage is between one man and one woman.” I kinda wonder if the couple asked him to do that. They’re strict-party-line Catholics). 

    (He didn’t)

  • Randomosity

     My cousin married several years ago in a Catholic ceremony and the priest whined on and on and on about how the word “obey” was not in the marriage vows anymore adn claimed my cousin asked him about it during the mandatory classes. I was tempted to ask my cousin if that was true, but I never got a good opportunity and I was pretty certain my cousin asked no such question.

    The priest gave it away by dwelling on it to the point of forgetting to mention “when you have children”. (In Catholicism, it’s “when”, not “if”, and if you inform the priest at any time you do not plan to every have kids, he is very likely to refuse to marry you.)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     It would be fairly unusual, so far as I know, for the priest to have taught the precana class. I think it’s standard procedure for those to be taught by a married lay couple.

  • Aiwhelan

    Depends on the diocese or parish (basically I think the parish priest gets to figure our whatever system he deems appropriate). We had a weekend long retreat type thing, presided over by two married couples and aFranciscan friar, and then had actual pre cana classes from the priest himself.

  • http://twitter.com/Rockybalboa211 Louis Gonzales

    I took a theology course at a Catholic University around 2 years ago with an old priest who said that he would not marry any couple that refused to have children since for a marriage to be true there must always be a chance for the possibility of children. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Natural follow-up question: if one of the couple is nfertile, would he marry the couple?

  • Dan Audy

    Typically the answer is that they have to be ‘open to the possibility of children’ even if science says that it is impossible.  The theory being that if God wants you to have kids, he is going to make you have them whether silly science men say that it could happen or not.

    On the other hand though I’m personally not Catholic (though I was raised) I have to admit that in my life doctor’s have had a remarkably poor ability to make that judgement accurately.  My wife had a child in her first marriage despite multiple doctors insisting that she was not capable of releasing eggs and after she had a healthy child that it was a ‘One in a million’ chance that it hadn’t been an ectopic pregnancy and she should make sure she never was fertilized again.  Having gotten a vasectomy towards that purpose it was rather startling when she got pregnant again and again had a perfectly healthy pregnancy.  If I were a Catholic I would completely see a spontaneously reverting vasectomy and double ‘impossible’ pregnancy as pretty strong signs of divine intervention.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Suppose she had a hysterectomy, or he had a nasty injury that relieved him of his testicles. Conceiving a child under those circumstances involves either a third party or a really obvious miracle. (One-in-a-million events aren’t all that rare; there’s seven thousand million people on the planet. Regrowing an organ? Never been observed. Well, liver, but part of the original liver has to still be there for the rest to grow back, which isn’t quite the same thing as growing a replacement organ from scratch.) Would he marry the couple?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

     Well, there is precedent; there was this one lady, about 2,000 years ago….

    (And of course, the liver thing just makes me think of Prometheus.)

  • Dan Audy

    When I made that argument I was told (roughly) ‘God has shown that if he desires it a virgin can have a child and he has performed miraculous healing, so if it is his will that a woman has a child he can do both and allow it’.  My two arguments were that since God was, afterall, all powerful he could let two guys get pregnant or use his powers to cure all the sick and the amputees in the world which would be slightly more useful than (yet another) baby.

  • http://twitter.com/Rockybalboa211 Louis Gonzales

    A major difference is that while a homosexual couple could not under any biological circumstances conceive a child during a sexual act, an infertile couple, in a sense, “can” (I guess, if one hopes for a miraculous chance of procreation) What I mean here is that they are not opposed to new life and would accept a child with open arms if one should be conceived even if it isn’t actually “statistically possible” at all.Another way of looking at things would be this: All sexual acts must remain objectively procreative, but subjectively reproductive.Homosexual acts are neither objectively procreative, nor subjectively reproductive. Sex between infertile couples remains objectively procreative, yet subjectively may not be reproductive.Thus, sex between infertile couples is morally licit as it always remains objectively procreative.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I have no idea what the ‘objectively procreative, subjectively reproductive’ business is supposed to mean and I suspect it of being verbose bullshit designed to make me say “I have no counterargument, therefore you must be right”.

    Anyway, assuming for sake of argument that God exists and that everything the Catholic Church says she’s done happened as the Church said it did, if God wants a woman to have a baby, that woman is going to have a baby. It is documented that someone who was having no sex had a baby when God wanted her to, so someone who is having only lesbian sex or who is having het sex with contraception can certainly have a baby if God wants her to. This seems easier than regrowing a woman’s ovaries after they’ve been removed for cancer or whatever just to ensure that the unprotected het sex she’s having can result in a baby. I base that judgment on the fact that Catholics are certain that a virgin birth occurred but ask them about regrowing a body part and they flap their hands and cite the bit about people won’t be convinced even by someone coming back from the dead. Or mention teeth, as though sprouting a new tooth after losing one is something at all unusual in human experience (see also, Tooth Fairy). Sprouting a new adult tooth is unusual, yes, but I’ve got a sister who’s already sprouted an adult tooth in a particular spot and who has another waiting in her gum in case she loses that one. If she loses any other adult tooth she won’t sprout another, I’m sure, she’s only got the one spare, but she does have that one spare, which tells me that any story of a regrown tooth needs to be examined for the possibility that there was a second tooth there before the first was removed.

    And given the fuss Catholics raise over same-sex couples trying to adopt, one would think Catholics know that many same-sex couples would welcome a child with open arms should they by some miracle conceive one.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     It’s like that story about the guy who prays to win the lottery. If God doesn’t baby-zap your ovaries, that’s no problem, but they want you to at least meet him half-way and buy a ticket.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Why would someone pray to win the lottery if one was not playing the lottery? And while a woman who wants to give birth ought to either be having contraceptiveless het sex or making inquiries at a sperm bank, that doesn’t preclude (in a world where Catholic theology is true, or, if we narrow focus to het sex with contraception, in a world where Catholic theology has nothing to do with anything) a woman conceiving without doing either.

    And it’s not like people haven’t been known to buy lottery tickets for other people.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    And given the fuss Catholics raise over same-sex couples

    Some Catholics. Polling indicates that Catholics are about as likely as the general population to support same-sex marriage.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I wasn’t clear. I meant the Catholic hierarchy.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Louis, just to make sure I understand: are you claiming that sex between infertile couples is more likely to result in pregnancy than homosexual acts? That it would require less intervention in order to result in pregnancy than heterosexual acts? That the people involved would be happier if it resulted in pregnancy than heterosexual acts? All of the above? None of the above?

  • Mark Z.

    A major difference is that while a homosexual couple could not under any biological circumstances conceive a child during a sexual act, an infertile couple, in a sense, “can” (I guess, if one hopes for a miraculous chance of procreation)
    If we’re including miracles among the possibilities, then biological circumstances are irrelevant. Mary conceived a child without having sex at all. Are you saying that that couldn’t have happened if she was a lesbian?

  • http://twitter.com/Rockybalboa211 Louis Gonzales

    Well, if she were a lesbian she wouldn’t be open to new life, so God probably would have chosen another woman for the whole “immaculate conception” thing. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    if she were a lesbian she wouldn’t be open to new life,

    To repeat a question I asked you earlier: are you saying lesbians are less able to get pregnant than heterosexual women? That they desire pregnancy less? Something else?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     The power of lesbianism is so great that even God, a being capable of willing the entire cosmos into being, is incapable of impregnating one.

    How weak does your faith have to be to even make an argument like that? Forget the LBGT community — the real threat to Christianity is “Christians” who think that God is — on a scale of sheer supernatural power — slightly below fertility doctors and adoption agency workers.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Well, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure what Louis’ argument is. It’s clear that there’s something about homosexual acts and people that makes them categorically different from  their heterosexual equivalents, but I’m not really sure what it might be.

    Which is why I keep asking them questions about it.

    Which have thus far been ignored.

    Ah well.

  • http://twitter.com/Rockybalboa211 Louis Gonzales

    Well, I would assume that lesbians, both women in general, would have equal chance of producing new life in comparison to a heterosexual woman, yet I was trying to explain it from a Catholic perspective. I mean, if any one of the homosexual women in this imaginary couple were Catholic and didn’t participate in homosexual acts or any sexual act that didn’t promote life of any sort and, yet still desired a child, without participating in IVF (Which is debatable in Catholic circles, yet, in general, seen by many as a lesser evil) then I would think God could/would work a miracle of sorts to provide them children, yet if the Virgin Mary were a lesbian would she still be able to bring forth Jesus Christ? I guess she would still be able to since homosexuality is for the most part (debatable) genetic and as long as she didn’t sin and was still immaculately conceived (free from sin) then she could still serve as a sinless vessel to take upon a sinless/in-corrupt being such as Jesus Christ, who was both Full God and Full Man (I mean, it would make sense why she didn’t have any children with St. Joseph (Catholic Teaching) and lived her whole life a Virgin if she were not heterosexual). Now if God  would allow a woman in an open gay relationship (involving homosexual physical activity) to miraculously bear a child is another story. I guess, being God, creator of everything (Time, Space, Matter, etc.), he could, yet I truly would wonder the reason to that interesting turn of events. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    (nods) Fair enough. Thanks for the reply.

    I guess, being God [..], he could [allow a sexually active lesbian to miraculously bear a child] yet I truly would wonder the reason to that
    interesting turn of events.

    I, for my own part, would equally wonder about the reason for anyone to miraculously bear a child, as I’m not comfortable judging some Divine miracles as more deserving of wonder than others.

    But I do understand that Catholic teaching implies certain predictions of (and therefore constraints on) the choices God can make, and that in the context of such teaching some miracles are indeed more surprising than others.

  • Wednesday

    Louis,

    (1) The definition of infertile means, basically “cannot reproduce”. There is no sensible meaning of the word “can” under which an infertile couple “can” reproduce. P and not-P prove everything, so if you are asserting “cannot” means “can”, then your argument can also be used to prove that the Catholic church should support everything, from same-sex marriage to female clergy to 1+1=5 to the planet Mars as Pope.
    (2) Sex is not a perfect binary — intersex and transgender people exist. Who are these people supposed to marry, according to the Catholic Church?
    (3) Speaking of the existence of intersex and transgender couples… Some same-legal-sex couples can, in fact, have PIV sex that results in conception. Some opposite-legal-sex couples cannot for the complementary reason. Depending on the individuals and the state, bans on same-(legal)-sex legal marriage actually prohibit some opposite-genetalia’d, reproductive-PIV-sex-having couples from legally marrying, while permitting some same-genetalia’d couples to marry.

    If the Catholic church really doesn’t want to allow civil marriage rights on the basis of whether or not the couple can have PIV sex, then bans on same-sex marriage are not the way to go, it’s bans on same-genetalia marriage they should be espousing.

  • Carstonio

    If the Catholic church really doesn’t want to allow civil marriage
    rights on the basis of whether or not the couple can have PIV sex

    From what Myers said, the basis seems to be that both members of a same-sex couple are putatively fertile but are choosing to avoid conception. Not the same as an opposite-sex couple where one or both members are biologically infertile. He probably doesn’t consider a same-sex couple to have biologically infertility because both would be able to conceive with opposite-sex partners. He seems to accept that homosexuality is not a choice, but insists that gays and lesbians can live happy lives in opposite-sex marriages. While there’s a valid argument that  someone who has never been in a relationship shouldn’t decide what types of relationships make others happy, the real problem is that no one should decide someone else’s happiness, period.

  • Wednesday

     Well, yeah, I kind of take it as given that the Catholic Church can go bugger itself*.

    I was responding to Louis’s tortured logic about how the church approves of PIV sex when one or both participants are infertile but always disapproves of non-PIV-sex, and pointing out that bans on civil same-sex marriage does harm some PIV-having-couples directly but don’t prevent all non-PIV-having couples from legally marrying.

    (And as for the difference between infertility and same-sex pairings… a fertile person with an opposite-sex infertile parter could also conceive with a different partner. So again, their rationalization of their attempts to deny civil rights to QUILTBAG folks is full of logic fail.)

    *(By which I mean the heirarchy/institution, not members of the laity. Any institution that tells me three of my four grandparents are being tortured for eternity and that this is a morally acceptable state of affairs can pretty much go bugger itself IMO.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Sex is not a perfect binary — intersex and transgender people exist. Who are these people supposed to marry, according to the Catholic Church?

    In my understanding, Catholics believe transgender people do not in fact exist; people born with penises who say they are women are in fact men who are either confused or lying, and vice versa. I am not sure of their beliefs on intersex and genderqueer people but I suspect such are similarly imaginary.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Deleted cos already addressed. Carry on.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Two instances of me doing the same clarity fail today. As if I needed more reason to believe that today is not my day. Am I at least right that the Catholic hierarchy doesn’t acknowledge the existence of trans folk?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’m not 100% sure actually. From memory, I think transgender issues may not specifically be mentioned in the catechism–some Catholic theologians have made various comments but they’re not the same thing. I believe gender reassignment surgery is formally opposed–although I’d also heard that if someone was at the point of probable suicide without surgery, then surgery is rightly recognised as the better outcome, albeit not preferable in and of itself.

    I have an awesome friend who knows the catechism really well, so I’ll ask her next time we catch up.

  • Ross Thompson

    A major difference is that while a homosexual couple could not under any biological circumstances conceive a child during a sexual act, an infertile couple, in a sense, “can” (I guess, if one hopes for a miraculous chance of procreation)

    A gay couple can’t become miraculously pregnant? How do know that God is limited i this way?

  • Randomosity

     My Catholic HS sociology teacher said that if you weren’t planning on having kids, you had no business getting married. Guess that means my post-menopausal friends shouldn’t have married and men have to prove they have a high enough sperm count to be eligible.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It’s okay for them to be infertile so long as they promise to be real disappointed that God hasn’t magically given her ovaries a mulligan.

  • Delphine

     The reason my marriage isn’t blessed in the Catholic church is not that we said we’d never have kids but that we wouldn’t swear to have Catholics. The priest we talked to said that if we weren’t going to baptize the kids RC, there was no point in his blessing the marriage —and this of course was our fault for not being mature enough to have come to the same conclusion ourselves. Walked out, had an Episcopal ceremony, and my poor little Catholic husband has been living in sin ever since. He’s remained a reasonably faithful communicant but if the local bishop emulates Myers I guess that will be over too.

  • http://twitter.com/Rockybalboa211 Louis Gonzales

    Well, in that same theology course I took, the priest stated that one should only date people of their own religion in order to prevent this situation. Another priest, 90 years old, I talked to at the religious brothers residence stated that a couple should both be of the same religion and the same race. Again, he was 90 years old, and his reason for this statement was that the lowering of diversity in our culture will lead to an eventual cultural crisis of some sort (His whole point was “How can we celebrate diversity if we’re all the same?”)

  • EllieMurasaki

    If lowering diversity is a problem, surely increasing diversity would solve it. Therefore, encourage interracial marriage! A society with multiracial people is more diverse than a society without.

  • http://twitter.com/Rockybalboa211 Louis Gonzales

    He was 90, so while I made that same argument, I didn’t really want to argue with him on the subject.  Personally, I just thought those were his own personal opinions, yet he said that was what he was taught when he was in his mid 20s. 

  • MaryKaye

    As far as I know, in all US states the state will perform the civic function with no clergy involved.  So the clergy don’t really have the power to withhold marriage from anyone.   This is certainly true in my hometown, as that’s how my spouse and I were married–in a courtroom, with a purely secular format.  (And “as long as this marriage shall last” everywhere that the standard wording has “as long as you both shall live”, which I found surprising but not offensive.  It’s lasted 21 years so far, so if this was meant as an incentive to divorce it seems to have been ineffectual….:-)

    It may be that in some areas it is difficult or impossible to find a judge to do this.  It was slightly difficult in Seattle–we called four or five judges before finding one who had free time to do it.  That would be bad, certainly.  It is apparently easy and cheap to get married in Las Vegas but it wouldn’t be fair for people to have to travel to get married.  But in general there is no clerical monopoly on marriage.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So the clergy don’t really have the power to withhold marriage from anyone.

    http://cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1303282&view=received&session=2007 has all the Prop 8 donors. I exported to Excel and sorted by donation size, and I’m not Googling every individual donor, just looking at the donor names and places of employment, and picking out only the religious organizations and anyone who gives their job title as some flavor of clergy.

    Second biggest donation at a quarter million dollars is the Knights of Columbus national organization. Not clergy (though some members may be), but all Catholic. Also up there at $25K, the Knights of Columbus, California organization. Multiple donations from Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Diocese of San Diego, totaling six thousand dollars. Richard Perozich, clergyman of the same diocese, $2K. A thousand dollars from St. Stephens Catholic Church. A thousand, St. Mary Mission. Multiple donations totaling $900, William Ortmann, clergyman at St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Multiple donations totaling $700, Thomas McCabe, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. $300, Greg Markey, priest at a Catholic church in Connecticut though he doesn’t say which. $150, Victor M Prado, priest at St. Mary of the Nativity. Multiple donations totaling $200, Ben Davison, priest at St. Kieran’s Church. $100, Dennis Mikulanis, clergyman at San Rafael Parish. Multiple donations totaling $200, John Calhoun, minister at Church of the Nazarene. $100, Mary Anna Coulter, missionary with Street Life Ministries, which I’m not sure means she’s clergy but it’s probably close enough. $50, Rick Barnard, pastor at My Father’s House of Prayer. $50, Ray Wardlaw, pastor at Cactus Community Church.

    That’s four explicitly religious organizations and twelve clergy for a total of $287,750. Plus however many of those individual contributions came from people who wouldn’t have donated if their religious leader hadn’t said to, plus whatever help the Yes on 8 campaign got (other than monetary contributions to Yes on 8) from religious organizations, clergy, and folk who wouldn’t have helped if their religious leader hadn’t said to.

    Prop 8 passed. I’d say the clergy involved in its passing exercised their power to withhold marriage from same-sex couples in California.

  • The_L1985

     I’m not surprised the KofC is such a high-level donor.  Disappointed, but not surprised.

    I still sort of miss their annual Tootsie Roll drives though.

  • The Lodger

    I still sort of miss their annual Tootsie Roll drives though.

    Ew.

  • The_L1985

    The Tootsie Roll drives were to raise money for the care of mentally-disabled children.

    The KofC does a lot of skeevy things, but they do at least accomplish some good in the world.  That’s the problem–it’s a lot harder to successfully speak out against a group that also does good things, because when you call them out on morally reprehensible practices people tend to say “But what about Good Deed X?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     I guess the best way to do it would be to point out that reprehensible practices and let them speak for themselves. You don’t have to say, “Institution X is pure evil!!!!”; just say, “Look at this bad thing that they did; shouldn’t they stop doing that?” After all, the goal isn’t ultimately the destruction of the institution, it’s to stop the harm being done.

  • Thaumaturgist

    If John Myers is right, then any marriage not presided over by a Catholic priest in good standing is not truly valid.
    That’s the Donatist heresy.  Since Augustine, the sin or imperfection of the priest does not vitiate the sacrament.

  • Donalbain

     Not quite. The Donatist heresy only applies in the case of “real priests”. So, if the RCC Church doesn’t recognise the ordination of the priest in question, then it is not a matter of an imperfect or sinful priest performing the sacrament, but rather a lay person trying to perform the sacrament.

  • http://mousehole-mouse.blogspot.com/?zx=bc3d377f4850d0bb Mouse

    Can’t help but be amazed that the Catholic Church still tries to claim the moral high ground after all the child abuse scandals…Al Capone would be impressed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687121933 Carrie Looney

    Rape of minors? Just fine.  Driving drunk?  No big deal.  In support of the loving union of two consenting adults?  Get thee behind me, Satan!

    I remember my dad quoting a line to the effect that when religious people say “Get thee behind me, Satan,” they’re up to something they don’t want even him to get a glimpse of…

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I know of a priest who had a dog named Satan, so that when they went for a walk instead of “Heel!” he could order “Get behind me Satan” for the lolz.

  • Tricksterson

    If he wasn’t apalled.  Even Evil has Standards.

  • PurpleAardvaark

    That kind of thinking is not new.  My father’s brother was, like my father, a Methodist. Shortly after returning from a stint in the US Army in the South Pacific (where he received a Purple Heart and never said anything more about it except that he got scratched by some barbed wire) he married his fiance — a Roman Catholic — in a ceremony in the Methodist church.  The next day, the parish priest paid a visit to her father and told her that his daughter was living in sin and that he needed to get her down to the Catholic church and get her married properly.  Her father told the priest that she was as married as she was ever going to be.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    The contemporary RCC’s response to modernist challenges is seems to be the result of a bubble culture.  It’s clear that the priests and bishops have very little contact with anyone except each other; that they rarely or never engage with anyone who does not consider them Very Important social authorities.   I suspect that the general decline of every religions’ social power has a lot to do with this.  It’s a cycle of polarization; those who go to church at all are these days more likely to be authoritarian followers going to Mass two times a week.  These are the ‘commoners’ that the Church leadership most interacts with, leading to an exaggerated view of how much the general culture feels obliged to defer to them.  And so they will respond to trends they do not like with dramatic absolute condemnation; made in perfect confidence of a leverage they simply have not had for several decades; therefore driving away even more doubting moderates and leaving an even smaller rigid echo chamber in their wake. 

  • Kiba

     It’s clear that the priests and bishops have very little contact with anyone except each other; that they rarely or never engage with anyone who does not consider them Very Important social authorities.

    Back in the early 90s when I was still Catholic I was an alter server at the Cathedral in Dallas. One day we had a Cardinal visiting and I was tasked with escorting him from the sacristy of the church, through the new parish center, down to the sidewalk and waiting with him until the  parish priest showed up with the car to drive him where ever. In the course of showing the Cardinal the way I gave directions to other parishioners, held doors open for them, and so on all while the Cardinal is getting progressively more and more angry with me. Evidently I was supposed to ignore them, focus solely on him, and clear the rabble out of the way so he could get to the sidewalk unimpeded. He wouldn’t even acknowledge parishioners and just sweep past them. By the time the priest showed up with the car the Cardinal and I were looking daggers at each other.  

    Needless to say I wasn’t very impressed with that participial “servant” of Christ. 

  • http://twitter.com/Rockybalboa211 Louis Gonzales

    It’s supposedly said that St. John Chrysostom stated that, “The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path.”

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Some pretty gross generalisations there. I have very little time at all for much of the church hierarchy, but I also know quite a few priests at the personal level (and I’m not an “authoritarian follower”). Among them are several of the most amazing people I know, who spend less time with fawning admirers than they do with elderly widows, scared people in hospital, people dying unattractively, people fighting addictions and despair and loneliness and people who no one else, including enlightened liberal progressives, gives a shit about.

    Criticise church dogma and practice and the proclamations of various bishops all you like, and much of the time I’ll join in. But painting all clergy–especially lowly priests  in isolated parishes–with a broad brush is no better than calling any other diverse group universal arseholes. It’s not much of a high horse, and it’s also untrue.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    You’re right, and I suppose I should have pointed out that there are kind, modest and accepting people among both the clergy and laiety.  I wouldn’t describe my own position as a ‘High Horse’ so much as bitterness and anger.  This is my family’s religion and it burns me to see people I love and know to be smart involve themselves with an institution I have come to view as hoplessly corrupt, decadent, and openly scornful towards common believers, with all due respect. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     There are strains of anti-catholic bigotry which run very deep in the english-speaking world. It’s barely under wraps on the rare occasions that the Church isn’t hell-bent to persuade people that they’re a bunch of comic-book villains.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    And so they will respond to trends they do not like with dramatic absolute condemnation; made in perfect confidence of a leverage they simply have not had for several decades; therefore driving away even more doubting moderates and leaving an even smaller rigid echo chamber in their wake.

    Another of my favorite bloggers, Eliezer Yudkowsky of Lesswrong.com, has a very clever physics metaphor for this process: evaporative cooling of group beliefs.  It’s the reason cults tend to become more fanatically certain of their beliefs after the failure of a major prediction such as the end of the world on a particular date: the least committed members become disillusioned and leave, the most committed members remain and come up with rationalizations for the failed prediction, and those in between are now hearing arguments from only one side.

  • Peregrinus

    “If civil marriage law must comply with Catholic doctrine, then Protestant marriages and civil marriages are also contrary to “what we believe to be the truth.” If John Myers is right, then any marriage not presided over by a Catholic priest in good standing is not truly valid.”

    No, no, no.  You’re massively overstating your case.  It’s not, and never has been, Catholic teaching that all marriages should be presided over by a Catholic priest in good standingm, and are invalid if this is not the case.  It is Catholic teaching that all marriages should be between a man and a woman, and are invalid if this is not the case. 

    You can criticise Myers for demanding that the latter view be reflected in civil law.  But you don’t exactly add weight to your criticism with this Romneyesque attitude to facts. 

  • Carstonio

     How is the latter any less arrogant than the former? Both amount to the Church claiming authority over what constitutes a marriage for the entire human race, not just for Catholics.

  • Münchner Kindl

     Yes, I, too, fail to see how Fred got from the quoted part of what Myers said to his conclusions. I don’t see where Myers says anything about how or what laws should apply to non-Catholics; and saying that Catholics who don’t agree with the doctrine of the Church should not take Communion is a very old position, too.
    Practically, hardly anybody checks, since it’s a matter of the individual and his conscience, and not what the priest knows about a certain person; and since most Catholics disagree with Catholic doctrine on family planning and pregnancy prevention, hardly anybody would be allowed Communion if you were strict.

    Fred, maybe you could bring some other quote from Myers where he explictly says that he wants catholic rules to apply to everybody else? Does he have a history of claiming that? The quote you choose is not illustrative of the mindset you are attributing to him at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I don’t see where Myers says anything about how or what laws should apply to non-Catholics….

    [Myers] urges [North Jersey Catholics] to vote “in defense of marriage and life,”…

    There you go.

    P.S. And I really doubt he’s talking about capital punishment there.

  • Münchner Kindl

     But unless there’s a current proposition specifically against marriage, that’s just general talk? It can mean (likely) anti-abortion and anti-gay-marriage, but it could also mean anti-death penalty, pro-tax benefits for families, pro-foodstamps. Unlikely probably, esp. if Myers previously said otherwise.

    But this statement by itself I do not see indicative of what Fred claims it is.

  • The_L1985

     In the US, “pro-marriage” is a code word for “I don’t want gay people to be able to get married,” and “pro-life” is code for “I want abortions to be illegal.”

    “Pro-marriage” has nothing to do with divorce, or with wanting more people to get married.

    “Pro-life” has nothing to do with capital punishment, war, death-by-poverty, or any other preventable causes of human death other than abortion and (sometimes) euthanasia.

    This is what the words mean in America.  This is ALL that they mean here.  It’s not about honesty, it’s about what Stephen Colbert calls “truthiness.”

  • Carstonio

    You might have a point if Myers didn’t want same-sex marriage to be illegal. That shows that this isn’t about making sure that Catholics follow doctrine. He shouldn’t care if non-Catholics choose to legally wed people of their own gender, as long as devout Catholics are free not to do so. It’s possible that the bishop really believes that priests will be forced to officiate for same-sex wedding despite the exemptions in the law. Or that they want the aid of civil law to keep Catholics away from same-sex marriage. But Lori’s suggestion that they’re seeking to protect their own power seems like the likely one.

  • Münchner Kindl

     But in the quote given, Myers only

    warns that the passage of same-sex marriage laws might lead to a government crackdown on their religious freedoms.

    . Now, this is obviously false, because as has been pointed out ad nauseam, allowing gay marriage would force no priest to make a wedding he didn’t approve of.

    But Fred’s point was that Myers wants to impose Catholic rules on marriage on non-Catholics, which would hit not only gays, but also non-Catholics in general; and I just don’t see where that is said.

  • Carstonio

    When Myers argues that same-sex marriage should be illegal, and uses Catholic doctrine as support, that amounts to an attempt to impose Catholic rules on marriage on non-Catholics. That’s my reading of Fred’s point. Whether or not Myers explicitly wants the Catholic rules to be for everyone, his position amounts to the same thing.

    And I didn’t misunderstand French Engineer’s point because I’ve been saying something very similar for a while.  What you propose is not quite what I had in mind. Couples would be free to have religious wedding ceremonies that aren’t legally binding, and wouldn’t need state marriage licenses for these unless their clergy members decide to require these. But if they want their marriage to be recognized by the state, they would ALSO have to be married by a state official. (In some jurisdictions, the official is available for offsite weddings.)

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    When Myers argues that same-sex marriage should be illegal, and uses
    Catholic doctrine as support, that amounts to an attempt to impose
    Catholic rules on marriage on non-Catholics. That’s my reading of Fred’s
    point. Whether or not Myers explicitly wants the Catholic rules to be
    for everyone, his position amounts to the same thing.

    But where does Myers say that? He

    urges them to vote “in defense of marriage and life,” and warns that the
    passage of same-sex marriage laws might lead to a government crackdown
    on their religious freedoms.

    While this does imply that he is against non-conventional-marriage (and while I understand about code-words and dog-whistles in US politics), being pro-Marriage is not automatically – logically! – equal to “Same-Sex-Marriage should be illegal because of Catholic Doctrine”.

    If Myers previously did equate the two and thus his recent statement is a callback; or if the in the whole document (and not just the cited parts) he does explicitly state that he considers Catholic doctrine on marriage to be binding – then Fred’s point would logically follow.

    So I don’t know if Fred has read previous material / the full statement (the linked article is only a summary) but not cited them; or if Fred reacted to the dog-whistle without having obvious support for his conclusions.

  • Ross Thompson

    But Fred’s point was that Myers wants to impose Catholic rules on marriage on non-Catholics, which would hit not only gays, but also non-Catholics in general; and I just don’t see where that is said.

    He’s saying that Catholic doctrine is opposed to same-sex marriage and that therefore, same-sex marriage should be illegal for everyone. He’s saying that not forcing everyone to live by Catholic rules is the same as religious persecution of Catholics. How much more explicit do you want it to be?

  • fraser

     It’s not just forcing them to marry gays. The standard version of this on the Protestant right is that once gay marriage is the law  of the land, the Gay Agenda will make it a hate crime to criticize gay marriage, including from the pulpit. So the Catholic Church’s teachings will be suppressed.

  • fraser

     I should have clarified that’s just as much bullshit as the forced-to-marry-gays claim, of course.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    The standard version of this on the Protestant right is that once gay marriage is the law  of the land, the Gay Agenda will make it a hate crime to criticize gay marriage

     This concern actually comes closer to addressing the real issue than almost anything else, so I actually rather endorse it, relatively speaking.

    The question arises: what makes the Protestants in question think we’d wait for legalization
    of our marriages? Why wouldn’t we just declare their sermons hate
    speech and suppress them right now, regardless of how judges and
    legislators rule on SSM? One likely answer is that they
    don’t think we would wait; that we will make affirming Protestantism a hate crime just as soon as we have the power to do so.

    In other words, the real threat is that queers might have political power, just like straights do. And an important part of obtaining that power is being thought of as people, deserving of equal rights and consideration to other people.

    And that makes sense. If queers aren’t alienated, shunned, marked as
    disordered outsiders by society at large, then the risk exists that when
    the Church alienates us, shuns us, and marks us as disordered
    outsiders, society at large might object and oppose the Church.  I can
    appreciate this; it’s a perfectly sensible concern.

    I often say about marriage-equality opponents, and queer-equality opponents more generally, that I don’t consider them foolish or stupid. They are merely my enemy. I wish they weren’t; I would be happy to ignore them if they were willing to ignore me. But I’m going to insist on being treated like a human being, and as long as they oppose that we’re enemies, whether I like it or not.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Yes, their fear is “Once gay marriage is legalized, people will call us bigots, and we will face the various legal and societal penalties that come from being recognized as bigots”.

    Of course, they are bigots whether same-sex marriage is legal or not. But don’t tell them that.  No, see, right now, whether or not gay people are human beings is legally debatable, so their position is just a difference of opinion.  Once the law says that QUILTBAG folks are full human beings, only THEN will they be officially “bigots”. Just like how racism didn’t exist until the civil rights act legally acknowledged that civil rights were a thing due to people regardless of color, so back then, no one was “racist”, they just “had a different opinion” on whether or not african-americans were human beings… It’s just like that. (What? No! We totally didn’t say that! Gay rights are nothing like civil rights for people of color because black people were totally full human beings regardless of whether or not the law explicitly said.. that… they… Oh crap.)

  • Ross Thompson

    Fred, maybe you could bring some other quote from Myers where he explictly says that he wants catholic rules to apply to everybody else?

    From the quote provided:

    [Myers] warns that the passage of same-sex marriage laws might lead to a government crackdown on their religious freedoms.

    To translate: If other people are allowed to live according to their own religious beliefs (or lack thereof), then OMG RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION!

  • Münchner Kindl

     Yes, that is obivously wrong.

    But he said it might, not that it actually would;
    AFAICT there is no specific law on the table people could vote on;
    this is still different from Fred’s point that Myers is passing judgment on non-Catholic marriages.

    I agree that Myers should not have said that because he’s wrong and worse, using a minor issue (from general Catholic perspective) as a Club to hit people instead of adressing real problems (the poor, lack of taxation on the rich, increasing split between poor and rich = lack of social justice), which would make him more unfavourable than the easy target of already discriminated gays.

    But Myers being wrong doesn’t lead to what Fred claims, at least not in a way I can see.

  • The_L1985

    The point Fred is making is, only some Christian sects are against homosexuality in general, or even same-sex marriage in particular.  To say that the law should ban same-sex marriage for religious reasons is exactly as wrong, and as great a violation of the 1st Amendment, as a hypothetical ban on any other kind of marriage for solely religious reasons.

    This is why Fred’s post points out Jewish, atheist, and Baptist couples–none of which are allowed by the Vatican to marry in a Catholic church.

  • Carstonio

     Ultimately there’s no good or valid reason to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage. First Amendment aside, all the arguments against legalization seem to be either theological or pseudo-theological, the latter being “nature.” One possible exception is NOM’s ridiculous claim that SSM will lead to children being raised without fathers. There are so many assumptive leaps involved there that it’s almost like walking into a middle of a conversation.

  • EllieMurasaki

    One possible exception is NOM’s ridiculous claim that SSM will lead to children being raised without fathers.

    To be fair, about half of the children of same-sex couples won’t be raised by their fathers, though they may stay in contact with them, on account of the legal parents are both women. NOM has the unstated (false) premise that a father always contributes something to child-rearing that a mother cannot, but that means that their scare tactic isn’t scary, not that it isn’t true.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    To be fair, about half of the children of same-sex couples won’t be raised by their fathers

    Possibly quite a bit more than half… I don’t actually know how the stats on same-sex adoption break down by parental sex.

    That said, if there isn’t much difference, I wonder what that will do to the “women want children and men don’t” narrative that remains so pervasive in my culture.

  • Carstonio

     You’re right about the unstated premise. I’m questioning the assertion that SSM would create fatherless situations that didn’t exist before.

    What assumptions are NOM using? The most charitable theory is that the group believes married lesbian couples would “naturally” want to have children, through adoption or sperm donation, while married gay couples would naturally want to remain childless. The old idea that all women crave motherhood and that there’s something wrong with the ones who don’t.

    Far less charitable assumptions would be that legalization of SSM would tempt straight fathers to turn gay and abandon their families, or tempt straight mothers to kick fathers to the curb and replace them with lesbian lovers.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Actually, my assumption is less charitable than yours… I suspect that NOM is not thinking clearly at all.

    That is, I suspect they’re observing that children raised by same-sex married female couples aren’t being raised by their fathers, observing that children raised by same-sex married female couples are a new phenomenon, and “concluding” that those children not being raised by their fathers is therefore a new phenomenon.

    You know, like the famous syllogism: “cats have four legs, tables have four legs, therefore cats are tables”

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    One possible exception is NOM’s ridiculous claim that SSM will lead to children being raised without fathers.

    So what happens to children of heterosexual marriages which are:

    divorced (sometimes because the father is obviously unfit, like molesting children; beating them until bones are broken; convicted for murder – not just the wife divorcing him because she doesn’t like him)

    absent due to work – truckers, people who work on ships or oil rigs for 6 months and more, people who work in faraway countries but can’t take their families…

    absent because of career – fathers who work 14 hrs or more, either to make ends meet or because they are workaholics

    emotionally absent – they don’t know how to deal with children and shy away from it, leaving the whole thing to the mothers (though just giving birth to a baby does not automatically make a woman a good mother; and hormones can just as easily cause post-partum depression instead of love for the baby).

    die early – must the widow remarry, or are the children taken away to a foster family?

    Or do none of these cases exist in their world?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I think NOM would answer in all seriousness “Thse are bad too, but the ship’s sailed on that. We can’t stop those, but we CAN stop these. Because if same-sex-marriage is illegal, all those gay men and all those lesbians will magically turn straight and enter into non-dysfunctional hetero marriages.”

  • Carstonio

     That sounds very much like Myers’ comments on procreation in the article that Fred cited. The archbishop claims that gay couples cannot be compared to straight couples who cannot procreate because the latter are “not intentionally excluding children.” Similarly, pro-lifers who propose exceptions to abortion bans in cases of rape or incest seem to treat the real problem as women consenting to sex without wanting to be mothers. All this may sound like a fertility cult. If Myers weren’t celibate, I might suspect that this really about women and children as property.

    Myers, 71, said modern culture and the media have led to the social
    acceptance of same-sex marriage. Homosexual acts are a sin, he said, but
    homosexuality is not. He wrote that it is possible for gay people to be
    married to members of the opposite sex and live “good, faithful and
    even joyous married lives. It is a lie to say that they are living, or
    have lived, a lie.”

    Apparently the individual doesn’t get to decide what makes hir happy. That’s what is so frustrating for me – when some people who believe that they themselves shouldn’t marry their own gender, it would be very reasonable for them to take a neutral stance on others’ marriages. As long as it’s a matter of individual choice, this should be no big deal.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The archbishop claims that gay couples cannot be compared to straight couples who cannot procreate because the latter are “not intentionally excluding children.”

    If my reproductive system is nonfunctional and I know it is nonfunctional, and triply so if it’s nonfunctional on the order of ‘I no longer have ovaries’, then any sex I have (regardless of who with) is intentionally excluding children.

    If my reproductive system works just fine, so does my partner’s, our reproductive systems are configured differently, and we make a point of never having sex when it’s within a week of ovulation, then any sex my partner and I have is intentionally excluding children.

    Either archbishops should be forbidding infertile people from being married in the Church’s eyes and fertile married couples from using the rhythm method, or the motivating factor(s) behind banning gay sex and contraceptive use have nothing to do with intentionally excluding children.

  • Carstonio

     While your logic is sound, I doubt that it has much to do with any assumptions Myers may be making. He probably has no issue with your first scenario because you’re not choosing to interfere with your reproductive ability, unless you chose to have them removed as a form of birth control. Apparently he believes that if you’re going to have sex, you have to leave open the possibility of procreation. Almost like sex is a game of chance and people who use contraception are cheating. He might say that the rhythm method is not sinful because the partners are taking their chances.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You’re saying Myers is distinguishing between ‘sex that cannot produce baby’ and ‘sex that cannot produce baby’ and I frankly do not see the distinction here. Unless the point of the rhythm method is to produce both babies and the illusion of controlling one’s reproduction, which I suppose is possible given the notorious pregnancy rate of folk on the rhythm method, but that doesn’t explain why, if sex is impermissible when the couple is incapable of producing babies, sex is permissible when one of the couple is incapable of producing babies.

  • Carstonio

    The key to Myers’ distinction is the reason for the incapability. In one instance, the babymaking apparatus is simply not working and the person or couple is not to blame. In the other, the apparatus works fine but the person or couple deliberately chooses not to use it, or deliberately interferes with its operation. He probably sees the latter as going against the will of his god. I fully agree that the distinction isn’t relevant, and is definitely not a rational basis for denying legal marriage to gay couples, but the distinction is still there. Myers sounds as if humankind is experiencing a massive crisis of infertility and any deliberate choice of non-procreative sex is a crime against humanity.

  • EllieMurasaki

    In the other, the [babymaking] apparatus works fine but the person or couple deliberately chooses not to use it

    And one of the words for that is ‘rhythm method’.

    If inability to make babies is relevant, then infertile people shouldn’t be allowed to marry. If choosing not to make babies is relevant, then fertile mixed-sex couples shouldn’t be allowed the rhythm method. If neither is relevant, then neither is relevant and if they want to carry on saying contraception and gay sex aren’t allowed then they need to find different reasoning.

  • Carstonio

    That’s too logical. I wish you had been on Maryland’s high court when it claimed that marriage is for procreation. My theory is that the Catholic hierarchy sees NFP as a theological joke. They probably believe that if their god wants to give a couple a child, he’ll do it no matter when they have sex during the woman’s cycle. A god whose powers apparently don’t extend to the ability to subvert “artificial” contraception. Offhand I don’t know why the hierarchy deems it so important that the couple leave open the possibility of procreation, although I’ve heard it suggested that they simply want more bums in the seats, or the pews.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The number one indicator of what religious beliefs an adult holds is what religious beliefs their parents taught them. People do convert, but it’s much easier to increase the number of Catholics by making Catholic babies than by making Catholic converts. Especially given that the factors driving young adults from Catholicism are things the hierarchy intends never to change, and Catholicism is struggling to recruit from that demographic for the same reasons. And never mind the fact that there’s probably too many people for the planet now, and if not then there surely will be soon, and the only possibilities for handling that situation involve killing or letting die large swathes of population (unacceptable) or reducing reproduction to below replacement rate.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Offhand I don’t know why the hierarchy deems it so important that the couple leave open the possibility of procreation, although I’ve heard it suggested that they simply want more bums in the seats, or the pews.

    The fundamental belief is that every human life has immense value and that its value should outweigh anything else. The reasoning about contraception is that it may foster an attitude in which human life is considered less valuable than other things–and that this attitude will carry into other relationships, not just between a potential parent and their potential child,  but individually and as societies we come to see people as inconveniences, obstacles in our plans for our lives and so forth.

    Now, personally I don’t share the reasoning about contraception specifically, but I do share the fundamental belief that it’s based on, and I do share the concern for potential dehumanisation in all sorts of aspects of our society.

    The vast majority of the times where I disagree with a Church teaching the issue is that I don’t share the reasoning that follows from the premise, but I almost always share the premise. And it’s pretty much never the shallow, moronic, or blatantly evil positions that non-Catholics seem to like to ascribe.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     One of the things I was taught is that it’s a kind of gnostic dualism: by using contraception, you are treating your body like it’s a “thing”: a possession you “own” — a tool, if you will, that should be fiddled with to accomodate the desires of the “real you” who is its master. In using artificial contraception, one is, by catholic doctrine, declaring that your facility for making babies is a problem to be fixed.  That’s why one of the phrases they use to describe contraception is “gravely disordered“: because they consider treating one of the natural things your body is supposed to do as a defect and trying to “fix” it as being backwards: similar in kind to  saying “My arm isn’t broken enough. I should hit it with a hammer.”*

    So a couple being infertile isn’t a problem (Actually, it *is* a problem. It’s a misfortune. Something you’re supposedto be unhappy about, something you may need help to cope with) because it’s not about the babymaking: it’s about how people treat their bodies. (Catholicism: Basing their theology on refuting fourth century heresies since… the fourth century.).

    (* This is substantially similar to a feminist argument I’ve heard against The Pill, namely that it involves a woman altering her own body chemistry and the natural workings of her body for the express purpose of making herself more sexually convenient for men. Though the feminists I heard it from seemed very, very angry about something.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    In using artificial contraception, one is, by catholic doctrine, declaring that your facility for making babies is a problem to be fixed.
    And women wearing themselves out by being pregnant all the time and by riding herd on the children, and families getting or staying poor because they have more mouths to feed than the family income can bear, those are not problems to be fixed?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Yep, that stuff too. There’s a lot of thought behind Catholic doctrines; I like that. As I said, I don’t always follow the same line of reasoning through to the orthodox conclusions, but it does bug me when, in my sphere at least, the majority opinion seems to be that Catholic doctrine is the result of some dickhead putting 3 minutes of thought into how to more effectively be an arsehole.

    On the topic posted above, Fred seems to be unaware of the Catholic teaching about “natural marriage”. This is another one that I don’t share, but Catholic doctrine just does not say that the only valid marriages are sacramental Catholic marriages. It’s possible that Fred runs into problems with the Catholic orthodox view of marriage since, if I recall correctly*, he’s been divorced previously, but certainly not because he married outside the Catholic church.

    *apologies if I recall incorrectly

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    orthodox conclusions, but it does bug me when, in my sphere at least,
    the majority opinion seems to be that Catholic doctrine is the result of
    some dickhead putting 3 minutes of thought into how to more effectively
    be an arsehole.

    When the emd result, intended or un-, is the arsehole embiggenment factor?

    Uh, yeah, I will think that the RCC hierarchy appears to prioritize being dickheads over anything else.

    Evidence for same is immense in Canada, given the widespread prevalence of the damage the RCC has done to Aboriginal communities with the semi official sanction of the federal government in the name of the Indian Act.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    So complain about the end result. Criticize the step in the reasoning where a good premise goes astray. Go nuts. I’ll join you. But if you want to dismiss the possibility that a decent premise and any reasoning even exist in favour of an easy generalisation that every position you disagree with is evil and moronic from the core, I won’t be joining you. I don’t think much of that as a tactic or as an analytical method.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Long, complicated, tortuous reasoning (as evidenced by numerous anecdotes regarding Jesuitical education) does not in and of itself lend indestructibility or extra weight to an argument, especially if the conclusions from the premises (“Life is precious, therefore NO CONDOMS OR ANYTHING” – only expressed with more high-flown sophistry) produce active harm or discomfort to people.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’m not sure how I can make it any more clear that I don’t find these particular arguments particularly strong, let along indestructible. I’m just reacting to something put forward frequently–including by you, a number of times. And that’s that your analysis of how someone reached a conclusion is, effectively, that they gave 15 seconds of thought to it and were motivated by some unabashedly bad fundamental principle.

  • vsm

    that they gave 15 seconds of thought to it and were motivated by some unabashedly bad fundamental principle.
    Catholic theologians are obviously a rather smart bunch, but the Church’s positions do tend to be socially conservative. I find it unlikely the people responsible for formulating doctrine start with no bias when examining these issues and always just happen to come down to “they way it always was is good”.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Catholic theologians are obviously a rather smart bunch, but the Church’s positions do tend to be socially conservative. I find it unlikely the people responsible for formulating doctrine start with no bias when examining these issues and always just happen to come down to “they way it always was is good”.

    Oh, I agree. My point is simply that they do actually examine these issues. Dismissing dogma that we disagree with as if it were pulled out of a cereal box is piss-poor intellectual analysis; it also adds to my problems arguing with Catholic conservatives whose first response to challenge is that those who disagree with them are ignorant of the actual teaching. It bugs me, because I disagre with them on the basis of a great deal of reflection and critical analysis, but they can always point to people whose critique is “dur stupid Catholics don’t even believe in evolution!*” or some such. It’s bloody frustrating when your opponent can derail debates by pointing to strawmen that actually exist.

    *To use an example I heard just this week

  • vsm

    Ignorance is never a good thing, and I too cringe whenever someone thinks Catholicism is American Evangelicalism with Latin and neat hats. However, I’m not sure how much non-Catholics should be expected to appreciate the finer points of Catholic doctrine, particularly when it affects them, such as in social issues. As for conservative Catholics using outsiders’ ignorance to deflect criticism, it sounds like they’re arguing in bad faith to begin with. If it wasn’t for that, they’d come up with something else.

  • Carstonio

    While you have a point about motives, that particular ideology has no room to complain. That’s because it claims to know what is best for people, and essentially says that the only motive for not having (many) children is selfishness. Very humanly offensive no matter what one’s stance on religion. No disagreement about the value of human life, but definite disagreement with the absolutism of the ideology. Couples shouldn’t have to have as many children as possible to prove that they value life. Parents with one or two children love and value their children just as much as those with eight or 10.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Couples shouldn’t have to have as many children as possible to prove that they value life.

    No, they shouldn’t. But there is a distinction between actively having as many children as possible and actively being opposed to the possibility of having any/more children.

    This teaching doesn’t mandate Catholics to have as many children as possible, which a lot of people seem to either misunderstand or willfully ignore. Hence comments about how people who don’t have a dozen children(like Paul Ryan, for a recent example that came up on this blog) must necessarily be hypocritical, disobediant Catholics.

    Disagreement about the absolutism of the ideology is great. I only piped up to say that the breadth of Catholic moral teaching can not be reduced to a shallow “God told Adam and Eve”. And if any priest tells you so, they don’t know their own church’s teachings.

  • Lori

    This teaching doesn’t mandate Catholics to have as many children as possible,  

    The teaching may not mandate it, but that’s the logical outcome of following it. If you see a married Catholic couple with a small(ish) number of children you can be pretty sure that they’re in one of a small number of situations—-they’ve stopped having PIV intercourse, one of them has developed a health situation that renders him/her infertile when they had previously been fertile, they’re incredibly lucky and/or the woman is very unusually regular in her cycle such that they are the rare couple for whom the rhythm method is actually effective over the long term, or they’re not following the Church’s teaching on  birth control.

    That last one is by far the most likely. So no, it’s not true that people like Paul Ryan and his wife are necessarily hypocritical, disobedient Catholics, but that’s certainly the way I’d bet if I was forced to put real money on it.

    I think it’s safe to say that the people promulgating the teaching are
    aware that f people follow it most of them will have very large families. Looked at in conjunction with their other teachings
    & actions, it’s not unreasonable to suspect that that’s is at least part of the point of the teaching.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    The teaching may not mandate it, but that’s the logical outcome of following it.

    Do you understand that there are other schools of ethical thought than consequentialism?

    Because pretty much everyone here goes immediately to “No, because their position has these results, that means that there is absolutely no difference from them just shouting ‘make babies damnit’ without any thought.”

    You are welcome to argue that their position has negative outcomes. You can even argue that their moral position produces outcomes contrary to what they want to accomplish.  But “that’s the logical outcome of it” does _not_ make their position “about” the babymaking (It’s more about slippery-slope arguments. Hence the whole ‘condoms cause AIDS’ debacle.)

    For what it’s worth, I know several couples who use fertility-awareness methods for their family planning. None of them had “as many babies as possible”. One had two in forty years, one had three in fifty (The others are still in their fertile years, but have only had one or two so far).

  • Lori

     

    Do you understand that there are other schools of ethical thought than consequentialism?   

    Not really buying it in this particular case =/= not aware of it

     

    For what it’s worth, I know several couples who use fertility-awareness
    methods for their family planning. None of them had “as many babies as
    possible”. One had two in forty years, one had three in fifty (The
    others are still in their fertile years, but have only had one or two so
    far).   

    Note that I acknowledged the existence of couples who are lucky enough to be able to use the rhythm method successfully over the long term.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I, too, know many very devout Catholic couples who take the teaching on contraception to heart. Most of them have no more than 4 kids. (Of course, in my country and generation 3 kids is now considered a “large family”) I could decide that they’re lying, I could decide make inferences about their sex lives or I could decide to leave them alone and not co-opt them as evidence in a position about how Catholics are full of shit.

    NFP doesn’t work for everyone, which is one of the reasons why I don’t personally support the church’s absolutist position on contraception. But it’s misleading to suggest that it’s very rare to stick to NFP and have a single digit number of kids.

  • P J Evans

     It used to be, in the US, that Catholic families were larger than most. There was one in my neighborhood that had ten kids; most other families, including some of the other Catholics, stopped at three or four.

  • Carstonio

    I wasn’t claiming that Catholicism actively teaches unlimited procreation, merely that it’s reasonable to conclude that the ideology sees such procreation as good. And to conclude that couples who use contraception have to prove that they value life.

    By default, a couple’s procreation decisions shouldn’t be up for judgment by others or by society, and others shouldn’t make judgments as to the couple’s motives for having a certain number of children. The burden of proof is on others to show why the couple’s reproduction decisions are wrong, and ideally this would show how those decisions adversely impact others.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I wasn’t claiming that Catholicism actively teaches unlimited procreation, merely that it’s reasonable to conclude that the ideology sees such procreation as good.

    Well, what you said was this:

    Couples shouldn’t have to have as many children as possible to prove that they value life.

    Which reads to me as though you think the teaching promotes having as many children as physically possible. Further, they they do so in order to make a show of their virtue to other people. That’s very different from “it’s reasonable to conclude that the ideology sees such procreation as good”.

  • Carstonio

    No, that was merely my snarkiness. It’s deeply offensive that any ideology deems it selfish that some people wish to have sex without procreating. It comes across like contraception users and LGBT people have to prove they value life. I don’t seriously believe that the Church expects all humans to have as many children as possible.

  • Ross Thompson

    Offhand I don’t know why the hierarchy deems it so important that the
    couple leave open the possibility of procreation, although I’ve heard it
    suggested that they simply want more bums in the seats, or the pews.

    It’s because God told Adam and Eve to go forth and multiply.

    No, really.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    No, not really.

  • Hur

     You really want to compare a single statement to Adam and Eve (then the only humans on the planet) to the words of Christ?

    Okay….  Clearly you no more care about reading the whole book than the priest on the window seat did — because you’re absolutely wrong, if you want to read the entire Canon (and it’s such a good read that I highly recommend it!).

    “Suffer the little children to come unto me…” wasn’t a normal phrase for Christ’s time, btw — and babies themselves were such a normal event that Herod slaughtered an entire contingent in attempt to kill the Christ that the event is known as the “Slaughter of the Innocents”: but those were living breathing children with mothers who grieved and mourned when they were seized from their breasts for death.

    Instead, the mothers mourned and Mary and Joseph escaped.

    Was it fair (by human standards)?  Probably not.

    Was it fair (by Roman standards)? Absolutely, since Herod “the Great” rapidly lost power after this poorly documented incident (when the victors write history, what happens when they fail to be victorious?!?)!

    So whose side do you want to choose: following the Words of Christ or just some advice to people who had never considered what their sin had wrought?

  • Tricksterson

    The Slaughter of the Innocents  more than likely never happened.  The only record of it is in one Gospel.  No other Gospels and none (I believe, could be wrong on that one) of the various letters in the Christian Testament mention it nor do any contemporary non-Biblical sources.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/INEN5H5PKE32QEF4QAV4EWYFIQ Hur

     I beg your pardon.  I was unaware that all of the Gospels were required to be carbon-copies of the others.

    My bad.

  • Tricksterson

    Surey something that momentous would have a tleast been mentioned in passing elsewhere if it had actully happened.  My own take is that it was just mthbuilding or perhaps reate in orderto “fulill Scripture”, like soo much of the rest of the Gospels.

  • Ross Thompson

    I beg your pardon.  I was unaware that all of the Gospels were required to be carbon-copies of the others.

    It’s not that they should be carbon copies of each other, it’s that it’s less likely that every single other author just forget to mention it, or thought it unremarkable than that that one author made it up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    …it’s less likely that every single other author just forget to mention
    it, or thought it unremarkable than that that one author made it up.

    So, kill off an entire cohort of infants, and they just shrug it off and go about their lives.  The other gospels were written by LaHaye & Jenkins??

  • Donalbain

     I have to say, I am enjoying your tale of this imaginary priest who never read the Bible! Please, do continue it!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/INEN5H5PKE32QEF4QAV4EWYFIQ Hur

    How shall I go on, except to say that “there are none so blind as those who will not see.”?

  • Donalbain

     I don’t know. Maybe later on someone says “You mean Jesus died for MY sins?”. I believe that is also a common part of Chick Tract nonsense.

  • Ross Thompson

    Was it fair (by human standards)?  Probably not.

    Was it fair (by Roman standards)? Absolutely

    What, you think the Romans were some variety of beetle? Or did you mean “modern Western standards” instead of “human standards”?

    this poorly documented incident

    Undocumented, you mean. The Romans were notable for their record keeping, and there were several famous writers living in the area at the time, and none of them noticed this slaughter. I tend to believe that this means it probably never happened.

    So whose side do you want to choose: following the Words of Christ or just some advice to people who had never considered what their sin had wrought?

    Can I choose “neither”?

    But, really, you’re going to have to explain to me how this addresses the reasons for Catholics wanting to have lots of children, or how it relates to the “be fruitful ad multiply” thing, because I can’t see the connection.

  • P J Evans

    The Romans were notable for their record keeping

    True, but a lot of their records haven’t survived. We can’t know what was lost.

  • Ross Thompson

    True, but a lot of their records haven’t survived. We can’t know what was lost.

    Granted. It’s possible that there were numerous, independent records of every child in Judea being slaughtered by the government without it inciting a massive rebellion and without Herod being removed by his Roman overseers (because they didn’t like governors doing things that would likely lead to mass rebellion), and that those  records have all been independently lost.

    It’s also possible that there were numerous, independent records of a UFO landing in the Coliseum, and providing the Romans with the cure to cancer, and that those records have just been lost. But in both cases, I think it’s unlikely.

  • P J Evans

     ISTR it was male children within a certain age range, not all of the children.

    (Heck, there are 19th century Quaker records that have gone missing, and they were pretty good at keeping records.)

  • Ross Thompson

     

    (Heck, there are 19th century Quaker records that have gone missing, and they were pretty good at keeping records.)

    I’ve already granted that our knowledge of what happened under Roman rule is imperfect. However, my point is that this is something that would have had massive ramifications, that would have been obvious from the body of evidence post-dating it. We know, for example, that Herod was not executed, that there was no popular uprising, that the chroniclers of the day never in their tens of thousands of surviving pages made any passing, oblique reference that gave the slightest hint that anything unusual had happened.

    I (once again) grant that it’s not ruled out by the laws of physics that it could have happened and only one record survived, but it’s no more likely than that Atlantis was a real place, and all the thousands of documents attesting to that were lost except Plato’s.

  • Tricksterson

    Except that the underwater remains of a city whose circular  structure matches Plato’s description has been found to the west of the straights of Gibralter a couple of years ago.  Haven’t heard anything about it since so maybe it turned out to be a mistake or fraud.

  • Ross Thompson

    The last time I heard about Atlantis being discovered was in Cadiz, Spain. Honestly, though, I’ve lost track of all the Atlantises out there; that there’s another one outside the Straits isn’t too surprising.

  • Tricksterson

    Yes, that’s the one I was referring to.  Had forgotten the details.

  • P J Evans

     I thought they’d decided years ago that Plato was talking about Thera (Santorini), and he didn’t understand the units of measurement (or the symbols for them) that the Egyptians used.

  • Tricksterson

    That’s the justification.  The reason is as said in the quote.  More people=more donations.  Also nowadays more political power.

  • EllieMurasaki

    It’s because God told Adam and Eve to go forth and multiply.

    We have multiplied. Unless we, in the next (say) ten years, resume manned spaceflight, identify several potential extrasolar Earth-like planets, and send off a half dozen colony ships with a billion passengers apiece, we need to stop multiplying.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     But they do, and just because you don’t approve of the distinction, that doesn’t make it arbitrary or nonsensical. They consider the difference between “performed the process in the normally specified way but some confounding factor prevents conception” and “modified the process so that it would not result in conception despite there being no confounding factor”  to be important. The only deliberate method they approve of for preventing pregnancy is abstinence. 

    And while I agree that the church’s position on contraception is reprehsensible, please try to avoid attacks on it that also insult people who of their own free will decide that they don’t like modifying the operation of their bodies chemically or mechanically for contraceptive purposes, and choose to use fertility-awareness methods of family planning.

  • EllieMurasaki

    They consider the difference between “performed the process in the normally specified way but some confounding factor prevents conception” and “modified the process so that it would not result in conception despite there being no confounding factor” to be important.

    The first quote would describe infertile people, the second people having gay sex (or het sex that doesn’t involve connecting vagina and penis), and I’m not sure which would describe people using contraception, whether pharmaceutical, surgical, or timing-based, but all three of those forms of contraception would be described by the same quote. Thus I reiterate my point that either the Catholic hierarchy does not actually think sex should be only for babies or the Catholic hierarchy should be denying marriage to infertile people and proclaiming the evils of the rhythm method.

    What did I say that insults people who use the rhythm method for reasons other than they don’t feel allowed to use pharmaceutical or surgical contraception? I’m sorry I insulted those people, but I’ve no idea what I said, which makes it hard to avoid repeating it.

  • Carstonio

    Why is the distinction considered important? From a nonsectarian moral standpoint, I don’t see a relevant difference between preventing conception through abstinence or timing and preventing it through barriers or chemicals. The explanations I’ve seen go some distance into the theological weeds, which makes these invalid for purposes of making secular laws regarding marriage. I can appreciate people choosing not to modify the operations of their bodies, but that’s not a moral position, at least not in the same way as a religious hierarchy insisting that non-abstinence contraception is wrong for everyone.

  • cranston

     But that is why Newt Gingrich could marry his (RC) third wife in the church. His first two marriages never happened. Any offspring of those marriages are illegitimate in the eyes of the Vatican. His divorces are not an issue re him taking the sacraments because the marriages were not valid in the first place.

  • Lori

    Myers really seems to think that if civil authorities recognize that
    civil rights belong to all citizens, then somehow his authority as a
    bishop over his church will be diminished.

    That is nonsense, but
    due to such nonsensical fears, Myers has abandoned any pretense of
    belief in secular government and is calling for theocracy.

    I’m not sure that it is nonsense. I think that once marriage equality becomes the law of the land that the authority of the bishops will erode because a lot of people are going to look around and notice that the bishops are just wrong about same sex couples. We all know what that kind of realization can do.

    It’s like Molly Ivin’s quote about Southern Liberals, “I believe all Southern liberals come from the
    same starting point–race. Once you figure out they are lying to you
    about race, you start to question everything.”

    People already know the bishops are lying about child rape. They’re also pretty clear on the fact that the bishops are wrong about birth control and they’re not sold on the bishops’ position on divorce. Having a bunch more of them also figure out that the bishops are lying about their GLBTQ friends, family, coworkers and neighbors is not exactly going to make them respect Myers’ authoritah!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Dupe; nevermind.

  • Donalbain

    Is anyone else having trouble connecting to the slacktivist site? I can only get in via individual threads, not the main page..

  • The_L1985

     I can view comments on my computer, but not my cellphone.

  • CoolHandLNC

    What to me is a more striking point is the assertion of ownership over the Holy Communion. That is, of course, so totally routine that we no longer notice it. When someone positions themselves as a gatekeeper over who may or may not come to the table, then it ceases to be the Lord’s table. After 1900 years, I’d love to see Christians take the Eucharist back from the priests.

  • Ross Thompson

    After 1900 years, I’d love to see Christians take the Eucharist back from the priests.

    Didn’t Protestants already do that?

  • Jay Saldana

    It is sad that conservative Roman Catholics clergy (Lateran-ists from the last council they adhere to) fail to see religious freedom also includes a responsibility to acknowledge the differences accepted with the Roman Church writ large.  Bishops are considered “princes” and have almost absolute rule over their dioceses (read fiefdoms).  So they are free to make fools of themselves theologically.  There is also the matter of the jockeying for political advantage (within the Roman Church) due to the upcoming papal elections.
    Bishops want power since that is mostly how they “evaluate” a successful Bishopric.
    If you work in Rome, as I did, the upcoming elections is all the “in group” are talking about:  Bishops to Archbishops then to cardinals, then to pope and all the small steps inbetween.  So like our elections these tea-party types (Lateran) are grouping together and making noise to be noticed by those who move up.
    I have seen it before and it will happen again.  Sad, but only one of many reasons to be an x-Roman Catholic.
    Have a God filled day.
    Jay

  • Fortuna Veritas

    Look on the bright side, maybe some Catholics will realize that they don’t need to toady up to some corrupt church official to have a conduit to their deity.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I doubt it will have much of an effect. I’ve spoken to Catholics who view this as “Yes, I think the church’s position on these things is reprehensible. But I still have to do my best to follow their ruling, because they are God’s official representatives, and (paraphrase mine) No matter how wrong the church is, God is contractually obligated to enforce their rules.”

  • 8thgenerationamerican

    While I agree this prelate is not a smart man I disagree with the assertion that he doesn’t understand the points the author makes about the distinction between civil and religious marriage.  The archbishop knows full well that his authority as an autocrat over his Roman Catholic flock will not be impacted if gay marriage comes to pass in NJ.  He is simply using this bogus claim of potential loss of religious freedom, banking on the ignorance of his flock and their trust in him to forward his real aim which is to impose his religious standards on those who do not follow him.  His bogus fear mongering depends upon his Roman Catholic members not examining the issue or the fact for themselves but instead, doing as the church has counted on them doing for thousands of years: blinging following and doing whatever they are told.  This kind of rebirth of the most obnoxious, old world practices of the Roman Catholic  hierarchy to impose it’s beliefs on the entire population can be laid at the feet of the long reign of John Paul II who installed right wing conservatives in positions of power throughout the Roman Catholic hierarchy world wide.

  • Gillianstarr

    One of the few times I saw my brother, who had became a RC, nearly cry in frustration was when he was informed by the parish priest that his marriage of over 20 plus years had to be redone because it was seen as ‘non-valid’ as the ceremony was done by a non-RC clergyman.     I don’t think that he would have had a bit of a problem if what was wanted was a ‘”re-dedication of vows.”

    He was almost angry enough to walk away from the catholic church at the time.  My  rather cynical thought when he told me how heartbroken this news of his non-valid marriage was this…    that if he had offered enough cold hard cash that the ‘non-RC validity’ of his marriage would have been magically erased away. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    One of the few times I saw my brother, who had became a RC, nearly cry in frustration was when he was informed by the parish priest that his marriage of over 20 plus years had to be redone because it was seen as ‘non-valid’ as the ceremony was done by a non-RC clergyman. I don’t think that he would have had a bit of a problem if what was wanted was a ‘”re-dedication of vows.”

    If he and his wife remarried one another without first divorcing, would they be bigamists?

  • DavidCheatham

    Yes. And I wish more people would help reframe the debate, spreading arguments about a certain point:

    The only people attempting to restrict religious freedom are the people trying to _ban_ gay marriage. There are churches, right now, that wish to perform a marriage of same sex couples. In many places, these churches are _barred_ from doing so.

    An analogy would be something like immersion baptism. Some churches do it, some do not. Should we ban this, to protect the religious freedom of churches that don’t do it? No. This is clearly nonsensical logic. A church can choose to do that, or not, and that is ‘freedom’.

    But that’s _exactly_ the same ‘religious freedom’ argument that people like John Myers are using. They want to have the government ban something that certain religions wish to do, because _their_ religion does not like it.

    People need to think about this like the danger it is. People need to have this pointed out ‘If they succeed with blocking gay marriage, what thing will a random religious group attempt to _prohibit your church_ from doing? Immersion baptism? Infinite baptism? Women deacons? Church suppers?’

    The reason we have the first amendment is not to protect religion from the government, as the government has no interest in religion.  And it’s not to protect the government from religions,  that doesn’t really make sense.

    It’s to protect religions from _other religions_ using the government against them. It’s exactly for circumstances like this: A bunch of religious groups arguing that _specific religious ceremonies_  are not valid in their tradition and hence _should not be legal for any religion_ to do.

    Yes, this post is looking at marriage entirely as if it’s just a religious ceremony, but the fact is that all the secular objections to gay marriage have gone down in flames. Hence, the only objections left are religious…and I think it should be pointed out more that the religious objections are essentially saying ‘The government should block people from freely exercising their religion because we object to their religious beliefs.’.

    I think some _religious_ people need to have that explained to them, along with some hypothetical examples in _their own_ religion that are not followed by the mainstream and could be banned if we start doing that sort of stuff. (All Christian denominations have at least one odd little thing.)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    My usual experience of the sorts of folks who argue for passing laws on “religious” grounds is that they treat “religion” as synonymous with their own denomination. Government support of religious freedom means their denomination’s rules being respected by law.

    Other groups who call themselves “religions” are basically just confused, on this view; they aren’t really religions.

  • DavidCheatham

    My usual experience of the sorts of folks who argue for passing laws on “religious” grounds is that they treat “religion” as synonymous with their own denomination.

    See, I follow that logic…

    Government support of religious freedom means their denomination’s rules being respected by law.

    …whereas that belief is just flatly delusional. This really ties into the ‘echo chamber’ of certain groups that other posts here have talked about.

    I sometimes wonder if the solution to this is to, paradoxically, play up their persecution complex and their delusion that the entire world outside of them is evil:

    While almost 70% of the population of America considers themselves ‘Christian’, only half of them actually have a ‘church’…and about 10 million of those Christians attend the four larger denominations churches which officially support gay marriage. (Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church) Let’s assume another 5 million members of miscellaneous denomination churches, or churches in dispute with their official denominational viewpoint. (Like some United Methodist Churches.)

    So to summarize the US population: 30% are non-Christian, 20% are Christian but do not attend church, 10% attend a church that does not comdemn homosexuality, and 40% attend a church that does condemn homosexuality. (There’s a slight voting-power skew here, as that is _all_ members, not adults, which should logically average out the same, except that 40% includes Catholics, which have more kids, and hence more of them must, statistically, _be_ kids.)

    Warning, sarcasm: So it seems reasonable to point out to these people, in this world that does not appear to have a first amendment, in a world where the government runs around telling churches what sort of religious ceremonies it can and cannot do, if someone put ‘Should churches be required to marry gay couples?’ up for a vote, 50% of the population would vote for it because they’re god-less athiests (Aka, don’t attend a church), and another 10% would vote for it because _their own church_ tells them to. (And people always vote how their church tells them.)

    So they can _either_ keep up their meddling in _other churches_, and at some point expect it to rebound, or they can _demand_ that the government stay out of churches.

    Of course, this is not actually true. This is playing on their paranoia. The _rest_ of society has a rather strong classic liberal tradition of letting churches do whatever they wish. I’m just saying, if they’ve worked themselves up into an ‘us-vs-them’ mindset, _use it_ and point out that they are, in fact, currently outnumbered, and it probably will end up worse. (I would be suprised if something didn’t happen within a decade with United Methodist.)

    Their _only_ possibility is to run as hard and fast to the first amendment as they can, and forcefully demand that the government allows each church to marry the people they choose, and _only_ the people they choose. They must demand this is enshined in law! (Yes, yes, it already is law, but that’s not the point.)

  • B. Francis

    Fred, thanks for all the examples – the question to answer is – will gay catholics who want to marry in the Catholic church be able to take action for discriminaition if denied marriage. What;s the answer?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I’m not Fred, but my answer is that nobody ought to be able to sue a Catholic priest for refusing to officiate at a wedding that violates Catholic church rules. Not gay people, not straight people, not Catholics, not non-Catholics. A Catholic priest has no legal obligation to officiate at anyone’s wedding, no matter how provincial his reasons.

    So: no.

    And if, once marriage equality is established secular law, anyone does sue a Catholic priest for such a refusal, I would oppose that suit.

    Also worth noting: this is not anything new related to same-sex marriages.

    If my queer Catholic husband had been denied the freedom to marry me two years ago in a Catholic church (as he no doubt would have been, had he sought to), he would have had no grounds for a lawsuit.

    And had my straight Jewish parents been denied the freedom to marry each other fifty-five years ago in a Catholic church (as they would have been, had they sought to), they would have have had no grounds for a lawsuit.

    And for exactly the same reasons.

    Also worth noting that the priest in this case is being discriminatory, and I don’t in the least bit approve of his decision or his church’s decision, and personally I think both he and they are entirely in the moral wrong on this issue.  But I endorse their legal right to be morally wrong in this manner, just as I expect them to endorse my legal right to marry my husband in a manner they consider morally wrong.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I would say that while you’re absolutely right with regards to a Catholic priest’s legal obligations concerning Catholic weddings, in order for that Catholic wedding to have legal force, that priest must be a representative of the government with authorization to perform legal weddings. And in his role as such a representative, if he is caught discriminating, he should get in as much trouble for it as would a justice of the peace caught discriminating in the same manner. Which is to say, I’ve no objection to Father Timothy refusing to do a wedding Mass for Alice and Brittany, but if they want him to sign the legal paperwork that makes them a married couple, he’d damn well better.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     So, just to be clear: insofar as Father Timothy is authorized today to perform weddings with legal force (at least in some states), you think that if he refuses to officiate over the wedding of a Jewish couple in those states on the grounds that they are Jewish, they should be able to sue him for religious discrimination. (He’s free to refuse to include any Catholic ritual, etc., when he does so, but he’s not free to refuse to do so.)

    Yes?

    But you are not claiming that they can, today, as a point of current law, sue Father Timothy for religious discrimination.

    Yes?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t know whether current law says a Jewish couple who is refused a legal wedding by a government representative who is authorized to perform legal weddings and who happens to be a Catholic priest is able to sue that government representative for religious discrimination. I think they should be able to, but I don’t know if they can. They should not be able to sue for religious discrimination when the defendant would be a Catholic priest who happens to be a government representative authorized to perform legal weddings. I think hardly anyone makes that distinction, though, and I’m not at all sure I’ve explained it clearly.

  • P J Evans

     But why would a Jewish couple want to be married by a Catholic priest?

  • EllieMurasaki

    They know where to find a priest but not a rabbi or a justice of the peace? That isn’t the point. The point is, it’s fine for a Catholic priest to decline to provide religious services to someone because that someone is not Catholic, but it is not fine for a government employee whose job is to provide a particular legal service to decline to provide that service to someone because of that someone’s religion, and the fact that some providers of this particular legal service are Catholic priests does not entitle them to religiously discriminate in the providing of that legal service.

  • Gotchaye

    Can’t we understand making valid civil marriages to be something which the government grants individuals the ability to do rather than something the government charges individuals to do?  The difference between a Catholic priest and a justice of the peace is that the justice is actually an employee of the state, whereas the priest is merely empowered by the state to do a particular thing.

    We have a bunch of different kinds of similar arrangements, where the state gives certain people some power or privilege and the people so empowered get some duty to the public, but the scope of the duty varies.

    Way over on one end, you have to receive a license from the state to drive people around in a car, but you can discriminate however you please in deciding who to accept as a passenger. 

    Likewise one needs a license to practice law, and access to legal representation is a constitutional right, but licensed lawyers have broad power to discriminate among clients, and unlimited power to discriminate if they’re not actually in the business of law.  A priest with a license to practice law could advise and represent only his congregants, or could work for congregants for free and charge a great deal of money to anyone else.

    Notary publics are in something like the position of people empowered to perform civil marriages.  They’re typically allowed to discriminate on several grounds, especially if they aren’t representing themselves in business as public notary publics, as it were.  A bank can employ people to act as notary publics only for customers of the bank, and this discrimination is generally allowed.  My university employs some people to act as notary publics for those on university business, and they’re not obliged to perform that duty for people who walk in off the street.

    I’m not really seeing what’s wrong with the above cases, and I don’t see how the ability to perform civil marriages is a totally different kind of thing, provided (as with notary publics and lawyers) there are public employees who /are/ required not to discriminate, which is what justices of the peace are for.  At the very least it seems to me that you’ve got to either have the state pay priests or allow priests to charge for overseeing civil marriages (while reserving the ability to oversee a civil marriage for free if they choose).

    The above is my understanding of the law in the US as a whole.  Probably some states work a bit differently.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/INEN5H5PKE32QEF4QAV4EWYFIQ Hur

     My problem with your argument is that the Constitution explicitly gives powers to people of faith (which are not ever to be compelled on others not of their faith) in the First Amendment.

    One of the most important powers history has granted to religions is the power to administer wedding vows — and, as such, any attempt to have the “state pay priests or allow priests to charge for overseeing civil marriages” would unquestionably fail current Constitutional law.  The law in individual states would not matter, because Constitutional law trumps State law except in extraordinary cases.

    That is one reason Justices of the Peace, Captains of Ships in International Waters, and, in many states, individuals themselves have the power to contract legal marriages without the aid of priests, ministers, or other religious officials (in the latter case, individuals are limited by their residence in a state that allows common-law marriage, but the protections, once the full residency and other requirements are established, carries the full faith and protection of the United States, no matter in which state you eventually reside).

    Oh, and on the subject of birth control: it’s not a new thing, to anyone who somehow thinks that The Pill (or even the rhythm method was the first attempt to control fertility.

    Prophylactics were in regular use in the time of Christ.  Everything from leaves and fruit rinds impregnated with honey, then inserted into the vagina as primitive diaphrams, to douching, to a now-extinct herb (now-extinct because it was so popular in regulating fertility/inducing abortions that it was overly-harvested, but seems to be related to one popular — and no, I am not a doctor, so I won’t name it) herb that women use to assist with both PMS and menopause was in regular use in the ancient world.

    Even abortions are known to have been an option to wealthy women: and yet, Christ himself never opposed any of these methods (at least within the Canon).  Instead, when a woman was accused of  adultery, he drew a literal line in the sand and said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    There is not even a prohibition on attempts to regulate fertility in the Old Testament.  The closest thing to the subject requires anyone who causes harm TO A WOMAN who is pregnant, causing her to lose the baby, requires them to pay for the harm they have done in both the hurt to the woman and the loss of a fetus, which is effectively treated with the same fines as would result from causing the death of sheep or cattle.

    In other words, in the Western World at least, marriage seems to have a long history of religious significance, but ensuring absolute fertility, not so much.

  • P J Evans

     But the ministers, priests, and rabbis aren’t employed by the government. They’re able to refuse to do marriages because they’re not government employees.

  • Donalbain

     Fred, thanks for all the examples – the question to answer is – will gay
    catholics who want to marry in the Catholic church be able to take
    action for discriminaition if denied marriage. What;s the answer?

    Can divorced Catholics take action if denied marriage?

  • faithful Catholic

    i am a devout Roman Catholic–and have been a daily communicant for over half a century   this guy is just a jerk–as are most of his colleagues.  we are not getting critical thinkers or articulate promoters of the Gospel for leadership in the Church in the United States.  We deserve a better quality of leadership and need to demand that,  meantime, just ignore these people, say your prayers, practice works of charity, and keep coming to Mass and communion 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/INEN5H5PKE32QEF4QAV4EWYFIQ Hur

    I am Protestant with a capital P.  Nine of the worst hours of my life were spent sitting next to a Catholic Priest on his way to visit the Vatican.

    I was actually traveling with my boyfriend and we were supposed to be seated together.  Unfortunately, to the airline, “together” meant that he was across the aisle and half a row up.  The priest, on arrival to our aisle, noticing that we were discussing how to negotiate the separation, asked if we were married.  When I said no, he smugly sat down in the window seat — and proceeded to harangue me for the entire flight on my marital status (why wasn’t I married since I was clearly over twenty) and my lack of children (again, since I was clearly over twenty).

    Being a good little Protestant, I was traveling with my Bible in my under-the seat bag.  I spent the entire time exposing him to scripture he had obviously never read, about everything from Paul’s statements about different people having different gifts to his advice not to marry.

    I also showed him Christ’s statements about there being “woe to women who are with child” when the end times come.

    I don’t think I changed his mind one jot about his clear belief that I was inferior as a woman and, despite being of a religion that explicitly forbids me to take advice from someone my church regards as apostate, his absolute conviction that he had a right to exercise power over me.  I do think I ashamed and exhausted him with the fact that he was so ignorant of God’s word.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I have never been so thankful that I have a hearing impairment as I am reading your statement. Being able to truthfully deny being able to hear worth a crap on an airplane has probably saved me hours of agony from at least one person.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/INEN5H5PKE32QEF4QAV4EWYFIQ Hur

    I hope that you do not think from my statement that I would have behaved that way with you (or anyone else): one of the tenants of my denomination (yes, there ARE Protestants who believe that faith is a deeply personal issue) is that I am never to denigrate someone who follows a different path. (They shall know we are Christians by our love is the best I can come to describing my normal inclinations).

    That was actually what made the trip so painful; being constantly put down, belittled, and minimized while having, as my only armor, a book that that priest was supposed to claim he followed too.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I was talking about the asshole of a Bishop, PS.

    Your estimable self, I would think it more pleasant to chat with. If I could hear on airplanes. :)

  • Kaleberg

    Hunter Thompson once described the Roman Catholic church as two thousand years of vengeance. One big draw of Christianity in its early outlaw days was that it provided the sacrament of marriage to slaves who were not allowed to marry under Roman law. It seems that the church considers turn around fair play.

  • Kaleberg

    Hunter Thompson once described the Roman Catholic church as two thousand years of vengeance. One big draw of Christianity in its early outlaw days was that it provided the sacrament of marriage to slaves who were not allowed to marry under Roman law. It seems that the church considers turn around fair play.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    [16] You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?
    [17] So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit.
    [18] A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

    Matthew 7, Revised Standard Version.

    I don’t need to know the intimate details of the logical and rhetorical sophistry the Catholic Church uses with the public or with its members.

    What I do know, and care about, are the ultimate results:

    – An entire hierarchy bent on succouring and protecting an entire cohort of priests who have grievously abused the trust of the children and adolescents in their care
    – A hierarchy which has promulgated socially hidebound and conservative philosophy and ideals, particularly with respect to QUILTBAG people*
    – A hierarchy which embodies all the dogmatism and stiff-necked refusal to change in the person of the Pope elected to follow John Paul II. A liberal South American Cardinal was touted as the front runner favorite, only to have Pope fucking Rat elected instead.

    Their fruits have fallen and the fruits are moldy and rotten. I do not care for or respect a Roman Catholic’s frocks. You know what I feel when I see a Roman Catholic priest or higher-up? The grossest, creepiest vibe I can possibly get off another human being.

    That’s my first reaction.

    Why?

    I think it should be obvious. People here who expect me to disregard all that in favor of ~understanding the arguments~ – no, I will not do that. As one of the aggrieved parties in this power structure I am not required to succour the powerful at the expense of the powerless.

    —-

    * As I have repeated before, the anger from queer people in particular against Pope John Paul II was so palpable that I, and many others, fucking cheeered when that old bastard finally kicked the bucket.

    When a person is so hated that people dance on his grave, you might stop to wonder if having him, or a carbon copy, in charge is a good idea.

  • P J Evans

     The impression I get from the RC hierarchy of the last thirty years is that every single one of them seems to have spent their entire life in a bubble where no other religions exist, nor does democracy, or any rights for anyone who isn’t male. And I wonder how that happened, because there are very few places where all those are true at the same time.

  • Ross Thompson

    The impression I get from the RC hierarchy of the last thirty years is that every single one of them seems to have spent their entire life in a bubble where no other religions exist, nor does democracy, or any rights for anyone who isn’t male. And I wonder how that happened, because there are very few places where all those are true at the same time.

    Vatican City?

  • P J Evans

     Ratzy taught at a university for a while, in Germany. He has to have been exposed to the real world enough to know the difference.(For that matter, JPII was from Poland. He had to have gotten a clue sometime.)

  • Ross Thompson

    Maybe. I always thought the consensus was that he just invented Atlantis out of whole cloth; it only seems to have been since the 19th Century that people have taken the idea that there was a real Atlantis seriously.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RHUMQ3XSZFH2A5HYRR4YC6BYMQ gregorys

    the RCC has always been about being fruitful and multiplying. Of course the Virgin is held up as an example so the laity can be completely confused. Poor people have little money for entertainment, diversions, food or housing but they’re free to make babies. If the church tells them this is a good thing then the poor appreciate the encouragement.
    St. Augustine had hoped for conception without pleasure. When invitro conception came along the church was blown out of the water. I’ve not heard of the church refusing to baptize the product of invitro or refusing communion to a woman pregnant from that proceedure

  • AnonymousSam

    Psalm 127:3-5, on the other hand, does get used as reasoning to have as many children as feasible. Just google “quiverfull.”

  • Lois

    This argument – gay marriage means loss of religious freedom – was made for years in Canada, while gay marriage was before the courts. An argument making the rounds on radio call-in shows around the same time: including gays in hate speech legislation means loss of freedom of speech and freedom of religion for churches, as it will put a chill on teaching that homosexuality is a sin and abberation (which they still can keep teaching, as long as they’re not telling parisioners to go out and eradicate a few gays for Jesus).

    Both passed a decade ago, and churches seem to be alive and well.


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