marriage_logoFor many years now secularists and self-described progressives have made the claim that religious believers, especially those from traditional perspectives, were trying to impose their beliefs on others. They have also make frequent accusations that religious believers are “intolerant.” It has been my usual experience that people who stridently accuse others of things are themselves often most guilty of the attitudes they most decry in others. And now today we see just such an example in the looming actions of an increasingly extreme contingent of the DC City Council in reference to same sex marriage.

The crafters of the Bill have chosen to significantly narrow religious exemptions and thereby force religious organizations into the  untenable position of accepting and even promoting so-called same-sex marriage. The Archdiocese of Washington has released a a statement that pretty well details the situation. I reproduce it here:  

 The DC City Council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary today narrowed the exemption for religious freedom in a bill that would legalize marriage between same-sex couples. The bill is headed to the full council.

The committee’s narrowing of the exemption leaves religious organizations and individuals at risk for adhering to the teachings of their faith, and could prevent social service providers such as Catholic Charities from continuing their long-term partnerships with the District government to provide critical social services for thousands of the city’s most vulnerable residents. The bill provides no exemption for individuals with sincerely-held religious beliefs, as required under federal law. In fact, one council member opposed an amendment that would have respected an individual’s federally-protected, deeply-held religious beliefs by saying that would encourage a “discriminatory impulse.”

The committee rejected concerns raised in testimony by the ACLU, the Archdiocese of Washington, the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington and a group of nationally-recognized legal scholars, including Robin Fretwell Wilson, professor at Washington & Lee University Law School. In calling for broader religious liberty protections in the bill, the experts cited well established United States Supreme Court case law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a federal law that applies to the District of Columbia.

Under the bill, religious organizations do not have to participate in the “solemnization or celebration” of a same-sex marriage ceremony. An earlier version of the bill also exempted them from “the promotion of marriage that is in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs.” The revised language significantly narrows that exemption to the “promotion of marriage through religious programs, counseling, courses, or retreats.”

As a result, religious organizations and individuals are at risk of legal action for refusing to promote and support same-sex marriages in a host of settings where it would compromise their religious beliefs. This includes employee benefits, adoption services and even the use of a church hall for non-wedding events for same-sex married couples. Religious organizations such as Catholic Charities could be denied licenses or certification by the government, denied the right to offer adoption and foster care services, or no longer be able to partner with the city to provide social services for the needy.

“It is our concern that the committee’s narrowing of the religious exemption language will cause the government to discontinue our long partnership with them and open up the agency to litigation and the use of resources to defend our religious beliefs rather than serve the poor,” said Edward Orzechowski, president/CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. Catholic Charities serves 68,000 people in the city each year. The city’s 40 Catholic parishes operate another 93 social service programs to provide crucial services.

The teachings of the Catholic Church, including those of the Archdiocese of Washington, hold that all individuals have equal dignity and deserve equal respect. However, marriage by its very nature must be between a man and a woman. One essential purpose of marriage is an openness to creating and nurturing the next generation, which is the reason that governments and cultures throughout all time have given these relationships special recognition and support. See www.MarriageMattersDC.org for more information on marriage.

Many media reports today have indicated incorrectly that the Archdiocese of Washington is “threatening to end social services to the poor” if the Bill is not changed. But the true fact is that the Bill would force us out since to accept or administer even $1.00 of DC money would put us under a whole series of unacceptable rules requiring us to recognize or even facilitate aspects of Gay “marriage.” I could also open us to lawsuits and to “decertification” which would exc;ude us from providing social servies in DC. It is not we who threaten, it is we who are threatened by the implications of this Bill.

I hope you can see what is happening here. Through judicial fiat seculars and progressives are trying to impose recognition of same sex “marriage.” By severely reducing religious exemptions members of the City Council and their allies are simply bullying and forcing their will. They have the votes on the Council and refuse to allow the citizens of this city to have their voices heard by placing this initiative on the ballot. This Bill is, simply put, an imposition.

It is also an example of intolerance toward the traditional religious community. The views of the religious communities in question are not some recent trend or theological speculation. The definition of marriage that is being rejected is some 5,000 years old and stretches all the way back to the earliest pages of Scripture. There are also solid Natural Law arguments at the root of the traditional understanding of Marriage. We are not bigots or homophobes merely for holding the traditional view of marriage. The narrowing of religious exemptions in the current draft of the Bill seems another  example of intolerance for ancient and deeply held religious belief.

It is an irony that many who have marched under the banners tolerance and open-mindedness, now that they have power, show that it never really was about either of those things. It appears it was really about power and imposition. The very ones who have so often accused the religious and traditional of imposing our will and being intolerant now give evidence of the very things they accused others of.

62 Responses

  1. anon says:

    I’m so glad you explained this. Saw the news reports about Catholics putting teeth into their beliefs. So happy to see an expanded version of this.

  2. Dennis says:

    When the Lord takes account of the Archdiocese of Washington and asks if it fed Him when He was hungry and clothed Him when was He was naked and did all those things for least among young, and the Archdiocese said that it could not because it would mean recognizing a state issued contract between two people, I wonder what God would say?

    • I think we will still be in the Lord’s good graces. We will still serve the poor though we may not be able to do it with any governemnt money. We may not be able to afford the magnitude of what we currently do but others will probably step up to take the money and render the services. I doubt they will do it as well as we do it but the Government will have to find other vendors since we cannot be accredited by the them who will demand that we facilitate and approve things we cannot. I rather doubt that the Lord would have us set aside our faith in order to take Governement money do you?

      What I want to stress with you is this is not us walking away, we do not wish to do so. Rather it is that we will not be legally able to meet the requirements the city will impose for vendors of social services. It is the City and the proposed Bill that is the change agent not us.

      • Dennis says:

        Hmmm…I wonder, and only God Himself knows what He thinks of us. Perhaps incorectly and foolisly by those who feel that God cared about the poor more than he did the chaste, I was taught by the Church to love God with my whole heart and whole strength and to love my neighbor as myself. For years I resisted the heresy of Martin Luther, but the last few weeks, the American Church as made me think that perhaps the teachings of Christ are absent from the Church of Rome. I honestly and sincerely feel that we are reading two different sets of Gospels.

  3. Beth says:

    I too am somewhat concerned by this whole thing. I mean I know people who are working hard on both sides of this issue–and am equally as torn. My concern is that we already have falling numbers of active church members out there. I wonder what the perception of the church may be to those who don’t understand the inner workings of the entire situation (i.e. they only see the Catholic church not serving the neediest among us). Does an action such as this spread a misperception that our church is discriminatory? Or does it send the message that we stand up for our beliefs? Again I am not sure. I would hope to think the latter, but based upon my conversations with friends and colleagues of all different faiths and walks of life, most people seem to think the former.

    All that being said, Msgr, I was wondering if you could shed some light as to why the Church is being so vocal about this issue, and not, say the fact that within the District there is such extreme poverty? It seems to me that the church is somewhat obsessed with sins of a sexual nature, and not with sins of injustice. I,too, believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but as with any type of sexual indiscretion (gay or straight), it is an issue between two individuals. In my own life I seek to help friends understand the beauty of chastity in a private and understanding way, and find that there is more success in quietly helping someone to understand the gospel. I wonder, perhaps, is the Church getting too political?

    Just some musings I’ve been having as of late. Thank you for your post!

    • Again, let me state WE are not walking away from the poor. Rather it is the City that will, according to its own legislation exclude us from using city money to serve them. We will not qualify to serve the poor since the city will “decertify” from receiving city money since we will not agree to the stipulations (i.e. supporting and promoting and accepting the existence of “gay marraige.”). We will continue to serve the poor with other sorts of funds we can raise. We cannot guarantee to be able to afford the same lever of service, that would depend on benefactors, but we will continue to serve the poor to the best of our own ability. We just won’t be able to do it with City Money that will be withheld from us.

      Some of your other concerns are debatable points. Is the Church obsessed with sex as you claim? I hard think so. If you want to discover who is obsessed with sex turn on a TV. The modern world uses sex to sell toothpaste! Sex is all over the place, in the movies, music, TV, etc. That the Church needs to speak about sex is largely driven by a world that fixed on the topic and that insists on glorifying promiscuous behavior, both homosexual and heterosexual. The Church cannot simply remain silent. We have to prophetically annouce God’s plan for human sexuality which is glorious and beautiful. As for neglecting sins of injustice, here too I think your observation is debatable. The Church talsk a lot about war, capital punishment, care for the poor etc. We are one of the largest providers of healthcare, homeless shelters, and family crisis centers. It is true that exact parameters of social justice are less well define but this is because reasonable people will differ as to the specifics. How best to care for the poor? Is is large government programs or is it community and church based programs. What is the best way to insure medical benefits for people? Gov’t opition or private solutions. The Church does not weigh in on the specific ways but does set principles that must be upheld. Things like abortion, capital punishment, fornication etc are a little more cut and dry. It is pretty clear when we’ve executed someone, aborted a baby, or when someone has had sex before or outside a marriage.

      Your point that sex is just between two individuals is also debatable. Sexual promiscuity has wide ranging effects in society and the Church. Single motherhood (absent fatherhood) is the cheif cause of poverty in this land. There are also endless problems with STDs, AIDS, abortion, teenage preganancy, higher divorce rates, homes never properly established before children come along etc, et al. All these things come from promiscuous behavior. When the Church speaks on such things she is not engaging in politics, she is fulfilling her prophetic mandate to speak the truth.

      I am glad that you promote chastity among friends and hope that work will continue. Not only must the Church speak to what is right, we must also have all Church members speak one to another of the glory of human sexuality and of its proper and rightful place within marriage. Thank you for your work.

  4. anon says:

    One of the council members accused the Church of trying to hold the city hostage, and that made me laugh out loud. The council won’t let this issue go to referendum because they know the majority of the citizens do not want it. So who is holding whom hostage over this issue? Who is shoving what down whose throat?

  5. Mary Fran Miklitsch says:

    I disagree completely that requiring organizations, including the Archdiocese, to provide the same benefits to same-sex couples as married couples is endorsing same-sex marriage. In my view, it is simple civil rights. It is acting tolerantly to treat others the same. It is ensuring that gay men and lesbians who serve the church can cover their partners with health insurance, life insurance, etc. What could be wrong with that?

    The Archdiocese appears mean-spirited and bigoted in these actions. Jesus’ message was one of inclusivity and service. And to punish the poor who rely on Archdiocesan social services is, in my view, wrong. This is not standing up for a principle based on love toward one another.

    I pray that the Archdiocesan hierarchy might be open to the possibility that they have misinterpreted God’s will.

    • I don’t think that anyone is arguing that if we were forced to provide benefits we would be endorsing same-sex “marriage.” If we were forced we could hardly be said to endorse anything that flowed from something that had been forced. What would be an implicit endorsement would be if we gladly took city money knowing that it would compromise the teachings of our faith. We are simply saying we cannot take money with these sorts of strings attached. It is not just about benefits, it is about being forced to rent our facilities for same-sex “wedding” receptions etc, it is about hiring policies for people in pastoral or represenational poistions, it is about being open to endless lawsuits that would emerge if we took the money but didn’t tow the line. As for benefits, there is more than one way of securing healthcare, power of attorney etc. It is not required that we confer the status “marriage” upon every relationship to offer benefits and declare beneficaries so I think your argument is a bit of a red herring.

      As for appearing mean-spirited and bigoted, I might encourage you to be little less harsh in your assessment. There are more benign ways of understanding our position. For example, our reverence for biblical revelation and a tradition over 5000 years old. You don’t need to assume the worst about us. Of course you are free to assume the worst, but then I might wonder why you would like to presume the worst. What’s that all about? Where does the hostility come from?

      As for interpreting God’s will, I wonder what there is about the scriptural teaching on Marriage and homosexual activity (as well as Hetersexual misbehavior) that it unclear? Unless we were to engage in a sophistry the plain meanings of these texts seem quite clear. There really isn’t a lot to interpret or misinterpret, it all pretty plain.

      • George says:

        Thank you so much “messenger” for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I, for one,
        have learned a great deal from your blog, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

        I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

        1) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev. 1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

        2) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

        3) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev. 15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

        4) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

        5) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

        6) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

        7) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

        8) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

        9) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

        10) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with
        people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

        “Messenger” I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging (5,000 years and going strong!).

      • Dear George,

        Thank you for your High assessment of my title as Messenger. Actually I am just a lowly Monsignor which is what Msgr. stands for :-)

        Now, a general comment before addressing your specifics. The Church teaching is not based merely on Levitical texts nor merely on Old Testament texts. It is also based on New Testament texts, apostolic tradition and the Natural Law. Hence your attempt to make things look narrow minded does not hold by Merely quoting from Levitcal norms, most of which were abrogated quite clearly in the New Testament. Even if you ignored the Levitcal codes on homosexuality altogether there is still a wide and consistent teaching in other Scripture to include the New Testament, Apostolic Tradition and the Natural Law. Catholics are not fundamentalists and our teaching does not rest merely on one text, but rather on a collective basis of Scripture, tradition and Natural Law. Hence I am unvexed by your attempt to make Church teaching on homosexual activity look “silly” It is not silly and is rooted in deeply held, broadly based teaching.

        As to some of your specifics.

        1. Burning a bull is no longer required by the testimony of scripture itself. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. To burn a bull is no longer necessary. While the burning of bulls has been specifically set aside in the scripture, the teaching on homosexual acts has not. Hence the one OT norm has fulfilled and thus abrogated, the other is a norm that remains in force since no New Testament text, neither the apostolic tradition have set it aside.

        2. Slavery is no longer a viable option for you so I do not recommend it. Although the scriptures permitted it it is no longer legal and might get you in trouble. Further, the slavery of the ancient world was of a different kind than the African Slavery of the New World and West Indies. In the ancient world slavery existed on account of several things. Either one owed a debt that could not be paid so they and or their family accepted slavery as an option to debtors prison. Or Sometimes non capital crimes had been committed and once again slavery was accepted as an option to prison. Lastly, and most commonly slavery was imposed on the soldiers (and their families) of a losing side in war. It was an option to excution. This cultural background explains why the scriptural texts do not outright condemn slavery as we might expect. As you can see it served as a less harsh option than prison or debt. But the slavery of the New World was intriniscally unjust since it enslaved people who had committed no crimes, owed no debt and had not prosecuted a war. It went by the same name but was a different reality. This led the Church to condem the practice beginning in the 17th Century. A number of southern bishops actually excommunicated Catholics for advocating slavery. This was all due to the recognition that the slavery being practiced was instrinsically unjust as stated above. After two centuries of struggle to make this point, abolitionists finally got the practice outlawed. So, Geoge I do not recommend that you sell you daughter even for a high price, since it is illegal and might get you into trouble. And don’t try to use scripture to ease your conscience :-) since modern slavery is not the same institution that scripture silently tolerated.

        3. I am a priest and so cannot really help you here! However, I might indicate to you that although OT texts forbid contact with blood, there are some New Testament texts that seem once again to abrogate it. For Jesus declared all foods clean (Mk 7:18-20). This is also the case in Acts 10. So it seems if you’re free to now eat food with the blood still it I suppose you could have relations with a menustrating woman. Now I am guess I am puzzled as to whether you’d want to or whether she’d want to but that is all a bit murky to me since I am a priest and do not know a lot about details like this. But again, this is an example where a text from the OT seems to have been superceded by a text from the NT Which is not the case with Homosexual acts.

        4. Sicut supra dictum est # 2

        5. The death penalty for such offenses was allowed in the OT times for offenses such as this but seldom applied. It would seem that it is not unlike the death penalty today. It is permitted but we are not obliged to use it. Thus, in permitting the death penalty for such offenses it seems the scriputre does take the offense as quite serious, a capital crime if you will. But the actual application of the penalty was apparently quite rare and was not tolerated by most Jewish community standards. Hence I would not recommend you impose the death penalty here for sveral reasons. First, even in OT times legitmate authority had to impose it not Joe Citizen. Second, it might make people mad at you and they might retaliate. Third, it seems again that the NT has abrogated this law since the highest penalty Jesus imposes in serious situations is excommunication (cf: Mat 18:17). Further he though he does not deny that the law allows a woman to be stoned to death for adultery, he does not think that is the best remedy. Instead he tells her to stop sinning and sends her on her way (John 8). So, once again at OT text seems to have been surpassed by a NT text. But this is not the case with homosexual acts.

        6. Sicut supra dictum est # 3 (viz all foods clean). A good number of things are called abominations in scripture, this seems to be a euphemism to indicate serious sin. In the OT eating unclean foods was a serious sin but the Lord has rendered all foods clean. But there is no NT text indicating that Homosexual acts are “clean” hence they remain sinful and are decalred to be such in a number of places in the NT.

        7. I don’t know George, unless you’re a priest I don’t think this one can apply to you. The priests of old with poor eyesight were not permitted to offer the sacrifice since they were using a sharp knife to kill the animals for sacrifice and they worked close by other priests doing this work. So, poor eyesight and sharp knives are a bad combination. Hence they were forbidded and it seems wise. Here too the norm seems abrogated since we no longer wield sharps knives and kill animals in close proximity to other priests. Hence blindness or poor eyesight is less of an impediment. It would seem this law is implicitly abrogated.

        8. Here too the NT seems to have abrogated this law since Paul shaves his head for a Nazarite vow. Further he observes that long hair on a man can be disgraceful. Not sure here what he means by long hair but you get the point. So here again we are left with a Law that was abrogated but this is not the case with Homosexual acts which are not abrogates by any NT text and are in fact called sinful by them,

        9. Sicut Supra dictum est # 6

        10. Sicut Supra dictum est # 5. I would generally avoid killing or stoning people George. Leave capital punishment to proper authority. Otherwise, it tends to get you into trouble.

        Well anyway George this has been fun. But remember that it is best not to base your whole argument on Scripture alone, particularly one part of Scripture. Scripture you see should be read as a whole and dispensations of early eras were sometimes set aside by later ones. As NT Christians we read the OT in the light of NT. Hence, where the NT lifts the law or alters it by God’s authority we are thus able to live free of it. However, where there is no authoity in the NT to change or overlook a OT law then we carry it forward. This is the case with Homosexual activity. It is condemn in the OT to be sure but that condmnation is not lifted by the NT which, instead, repeats that such acts are sinful along with illicit heterosexual acts. So in the end your list was flawed by a fundamentalistic approach. I encourage you to emply a more Catholic approach in the future. And George, I would strongly encourage you to avoid killing people, or selling them into slavery.

      • George says:

        Interesting take Monsignor. Actually, I was raised (and confirmed) Catholic, so indeed I do know what the “Msgr” stands for :) However, since you state that the bible seems to be crystal clear on a multitude of issues, I must assume you are somehow a “messenger” of God. Or at least a prophet.

        I am fascinated by your distinctions between the Old and New Testaments. You stated below that the Bible is based on both Old and New Testament texts (and, indeed, “[y]ou cannot play favorites with scripture, it is all inspiried. When you start tearing out pages from the Bible it all ends up going.”) Interesting concept. So why again do we include the Old Testament at all in the modern day bible that is used in the Catholic church? I am also not convinced after reading your descriptions that the NT necessarily “abrogates” each and every one of the teachings in the OT that I cited. Nor do I think that every word in the version of the bible from which you are quoting is necessarily accurate, as it has been passed down from generation to generation, translated into multiple languages etc., but it’s good to hear that there is someone who can give clear and definitive answers to all of the Bible’s little mysteries. Bravo!

        If culture and tradition are used to incorporate the Church’s teachings, I am wondering if the Church has ever changed its position on various social issues due to changing cultural norms? I wonder if the Church ever used tradition to defend slavery or deny women the right to vote? Did it ever oppose interracial marriage?
        I wonder if the Church ever tried to argue that God intended that the races not be mixed in support of its ban on interracial marriage? I bet if I did some digging I would uncover some pretty interesting statements that are contrary to the practices of the modern day church.

        Incidentally, I also find it interesting that you do not recommend that I engage in activities that are illegal (such as activities that are prohibited by federal or state law). Are you aware that the Archdiocese of Washington is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation? Are you also aware that, while the Catholic church can take a political stance on an issue, it is prohibited from engaging in lobbying activites under section 501(h) of the Internal Revenue Code. “Lobbying activities” include expenditures made for the purposes of influencing legislation (same section). My thought is that the ADW’s writing and speaking out publicly against the proposed marriage bill (and certainly threatening to pull funds from needy citizens in order to strongarm the DC council into rejecting a proposed bill) are probably “illegal” under federal law. I say “probably” because the law, like biblical text, is not always crystal clear. Sometimes you have to put some real thought into a statement before you can give a definitive answer ;)

      • It remains true we cannot tear pages out of scripture. But it is also true that there are stages of scripture wherein previous norms are either clarified, expanded, or put aside. I do not have the authority to do this but Scripture itself does. Therefore, as stated we read the OT in light of NT. Some aspects of the old law were fulfilled (eg. The killing of animals and many temple rituals), they are replaced by the paschal mystery and the liturgies prescribed in the NT (EG Eucharist). But if there are not serious reasons to see that an OT practice was either fulfilled, changed or abrogated we are not simply free to ignore what is taught in the OT. That would amount to tearing out pages. No as to OT law forbidding Homosexual acts there are no NT texts that override that. In fact there are numerous condemnations in the NT regarding homosexual acts (as I have detailed elsewhere). You point of doubting the veracity of current translations kind renders discussion difficult since, if there is no agreed upon accurate source for the discussion it’s pretty hard to go forward with anything else. So I am not sure what to do with this claim accept to trust, as a man of faith that we have accurate translations of the original revelation.

        I am not aware that the Church ever used scripture officially to defend slavery, attack interracial marriage. I have little doubt that one can find an individual Catholic, maybe even an individual bishop who did detestable things, but I am unaware of any official Church teaching that ever used scripture or apostolic tradition to defend such practices. Dig away if you will to find such things but I would only ask that you remember that an individual bishop does not equal “the Church” neither an individual layman. The Church like every family has a few nuts falling from its family tree.

        I am no lawyer but it seems to me that partisan political activity is surely forbidden. I do not think the law prevents the Church from weighing in on moral issues and of testifying at hearings on important policy matters. But I’ll let the great legal minds ponder the limits of law.

        Thanks

      • George says:

        I have read the bible (both OT and NT) several times and the only truths I can discern are as follows: (1) love your God with all your heart, (2) love your neighbor as yourself and (3) do not judge others (this is stated by Jesus himself time and time again). Gay and straight, we are all created in His image. And indeed, you are not a legal scholar, or you would know that biblical text has been cited in opposition of interracial marriage (see Loving v. Virginia) and used to oppress women (most frequently in attempts to deny women the right to vote). If history is any guide, perhaps you, Monsignor, will be one day be viewed as one of the “nuts” on the family tree of which you speak. It would be a true shame if this is your legacy. And indeed — may your actions one day be judged in the same manner as you judge others. Have you lived a pure and biblical life – followed every passage of the bible at all times? If the answer is no, articles like the one you have posted are clearly out of line.

        Your article purports (incorrectly I might add) to understand just how a piece of proposed legislation will be interpreted and enforced. And as I stated before, the law does not prevent the church from weighing in on policy matters (e.g., opposition to same-sex marriage) but does prevent you from attempting to influence legislation (e.g., public opposition and statements against the council’s proposed bill, testifying, pulling funding to influence the city council, etc.). Any lay citizen can request that the IRS investigate your activities, so I think that you would be well-advised to understand the distinction and consult your lawyers before issuing and reposting public statements such as the one in this article. Losing your status as a tax-exempt entity would have pretty disasterous consequences — probably a lot worse than any legal action you could face for not treating gays and lesbians with the dignity that they deserve.

      • Rather than being conisdered a nut from the family tree I hope to be considered by history as a fool for Christ! But that is not for me to say.

        That you can only find three moral norms from all of Scripture indicates to me an impoverished notion of Scripture which surely has more guidance for the people of God than that.

        As for the norm against “Judging others” it is truly said but there are other text that must balance it. For example Jesus indicates elsewhere that we should correct one another. Scripture in general has a lot to say about fraternal correction. I just wrote an excellent article here in the blog about that here: http://blog.adw.org/2009/11/fraternal-correction-the-forgotten-virtue/ In way, if Jesus words meant that Christians could never cast doubt on the behavior of others, you and I could not be having this discussion. It is not just I who who cast doubts on behaviors, but you also cast doubts on my behavior. I do not conclude because of this that you are “judging me.” I do not think that this is what Christ meant when he said “judge not.” Now, however, if you began to announce what motives I was acting from, for example that I had hatred, or was a Nazi, etc. Then I think a line has been crossed since man seems the appearance but only God looks into the heart. That is to say, my inner motives or yours may not be something that can be seen fully by another. Other judgements are beyond me too, particularly the judgement as to the state of another person’s soul before God. But other judgments seem to be commanded of us. For example in the same Matt 7 where Jesus tells us not to give what is holy to dogs or cast our pearls before swine, this seems to require of us some discernment as to whom we are dealing with. Paul also says that Bad company corrupts good morals. But that seems to imply we can and must size up the people around us. Further we are told to correct the sinner. But that implies we must be able to discern who is committing sin and so forth. More at teh article I cited just above.

        As for having lived a life in perfect keeping with the scriptures, I have not. But I am not sure why that disqualifies me from writing an article like this. If only the perfect could teach there would be little teaching. I often have to remind parents that even if they are not perfect they still have to correct and insist on the truth. Obviously the more one is in harmony with the truth the more credible their witness and if one is way out of line then their witness to the truth may cause more harm than good. But I hardly think of myself in the latter category. I do not live perfectly but I do have integrity insofar as scriptural truth goes and I am surely not living some sort of double life.

        As far as all the legal stuff goes, I’ll just leave that to the diocesean lawyers. But I am unaware that that Church or any individual in it surrender their 1st ammendment rights at the door. It seems to me that the Church has just as much right to testify and participate in public hearings as does the ACLU, or Gay Rights organizations, or any lobbyist. But if you are right, then I am sure such requests have been made of the IRS. I am sure that this has happened before. I don’t think we’ve done anything wrong that would come to light in any investigation though. But all that is for others to determine.

      • George says:

        Yes, I think we could go on forever, but in closing I will say the following:

        1) History will indeed decide how you are viewed. I sincerely believe that you are teaching from your heart. However, in 50 years, when same sex marriage has become the norm, the Supreme Court has ruled that it violates equal protection, and the Catholic church (sigh, I know) gives in and starts performing these marriages, your statements may, well, honestly make you look extremely prejudiced, at least in the eyes of those who believe in civil rights for all people.

        2) I agree that there is more to the Scripture than three verses, but those are the three that are the nearest and dearest to my heart. When all else fails, those are the rules I follow. And yes, I still consider myself to be a Christian, whether others would/would not consider me to be one (it’s not their opinion that matters anyway).

        3) I don’t agree that judging others is appropriate, so I don’t do it. As long as their actions do not harm me or anyone else, I accept them as they are. In doing so, I would be replacing my judgment for that of God’s .. something I believe is improper.

        4) Your statements on the “legal stuff” however is misunderstood. Again, you, like me and everyone else, have the right to speak your mind. However, as a 501(c)(3) organization, you are in a unique position. Because you are exempt from tax (and political expenses are not deductible), you cannot engage in political activity on behalf of taxpayers who cannot ordinarily take deductions should they do the same. There is a fine line – something I know about. You can blog up and down about how you oppose same-sex marriage, but you cannot publicly endorse or influence a candidate or legislation if you are exempt from tax. I’ve been closely following the activities of ADW and I think that you have crossed the line, but then again that is for the IRS/courts to decide. I personally think you have done something wrong, something illegal, at least in light of the law as it is written. But as always we can agree to disagree.

      • Ok George, I guess I’ll take the risk on # 1 Appreciate our discussion. God bless you too.

  6. fundamentally for the narrow gate says:

    We must first pay attention to who we are and then to what we do. Better to remain Catholic than to deny who we are in order to receive money from the government. We will continue to serve the poor and with God’s blessing we will rely more on God than in capricious princesses or public opinion. The money that comes from prostitúcióval is not worth the pain of abandoning our Lord. In some nations where the church has no offical relations with the government private Charities continue the work of the Church strongly by the charity of their commited memebers. Would we?

  7. mindy says:

    I thought one of the most ridiculous statements came from council woman Alexander, “Let’s say an individual caterer is a staunch Christian and someone wants him to do a cake with two grooms on top. Why can’t they say, based on their religious beliefs, ‘I can’t do something like that’?” The Church isn’t a caterer; it’s an employer of many people, and a provider of many services. Given the language in this bill, if they continued to partner with the city, there would be many times that the Church could NOT possibly say, “Based on our religious beliefs, I can’t do something like that.” That sort of statement would be illegal.

    And the news coverage is making me mad. My mom greeted me this morning with, “Did you hear what the Church is doing? I think it’s awful.” She only knew the part of the story that was covered in the perpetually one-sided news. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Church hasn’t said they are leaving the good people of DC without care. They are saying they can no longer, in good faith, maintain a partnership with the city in order to do so. Someone else will undoubtedly step in to bid on those contracts and the Church will continue to provide the most and best care it can (as it has done for so long). I reminded my mother that she was in a similar position when she and her business partner dissolved their partnership because they had different ways they believed things should be. In that case, they split and each continued to do their own business as they each believed was correct.

    As to the comments on the Church’s “obessesion” with sexual sin- oh my goodness! It is because our society is so steeped in sexual sin that the Church MUST be vocal. To be silent would be to condone. I, for one, am enormously grateful for each and every priests and Church leader who uses his voice to point out the errors of our ways here. It has helped to validate what I am trying to teach my children. I can’t be effective in teaching them about the correct use of their sexuality alone- there are too many voices and images in opposition. When I read the sort of points that Msgr. has pressed here, it makes me want to clap.

  8. Bender says:

    I strongly applaud the position of the Archbishop and Archdiocese. Stand firm!

    It is unfortunate and perhaps might lead to a tragedy that the poor and others who might need assistance might be harmed and that the Church might be hindered in her mission to the poor, etc. However, it is entirely foreseeable as a consequence when government has so usurped that social work of the Church and has imposed such onerous taxation policies that individual people have less money to give to the Church, such that the Church must necessarily rely on monetary support from government to provide those services.

    That the Church should sever her ties with Caesar is a good thing. That people who need assistance might not get it is not a good thing.

  9. Laurie says:

    So, to review, Monsignor, what the archdiocese fears is giving benefits to same-sex partners of your employees, renting church halls to same-sex couples who apparently got married elsewhere, and being forced to consider same-sex couples as adoptive parents?

    Do you think you have a lot of gay employees? And if so, is it the cost of the benefits you fear, or letting the gay employees think you approve of them? If so, perhaps you could be sure to tell them how strongly you disapprove of their lives and their loves and make them feel even more unwelcome in the Church than you do now.

    We know that Jesus did not speak of homosexuality in the Gospels. St. Paul did, to be sure, but can we acknowledge that we have moved on from many other of Paul’s admonitions, such as keeping women’s hair covered, and his acceptance of slavery? How do we know that St. Paul is not reflecting his cultural bias here as well?

    If you sense hostility on my part, it is because I am the Catholic mother of a gay son, who did not “choose a lifestyle” but came to the difficult realization that this is who he truly is.

    • Well you use the word “fear” a number of times.Fear is not the point. We do fear but we do “oppose” redefining Marriage. Whether or not we have gay employees (I presuppose we have some) but I also do not presuppose they are living in illicit relationships. If they are it is none of our business. However if they should choose to force us to make it our business by an “in your face – “accept me and what I do demand” – we cannot approve.

      As for Jesus not mentioning Homosexuaity but Paul does: you cannot divide scripture up like that. The four Gospels are no more inspired than Paul or Peter or James or Jude. The Holy Spirit Authors them all. You cannot play favorites with scripture, it is all inspiried. When you start tearing out pages from the Bible it all ends up going. Jesus is clear enough that we cannot go outside of marriage for sexual gratification (Matt 5, Matt 19, Mk 5, 10 etc.) Further an argument from silence is not very impressive.

      Hair coverings etc are cultural, not moral norms and Paul acknowledges as such when he situates the instruction; “If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God” Paul thus locates this norm as a practice of the churches not as an absolute moral norm. Now we are not to lack sophisticaton when it comes to scripture. Hence I must ask you if you really think we should equate norms about hair and the covering thereof with something far more significant such as sexual activity. But if you insist I will tell you is seems a woman ought to cover her hair in Church, but only if you insist. Frankly with a little sophistication I am sure you can see that one matter is rather insignificant and something Paul calls a “practice” or a custom in the Churches of God whereas sexual activity outside of marriage is something far more significant and also quite consistently attested to in scripture, not just in passing in one place. It is also tied to the 6th Commandment.

      As for your son, I am not sure where his orientation came from. I simply assume it is beyond his choice. But orientation is not the same as lifestyle. If a person has a gay orientation that is not sinful but to act on that orientation and adopt a “lifestyle” that includes sexual activity cannot be affirmed. Simply being “hostile” to the Church cannot change what scripture teaches either. The best counsel that can be given to one in your son’s situation is to live celibately. I am aware of a number of gay people who do just that and also hope that is a grace your son has accepted. It is really the only biblical response. Any other solution is a “designer solution” that does not accept what God’s word teaches. I am a priest and am heterosexual. I am strongly attracted to beautiful women. What would your advice be to me? My orientation and desire is not evil but if I started acting out and being inappropriate with women, since I am unmarried, this would be wrong and should be called what it is: sin. Everyone who is not married needs to chose and embrace celibacy. It is my hope that your son, with your encouragement has not only come to the “difficult realization of who he truly is” but also that he has had the courage, with your help to choose bravely and virtuously what he must do, live celibately. There is no evil in an orientation, but there may well be sin in what we do with that orientation. We cannot rewrite scripture, tear our pages, rank certain books above others etc. or reinvent the revealed truth. We must accept and testify to what is clearly and consistently revealed in the Word of God, Namely that sexual activity outside of marriage (heterosexual or homosexual) is wrong and that it is condmened in strong language in scripture.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I truly respect the strong and clear position that you are taking for marriage! I am not surprised that the press has painted a negative picture of your “abandoning the poor”, as most of the press is pro-homosexualist. As a Presbyterian, I pray that we, as a denomination, will have the clarity to make the right decisions in regards to respecting marriage and standing up for it, as you have.

  11. Bender says:

    Jesus may not have expressly spoken on homosexuality in the Gospels (which capture only a fraction of what He said over His three-year ministry).

    But Jesus did speak of marriage quite often, and He spoke of truth quite often.

    There is a truth regarding the nature of marriage. And try as we may, we cannot remake truth. We cannot create our own subjective truth about marriage. Marriage is what it is. And marriage is not, and cannot be, what it is not.

    The Church is called to be a light of truth to the world. That truth includes the truth of the nature of marriage. And it is only in truth that we are set free, while relativism, the idea that we can reinvent truth and redefine things like marriage to be something that it is not, does indeed lead to dictatorship, as we are seeing played out here with the D.C. government.

  12. fundamentally for the narrow gate says:

    There is no scientific agreement on the origin of same sex orientation.

    Sure, for some it seems easier now to agree there is nothing our brothers and sisters can do to stop this attraction, especially if we see them shouting their message in pain and with tears. By the time a person is shouting there is a great deal of frustration and many times accumulated anger. We have seen in the news a sample of anger-tainted strategies and the confusion they can create about the real issue: is it normal or not.
    There is more a parent can do to help a child that is experiencing same sex orientation. This link may help. http://www.narth.com/ “During the last 25 years, powerful political pressures have done much to erode scientific study of homosexuality. As a result, there is now great misunderstanding surrounding this issue. Because of the angry tenor of the debate, many researchers have been intimidated, we believe, into trading the truth for silence”.

    Although I agree with Msgr. Pope that parents should talk about celibacy, I still do not understand why we as the Church are not talking more about prevention. Marriage is in great danger of not happening and of ending in divorce. If we seriously want our children to experience the glory of marriage and the enjoyment of our God given sexuality we need to take greater care of our confused children at the time they start experiencing the same sex attraction. If we Christians do not pay attention to their pain, they would turn to the culture that has created an attractive alternative that is equal to the fight for equality – one of our top American values.

    This culture has created an option that will tell our children “your confusion is not real – it means you are special”. With this kind of mentality would anybody do research anymore to understand this pain of the human experience? What we need is more healers that can step up to the challenge of facing this pain, knocking on doors, gathering data and selling their message. We have enough lawyers and activists selling the confusion of same sex attraction as a normal life style and boy are they good! Even some Christian leaders have bought into it! I think the greatest enemy of Christianity is the culture that has no tolerance for the cross and runs from it as if it were the boogieman and calls that patriotism. Lord help us!

    • I agree with your fundamental point here. I think you are right that we need to do a much better job of helping young people understand and prepare for marriage. Further, whatever prevention is possible insofar as things that negatively impact on sexuality and marriage should be undertaken. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Kristin says:

        Msgr.,
        Please challenge “fundamentally for the narrow gate’s” inclusion of NARTH in his post. The Church does not promote nor support re-orientation therapy. Your failure to challenge that part of his post is disturbing.

        “Fundamentally for the narrow gate”,
        Please do your research on re-orientation therapy. I can tell you from my own experience that re-orientation therapy made me suicidal for 8 years. Now what is more unnatural: hoping that God will strike you dead because you cannot live life as you truly are or entering into a loving and committed same-sex relationship?

      • Not sure I’ve ever heard of NARTH. But I don’t know if I’m willing to challenge “re-orientation” without any distinctions. I think that such things really depend on individual circumstances. Some people are probably simply Gay, and to try to “re-orient’” them is not called for. However, some have only leanings, or are not absolutely and unalterably living in the Gay lifestyle. It sounds like such an approach was wrong in your case and may have been forced or imposed to some degree. But I have personally given spiritual direction to people who were working on orientation therapies and for them it was beneficial. It was not something imposed on them nor did they go because I personally recommended it. Rather they came to me after embarking on the therepy since spiritual direction was part of it. So I just won’t categorically denounce it. I am not aware of any Church teaching on this matter. It is rather a matter of personal discretion and decision. Surely it should not be imposed. I don’t know anything specifically about the NARTH program you mention. Also, Kristin, I might encourage you to avoid false dichotomies. There is some middle ground between “Hoping God will strike you dead” and “entering into a loving and committed same-sex relationship.” Other options exist than just these two.

      • Kristin says:

        To clarify, I was not forced to attend re-orientation therapy. I chose to attend it because I did not want to live the rest of my life with “unnatural inclinations”. I wanted to be faithful to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and therefore I tried to pray the gay away. I spent time discerning my vocation hoping that I would receive the call to serve the Church as a religious sister. I continued to struggle with my sexual orientation, and I finally entered into re-orientation therapy to help me because I was miserable. No one made me go.
        You are right that individual circumstances play a role in all of this. However please know that for 8 years I put a smile on my face and gave talks at churches about how great it was to be healed of my homosexuality. Someone like you could have met me 5 years ago and think that I was a story of success. But what I really want you to know is that in spite of my happy face and my moving story of struggle and triumph, internally I hoped that I would die. I hid my pain and my same-sex attractions because my story gave people hope.
        The false dichotomy you criticized was my lived experience…it was my individual circumstance.
        I am now in a loving same-sex committed relationship, and I truly believe that my relationship brings honor to God. I have been healed; healed of my self-hatred.

      • Ok Kristen well, I guess we agree that circumstances DO matter in terms of such therapies. I am sorry that the whole process caused you difficulties.

        I need to say however that your final comment about bringing honor to God cannot simply go unremarked. There is a tendency today for many people to make declarations that God is pleased or honored by what they do. Of itself this is not a problem in that we are called to give glory to God. However, when statements are made to the effect that God is glorified, or pleased by something that is directly contrary to his stated will in scripture then what I think we have is fanciful thinking. Kristin, you may struggle with your orientation and you can call it anything you want or judge it anyway you want but I would avoid snatching God’s seal of approval out of his hand in matters that directly contradict what he teaches us in the Scriptures. You or I may think God is happy about this or that, but these are subjective notions. The most objective crtieria for what God really thinks is in His revealed Word. If you or I struggle with any sin, that is one thing, but it is another far more serious matter to call good what God has called sin. I would avoid declaring God is honored by what he has stated is contrary to his will. I am glad you do not hate yourself, but there more to life than feeling good about what we do. In the end, God wants obedience more than even sacrifice.

      • Kristin says:

        Thank you for your willingness to dialogue on this issue.
        We are eventually going to have to agree to disagree.
        But I want to leave you with one thought. Please consider how often the Church has used scripture for its seal of approval in its own horrific acts (i.e. justifying crusades, slavery, patriarchy, and more). Scripture actually does justify much of the above, but that doesn’t necessarily make it right of course.
        Arguments to marginalize and exclude a group of people based on scripture has never panned out well for the Church, so perhaps you should be more cautious when you suggest that I am dishonoring God according to scripture. You could have argued in 1920 that God does not want women to vote because the man is the head of the household. You could have seen those ending women’s suffrage as employing “fanciful thinking” because scripture could never conceive of women have the right to make important decisions (or own land). Now 90 years later, such a view is offensive, unjustifiable, and even laughable. So too will it be for GLBT rights.

        May God be honored as we all seek to follow Him.

      • yes, well it would be very hard to deny that no Christian every misused Scripture and some of them may even have been a bishop. I had rather extensive dialogue up above i thse comments with George about scripture and if you haven’t you might wish to. However, to your point, that scripture may have been used by some in the past in less than ideal ways ways cannot wholly exclude the use of scripture now. If scripture goes off the radar we’re not left with much except subjective and purely personal conclusions as to what God wants and even who God is. I am unaware the Church ever using Scripture one way or the other in the question of women’s sufferage. As for slavery, I commented on that above with George. The crusades are another matter. Now it is common to make a blanket condemnation of the Crusades today. Some of the later expeditions were indeed horrific and they contributed greatly to a breakdown of relations with the Orthodox in the East. However, of they began as an attempt for Christians of the middle ages to libertate their brethren in the holy Lnad from rather horrible oppression and violence from the Muslims occcupying the land at the time. Say waht you will about recourse to military action, but it remains Church teaching that there are times when recourse to it is regretably necessary and that it should be conducted within just parameters. In the end, all I want to say about the crusades is that they were a series of actions over many decades and it is primarily the later crusades that declined into barbaric and disorganized pillaging. I don’t think scripture is to blame for all that.

        Back to my main point which is that scripture cannot be merely set aside. In the matter of Homosexual activity and heterosexual activity outside of marriage, Scripture is clear, consistent and not difficult to understand or interpret. Deep down inside I am sure you must know this. No amount of parsing the text or bringing experts to reinterpret it in ways that please us can really take away the plain and simple meaning. That other texts may have at times been misused or misunderstood cannot shake to fact that Scripture simply gives no basis to approve sexual relations outside of marriage. Neither does scripture any even come close to affriming or even ginving hte basis to affirm the plain meaning of what God has written, namely that fornication displeases him greatly as does homosexual activity. It just ins’t that hard. Such things are wrong, plain and simple. The only way to sidestep these issues is to set aside scripture. I do not recommend it since then you are in a make it up as you go scenario, a kind of desinger religion results, and God is simply made into the great affirmer in the sky, made to our image and likeness. If you want a designer religion have at it but that is waht results if we take scripture (and as a Catholic I would include Scred Tradition) and just kick them to the curb. In that end ther is no basis for a shared faith, even a conversation really.

        As for you dishonoring God. I do not deny that one would draw that conclusion from my remarks. But what I was REALLy reacting to was your assertion that you are glorifying God and honoring him. I think that is rather a bold assertion given his explicitly revealed will for you to say such a thing. However perhaps we don’t need to set up a pleased/displeased honoring/dishonoring dichotomy. Perhaps there is a more humble position in the middle which avoids declaring at all what God thinks of you. You are not a judge in your own case. I think both you and I and everyone on this planet are going to need a lot of mercy when it comes to judgment day. So my point was that you (and I) should avoid statements declaring how happy God must be with us. Better to hope for his mercy, try to learn his revealed will and beg for his help to follow it. And when we fall short (and we all do) ask for grace and mercy. But it seems to me the worst thing we can do is to simply start declaring that things are right which God has called wrong and then to dig the hole deeper by arbitrarily asserting that God is actually pleased with us when we do this. In effect you become the legislator, the interpreter and the judge in your own case. There are many conflicts of interest in such an approach as I hope you can see. For me, I can only say be careful! It seems you’ve gone way beyond your bondaries when you make such bold and unfounded (it seems to me) assertions.

  13. karl logan says:

    The Church’s lamentably bigoted and frankly, hypocritical stand on this issue alone is characteristic of the many reasons why I left this corrupt, power-hungry, and controlling institution years ago after being a Catholic for nearly 35 years,, and why I work tirelessly to rescue others from the influence of Catholicism.

    On one hand, the Church is trying to stop women from using public funds to pay for abortion services through the Health Care reform bill; on the other hand, while the Church gorges itself at the public trough as well, it wants to retain its “right” to discriminate. Do you people have a lawyer who can explain the most basic concepts of the requirements of utilizing public funding, and why you cannot discriminate against some members of the very same public from which you are receiving your largess?

    Interestingly, your article here makes NO MENTION whatsoever of the ultimatum that you gave the city. This fact alone is disingenuous and unfair to your flock, as you are not providing accurate information. Your article simply explains the Church’s paranoia about being sued for discrimination, which would be absolutely and entirely appropriate! YOU CANNOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THE PUBLIC WHO IS PROVIDING YOUR FUNDING!

    It sickens me, and countless Americans, that the Church would choose to leave some of the Sick, the Needy, The Poor, and the Elderly out in the cold rather than move into the 21st century. This sad, sad affair is an example of cynical, evil old men in positions of power cherry-picking through discredited, dusty tomes of Scripture to both assert power and control, and to attempt to justify their bigotry by using Religion,

    The Church cherry–picks the ancient prohibitions against Homosexuality from the lines of Scriptures such as Leviticus, which also, by the way proscribes rules concerning women’s menstrual periods, men with damaged testicles, childbirth, and burnt animal sacrifices–all of which have been discarded by the Church, or explained-away as “in context of the era”. Yet in an era when Homosexuality is being more and more discovered to be an intrinsic condition dictated by biology, the Church comfortably retains it’s Bronze Age mentality because it conveniently excuses the latent and institutionalized bigotry of some of its members.

    There is a reason why the Church’s coffers are shrinking every year, and this is among the greatest fo those reasons.Shame on the Catholic Church for its distinctly anti-Christian behavior and for betraying the greatest pronouncements of Jesus–to love others, and to not stand in arrogant judgment,

    And rest assured, proponents of the Separation of Church and State are watching closely…

    • Wow, you evidently haven’t read the article at all. Not sure in how many ways or how often I/we can make the point that the Church is not walking away from the poor. We are not issuing ultimatums. We will continue to serve the poor as best we can. but the point is that, as reagrds city money to help do this we will no longer qualify to receive those funds. We are not walking away, but the city is, if this Bill passes as written. Please read the article Karl, and also the additional post by Susan Timoney.

      Your use of the word “bigoted” is unfortunately a fairly typical move of those promoting appoval of homosexual activity. Everyone who doesn’t agree with you is ipso facto a bigot. Not sure what all the name calling is supposed to do. It surely doesn’t help in any sort of a level discussion of the issue. I encourage you to avoid using such terms especially at such a large and diverse reality as the Catholic Church. You’re really in no position to make such accusations. How would you know for example if we were “disingenuous” as you claim? Other words such as corrupt, power-hungry etc. are also unecessary ad hominem arguments. Not only are they not helpful they just make you come across as shrill and unreasonable.

      You are right in saying that we cannot discriminate against the public who is providing our funding. But I wonder which public you mean? The minority who support a change in the definition of marriage or the majority who do not favor it?. In the end you are correct though, city officials (who refuse to put this matter to referendum) ultimately decide what this city’s policy is. Even without an election, they still have the power to speak for the people. And, as you point out, we will no longer be able to use public money and violate what the public officials tell us the money must be used for. It is our repsect of the truth of what you say that we will simply have to admit that we cannot accept government money and then ignore what elected officials tell us it can and cannot be used for. That is why we must accept that we do not qualify for the money if the change is made. Up till now we have qualified and the very elected officials you support in this matter have told us that we could use the money as we have been. Now that will cahnge and we will have to accept that.

      Your understanding of Scripture is flawed but I will not debate here what I have covered elsewhere. We are not cherry picking anything, there is a consistent message regarding sexuality throughout scripture, we are only accepting what it teaches, we can do no other.

      Finally, you are right that the “coffers” are shrinking. However that does not mean we are doing something wrong. We are told to proclaim the word of God in season and out of season. I suppose, in an increasingly secular world we are “out of season” but faithful to the Word we must be. It is also interesting to consider the example of the Episcopal Church which does exactly what you think we should. But its numbers have been far more devasted than ours and that whole denomination is in de facto schism over this matter. Further, the Evangelical Churches who agree with us on this matter are growing. So I am not sure what to make of your observation, The data is a bit fuzzy. But I DO know that we can do no other than to proclaim what God has clearly taught in the Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition.

      I hope Karl you might at least consider the possibility that we are sincere in our opposition to redefining marriage. It’s possible for you and the Church to disagree without one side or the other being evil and awful. I accept that you sincerely disagree. I think you are wrong, but I accept and think I understand why you disagree. It is clear you simply do not share many of the premises upon which I and the Church base our thinking. In a pluralistic setting like modern America vigorous discussion is good but it doesn’t have to be ugly and make acusations as to motive or sincerity. Shalom.

  14. Katherine G ERT says:

    I think this is a very sticky situation. No matter what the archdiocese or Archbishop Wuerl says, it will be taken out of context by people who want to blame the church.

    I think that you are doing a great job defending the Church, Monsignor Pope, and while I don’t personally agree with every single church teaching, I think the archdiocese is presenting this the best way they can. And if we don’t defend our beliefs and our faith, then we lose who we are.

  15. anon says:

    Laurie,

    Not sure if you’ll be back o read, but in case….

    The Bible does talk about what is sexually correct/incorrect beyond the words of Paul. From teachings of scripture and tradition, I believe it correct to teach my children that marriage is between a man and a woman and should always be open to life. I teach them that God gave sexuality beauty and goodness to help us grow in closeness and prepare for what may come next. I will not teach my children that it is okay for anyone to be in a sexual relationship outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. I will not teach them that their sexuality is not a gift meant to be used for procreation. I do not teach this out of hate for any group of people but because I believe it is correct. Therefore I cannot, in good faith, tell them that same sex marriage is good. This is the point from which I cannot personally deviate, so it obviously makes sense to me that the Church cannot either- again, not out of hate, bigotry or discrimination but dictates of faith.

    I, too, have someone close to me who is gay. He is not my child, so I don’t feel towards him how I’m sure you feel toward your son, but I do empathize with this man. He did not want to be gay, and his road was a long and hard one. I am not a gay person, but I do know what it is to feel misunderstood, shunned and isolated. In some things, I can embrace some of his struggles, though certainly only some. I don’t look at this wonderful man and say, “You don’t deserve to be happy,” but I also can’t look at him and say, “Because I want life to be easier for you, I will reorder my beliefs.” He and his friends are welcome in my home but I would not celebrate a relationship of a sexual nature between him and another. Though it may be hard, some people are called to live celibately. The best way my family can support our friend is to give him love, attention, affection and support him in his needs for intimacy outside of a physical realm.

    I thought what the bishops in Ca. said regarding same-sex marriage was really on the mark, “The meaning of marriage is deeply rooted in history and culture, and has been shaped considerably by Christian tradition. Its meaning is given, not constructed.” To continue to partner with the city and provide the benefits and services you cited would require the Church to accept and be responsive to a “new construction” of marriage.

  16. John Pope says:

    I’m not entirely convinced that the City Council’s pending action isn’t a blessing in disguise for the Catholic Church in D.C. Is it possible that the Church’s partial reliance on government money prevents it from proclaiming the Gospel with unimpeded zeal? He who pays the piper calls the tune!

  17. Jeff says:

    Thank you Monsignor, for investing so much time into this blog entry. I doubt it will change the view of the public at large, lack of coverage of course, but I have been referring people over to this link personally as a way to explain not only the particular situation but the stance of the church on the redefinition of marriage in general. I find both your original article and your responses to objections to be extremely useful in understanding the position as well as how we catholics are to respond when certain very common objections are posed. Thank you for your time and your patience regarding this matter.

  18. Quinn says:

    This just once again proves that ALL religious people are full of hate.

    Remember… The Nazi’s were Catholic.

    • I wonder why you think I might be full of hate? You don’t even know me. Is it just because I do not agree with you? I am not aware of being full of hate. And why do you imply that I or we might be Nazi’s? I wonder where that comes from? Calling me and others full of hate and Nazis? Where’s the love, Quinn?!

  19. Quinn says:

    Also, there are a lot of typos in the article above…

  20. Felicia says:

    Monsignor,

    Well done, but you can go on and on with your discussions with people like George. As I read each reply the scripture below kept popping into my mind. This is how I’ve learned over the years in dealing with these sort of debates about the Churches teachings. I know that you and the Catholic Church, as well as all true Christians who believe in the truth, will stand firm and push on.

    Matthew 10:13-15
    13And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words,(C) shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

    Let us Pray!!!

    • George says:

      Let us pray indeed, Felicia. The writings in this Blog and actions of the ADW remind me of Jesus’ own words, as written in John 7:24:

      “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

      He is the ultimate authority. We will all answer to Him. Not you, Felicia. And not the Monsignor.

      Amen!

      • George says:

        And PS, Felicia, I am a true Christian! Just because I do not buy into your political ideology does not make me any less of a person in God’s eyes. I’m truly sorry if THAT is what you have learned.

  21. Felicia says:

    No ones Judging, Just to reiterate in my previous reply. This can go on and on and on.

    God Bless You.

  22. Hanaah says:

    Felicia – Another scripture that comes to mind is Luke 9:23 “And Jesus said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me”.

    http://bible.cc/luke/9-23.htm

  23. Looks like the comments are heating up again! I will say, that for the record I think George and I have had a spirited but civil discussion, with a little humor thrown in. There have been some other commentators earlier on who have been unhelpful by accusing me or Christians in general of being hateful, a Nazi and so forth. Comments like that are problematic and I suspect Felicia this is where your concern comes from. You may be right, in the end George and I won’t agree and things could go on forever but others also listen in and discussion can be helpful at that level too. Anyway Felicia I know your point, I just want to say that I think George has been civil. Now Quinn and Karl are another matter! :-)

  24. George says:

    Indeed Msgr, I do agree that the discussion has been civil, and at times entertaining. I know that we do not agree on some issues, but I bet we would in fact agree on others. I, for one, agree that the church has the right to exercise it’s freedom of speech, and I appreciate the opportunity to do so myself on this forum. It is part of what makes living in this country a wonderful thing.

    God Bless.

  25. Doug says:

    What I really need to know right now is how much public funding is going to Catholic Charities. I can’t find this important fact anywhere. Someone here at the Archdiocese of Washington must know.

  26. Kari says:

    Is it more important to be kind, or is it more important to be right? Seriously. Food for thought.

    • I’ll sign up for being right. However I think it is possible to be right and kind. People who are right are not necessarily unkind. And Kind people are not necessarily wrong. Maybe we are dealing with another false dichotomy here?

  27. Julia Poblete says:

    Msgr… for those of us trying to follow God’s ways, your clear and insightful commentary is exactly what we need. The Church is suffering deeply from an attitude that we have to compromise with the world to be good Christians. From everything from abortion to birth control, we need our Church leaders to rise up and lead in the ways of God… in the world, but not of the world.

    May God continue to bless you with holiness and peace.

  28. Peter Wolczuk says:

    From the commentary in the main web site of the Archdiocese;

    “Some advocates for same-sex marriage even proposed that religious organizations simply stop activities that would place their rights in conflict with the new law. In other words, that religious organizations and individuals withdraw from the public sphere despite centuries of legal precedent in favor of respect for religious liberty.”

    Sounds remarkably like a call for a “gag law” to me. Are they trying to limit the Constitution’s stated right to freedom of speech.

  29. BYWHATRIGHT says:

    The new District of Columbia SAME-SEX “Marriage” Law is Invalid and Meaningless.

    The DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) removed the ability to construe the phrase “all rightful subjects of legislation” in the DC Home Rule Act to mean the DC Home Rule Act delegated legislative power to pass an ordinance on a subject of legislation that defines “marriage” to mean anything other than a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.

    The DOMA specifically states: “In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, . . . the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” It is noted that DOMA does not say “In determining the meaning of the word marriage as used in any Act of Congress”. Rather, the scope of DOMA is plenary and extends to every provision of any Act of Congress.

    So, let’s turn to an Act of Congress called the DC Home Rule Act the enactment of which preceded DOMA. Section 302 of DC Home Rule Act specifically states: “Except as provided in sections 601, 602, and 603, the legislative power of the District shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation.” Hence, no meaning may be given to such phrase that construes it to extend legislative power to the District to pass an ordinance on a legislative subject that provides “marriage” means anything other than a legal union between one man and one woman as husband.

    While the DC Home Rule Act’s use of the phrase “all rightful subjects of legislation” could perhaps have been construed, when originally enacted, to encompass same sex marriages inasmuch as sections 601, 602, and 603 did not then exclude legislation on that subject; the DOMA, upon passage, reached back into time and repealed by implication any part of the DC Home Rule Act that conceivably may have held any meaning inconsistent with the meaning subsequently decreed by DOMA that any Act of Congress may mean. This includes any provision of the DC Home Rule Act, to include Section 302 granting DC legislative powers, which section cannot, by reason of DOMA, be construed to mean legislative power is granted to the District to pass an ordinance permitting same sex marriages.

    Furthermore, SEC. 602 (3) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act provides that the District of Columbia has no authority to “enact any act, or enact any act to amend or repeal any Act of Congress, which concerns the functions or property of the United States or which is not restricted in its application exclusively in or to the District.” It is obvious that the application of DOMA is not restricted exclusively in or to the District. Therefore DC has no authority to amend or repeal the DOMA and, in turn, Congress has no authority under DC Home Rule Act to amend or repeal DOMA by approving (by inaction) DC’s unauthorized ordinance.

    The new District of Columbia SAME-SEX “Marriage” Law is Invalid and Meaningless

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