Canon law, gay marriage and Andrew Cuomo

Canon law, gay marriage and Andrew Cuomo June 26, 2011

“(New York Governor Andrew) Cuomo’s concubinage gives prominent bad example against marriage, but his official actions in regard to “gay marriage” have changed the very definition of marriage in the populous state under his care; Cuomo’s living arrangements are of immediate canonical concern to only two of New York’s eight arch/bishops, but his political actions in regard to ‘gay marriage’ negatively impact the pastoral mission of every Catholic bishop, parish priest, deacon, and lay minister throughout the Province of New York; finally, while most of the bishops of New York said little or nothing about Cuomo’s living with a woman not his wife, his long-standing actions in regard to ‘gay marriage’ were challenged repeatedly, directly, and forcefully by the Archbishop of New York and by all his seven suffragans.

In light of the foregoing, I see no way, absent a public reversal of his public conduct, that Andrew Cuomo may present himself for holy Communion (per Canon 916), and, if he does present himself, I see no way that a minister of holy Communion may administer the sacrament to him (per Canon 915). Indeed, the only question in my mind is whether the ordinaries of New York should lift from the shoulders of individual ministers the burden of reaching this decision, by making a determination to this effect themselves and, assuming they do reach this conclusion, whether they should announce it publicly or in a personal letter to Cuomo. (Personally, I think a public announcement more befits the markedly public character of Cuomo’s conduct and responds better to the danger of scandal presented to the faithful by his actions).”

— Canon lawyer Edward Peters

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46 responses to “Canon law, gay marriage and Andrew Cuomo”

  1. Nice going deacon. I hope the Bishops come to the decision, and soon too that Andrew Cuomo has definitely removed himself permanently, for now, from the state of grace required for the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is the responsibility of the bishops to hand down this prohibition and publicly too.

  2. When I started reading this, I thought perhaps it had come from Archbishop Dolan. Scrolling a bit, I see it’s just Ed (“no sex for deacons”) Peters. We need a definitive word of some kind on the crucial role Catholic politicians played in enacting a policy that the Church insists is seriously harmful to the common good–indeed, serious harmful to civilization itself. I don’t know if the definitive word is the one Ed Peters proposes. However, if the only response is “Don’t expect to speak at our next grade-school graduation,” the bishops will have failed us big-time.

  3. Be it ever thus–money corrupts and big money corrupts absolutely.
    Here in Ma. Gay leaders even bragged on the front page of the Boston Globe about their biggest problem being keeping legislators bought so that the people could be barred from voting on the marriage issue. No wonder the last three Speakers of the House are now convicted felons.
    And now the NY Times tells us that a cabal of millionaires provided the necessary leverage (bribes?) to debase marriage.
    Irony of ironies abound. 90% of the pro Gay “marriage” vote came from Democrats in a narrowly divided Senate. But Republicans have a sparse majority, so only a very few Republicans had to be “flipped” to get Gay “marriage” passed.But to read the media coverage you would think it was 90% of Republicans who voted against traditional marriage–more typical pro-Gay spin on the news.

  4. The majority of New Yorkers are Catholics as are many of the politicians who voted for this bill.

    Either their parishes have failed them miserably on why the institution of marriage is between one man and one woman or liberal victim politics trumps traditional values.

    Mark my words, this opens the flood gates to polygamy and other non-traditional marriages.

    Since marriage is a ‘right’ as the liberals like to use say, you then can’t deny marriage to other groups.

    I don’t where they got that line of reasoning. But the media buys it and its preached on Oprah, Dr. Phil, and every other prime time show. Marriage is a privilege. I just can’t marry my daughter or sister.

  5. Re: Phil A. #4

    “Mark my words, this opens the flood gates to polygamy and other non-traditional marriages.”

    And, of course you are totally ignorant of the fact that RC Bishops and Priests ignore polygamous marriages when they find them among lay folk when they work as missionaries in Africa ?

  6. I find it ironic that our governor, who labored tirelessly to ensure marriage “equality” for strangers has failed to provide the same dignity for himself and his girlfriend. Although a civil marriage between him and his girlfriend would not be valid or canonically correct, it would at least, entitle him and his girlfriend to the same legal rights and privileges that soon will be enjoyed by same-sex couples.

  7. ron chandonia, if you would like to comment on the clerical continence debate (and I doubt that is why Dcn Greg opened this thread on ‘gay marriage’), at least keep upon the conversation, say, here: as is obvious, my well-grounded position on clerical continence applies a fortiori to priests.

    phil a., you have hit on one of the logical extremes to which the legalization of ‘gay marriages’ leaves us vulnerable, but i write now only to say, I don’t know what ‘fiegenholt’ is talking about. A glance at Canon 1148, let alone at the multi-century history behind that norm, should dispel any myths that Catholic clergy “ignore” polygamous marriages among pagans, in Africa or anywhere else.

  8. I agree with Phil #4′ s comments: “Mark my words, this opens the flood gates to polygamy and other non-traditional marriages.” I think it is just a matter of time before legislation is enacted declaring the insistence upon monogamy in a marriage to be unconstitutional, because it is an infringement upon the religious freedoms of those whose faiths permit or even encourage, polygamy.

  9. Re: ed peters #8

    “A glance at Canon 1148, let alone at the multi-century history behind that norm, should dispel any myths that Catholic clergy “ignore” polygamous marriages among pagans, in Africa or anywhere else”

    Pay attention to what I have written carefully. I never said that it was not covered in Canon Law. I simply said that missionary Bishops and Priests ignore polygamous marriages when they find the among pagans. . and I stand on that statement.

  10. The teaching is clear but does Ed Peters have to stoop to conquer by using the word “concubinage” so early in the piece?

    Is the esteemed Peters more interested in light or heat? It would seem the latter; I expect more from someone of his stature. This is the vitriol of the more base elements and sadly it engages anger and despair.

    Nice way to re-member the Body of Christ on the very feast day. This further demeans and does not build up anyone.

  11. So early in what piece, FRS?

    This controversy has gone on for several months. Perhaps you have not followed it. For a recap, see, esp. the following:

    “As a general rule of Catholic morality, men and women are not supposed to live together without benefit of matrimony. See Catechism of the Catholic Church 2390-2391. The specific form of cohabitation in this case, to use the term proper to Church law and moral theology, is concubinage. It is a ‘lifestyle’ quite well-known to human history.

    To judge from the uproar, however, that greeted my use of the technical word concubinage, one would have thought that I had accused New York’s first couple of something more exotic than, well, concubinage. Few commentators were familiar with the term, and many ascribed vaguely meretricious connotations to it (ironic, considering that prostitution does not give rise to concubinage under canon law).”

  12. In the Gospels, when Jesus encountered figures like Ed Peters, those people usually didn’t end up looking very good.

    Just sayin’.

  13. I find it difficult to reconcile all of these comments, and particularly the criticisms of Cuomo and others, with so much hypocrisy underlying many of the concerns expressed. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about Catholics who are unmarried and living together, men who devalue women, those who profess tolerance yet convey anger and bigotry, or many other behaviors that are inconsistent with the sermons I hear each week. I can’t even begin to speak knowledgeably, competently, or openly about the pedophelia issue that is yet unresolved and, in my opinion being whitewashed. Meanwhile, the hyper-criticism over these other issues continues. The NY law allows for religious exceptions and protections from lawsuits, and from having to have to recognize gay marriage. Does this not provide a live-and-let live middle ground where we can all hold our own values, respect each other, and let our relationship with God determine the goodness or sin of our individual behaviors? We are throwing stones and I can’t help but feel that almost none of the faithful or devout whom I know have their own houses in order sufficiently to do so. This continues to trouble me and the tone of these conversations, op-eds, and comments.

  14. When Cuomo and his live-in hubba-hubba showed up for his inauguration Mass without benefit of marriage, it did not deter Bishop Hubbard from giving them both the Eucharist at a televised Mass. Maybe Cuomo’s signing of the gay marriage will now motivate Hubbard to ban cameras from the sacristy. Only Dolan may have the moral testosterone to do what must be done at some point. There are other “Catholic” politicians like Cuomo out there. And apparently they will sign anything if votes will result.

  15. Regina makes a good point. They call it the”slippery slope” for a reason. The state has essentially said that it has no authority to regulate marriage.

    If I were a member of a polygamous sect, I would immediately, if not sooner file suit. How can that not be legitimate but homosexual marriage be legitimate. Then, what would be next. It would seem that the age restrictions for marriage should be after that. And, why not marriage between other species?

  16. Dr. Peters,

    When you said:

    “I see no way that a minister of holy Communion may administer the sacrament to him (per Canon 915)”

    does this include Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Eucharist?

    If so, how does one actually do this? What i mean is that; shouldn’t there be some kind of directive from clergy (like the parish pastor) to direct an extraordinary minister to deny communion to Mr. Cuomo (or anyone else for that matter)?

    Can a lay person really make that kind of call with their own discernment? It seems to me, that the priest should be telling ministers to deny communion in these particular cases.

    To be honest, this is the reason why I have not become an extraordinary minister in my own parish. I simply do not want the burden of having to wade through this and the moral responsibility it then puts on me.

    I would welcome your comments.

    Thank you,

    Dan S

  17. Dr. Peters, while I am very familiar with you and while I pray for you often, I am afraid that I do not read your work often enough to know how often or early you use such terminology. With all due respect intended, I lack the time and the stomach for such reading.

    What I object to, to be very clear, is the use of a word that does nothing to show the dignity of every human person, and that would include actual concubines. It would seem to me that as an attorney, you do not use words lightly. It seems, although I could be very wrong, you seem to use this term quite deliberately to make a point. And what point are you making? And to whom?

    Despite not being a canon lawyer, I am very familiar with the law regarding men and women cohabitating outside of the bounds of marriage; I observed this law myself prior to my own marriage.

    While you might argue and correctly so, that breaking this law does not uphold the dignity of the human person, you do nothing to further such dignity with your words. I know that you are a very smart man, highly intelligent and greatly schooled.

    Our Lord Jesus was kind to women from all walks of life – Samaritans, prostitutes, women who due to bodily affliction should not have come near Him, let alone touch Him. I am wondering how you reconcile Jesus’ behavior with your own.

    The letter of the law is essential, but without love – and St. Paul is exceedingly clear about this – it is but a clanging gong. The letter of the law and the spirit of the law are both essential and I must somehow be at a deficit to not see how you connect the two.

  18. Mr. Cuomo will always find a willing person to give him communion regardless, that is the condition of the Church today.

    Unfortunately most people seem to think the Canon Law is academic and what really matters is the “heart” and do what you “feel” is right.

    And yes, Mr. Cuomo is living in concubinage, and the term does not violate any human dignity, it simply describes the state of persons living together without formalizing their union either by a civil marriage or a religious ceremony. Seems that Mr. Cuomo is reluctant to full commitment.

    Yes Christ ministered to sinners (of we all form part), but the whole purpose of his ministry is to change minds and hearts to repentance and acceptance of the Kingdom of God, which means changing our old ways and living in accordance to the will of God.

    Repent and be converted for the Kingdom of God is at hand. I have never read “become my follower and then do whatever you want and seems right to you”. We all fall short of the mark, but that does mean that we give up trying and do whatever we please, well at least if we want to call ourselves Catholic.

    Of course we have the entire liberty of doing what we want and live our lives as we see fit, God granted us freedom of will. But let’s not kid ourselves and think we can do that and fool God into playing “Catholic” while we do what we please.

  19. Dan S, yes, extraordinary ministers can be called upon to make these calls, see near the bottom, which is why I have suggested that the bishops of New York make a common determination, precisely to relieve emhcs from that duty.

    FRS, do you not recognize my response exactly to this point about your post, that you seem more upset with the word than with the practice? I invented neither the word nor the practice, but i use the former correctly to identify the latter. Cuomo has been described in some pretty ghastly ways of offenses he has not committed, but that is no reason for others to avoid, in legal writing for crying out loud, the legally accurate description of his situations.

  20. Thank you, Ed Peters, for your expert evaluation.

    And thank you Dcn Kandra for posting this.

    @ Fiergenholt,
    Carefully paying attention to what you have written, (or are you simply saying you have written it carefully???- which frankly, does not seem to be the case), I am trying to discern your point. When you write “that missionary Bishops and Priests ignore polygamous marriages when they find the (sic) among pagans,” do you mean to say that these bishops and priests allow this practice to Catholics among pagans or that they say nothing to the majority pagan society? Do you mean to say that they should be reprimanded and disciplined for saying nothing? Are you saying the silent bishops there are like the silent bishops here? I doubt you are saying they have actually promoted legislation to promote polygamy. Instead, it seems they merely tolerate and habitual vice until the society is evangelized. But what is the point of your cryptic comment and snarky response to Mr. Peters which fails to provide important contextual details?

  21. Those who argue the slippery slope will lead to polygamy are correct, I believe. But, it may take a longer time.

    Muslims practice it, and there are many Mormons who would perhaps want to restore it.

    They will only have difficulty because they don’t have the funding of the gay propoganda machine nor the media backing to convince Pontius Pilates in public office.

    On a separate note, I wonder what the deacons think about phasing out clergy becoming state licensed for marriages. Since the state now mocks the institution by redefining it, why not have the couple just sign a public document in city hall and then the couple could come to Church for the real marriage.
    This may cause many new problems, but it would be a very symbolic move.
    Perhaps it merits a discussion?

  22. Bruce T, it might take a longer time, but if comparisons with past examples of social deterioration are apposite, unravelling goes more quickly once the first thread is loosed, not less.

    Bruce T, and Dcn. G, okay, do think about it, but careful. This is tied up with the wider canonical form question and might take us in the opposite direction that I, for one (tho I am hardly alone) think we eventually need to head.

  23. The Church objects to marriage between homosexuals as a violation of Natural Law. Let us recall that the Church brought heresy charges in 1615 at the Roman Inquisition against Galileo for violating Natural Law by supporting the Heliocentric view of astronomy propounded by Copernicus (that the Earth revolved around the Sun, proven to be scientific fact, of course, and later accepted by the Church). So when the Church is proven to be wrong about homosexuality by the increasingly well developed science of human sexuality (the fact is that sexual orientation is not a choice, but a biologically determined fact for the vast majority of people, and thus a matter of God’s choice in creating life), what will Ed Peters say then?

  24. Every book I have ever read about St. Augustine of Hippo calls the woman (never named) with whom he cohabited faithfully for over 13 years and with whom he had a son, a CONCUBINE. She had to be dismissed as a condition of his legal betrothal to a very young, Milanese noblewoman. Most scholars say that it was a committed relationship based more on love than lust. In his Confessions he claims that she had been “torn from his side” and that his heart had a wound that would never be healed. I have read some commentators who think that that his expression, “torn from his side” is an allusion to the Genesis story of the creation of Eve from Adam’s side. They claim that he believed the relationship was a true marriage, if not in the legal sense. By the way, he returned to Africa and vowed herself to continence, as did Augustine after his conversion.

    In “Augustine through the Ages: an Encyclopedia” edited by Alan Fitzgerald, O.S.A., there is a fine explanation of concubinage in Roman law, from which, I understand, the Catholic Church’s Canon Law is derived. Marriage was strictly regulated as to who could marry whom in Roman society and concubinage was regarded as respectable.

    I suspect that in our Western society the term, concubinage, connotes all sorts of images of oriental potentates with hundreds of concubines, à la “The King and I.”

  25. ‘Peter’ asks “what will Ed Peters say then?” Ed Peters will chuckle at such amateurish misreadings of historical record, and then he will say that heliocentrism has nothing to do with the modern use of the term “natural law”. Nothing.

    HMS, that’s pretty much my understanding too. Concubinage does not exclude love, but it is always recognized as a NON-matrimonial relationship. WHY the couple does not marry depends on many things, but that they are NOT married is incontestable.

  26. So Ed you deny that the Church formerly maintained that the Sun orbited the Earth, and that to state the contrary was heresy? I think that you are willfully ignoring the historical record, so that you may avoid addressing a deeply disturbing (to you at least) fact: that the Church has been “dead wrong” before on matters that involve the intersection of scientific fact and faith, and in my view, will be proven wrong on the question of the origin of sexual identity.

    And by the way, it is far more “amateruish” to respond with ad hominen attacks when a reasoned, detailed, historically accurate response would be called for.

    But of course you cannot provide one. I know that.

  27. Peter,

    Dr. Ed Peters can certainly defend himself, but I think you are struggling to put a square peg into a round hole. Natural Law has absolutely nothing to do with the Galileo affair. You accuse him of ad hominem, yet ignore that your example really makes no sense in the first place.

    I really don’t see the reason why there is so much negativity toward Dr. Peters. If one disagrees with him, fine. However, one can still disagree and have good faith and rational discussion. Bringing the Galileo matter doesn’t add anything to the discussion.

  28. Thx, Dan S. I gave an honest answer to ‘Peter’ (I really did chuckle when I read the claim!) and then I pointed out that heliocentrism has nothing to do with natural law (and yes, I felt a bit silly even having to point that out). Now I will simply say, it’s errant nonsense to think that Galileo was prosecuted for violating natural law, and the claim that Cuomo’s situation has anything whatsoever to do with heresy is groundless. As for challenging me to provide a “reasoned, detailed, historically accurate response” to everything ‘Peter’ has alleged, well, my “reasoned, detailed, historically accurate” research and writing time is booked rather far in advance. People should do a little reading on their own before asking others to explain/defend XYZ to them, or not, if they think they already understand a given topic sufficiently. Their own lights are best, there.

  29. John V.

    Bishop Hubbard is “home” and he is doubtless more than aware of Cuomo’s actions. But he isn’t going to do squat about Cuomo unless Archbishop Dolan counsels him to do so–and maybe not then, either.

    Hubbard doesn’t want to add to the discomfort of kind folk like FRS who is miffed at Ed Peters for calling cohabitation concubinage.

    Maybe this is a case where the Black Sheep Dog will bark and wake everyone up. But the Black Sheep Dog was suspended due to allegations, wasn’t he.

    What Cuomo does, he does in public–and despite his disregard for Church teaching, he takes his live-in girl friend to receive the Eucharist.

    In my old neighborhood, that would be called mooning the clergy. Or worse.

  30. Peter, oddly enough it was the Church that was practicing the scientific method, not Galileo. He did not have the scientific data to prove his hypothesis. The technology did not yet exist to prove it.

    Galileo was censured not for saying the earth revolves around the sun–other Catholic scientists including a priest had the same hypothesis with no repercussions. The problem was he was presenting an unproven hypothesis as scientific fact and demanding that the Church make changes based on his hunch. His general hunch was correct–but science did prove parts of his hypothesis wrong.

    Natural Law theory is an ethical philosophy not a hard science. I don’t think a hard science could prove or disprove an ethical philosophy wrong even if it tried.

  31. @Peter

    Even if it could be proved homosexual orientation is due to biological factors it is false to ascribe this to God. God creates the soul which informs the matter that becomes the human body. But, God allows secondary causes to constitute human matter of the body. Thus, there are illnesses in various parts, including the brain.
    Now, in a fallen world, matter is subject to corruption and “rebellion.” God does not make people gay. It is the effects of original sin. Gay’s may or may not be responsible for their orientation, but they are responsible with how they deal with it. God is certainly not responsible for the orientation and it is a fallacious argument which ascribes it to him..
    Remember, it was only after the sexual revolution that there was a reclassification of homosexuality as not being a disorder by the medical profession in the 1970’s.
    There was no basis for this. It was pure agenda.
    According to their and your logic, you should all claim that all fetsihes, alcoholism, mental retardation, and every other psychological disturbance which seems to have a biological cause as the will of God. However, the Church would call that blasphemy. God allows physical natural events to take their course. He doesn’t directly cause them. And yet he is present to us to help us overcome them, if we want to.

  32. @ Peter

    Pro-homosexual activist also never prove why redefining marriage benefits society.

    Society as a whole is not interested in subjective feelings of love for one person for the other. It is interested in having family units which can produce new citizens. Homosexuals naturally cannot produce new citizens.

    All pro-redefining marriage people’s rhetoric is about their subjective “love.” They want to force everyone to accept their private love of their naturally fruitless relationship. From an objective viewpoint, the “married” relationship of homosexuals contributes absolutely nothing to societal good.

    Redefining marriage is bad as a government policy. It presupposes that might makes right. It presupposes that government can redefine reality and create rights out of thin air – and perhaps also redefine them away! Meanwhile, the “rights” argument was bogus propoganda. Gays had the right to marry, as long as they married according to the definition of marriage. The whole effort was a sham using the name “rights” to appeal to sentimentality and deceive people of little intellectual depth.

    As seen from posters, pro-homosexual activists also make false claims about God to push their agenda, but hypocritically exclude appeals to God from the opposing side which depends traditional marriage.

  33. Actually Rick, heliocentrism had been proven as a scientific theory at the time of Galileo’s trial, it simply was not accepted by the Church, among some others. To call it a “hunch”, given the historical record of the observations of planetary movements that existed by 1615, is simply idiotic. The precusor to the modern telescope had been invented and was in active use, resulting the observations of planetary movement that proved the theorem. And you are incorrect to state that Galileo was subject to the trial for not following the scientific method. That’s quite a whopper on your part, but it certainly qualifies as an unabashed attempt at revisionist history. No, Galileo was a very prominent proponet of the theory, which, in the view of the Church, upset the established teaching about the centrality of man, and Earth, in the order of God’s creation (the “natural order”). I will admit that I should have used the lower case to refer to natural law in that context, for it is distinct from the Natural Law theory used by the Church to support its position againt homosexuals marrying.

    The point that you and Ed strenously evade, however, is that the Church has been forced to change its teachings in recognition of factual or scientific error on her part more than once. I believe that the scientific evidence regarding human sexuality, both extant and in progress, is compelling proof of the Church’s error in this regard. You and Ed will ignore that evidence, as you believe you must. I will not.

  34. Having a really hard time posting on this blog. Keep getting this error message:

    “Hmmm, your comment seems a bit spammy. We’re not real big on spam around here.

    Please go back and try again.”

    Just a few sentences without any links.

  35. @ Bruce T.
    If marriage is about creating new citizens, shouldn’t the Church act to prevent postmenopausal women and anyone who is infertile from marrying as well? So the Church should act to pass laws (or at least preach against) old people getting married.

    Also, I have heard it argued that gay marriage is actually in the public interest, since it encourages gay couples to live in committed, monogamous relationships, rather than, say, find random partners at gay bars. By extension this would lead to a decrease in the spread of disease, as well as contribute to the emotional stability of the couple (as well as mean that the relationship would be less focused on exploiting others as sex objects). Also, financially I hear there are benefits to marriage, which benefit the state, and by extension would mean that the more married couples you have (gay or straight) the better for everyone. All invalid?

    @ Peter
    I think perhaps a better example than the somewhat dubious one of Galileo (which was really all about renaissance patronage; “Galileo Courtier”) would be the teachings about usury, which was considered a sin in the middle ages and then, voila, suddenly was OK as long as it didn’t go above 4%. So my understanding is that Church teaching on an issue of morality has changed quite dramatically at least once in the past. (Ed Peters: Am I characterizing the history there incorrectly?)

  36. They should throw Cuomo, Pelosi, Biden, Seth Williams, Maureen Dowd, and all the other disloyal Catholics who attack our religion, out of the Church. Drive them out, like Jesus did to the theives in the temple. Time to clean house. You have too many in this faith who show up at Christmas, weddings and funerals, don’t do a lick of charity, constantly bad mouth our Faith, and question the authority Church teachings. Who needs them?

  37. God wants them + they don’t want God + Free Will = Hades? (to give it a not so horrible sounding name).

  38. @Peregrinus

    I said, “Society as a whole is not interested in subjective feelings of love for one person for the other. It is interested in having family units which can produce new citizens. Homosekuals naturally cannot produce new citizens.”

    I meant to explain how marriage serves society. I did not say that procreation is the sum total of marriage according to the Church. The Catholic doctrine of marriage is rich and goes much deeper involving the notions of conjugal fidelity until death which serves the procreation of new life and the complementarity of the seckes in educating children who recognize themselves as flesh of their flesh. Marriage also helps a man and woman get to heaven according to Catholic teaching.

    Again, my point was that society’s main interest in marriage seems to be to produce new citizens in an stable environment wherein these children can later do the same. The homosexual argument that their homosexual love deserves to be recognized by society is sheer nonesense and an imposition of their private beliefs on others.

    As to the Church, it has a deeper understanding because of Revelation. It does not forbid the infertile from marriage (but it does forbid those who cannot perform the conjugal act because it does not divorce the spiritual and physical aspects -the natural union of bodies (which is potentially fruitful) symbolizes the vows already made), because infertility is not an intrinsic defect of nature.
    Infertility is a disease or failing of the body which would otherwise be intrinsically able to conceive. If all things were healthy, it would not be a problem. Homosexual couples however have an intrinsic defect toward procreation. There is absolutely no potentiality for procreation in their embraces.

    You may have heard redefining marriage encourages committed relationships, but it is a hypotehtical argument. It is also disingenuous (and at worse hypocritical) because most gayl propogandists say the government must stay out of the bedroom. So, it is hypocritical to say the government must both not condemn but at the same time sanction gay relationships.

    In any case, the scene you describe is pretty pathetic. You seem to be saying that if gays don’t have the government’s sanction they will go cruising around bars. Are the gays you know such that they are exploitative and need the government’s approval to be “committed” to those they claim to love? Will the government’s sanction magically make exploitative people monogamous?

    I would argue that allowing the supposed authority to govermnet to arbitrarily redefine the reality and inherent purpose of marriage does more harm to the common good than an hypotehtical benefits from privileging intrinsically fruitless relationships that only serves the private desires of individuals and not the common good.

  39. @ Peregrinus

    About usury, the Church’s teaching “changed” or rather organically developed because money and the economy – unlike human nature – changed at the rise of nation states, big banking, and insurance of trading ventures.
    In the biblical, ancient, and medieval periods money was not “productive.” When it became productive, interest became permitted to a degree. However, interest over a certain limit is usury.

  40. I fail to understand how the Catholic Church can criticize and punish Catholics and others who support same-sex marriage while protecting and supporting pedophiles who’ve made it through the priestly initiation rituals.

    It strikes me that the Church has lost most (if not all) of its moral authority to rail against anything. All of this arguing by church authorities is equivalent to deciding how many angels can dance on the head of pin and whether household pets have souls.

  41. @Davis,
    You are either a Donatist or a Protestant becaause you believe that human sin can destroy the authority of the Church to teach.
    The Church’s authority comes from Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit to teach on matters of faith and morals. Even if every human member lives an unholy life, the truth would not be changed. Our belief is that bishops must teach and defend the Church’s traditional teaching. The message gets its authority from Chris and the Holy SPirit, not from the fallible human being.

    Now, for your information, Mr. Peters is not a “church authority” in the proper sense. He is an expert canon lawyer, but is offering an opinion. Moreover, there are many laymembers of the Church who are not authorities who want their authorities (i.e. the bishops) to not only teach correctly but act correctly.

    But, you offer a ridiculous solution. According to you, because some priests have done great evil and some bishops have covered it up, you have a right to become a bigot and declare the whole Church has lost authority. God help you if any member of your family has commited or will commit a crime. According to your logic you yourself should lose your voice and all credibility as an upright citizen!

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