(This is a re-posting of something seen on this page a few weeks ago. After I published this, here, first, I revised this, with the help of reader comments, among others. I wasn't going to re-post it, except a staff member urged me to. This was actually distributed to parishioners the first weekend of September.)
Recently, the legislature and governor of New York changed the definition of marriage, to apply to people of the same sex. In recent years, this has been at issue in several states, and in many state courts—and it may come before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Catholic Church opposes this redefinition of marriage. As a result, we’ve been criticized as against “progress” and even called bigots. Because this is so often cast as a question of “rights,” we may wonder why the Church teaches what she does.
Let me briefly explain what the Church teaches and why it matters.
First, a surprise: our stance is not based on religion; marriage existed before anyone wrote the first words of the Bible. Marriage arises from human nature itself. Human beings are designed to come together and make a family. This is part of being human and obviously necessary. Marriage is important to the well being of us all.
What’s the harm?
Still, many will say, “So what? Why not just change the law to accommodate the wishes of those who don’t fit this mold? What’s the harm in that?”
Here are four areas of concern:
1. This is a power-grab by government. This is a fundamental change in the whole of society being imposed by the government. To a great degree, we all must go along with it. We teach our children to respect the laws. Laws express the common values of society.
The Archbishop of New York asked a question we can all ask: Who gave the government the right to do this? Redefining marriage means redefining family and ultimately what it means to be human. This is social engineering.
2. This strikes at the peace and cohesion of society. A society isn’t just a collection of individuals, but a community with shared values. People often say, “we shouldn’t impose our values.” But there’s no avoiding it; this is what laws do—they reflect shared values and “impose” expectations on all of us.
What’s happening is new values are being imposed on all of us already. Consider…
> In 2004, the supreme court of Massachusetts redefined marriage to include same-sex unions; a 2005 law changed how “family” was viewed by the state. The Catholic Church, long involved in adoptions, was told that if it deemed only a man and a woman as “family,” that would be illegal “discrimination.” The Church stopped referring for adoptions, rather than comply. Something similar has happened in Washington, D.C.
> In California, the state now mandates public schools teach “gay history” beginning in kindergarten. Where is this leading? What will this mean in practice? Will this affect textbooks or other programs made available to Catholic schools?
> In Canada, we might see a glimpse of our future. A Protestant pastor was charged with a “hate crime” in 2002 when he wrote a letter to the editor saying homosexual acts are sinful. After a lengthy court process, and much expense, he was finally cleared. This was not an isolated incident; it happened to the Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Calgary.
3. Marriage and family are not merely private matters—society rests on this foundation as surely as our homes rest on their foundations. Can anyone seriously argue it has been good for our society in recent years to have marriage become fragile, to have children grow up in broken homes, or grow up without both parents married at all?
4. This is reckless tampering. In recent years, we are better appreciating the importance of treating our ecology with respect. It is complex system which we don’t fully understand; but we are realizing better that polluting water and air, and not respecting the climate, wetlands, and endangered species can ultimately threaten our future.
And yet, politicians are re-engineering marriage and family. As Catholic writer Mark Shea observes, “what can it hurt?” will eventually be followed by, “how were we supposed to know?”
This raises a much broader question:
What does our Faith say about same-sex attraction?
We don’t fully know why some people (1-5% from various studies) experience this attraction. For some, it is a phase, for others it’s deep-seated. Some feel an exclusive attraction, but others don’t. Some try to change and do, but not all. Coming to grips with this at a young age can be very difficult. Some never share this, others are open about it.
Sadly, teasing, cruelty and rejection take a terrible toll. Some young people go through awful trials, and make rash decisions with life-long or even fatal consequences. A lot of folks have serious soul-searching to do about attitudes and behavior toward gay people.
The truth is, our family and friends who wrestle with these feelings ask the same questions we all ask: who am I? Why did God make me? How do I fit in his plan?
The answers—for everyone—are: We are made in God’s image. God made us to know, love and serve him in this life, to be happy with him in the next. We spend our lives discovering our particular vocation, but we are all part of his plan.
Did God make me this way?
Many say this same-sex attraction comes from God. But can we really say that?
People have all kinds of sexual feelings or desires. Will we say every one of them is likewise “God given”—simply because people experience them? Throughout history, faithfulness in marriage has always been a challenge; and people have seriously claimed that they can’t help being unfaithful. Is being unfaithful also “God-given”?
Whether we look at what nature tells us about human sexuality, or what Scripture and Christian tradition say, the answer is the same: that human sexuality is meant for a permanent union of a man and woman, with procreation an inseparable part of this union.
This is why our Faith has always taught that sex before and outside of marriage (including by oneself and porn), and marital acts involving contraception or sterilization, or which deliberately exclude procreation, are all gravely sinful.
Do I matter to God?
Maybe what we’re trying to say is something different: that whoever we are, God loves us. We have worth and dignity. That is true!
Nothing in our Faith allows us to demean or devalue anyone, for any reason. If we’ve ever treated anyone that way, that is a sin on our part. When we present our beliefs about the meaning of human sexuality and the call to chastity, this isn’t to be “anti” anyone.
As Christians, we believe two things that apply here: that human beings are broken and wounded, because of Original Sin; and that Christ, who died to save us, gives us grace to become new people. Having same-sex feelings is just one form of brokenness.
Facing our own brokenness, and bringing it to Christ, are essential to our salvation. Many people can say, “why did this happen to me?” Many people face life long struggles and shame. Christ accepts us where he finds us, but loves us too much to leave us there.
The virtue of chastity
Jesus said, “Take up your cross.” Why did he say it? Maybe because he knew there’s no other way to become truly human.
Our culture ridicules chastity. A lot of heterosexual folks, even Christians, do not embrace chastity themselves; so it seems unfair to ask it of those with same-sex desires.
So, a reminder: Christ calls everyone to chastity, not just some.
Married people are called to be chaste in their relations with each other and with others. This, along with the dying to self that comes in marriage and family, is costly.
Some heterosexuals find they can’t make marriage work. They either attempt it and it ends badly; or they never marry. They also find chastity hard.
And our Lord specifically called some to be chaste for his Kingdom—which is what brothers, sisters and priests do.
We might recall the words of G.K. Chesterton: “The Christian ideal hasn’t been tried and found wanting; it’s been found difficult and not tried.” No one can seriously claim our culture is too “pushy” about chastity and self-control. Just the opposite: what we experience from all sides is the celebration of not just lust, but greed, gluttony, materialism and anger.
Is this set of values working for our society? For families? For children?
We need the virtue of chastity so we can truly possess ourselves; in order to truly give ourselves fully to others. A society that scorns self-denial cannot say “no” and sacrifice for the future—which is at the heart of both our nation’s fiscal woes and health problems, is it not?
But chastity isn’t just about what you say “no” to; saying “no” to something that feels good, or really is good, means saying “yes” to a greater good. This is what soldiers do; what faithful spouses and parents do. It is what Jesus Christ did! It’s what each of us is called to do.
What is our Catholic answer?
To those who experience same-sex attraction, you are part of the Body of Christ. You are always welcome. Your priests will readily help with the sacraments and spiritual support. (See below for a link to Courage, a Catholic organization of those with same-sex attraction living their faith.) Every Catholic should be equally ready to provide true friendship and support. I’m here to help: call me to speak confidentially if you wish.
It has never been easy to answer Jesus’ call. In every age, some part of his message has always been rejected because it was too challenging.
When the prophet Habbakuk asked God why society was not listening to God’s words, the Lord said, “Write down the vision…the vision still has its time…wait for it.”
—Father Martin Fox, Pastor, St. Mary & St. Boniface Parishes, August 2011
“Bishop Henry calls for overhaul of human rights commissions,” Catholic Civil Rights League, accessed July 28, 2011, online here; “Bishop Fred Henry's letter to the Premier of Alberta,” Catholic Education Resource Center, 2008, accessed here.
“California to Require Gay History in Schools,” New York Times, July 15, 2011, accessed here.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1602-1605; accessed here; paragraphs 2337-59, accessed here.
“Catholic Charities stuns state, ends adoptions,” Boston Globe, March 11, 2006, accessed online at:
Courage: Catholic Apostolate for those with same-sex here.
“Same-sex ‘marriage’ law forces D.C. Catholic Charities to close adoption program,” Catholic News Agency, February 17, 2010; accessed here.
I think either we grant government the right to define civil marriage or we deny government that right. And in this country, the States get to define what is and what is not a civil marriage. That's just the way our laws work.
Are you claiming state governments now have "the right to define civil marriage"? What is your basis for asserting this?
Is this spelled out in each state constitution?
What limits the states' power to determine the essence of civil marriage? What can they not do?
Can states' power be expressed restrictively? Suppose, for example, the state of Ohio chose to say that marriage would no longer be available to heterosexuals.
Set aside the very slim likelihood of that. My question for you is, would that be a legitimate exercise of state power? Something you believe every state in the union can do, and it would not be an overreach?
I'm pretty sure state governments have always had the right to define civil marriage. For the states to be able to regulate something, they have to be able to define it. We regulate housing construction and the state determines what is "housing" and what is "construction", for the purpose of construing those laws. the same goes for defining "marriage." I bet there's even a state definition of priest or cleric, but you would know that better than I would. (I'd be interested in the answer!)
A states' power to determine what is or is not civil marriage is limited by, among other things, the judiciary. For example, if a state enacted a law that restricted marriage in a way that abridged a person's civil rights, the courts could strike down the law as unconstitutional.
I am confident that an Ohio law that denied marriage rights to heterosexuals would be unconstitutional. The government has to have a very good reason for enacting a law that restricts us. So I think the answer you are looking for is no, a state could not enact such a law, as it would be struck down. Bear in mind, many bad laws get enacted and sometimes it takes years to strike them down as unconstitutional. But I think we're safe on this one!
I would invite you to think about what you're saying. Government gets to define what a priest is? The state legislature can enact something, and the only limitation is if the courts don't like it? So let's hope the judges wake up on the right side of the bed this morning!
In (what I deem) a good society, government power is limited; not merely by public opinion, nor by the opinions or judgments of judges, but by law. Government may only do that which it is empowered to do; anything beyond that, however admirable, is unlawful, because it lacks authority to do so.
Certain realities are beyond the competency and reach of government. Human beings, and fundamental human arrangements, such as marriage and family, precede government.
And it is fallacious to say that the power to regulate is the power to define. Governments regulate human beings; do they also get to define who is human?
By the way, I don't mean to say you are, necessarily, wrong on facts: i.e., it may be we have reached the point that government is no longer limited, it really can do whatever it likes.
If so, God help us. We used to be free. Free, not because some judge, happily, says so, but because it's our birthright.
Also, what need is there for the government to "define" what a cleric is?
Instead, how about this...
If I weren't a priest, if I weren't a Catholic, I wake up some morning with a new idea. By noon, I've put up a sign in front of my house--or I've rented a vacant building and put up a sign there--that says, "Church of Foxianism" with days and times of services. I start preaching my message behind my pulpit--or on the street corner, for that matter.
People come and join; or they come and laugh and leave. They set up a picket outside, or they set up a church across the street against me.
Now, it's true that if we start acquiring money and assets, we're likely to form some sort of corporation or business arrangement. We might seek status under the IRS as "tax exempt"; or maybe not. We don't have to. And if we have a public accommodation, there will be inspections and so forth. But I could carry on without too much interference, especially if "the church" doesn't ever acquire assets (i.e., individuals could hold the assets instead).
Why is there any need for the government to say or do anything? Who cares whether I pass the government's standard of a cleric? I say I am a preacher; then I'm a preacher.
Thankfully, that's pretty much how it works. What's wrong with that?
I'm certain that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how our laws work.
I suspect that you are stumbling over the idea that our written laws contain definitions of things, and that those definitions are part of our enacted laws, and that our courts are called upon to construe our laws when a law is unclear. (It's not about judges waking up on the wrong side of the bed. We entrust our judges to correctly interpret the laws.)
Again, our laws MUST define things to be able to regulate them. That's just the way it works, and has always worked. I think it is this concept of the power to define that has you concerned. Please bear in mind, defined terms appear in our laws only for the purpose of helping us understand and use our laws. They serve no macro role beyond that.
The clergyman example is perhaps a tough one (but I checked and yes, NYS has such a definition.)
Here's a better example: let's say as a society we determine that it is in safety's interest to regulate the construction, safe use and sale of chairs and we enact 200 pages of laws about that topic. Let's say that sturdy legs are the primary concern behind the laws. Well, as a manufacturer of coffee tables and of living room sofas, I want to know if these laws will apply to my business. So, the law will likely include a definition like this: "A chair is any household object, consisting of 4 or more legs, with 2 arms, a back, and a seat, and which is commonly used for sitting." Note that a one legged stool is clearly excluded from this definition. Let's further say that you and your family use and have always used a hassock in place of a chair. Your hassocks are small, upholstered ottoman-like objects, with no legs, no arms, no back. But you call it a chair and it serves the purpose of a chair for you and for you it's -- well, it's your chair.
Do you see how your item falls outside the state's definition of a chair? In my example, the state wouldn't consider the item a chair, and wouldn't regulate it, even though you use it that way and called it your chair. So, the state enacting a law that defines "chair" in a particular way, solely for the purpose of regulating chairs, and which happens to be contrary to what you think a chair is, only really matters with respect to the regulation of chairs. You can still say to your wife, "pull up that chair", etc. in reference to your hassock and the world does not end.
Legal definitions don't change the world, they just help lawyers and judges and citizens understand what we are regulating and what we are not regulating.
Similarly, the state has a robust system of laws that regulates marriage. To be able to regulate marriage, we have to know what we are talking about - and what we are not talking about. So, through a stated definition (as above) or through court interpretations of terms, or through a combination of the 2, we arrive at a legal definition of civil marriage, in the same way that we have defined "chair" above.
Again, this definition is only for the purpose of construing our laws and serves no role beyond that. If your friend and neighbor, Pastor James, falls outside the NYS definition of "clergyman", well, that doesn't really change anything in his life, other than I guess it would prevent him from going to the state authorities and say "as a clergyman under your laws, I am entitled to A, B and C."
I hope I have not oversimplified this. Please tell me that you now understand this. I am happy to walk through other examples.
Thank you so much for having the gumption and courage to put this out for your parishioners. It more than hits several nails on the head. It is clear and at the right level for the vast majority of those sitting in your pews.
These are NOT easy topics - there are delicate portions that require a balance of modesty in discussion - you have done that. There are 'hot button' topics that need the truth - laid out plainly - in love - and you have done that as well as how that truth fits into the bigger picture to help answer the question of why. (Especially in this culture of 'fair' and 'but I want to'.)
Thanks for being a good priest and Dad - your parishes are blessed to have you as is the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
While I've never drafted legislation, I have, for many years, worked with people who draft legislation, more at the federal level than at the state.
Hey, wait a minute! I went through that whole "chair" example and I really worked on that and thought it through so that you would understand what it means when we say things like the legal definition of "marriage." Please tell me that you read through it and understand it or that you need more info. THANKS!
I read it; I understand it; I think it misses the point.
I deny the state has power over the essence of what marriage is. I do not wish to live in a society with an omnicompetent, omnipotent State.
That was the point Archbishop Dolan was making, which I cited in the post, and which I've attempted in vain to explain here.
The power to regulate something does not, to my mind, necessarily imply the power to determine the essence of that thing, and to reshape it at will.
The state can and does legitimately regulate marriage, to an extent; but that does not mean it determines what marriage is. Hence my contention that the state of New York engaged in a power-grab.
You are not seeing the point. A legal definition of marriage does not change its "essence."
If the State of Ohio enacted a law tomorrow saing that "All Preachers shall be taxed $100 per year. For the purpose of this law a "Preacher" is any muslim cleric or clergyman."
Has the State of Ohio changed the essence of what a preacher is? No. But the State has defined the term "Preacher" for the purpose of administering its tax laws.
Right; but the state of New York has attempted to change the essence of marriage. The politicians involved--and those who agree with them--believe they have the power to do so. And other states are going down the same road.
If no state in the union were going down that road, I wouldn't have felt the need to write the article that I posted.
I disagree. The essence of my marriage has not been changed one iota merely because my neighbors, Bill and Bob, can now form a legal marriage in my state.
Did you even read what I wrote? Are you just being quarrelsome?
I said the essence of marriage--I am speaking of marriage as it exists beyond one instance--that is, your own.
I am not being quarrelsome and of course I read what you wrote. Maybe you mean something by "essence of marriage" that has no real or practical meaning.
My marriage has not changed because Bill and Bob have now married. My sister Kathy's marriage has not changed. My father's marriage has not changed. I can keep going, through the whole neighborhood, the whole county, the whole state of NY.
With all due respect, if I seem quarrelsome I think it's perhaps because I'm making logical sense and you're struggling with that. I can't help applying logic and reason to our civil laws. It's too important.
I hit send too soon.
You speak of the essence of marriage as though marriage is a theory. But I have a marriage and it is not some abstract theory; it is real. Telling me that allowing gay people (3% of of our population?) access to civil marriage will change the essence of marriage is like telling me that a new law denying divorce to all of our country's practitioners of Zoroastrianism would also change the essence of marriage. Not supported by fact or reason.
You obviously didn't bother to read my original post.
Pat claims to "know how our laws work"? He seems to be presenting the statist version.
Nevermind that false premises always leads to false conclusions, even when the form of argument is valid.
In addition: keep in mind that in Massachusetts, parents whose children attend public schools are no longer allowed to opt their children out of classroom instruction that presents the homosexual lifestyle as "normal"-- even to children as young as 5. This is according to Judge Mark Wolf of the 1st Federal District. Judge Wolf held in the Parker decision that because same-sex "marriage" is now legal in Massachusetts, children must be taught to value it as part of a "diverse" society.
The rationalizations commonly used pedophiles include-- "I'm 'teaching' the child about sexuality' and "I'm 'introducing' the child to sexual experiences". As a society, we abhor such self-serving behavior and rationalizations. But now we are supposed to place teachers in the role of "introducing" children to same-sex activist ideology? Clearly same-sex "marriage" is just the camel's nose under the tent.
Sonny's Mom -
You are way off topic. And conflating homosexuality wuth pedofilia is shameful. Shame on you.
And stating that teaching a child about marriage is the same thing as teaching a child about sex acts suggests that you have alot learn about marriage or sex or both.
Also, SM, you left out some important details about that case:
Judge Wolf dismissed the plaitiff's lawsuit, saying that basically, no, they don't have a constitutional right to dictate the specifics of what a public school teaches. His words:
"In essence, under the Constitution public schools are entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy," wrote Judge Wolf. "Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation. . . . It is reasonable for public educators to teach elementary school students about individuals with different sexual orientations and about various forms of families, including those with same-sex parents, in an effort to eradicate the effects of past discrimination, to reduce the risk of future discrimination and, in the process, to reaffirm our nation's constitutional commitment to promoting mutual respect among members of our diverse society."
THEN, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit UNANIMOUSLY affirmed Wolfe's decision
and THEN the US Supreme court refused to take the case.
Lexington, Mass. parent's can always home-school their kids or change the curriculum through the School Board if they don't want their kids learning about diversity or science or math or health or anything else they don't believe in.
Hi Fr. Martin,
Just thought I'd like to share this, since it's relevant. You may have read it already.
Dr. Kenneth Howell, university professor at The University of Illinois, was fired in 2010 for giving the Catholic teaching on homosexuality (in a class on Catholicism, no less!)....he was eventually restored to his position, but he posted on Facebook the lecture email he sent out to students that prompted complaints, and eventually, his firing.
I don't remember all of it to give a summary here in my own words-- as I read it so long ago-- but he discusses utilitarianism and Natural Moral Law in relation to homosexuality. Very educational and informative, just as your blog post on the topic is.
Here's the link to the lecture email on Facebook -- http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=135669563126194&topic=196
This is in response to your recent article "What catholics believe about same-sex marriage"
It will be in 2 posts as it is longer than the 4096 characters allowed
In the 2nd paragraph of your article you complain about being called bigots. Much like Maggie Gallagher of NOM (National Organization for Marriage) who also likes to BE bigoted, but does NOT like to be called a bigot. If you really don't like to be called a bigot, it is simple. Quit being bigoted !
In the section titled "What's the Harm?" you state it is just a power grab by the government. It seems to me that you are just not happy the government seems to be "grabbing" the power that the church feels it has in defining marriage. It really is no more or less social engineering whether it is the government or the church making the definition. The only difference between your definition of marriage/family and a same sex couple as a family and married is that both parents in a same sex couple are of the same sex. Either type of family is no better or worse that the other. Some are good at it, some are bad and everything in-between.
As to the teaching of gay history in any schools, why should it not be taught. The Sistene Chapel was painted by a gay man, as were many of the art works held by the Vatican and other churches around the world. There are numerous sculptures by Michelangelo too, in Vatican collections that I would be more than happy to take off your hands should you decide to divest yourselves of anything to do with Gay people.
Your statement about Canadas present being our future and the hate crime pastors and priests are being charged with is not a good thing, the intonation being that such a thing should be avoided needs a bit of claification. The churches stance, preaching, lobbying,donations of millions of dollars for anti-gay innitiatives etc. need to be termed what they really are. Hate speech plain and simple, leading MANY GLBT people to lives of ostacism,rebuke, hatred,vilification, bullying and in many cases suicide.
When you incite others to violence against GLBT citizens and cause teens to commit suicide you are just as guilty of the crime whether you pulled the trigger, tied the knot in the rope or kicked the first kick !
In part 3 of that section, the
paragraph on marriage and family, you are trying to blame the fragility of families and marriages onto the gays. Gays and gay marriage have NOT made straight families fall apart. You have all done that very well on your own, Thank You Very Much !
What does paragraph 4 even have to do with the question at hand? !
Here is part 2 of my response to your article:
In "What does our Faith say about same-sex attraction?" you infer that same sex attraction could be cured and that you feel terrible that people tease, are cruel and reject the GLBT community , often leading to suicide.
Your sentence "A lot of folks have serious soul-searching to do about attitudes and behaviour toward gay people." is so true. Unfortunatley it is people like you who perpetuate the negative attitudes others have of gay people and the villification of gays from the church just legitimizes that behaviour. Shame on you and your church !
About the section Did God make me this way? I would ask you at what age did you decide to be a straight person? Did you have ONLY straight inclinations, were you inclined both ways or did you have only gay tendencies which is what made you decide to become a celibate priest? Further in that section you state being gay is being BROKEN. Well I for one do not feel broken, nor do I allow you to make me feel broken and being gay is only that I'm just different.
The end of that section states sex is for pro-creation only. ANY sex other than for that purpose is OUT! Well, GOOD LUCK with that one is all I can say there.
The second paragraph in "Do I matter to God?" you state "Nothing in our faith allows us to demean or devalue anyone, fo any reason." Yet, you and your church does it ALL the time. The 3rd sentence
"When we present our beliefs about the meaning of human sexuality and the call to chastity, this isn't to be "anti" anyone." is nothing short of BullSh!T ! How many millions of dollars did your church spend on Prop 8 in California?
The section "The virtue of chastity" seems to me like so much gobbledy gook to blur the issue and you are saying ALL people should not have sex just so we can't say you are singling out Gays to be celibate. Well the term "It's alright to be gay so long as you don't practice homosexuality" can be turned around also. It's OK to be catholic so long as you don't practice catholicism !"
The last sentence I'll comment about on in that section would be
"Is this set of values working for our society? For families? For children?" The family values you and your church so love to preach about do not at all seem to include the gay community. And you REALLY don't want to get me started on the priest abuse scandal/cover-up thing, BELIEVE me on that one !
"What is our Catholic answer?" The sentence "To those who experience same-sex attraction, you are part of the Body of Christ."
REALLY!?! I hope you can hear the sarcasm in my really.
"You are always welcome."
Sure we are !?!
"Your priests will readily help with the sacraments and spiritual support."
It's a very good thing the bishop didn't refuse me communion when I attended services with my partner in his local small community church a few years ago. They would still be talking about the day the guy in the fur coat was refused communion a hundred years from now !
I had NO IDEA you could be refused communion, let alone for what lame excuses. That is NOT your meal to be handing out. That is Gods meal. You are JUST the server. Shame on any of you.
We later talked to another priest after my partner and I moved in together and it was explained to me that when you take communion in the catholic church you are agreeing to everything the church teaches, so now I understand you are not really serving God's meal when you serve communion, it is really your way of feeding the sheep who have checked their brains at the door as they come in for the weekly guilt trip and villification of the gays lesson.
I look forward to your response here on the Bonfire of the Vanities and have printed out my comments so I may have a reference point to look at when it is posted.
"NOT married to a good catholic farm boy"
By the way, I'm still waiting on a good answer as to exactly how it is that gay marriages are going to ruin straight families and marriage. As far as I can figure out it won't have any impact on anyone who doesn't want to get married to a person of the same sex. Maybe you could clarify that for me , thanks,
Your response so badly misses or misstates what I said, there's no way I'm going to attempt to rebut it.
But one example will suffice. You say:
In "What does our Faith say about same-sex attraction?" you infer that same sex attraction could be cured...
In fact I make no such blanket assertion. I'll be happy to quote what I said:
We don’t fully know why some people (1-5% from various studies) experience this attraction. For some, it is a phase, for others it’s deep-seated. Some feel an exclusive attraction, but others don’t. Some try to change and do, but not all. Coming to grips with this at a young age can be very difficult. Some never share this, others are open about it.
"Some try to change and do, but not all."
There it is. That is a simple fact. Feel free to rebut it, rather than accusing me of inciting violence, which is ridiculous.
Try responding to what I said, rather than what you wish I said. Where did I say attempts at "same-sex marriage" would "ruin" other people's marriages?
Please quote that statement of mine.
Can you summarize what you are trying to say about same sex marriage if I so badly missed the point? Thanks.
I worked pretty hard on the document I posted. I can't do better than that.
If you have a question, please post it.
My response was very well thought out and I responded to your article almost paragraph by paragraph, trying to make sure I was being clear and concise about my take on your statements. Your reply that I missed or mis-stated what you said seems to me just a flimsy excuse not to answer my questions or elaborate on why you (and your church as an institution)feel the way you do about gays.
Where you did give a response to my actual questions and or comments, the following should clear up what I meant.
I made no assertion, blanket or otherwise, saying that you said ALL gay people could be cured. I said that you were in fact infering the possibility of cure from gay to straight, which in and of itself infers that being gay is something that should be cured such as attempting to cure a disease. Being gay is not a disease, it is as natural for us as being heterosexual is natural for a straight person.
Father Fox, in the statement "some try to change and do, but not all"
Are you or are you not saying that some gay people can be cured? If you are not trying to say that it is curable why is the statement included in your article?
The statement "some try to change and do" sounds to me as if I really wanted to, I could change. Take my word for it , I can't change who/what I am.
I have no idea how many "gay to straight" people you know, but of the MANY people I know who have tried to go straight ---IT DOES NOT WORK ! Plain and simple, they can try to live a straight lifestyle if they have a person of the opposite sex who wants to try "living the straight-life" with them. Inside they are still gay. They may not act on it but it is only a matter of time before they either decide they can't live the lie anymore, or they just go nuts from the pressure of living the lie that they do something drastic.
For a perfect example of someone in this category watch the documentary on Ted Haggard. Another perfect example would be Sen. Larry Craig. I don't know about you, but I have NEVER had to go to the bathroom so badly that I have EVER had to place my feet so far apart as to stick them under the partitions. He would be an example of someone so far into the closet he doesn't even admit to himself he is gay, which is fine by me, we(the gay community, really don't want him anyway).
As for my accusation that you incite violence. Have you not heard anything about the anti-gay bullying going on all across the country? How about the gay bashing that goes on all over the world ? How about the rash of gay teen suicides (11 I believe in Michelle Bachmanns district alone). It is most often instigated by the religous right which the catholic church seems to be a very large part of, along with the evangelical church (look up Rick Warren, Lou Engle, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell,etc. etc. etc.), the republican party darlings such as but not limited to: Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann,Larry Craig,David Dreier,Charlie Crist, the list truly does go on and on and on---and then there are the truly disgusting beings such as the members of the Westboro Baptist Church who don't even TRY to hide their vitriolic hate mongering.
If these are not enough examples for you to get an idea of the hate mongering going on I can gladly supply you with more.
Michael (part 2 follows in a moment)
As for you personally inciting violence I see I used a poor word choice in that sentence. Instead of "you" I should have used the words "someone" and "they" as such:
"When you [someone] incites
other[s] to violence against GLBT citizens and causes teens to commit suicide you[they] are just as guilty of the crime as if you [they] had pulled the trigger, tied the knot in the rope or kicked the first kick!
I did not mean you personally in that sentence. I meant ANYONE who incites violence or causes someone to commit suicide through any type of bullying or harrassment it is as if they had killed the victim them selves.
However, that leads to the question of your intention with this article in the first place and your reply back to my original post that I was responding to what "I wish you had said".
I actually wish you had not said anything at all about it. Or anyone else who does not wish to marry some one of the same sex. It SHOULDN'T be an issue. We SHOULD all have the same rights in this country and all other places on earth too, if you really want to get technical about it. If certain religions wish to not participate in gay marriages (or civil unions, so long as the civil union has ALL of the same rights, responsibilties, and legal benefits as straight marriages now enjoy)they would be exempted from having to comply. I don't think most gay people care whether or not you approve. We DO however, live our lives as second class citizens when you deny us the same rights you enjoy.
In your reply you say I quoted you as saying same sex marriages would ruin other peoples marriages. I did not say you made that as a statement. I took your whole article to be a statement against same sex marriage, predicated on the facts of the teachings of your church, the donations of millions of dollars , BY YOUR CHURCH, to support Prop 8 in California to overturn the legislation passed in California giving gay people the right to marry.
Are you trying to tell me in your reply of Sept 20, 2011 at 9:59 AM that: You, (yes, this time you personally)don't believe same sex marriage will ruin marriages and families of straight people? If that IS the case, that you believe same sex marriage will have no ill effects on straight marriages and families, what is the point of your article? You may also clarify my understanding of your churches teaching/beliefs of same-sex marriage and same-sex relationships if I am under the mistaken notion that the Catholic Church denounces them and it really does not do so.
If I have left out anything you did touch on , I will be glad to get back with you on it.
I would appreciate you taking the time to re-read (and reply to)my original comments. I really would like more of an explanation of what your whole article stood for and I don't think
my questions/comments were THAT hard to understand.
The following information was on Wikipedia about Prop 8 ,
The Roman Catholic Church, as well as a Roman Catholic lay fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus, firmly supported the measure. The bishops of the California Catholic Conference released a statement supporting the proposition, a position met with mixed reactions among church members, including clergy.
I think you are being very unreasonable demanding I answer what looks like about 1,000 words of questions. I posted my article.
I didn't use the word "cure"--you did. I used the word "change." Those are different words. I change my socks every day. Does that mean I "cure" a sock problem? Not to me. Does it mean that to you?
I asked you a question, I'll ask you again: do you deny that some people do change? You say you can't. I don't dispute that. But can you possibly assert that no one can experience a change in his or her sexual orientation?
If you don't make such a blanket assertion, then you admit my statement was true.
Maybe if you don't call people bigots, you might get more cooperation.
I'm sure you do think I'm being unreasonable since you would prefer I take no offense to what I see as anti-gay rhetoric (and when I see it I call the person out on it).
It might seem unreasonable to you that I ask about a 1000 words of questions pertaining to what you wrote about and maybe for you it means no more than changing your socks. However, to many in the gay community the types of things you do and say (here I am including both you personally and your church as well as any other group who demonizes gays) has very real consequences that are often life threatening and causes great hardship for millions of people world wide.
No I did not say people "could not change", I said I did not think they could if they are truly gay, change to straight. They may change their behavior, their appearance, even the people they have sex with, but that will not make them straight inside, in their inner being. There are people who are bi-sexual who may decide to date only the opposite sex because societys condemnation is too hard to deal with, which is what many totally gay people do also, leading to the often criticized gay man who marries , has children and then later in life comes back out of the closet and leaves his wife for a "the gay lifestyle" which, if he had been true to himself, is what he would have done all along if he had not tried so hard to please straight society in the first place.
The statement "some try to change and do, but not all." implies or can give the impression that, "if I'm gay and don't want to be, there is hope that I can change and become straight".
Now , maybe you did not mean it that way, but it still could be taken that way by a person going through puberty and wondering why he does not feel like the rest of his friends about girls.
I'm not a doctor or phychiatrist, but I know my own mind and I have traveled extensively, making hundreds and hundreds of friends and aquaintences, many hundreds of which are gay , bi-, lesbian, and transgender. None of them as far as I know , if they are totally gay, lesbian or transgender feel they could change and become straight. Many try to appear as straight as possible and to blend in to society and live under the radar, so to speak, because it is thought to be easier if no one knows. That often takes a very large negative toll, being both both mentally and physically exhausting and often leads to alcohol and drug abuse and other forms of self destruction.
end of part one
How many totally gay people do you know who can honestly say they no longer have any same-sex attractions. On the subject of gays can change, does that mean that straights also could change to gay?
To continue on in that same paragraph from your article you state "Coming to grips with this at a young age can be very difficult." The reason it is very difficult is because homophobic society ,often aided and abetted by religion and conservative politicians ahs led to teasing, bullying, ostracism, beatings and sometimes even murder (Matthew Shepard would be one example of that), not ONLY at school, but often in the home and in churches and any other public place bullies
find a GLBT person or even someone just PERCIEVED to be GLBT.
So,you see, it really is something more important "than changing my socks" as it were. We are talking about 100's of thousands of peoples actual lives here, not someones socks and you very well know it !
You might be able to obfuscate the issue with fine sounding talk of welcomeness and not being anti-anyone but the church as a whole , it seems to me, is very un-welcoming and anti-gay in it's behavior towards gay people, the political activism it uses against the GLBT community and very hypocritical in its "family values".
When the church will let a known child abuser go on for approximatley 20 years with out putting a stop to it because the paper work and red tape , and I'm paraphrasing here, [these things take time]. But they can throw a child out of kindergarten because she has two lesbian mothers instead of straight parents ! She'd be about ready to graduate (college)if she were a child abuser instead of the daughter of lesbians.
Unfortunatly I no longer tolerate bigotry (bigot, 1. a person who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed, opinion etc.
2. a narrow minded intolerant person. From Websters New World Dictionary) and that is what I saw in your article, the seeds of bigotry. Now, maybe that was not your intent but many people who ARE bigoted don't KNOW they are being bigoted. I'll give you an example: The scene--Kristy Yamaguchi winning the Olympic gold medal-- A person says "Oh, that's nice. But it's too bad it couldn't have been won by an American." 2nd person says "Kristy IS an American". 1st person says "No she isn't, she's Japanese." 2nd person replies "She was born in the USA, making her an American, of Japanese ancestry." 1st person says" Well, that's still Japanese, not American." 2nd person asks "What about your friend Charlotte, she was born in Europe and became a citizen of the USA after immigrating here, is she an American?" 1st person replies " Well of course she is." Both Kristy and Charlotte are of course Americans. But the difference for person 1 was that Kristy was
and Charlotte was white and European heritage. Person 1 lived through WW Two and did not feel favorably towards the Japanese. Hopefully this true (It actually happened to me. I was person 2 in the narrative) story will illustrate my point.
I apoligise if I offended you by calling you bigoted and you truly
are not. I am trying to understand
the purpose of your doing it in the first place and in the second place trying to educate you on what it is like to be persecuted just for being who we are.
To make it simpler for you I will just ask the following questions:
1. What is the purpose of your article?
2. Is the church for or against Same-Sex marriage, and if against, why? What EXACTLY is it about gay marriage that makes it so bad?
3. In the section of your article titled "What's the Harm?" point 3.
you state "Marriage and family are not merely private matters--society rests on this foundation as surely as our homes rest on their foundations. Can anyone seriously argue it has been good for our society in recent years to have marriage become so fragile, to have children grow up in broken homes, or grow up with out both parents married at all?"
This statement ,seems to me, to be saying that gay marriages will further destroy societys foundations of marriage and family.
The possibilty of GLBT marriages and families seems to be a HELP rather than a HINDRANCE to the strengthening of families.
We know a gay couple with 2 children. The natural father of the children brought up in a VERY conservative church, tried to be straight, have the family yada, yada ,yada. As things went on his preference for men came to the surface and eventually led to divorce. After a year or two he met, fell in love with and moved in to a mans home. They have been exemplary parents, and a good law abiding tax paying family in a small community here in SW Ohio.
They are out and open, and accepted (by many people) in their town and school system. I'm sure there are some people who would have preferred they stay in the closet but the did not want to hide away in the dark and hope "NO One Will Notice Us."
The non-biological father even getting an award from the local small town school system for being Best step-parent.
Both fathers work, they have raised very nice, well educated ,well adjusted children, the oldest (a girl) now in college and the youngest (a son) in high school and a menber of the local football team.
The ONLY real difference between their house hold and a straight married couples household is that they are both men.
Does that not seem preferable to a straight couple, also not married, (the gay couple did have a commitment ceremony since gay marriage is still outlawed in Ohio) who have 2 kids but the father works part time at a minimum wage, no benefits job. The mother can't find work because of health problems and they struggle to make ends meet. Or the single mother(drug addicted) with several kids (all different fathers)barely able to feed and take care of them because the gov't has cut back aid.
All three of these families (the last 2 were fictional, but very representative) would benefit from the help and support of society at large rather than to be mocked and villified as in the:
first case family- as a perversion and wicked and sinful. Now I know you did not have that in your article, but your article and things like your article are what leads to such homophobic behavior from others. You also must admit that your church as well as many mainline and almost ALL fundamentalist churches teach and/or taught (if the catholic church has stopped saying such things)that being gay is those 3 words.
second case family is often mocked and told they don't work hard enough and the
third case family is looked upon with pity and scorn and if she's VERY lucky a church or gov't social services agency will help her out, but the long term prognosis for her and her kids is not good.
In conclusion I would say that it seems to me a better use of time and energy would be to help the poor un-employed and under-employed families to get an education, and a job that can at least sustain a family than to expend so many resources and so much effort to prevent certain people from becoming a family as in the first case.
I am sorry I can't respond more in detail.
My purpose in the article, as I explained in it, was to present Catholic Church teaching on the subject of "same sex marriage."
As I said, the Church is against any attempt to redefine marriage. Why? That is what I explored in the article.
In order to "reconstruct" something, it has to be "deconstructed" at some point. Creating--by government fiat--a new definition of marriage that everyone must accept means deconstructing marriage as it was prior.
In fairness, marriage has been suffering deconstruction for some time. This latest episode is part of it.
Perhaps you want some clarity about the proper definition of marriage:
In brief, marriage is a union of a male human being with a female human being. Sometimes polygamous, sometimes monogamous, but always male-female. An essential part of marriage is procreation. That not all heterosexual couples can procreate doesn't change that. That would be like saying, because not all eyeballs can see, it is therefore false to say that seeing is part of what the eyeball is for.
Well, then, by that definition, two men and two women cannot marry. The state can give them a marriage license, and folks can say they are married; but if the definition I gave you is true, then it's still not a marriage.
Where did my definition come from?
It's what all societies have operated from, until fairly recently. (If advocates of same-sex marriage could point to cultures that had same-sex marriage in the past, why haven't they brought this forward? Where is the precedent for this? The answer is, it does not exist.)
Of course, you and others are free to believe society would be better off with a state-imposed re-definition of marriage. But when you ask the government to do it, you will get push-back from those who disagree. Why is that surprising?
Father, you keep conflating RC teaching on marriage and civil law meaning of marriage. The last time you posted this article you expressly stated I'm the comments that you were talking about civil marriage (contrary to what the title promises) and now in these comments you revert to presenting the RC view.
Anyway, your post causes me to ask you - do you believe that the man's understanding of what constitutes a marriage can change? At all? Do you think polygamous marriages are valid marriages in those countries that allow them? And if an African country allows a 40 year old man to legally marry a 14 year old girl, would you recognize that as a valid marriage even though it wouldn't be a marriage inthe RC church or in the USA? Thanks
I don't know why you have to be so quarrelsome.
The Catholic Church has teaching about what you term "civil marriage."
That is what I'm talking about!
Father, please do not take my politely phrased reasonable and relevant questions as quarreling.
I think it's great that you are addressing a topic that is so important in our country - a topic that is discussed and debated every day. But it's not a simple topic, as I'm sure you know if it were, it wouldn't be discussed so much today in blogs and news stories, in court rooms and legislative chambers.
So... I'm trying to take your thoughts slowly and clearly and understand where you stand. I think it's clear that you hold that a marriage must be between a man and a woman. That is helpful. But as you know, many people disagree with that. So in order to understand what is behind your thoughts- what supports your conclusion- thoughts it is helpful to know what else is not a marriage- to wit, my recent questions: would you consider an African marriage between a 40 year old man and a 14 year old girl a valid marriage if African law allowed it? Or is opposite gender the only requirement for validity? I anticipate that you would not consider the juvenile marriage to be valid ( or do you?) and that's where your whole post becomes very informative for your readers. It would be informative to understand why the juvenile marriage is not a valid marriage if Africans consider it valid. Similarly, it would be informative for your trades to understand why a middle eastern polygamous marriage is invalid if that jurisdiction considers it valid. Thanks.
You keep couching this in terms of what I believe. This is tendentious and not a bit condescending.
It's not about what I believe. I didn't spend several weeks creating the posted flyer for my parish, to present my, personal, beliefs. I have no right to do such a thing.
I am attempting, in my best efforts, to present what the Catholic Church believes and teaches.
Of course other things besides the sex of the two contracting parties affect validity. Do you honestly not already know this?
The obvious point at issue is the idea that it no longer matters whether two parties to a marriage are opposite-sex. That's why it's worth focusing on.
If and when someone starts a movement to legalize and normalize marriages between middle-aged people and adolescents or children, then I'll work very hard to develop some literature on that point. I wasn't aware this was being contemplated in the U.S., however.
Please consider disabling the comment thread on your blog. Your words indicate that you're not interested in engaging thoughtful comments. When you get them, you call your commented quarrelsome. When you are presented with an attempt to dissect your reasoning, you shut down. You've done that three times in this thread alone. And you really might consider extending the benefit of the doubt to others. I didnt mean to imply there was aby difference between what you believe and RC teaching. It's troubling that you inferred that.
Lastly, please expect that when you do post informationon important social and political issues, thoughtful readers will respond and some will challenge you and your statements. If you are not up to that challenge, then perhaps you should not write postings on controversial topics.
Father Fox, great post. I am sure you knew it would be attacked. I find it interesting that the gay community and its supporters spends so much time going to the site of a Catholic priest stating very clearly in the title what Catholics Believe. They will not allow free speech or religious belief to be spoken without bashing the speaker. Their "polite" conversation going on for multiple posts are the same old tired standard gay arguments.
I have a couple for them.. The courts used the 14th amendment as the basis saying "all persons" means that whatever one person has in rights, all others must be allowed. The fact that the amendment was specifically for freed slaves to be protected from the democratic party and their KKK terror squad does not seem to matter. But it did matter for about a 100 years after it was ratified. Proof is that women did not have the right to vote and when the 14th amendment was passed, some suffragettes went out on voting day and tried to vote and where arrested. they lost their case and the supreme court stated very clearly that the 14th amendment was not written or ratififed to provide women the right to vote. women waited another 13 years after this ruling and went through the amendment process to gain the righ to vote. So it is clear that the courts ruled that one situation is not a blanket to give rights for all to everything. we do not allow children to drink or marry or do a lot of other things. We restrict some from driving. so the use of the 14th amendment is a twisting of the court rulings for almost a century. Why don't those who favor giving special rights to gay people go out and get an amendment as called for in our Constitution for new rights?
And as to this court ruling having an impact, I have another question. What about incest, poligamy, and beastiality? The gay rights group answer is to say this is crazy, but refuse to detail an answer as to why based on the ruling of the wide use of the 14th amendment, the court can now discriminate on other behavior decisions. Some might argue that incest has issues with children born with deformaties, but what about a mom and son when the mom is beyond child bearing age or the same with brother and sister or first cousins or if they have been steralized? How can these people, who may have been born with those attractions within them, be denied when they simply want to life together as man and wife..And how can a man who wants to marry 12 consenting women be denied. They all may have been born with those inclinations. When married and attracted to another woman, no need for divorce, just add one to the harem..And since animals have no rights except cruelty since you can kill them as long as it is done humanely, why deny the only human being attracted to his goat from a loving relationship which the goat and man seem to enjoy. Please give a careful explanation on the legal aspects on these examples. We will see cases go to court on these type of things and the legal precedent has now been established.
will add second post
As to how the gay community tries to tie this to a civil rights issue and race, one is behavior and the other is the color of ones skin. Yes, a gay person may have been born with same sex attraction although I am not aware that this has been discovered in the massive work done looking for the homosexual gene. But lets agree that it is there and gays are born with same sex attraction. So what. People are born with many desires or weaknesses. Some desire to steal or create violence toward others. St Paul asked God to remove the thorn in his heal. gays seeing this wanted the thorn to be he was gay. Others see it as their weakness. God refused to remove the thorn. The weakness we have is something that indeed is like that thorn. If anyone has been walking barefoot or in sandals as St Paul and stepped on a thorn, we know the great pain it causes and to think it could not be removed but must be something we live with is painful and very true. Each of us has a thorn and some like me seem to have an entire set of thorns in each foot. society calls for us to control those urges, weaknesses, thorns. God calls us to control those weaknesses. Our life tells us that when we give in to those weaknesses, our life seems to go out of kilter and we seem ever further from God. Catholics and I assume many believe in the 7 virtues and that if we try to lead our lives around those 7 virtues to combat the deadly sins, we will have a much more rewarding and peaceful life. Thus the teaching on the grave thorn of same sex attraction is a call to chastity and celebacy.
When society decides to say a behavior choice on these deadly sins or thorns or weaknesses is OK and legal and equal to marriage,we all will see a lessening of values and morals. Anyone who has been paying attention over the last 60 years has seen a massive coursening of our culture and it has impacted every segment of society.
That is what is wrong with a court subverting the Constitution and selecting certain behaviors as normal or legal versus the entire country coming to that conclusion and passing an amendment. Finding words not in the text is a rather recent event and it has removed liberty from the people and each time it has been to make something evil legal. The separation of church and state was based on a lie and private letter, and was in direct condtradiction of the actual words written. Hugo Black, a former KKK member and long time hater of the Catholic Church discovered that perverse ruling. It was essential to try to get religion out of America. The founders made religious freedom FROM government the first right in the first amendment before free speech and feedom of the press to show its importance to the country they created. 'privacy was discovered to OK another gross evil, abortion. 54 million babies have been killed as a result of this "discovery" of right not there and words not there. If both were desired, they should have come with amendments ratified by 3/4th of the states and super majorities in both houses of congress. The same of course is true with gay special rights on behavior.
Strong letter from the USCCB President Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan Archbishop of New York to Obama on the Obama administration attack on the family and marriage itself.
Michael replies to earlier postings; First, a word or two for Pat who has been commenting here since before I heard of this site.
I think we are just wasting our time trying to get someone so narrow minded to do anything such as listen to voices of reason rather than to just blindly echo the teachings of the RC about this issue. Unfortunatly we are just "preaching to the choir" as it were if people do have open minds about this issue and for those who only want to see the status quo there is not much chance of them becoming enlightened. I'm sure Father Fox will be glad to hear I have given up on trying to enlighten him but I will be checking back from time to time just in case anyone in his parrish reading this blog could use some words of encouragement. We have found the Episcopal church to be much more welcoming of diversity and not nearly so judgmental.
Here are the first few paragraghs of an online news article about the pope defending traditional values.
Much like Father Foxes article it alludes to the damage allowing same-sex marriage will do but does not come out and tell us exactly HOW gay marriages will bring down traditional society.
....Pope defends traditional values
By VICTOR L. SIMPSON - Associated Press | AP – 21 hrs ago....FREIBURG, Germany (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI called Saturday for a common front with Orthodox Christians to defend traditional church values, warning of threats posed by abortion and gay marriage.
Facing discontent within his German flock, the pope said religion must not be banished from public life and that Christian churches "are walking side by side" in the battle.
"They speak up jointly for the protection of human life from conception to natural death," he told a meeting of Orthodox Christians on the third day of a visit to his native Germany.
"Knowing, too, the value of family and marriage, we as Christians attach great importance to defending the integrity and the uniqueness of marriage between one man and one woman from any kind of misinterpretation," he said. "Here the common engagement of Christians, including many Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians, makes a valuable contribution to building up a society equipped for the future."
Here is the comment I left on the news articles comment section.
I did not see anywhere in this article what exactly it is that the gays are going to do to destroy marriage and families. If you don't want a same-sex marriage, don't marry someone of the same sex ! It really isn't that hard people. I know lots of gay/lebian/bi/tran people who have families either their own, or adopted and most of them are doing as well as or better than a ot of straight families ! Some priest in S. W. Ohio put an article up on his blog
" Bonfire of the Vanities" about it and even after several attempts to get his reasons on what it is that is going to do he just gave a bunch of hogwash to blur the issue.
Then of course there is the hypocrisy of "family values" and the abuse scandal/cover-up which just goes to show you that so long as the child is just a fetus-------Well, WE MUST protect that poor unborn child----that is until he/she's old enopugh to be fair game for an abusing clergy member ! That is real good family values for sure !
Michael replies about the de-contstuct ---re-construct comment by Fr Fox.
I don't see why straight marriage has to be de-constructed for gay marriage to become valid. I don't think straight marriages in any of the states that have leagalized gay marriage have done any of the following: (correct me if I'm mistaken)
Straight marriages have not:
simply ceased to exist,
Nor , do I believe, have any straight men gone out and gotten them selves married to the "boy next door" nor have any straight women who did not already have the inclination gone out and joined "dykes on bikes", leaving their husbands and children motherless and with out cooking and housecleaning help !
If all you want to do is have two men be able to live together, and say they are married, there is nothing I can do about that.
But when you want the government--which has coercive power (that's what makes it government)--to pass laws that change what marriage means for everyone, that's when folks push back.
You're either very naive, or being very disingenuous, if you are surprised at that.
Father Fox, I note that there has never been real answers to your comments or those of others regarding the actual issues, but the standard line of the gay special rights group that does not care about anything but forcing everyone else to tell them being gay is normal and equal to marriage. Of course the pro abortion crowd will not admit it was a perversion of the actual text of the constitution to find a reason for the lie about separation of church and state, abortion, gay special rights, and a variety of other rulings.
The frustrating thing about having a discussion with those on the other side in these issues is that it never gets down to facts or truths, but to an agenda based on emotion or distortion of the truth. So the next route taken will be to call those opposed to the agenda names. SAD.
by the way, love to read your posts and wish you had more time to share your thoughts and faith.
LGBT People In Church: Top 5 Questions Asked By Opponents Of LGBT Inclusion
In my 30 years as an advocate for God's love for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, I've had countless conversations with those who think differently than me about God, Scripture and the place of the LGBT faithful in the church.
Throughout these years, I've heard, read and have been asked many of the same questions -- and by a wide variety of people. Today, I share with you the five questions I most commonly hear, as well as my answers to them. I do this in the hopes that others share their responses as well and we continue to learn from each other.
Question 1: "How can you ignore the clear meaning of Scripture and all of Christian tradition that says same-sex love is a sin?"
Christian history is a flowing stream of new insight. Our understanding and interpretation of Scripture has changed over time, and continues to change, as our understanding of the world God has made for us expands.
For instance, there are single Bible verses such as, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything," (Colossians 3:22), that have been used in our history to justify acts now considered repulsive -- like slavery or forcing women to remain silent in church. As we learn, we grow, and our understanding and interpretation of Scripture changes.
We should take solace that our knowledge of God is always being reformed through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And the fountain from which new inspiration springs is the dialogue between our different interpretations of Scripture. There have always been and always will be disagreement in the church about what the Bible means. Some Christians read the Bible as saying same-sex love is a sin. Other Christians read the stories of David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18-2 Samuel 1) and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8) as affirmation of gay men and therefore a foundation for including LGBT people within God's love.
I choose to participate in the full life of Christian history, sharing the inspiration the Holy Spirit gives to me. And since Scripture teaches me that Jesus has drawn all people to Himself (John 12:32), I therefore see God's embrace of LGBT people as the clear meaning of Scripture and the present culmination of the whole arc of Christian history.
Question 2: "How can you be sure that you aren't just making stuff up to justify something that is culturally trendy?"
That I actually perceive God correctly and am doing God's will is a matter of faith. This is true for every single one of us, regardless of our interpretation of Scripture. Christians live by faith in Jesus' love, not by certainty (we need only look at the state of the world to know we live by faith in God's love).
This being said, we have good direction on how we know whether we are doing Jesus' will (culturally trendy or not). He said, "You will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16)." And Paul outlines the best fruit: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness and self control (Galatians 5:22)." Nurturing these virtues everywhere I can assures me that I am doing God's will and not making stuff up to be culturally trendy.
Experience has taught me that God's inspiration can come from an infinite number of messengers, including both Scripture and culture. So what I give myself to, as a Christian, is to begin every day committed to love God and my neighbor and to be as attuned to the Holy Spirit as I possibly can in order to know how to do that.
Question 3: "Don't all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people violate the Biblical requirement of monogamous marriage between a man and a woman?"
In the Bible's story of creation, God declares everything good, until this moment: "Then the Lord said, 'It is not good that man should live alone; I will make him a helper as his partner (Genesis 2:18).'" There is nothing in Scripture that requires who this companion will be. In fact, the whole of Scripture (including the apostle Paul) looks upon women as the subservient property of the husband (and most of the time with full acceptance of owning multiple wives). Marriage in ancient Hebrew and Greek meant the man taking the woman as his property. This actually contrasts with our modern understanding of marriage, which is based on a commitment of love between equally mature and willing adults.
We have the testimony of many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians who tell us that God has bound them to a person of the same sex as their partner for life. And we have seen the marvelous fruits of the lives of these believers who contribute to their families and communities with greater power and joy because of the loving partner who is at their side.
LGBT people in loving partnerships have all the qualities that we value in marriage. These qualities are the essence of fidelity in marriage espoused by Scripture. And let us not forget Jesus' warning, "Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate" (Matthew 19:6, Mark 10:9). Again, with no stipulation as to whom God has joined.
Question 4: "How can any Christian, in good conscience, engage in or condone sexual practices that are both unnatural and dangerous?"
I see the line between safety and danger running through the lives of all people, not between straight people on one side and LGBT people on the other. All sexual activity includes inherent possibilities of danger. The best protection against these dangers is to engage in sexual activity after there is intimacy on other important levels of life -- to be assured of mutual love and consent between mature adults. This holds for all couples.
For those who shun and make outcasts of LGBT people, they create a self-fulfilling prophecy. A son or daughter will come out as LGBT in some communities and be met by an environment that is hostile. They watch as their family and church ties get severed. Their moral support structure -- that which guides the making of good moral choices -- disappears and they are left to navigate the world on their own. Some who are lucky find a community that is open and affirming and can prosper, while others do not find moral support and wind up making a series of bad decisions.
Now imagine for a moment if more people in our communities and in the church were welcoming and affirming of LGBT people. If instead of shunning and turning their backs on their child or neighbor, they could continue to encourage good, safe, moral choices that also allowed them to be who they were before God. The outcome, and our world, would be wonderfully different: safe and overall better for it.
Question 5: "How can you dismiss the way Jesus can heal people who suffer from an affliction like alcoholism or same sex attraction?"
No Christian would deny that Jesus healed those who suffered from affliction. What I dismiss is the assumption that same-sex love is an affliction. I do this because I trust the witness, in word and deed, of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians and of those who know their love and gifts.
Sadly, I know many LGBT people who began their understanding of themselves where tradition and religion taught them: They believe for years that they are defective, sinful and need to be healed. They beg Jesus for that healing for years. And His answer to them is that they are whole and good as they are. Period. Their souls have been tried in the refiner's fire and I trust their discernment of God's will. The goodness of their lives since accepting God's love shows they are right.
Yet, some in our society try to "heal" these children of God through reparative therapy (efforts to change LGBT people to being "straight"). They hold up a very small select few as examples of "success" and don't like to discuss the damage done to so many others. The hurt that is inflicted by those programs is an egregious assault on the souls of the LGBT people who go through them. They need to be stopped.
Yes, Jesus can heal people of their afflictions -- but if there is no affliction then there is no need of healing.
Finally, I must comment on the equation that some try to make between alcoholism and being born gay which disturbs me greatly. My mother was an alcoholic. She died well before her time from throat cancer related to drinking and smoking. Alcoholism is a terrible, deadly progressive disease that affects one's own body, mind and spirit. As the disease consumes the alcoholic's attention, it also eats away at the relationships with all who love them. For those who live openly and honestly as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, the damage to body, mind and soul comes from outside, not from within. It comes from those that shun, cast away and turn their backs on their family, friends or neighbors who have the courage to come out. Trying to equate the two demonstrates a misunderstanding of both.
Thanks in advance to those who share their own answers to these, and to those who sincerely ask these questions and honestly comment on my answers.
from the Rev. Dr. Janet Edwards
I was particularly moved by the words, "I trust the witness, in word and deed, of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians and of those who know their love and gifts," and "I trust their discernment of God's will. The goodness of their lives since accepting God's love shows they are right."
Beautifully stated. So much of the practice of modern Christianity is Person A telling Person B that Person B's life is wrong/sinful.
Rev. Janet (if that is who posted):
It all comes down to this, whether you believe the witness of the Apostles, or not.
The Apostles told us that God became man and dwelt among us, and revealed God's own self to us. Moreover, the God-Man, Jesus, gave the Holy Spirit to his Church, and sent his Church--founded on the Apostles--in his Name and Power to speak for him.
Is this true? If so, then the constant witness of God in the entirety of Scripture, plus the witness of God in his Church, is united with Natural Law, in affirming God made them male and female, and they shall be one flesh.
Our Divine Lord was not at all shy about recommending chastity to those who could not marry. He did not find compelling, apparently, the notion that every person must--to realize his full humanity--engage in some manner of genital sexual activity--and if not with a member of the opposite sex, then with the same sex.
And while Jesus never specifically references same-sex desire, it defies imagination to suppose they didn't know about it. He surely knew there were gay men and women listening when he said what he said about marriage.
Now, you are certainty entitled to your personal view that none of that counts as much as the personal beliefs and desires of gay men and women. But that rejects the Incarnation and the Apostolic witness.
So I won't be joining that cause, I'm sorry.
To the Rev Dr. Janet Edwards
First, I guess you missed the title of this post...
What Catholics Believe about 'Same Sex Marriage.'
Seems like you could have just given us your link to this same article you had on the liberal pro abortion Huffington Post site. I note you are Presbyterian minister and not Catholic. I also note that in your own church, over 100 congregations have defected from your faith, many who have joined the Catholic Church. The same is true in other Christian Churches as those who hold traditional values are leaving Churches whose values and morals have been in steady decline with decisions like openly gay ministers.
The Catholic Church does not hate gays as we are told to love the gay person, but to not support the grave sin. We loving teach that those afflicted with this weakness join in celebacy with those who are not married and with our priests. We teach that marriage is between one man and one woman and this teaching will not change because it is how God created us.
I note your five questions, but you do not seem to take on any questions or statements posted here and show where you see them as being in error. I wonder why you felt compelled to come to this Catholic blog site to cut and paste your huffington post article. that says a lot about you without even reading what you posted. I would suspect that the gay issue with you is more important than anything to do with faith, but I will withold that judgement. I contrast that with Father Fox who is priest first and always as his vow of love and obedience to his bride, the church, is evident in his life and this blog.
we as Catholics are blessed to have the Pope who is infallible in matters of faith and morals and in a church who Jesus promised to be with until the end of time. We do not have to try to weasal out new meaning to justify our weakness as being normal when we realize it is grave sin for we have the Catholic Church strong teaching based on 2000 years of solid apostolic tradition. Many converts come here for that reason alone. They realize how easy it is to be lost in sin and try to justify it if we do not have a well formed conscience. We would be fools to abandon the Catholic Church for one that changes with the wind or society desires or trends.
so unless you are willing to really post point by point why Catholic teaching is not correct and show your authority as opposed to the Vicar of Christ, why come here with your distortions and liberal Huffington Post smears and distortions.
Pat, in this country, the very first part of the very first amendment is Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. As Father points out, marriage is and has been part of every religion and it has been defined as between one man and one woman with few exceptions in history. In the USA, since our founding, this has been understood as fact and has come down from the religious beliefs of the nation. It is not establishing a religion to have marriage defined this way, but infringing on religious beliefs to change the law which government has no right to do without violating the constitution.
To do so they had to have the big lie on separation of Church and state which is not even in the constitution and keep telling the big lie until many actually think it is there. Then they had to take the 14th amendment which was limited to providing full freedom and protection to freed black male slaves, and creating new rights using that with another big lie. It is like finding the word privacy again not there, to justify murder of babies.
So it is lies and distortions of the constitution by judges who took an oath to preserve, defend, and protect it to give us gay special rights for behavior for the first time, killing of babies, and attacks on religion.
I also note you do not address the issues raised, but choose to distor words and facts and truths. THAT IS TRULY SAD
The left in Britain now want to pass this legislation which shows how far the gay activist want to push the issue.
I just found one of your comments in my spam filter, sorry, don't know how it ended up there.
As to your comments on 9/22...I have no problem with debate, as a perusal of my site will show.
Glad you found my comments that got trapped in your filter. Please post them now, unless there is fair reason not to do so. I don't recall my 9/22 comment. I appreciate your commitment to fair and honest discussion in your comments section.
Thanks and kind regards,
Pat: it was published, but it went to 9/22, I'm assuming because that's when you wrote it.
What a POS bigot you are.
I doubt you'll bother, but I challenge you to substantiate that otherwise meaningless accusation.
My calling you a "murderer" or a "Martian" is about is valid.
Feel free to explain exactly what basis you have for your name-calling?
Post a Comment