Among the unsurprising but very disappointing results from yesterday’s elections was the approval of Same Sex “Marriage” by Maryland residents 52 to 48%. Maryland is one of the most liberal states in the union, and it is been known for at least several weeks now, through polling, that the bill was likely to pass.

Here again it is a time for a kind of post mortem analysis of how the Church could have more effectively taught the faithful, and have opposed the referendum more successfully. A reader from yesterday’s blog reflecting on this very matter wrote the following:

I was very disappointed at the lame, almost non-existent reaction of the Catholic Church to the same-sex marriage vote in Maryland. Where were the commercials? Where were the road signs? Where were the interviews and lectures and public forums? Where were the homilies?

While I’m not sure that all these reflections are fair, it does remain true that the work we did in opposing the bill was unevenly experienced and, given that we lost quite soundly, our work could well have been more effective.

Perhaps a brief review of what we did do is in order.

Beginning, almost four years ago, when gay “marriage” was being forced on the residents of the District of Columbia by a mere City Council vote, the Church joined with many other Christian denominations in seeking at that time to have the matter brought to a vote for the citizens of the District of Columbia. This attempt was denied by the DC Board of Elections who claimed that “human rights” could not be a matter for referendum.

In the midst of that battle we began a campaign to teach on marriage entitled Marriage Matters. The goal here was, through sermons, published materials, and Internet sites, that we could lead to the people of God to back to a better understanding of the roots of traditional marriage in Natural Law, as well as Scripture and Church teaching. In the context of this wider teaching, we also sought to demonstrate why Gay “marriage” was not an acceptable understanding of marriage that Americans ought to adopt.

More recently, these materials were re-presented in a more focused way to the citizens of Maryland. Pastors were instructed to read several letters from the Archbishop, were asked to preach one Sunday on the topic of Marriage and why Catholics should vote against the recognition of Same-sex “Marriage.” We were also to provide written materials and other references to parishioners. This was to have been done on one of the Sundays back in September.

It is unclear to me whether the reader who commented on the blog yesterday attends a parish where, for some reason, this was not done. But the fact is, it was something that was expected of every pastor by the Archdiocese. Although I, have a parish in the District, not Maryland, since many of my parishioners live and vote in Maryland, I took part in this campaign. I read the letters, preached the sermon and presented written material to the congregation.

There was also an advertising campaign, in which the Archdiocese joined with others to purchase radio spots, and some TV spots as well. Initial funding for this advertising was good, but there was donor fatigue which set in when it became increasingly clear that the polls showed that gay “marriage” was likely to pass in Maryland. I received an urgent call from the Archdiocese three weeks before the election seeking to help identify donors who might make last-minute donations. I am also aware that some of the bishops personally sought donors as well. So, there were strong efforts made to raise the money and increase the advertising, but the money was generally not forthcoming in large enough numbers to afford major P.R. and advertising especially into October as the polls indicated we were unlikely to prevail.

Could we have done more? Certainly. Without simply excusing our less than adequate efforts, I would like to make a few observations however, about some things which make our efforts difficult.

In the first place, the Archdiocese of Washington is not a professional or full-time PR firm. Nor do we have endless monies to hire such firms. It is clear that, as we move forward, more monies, and fundraising are going to have to be done. We just have to get better at doing what is frankly, costly, complex, and requires great sophistication.

Secondly, there is also the problem of there being numerous fronts in which the Church must currently fight. There is Gay “marriage,” but there is also the HHS mandate, abortion and other life issues. Every year, the Archdiocese spends an enormous amount of money on the pro-life march. The Verizon Center is rented at great expense, as are other sites. There is also extensive time and money spent by the staff of the Archdiocese to coordinate with police and get marching permits etc. All the sophistication, fundraising, and coordination has taken decades to emerge. As we go forward other topics will require similar sorts of attention.

This brings a third point which is the pace of change. Many of the cultural issues have come upon us quite rapidly. Gay “marriage” has emerged as a credible threat, really only in the last five or six years. The HHS mandate, and the question of religious liberty, emerged only last year, though we have been fighting legal battles for many years over the attempts to exclude religious voices in the public square.

Fourthly we struggled to maintain a coalition with other denominations when it came to the gay marriage bill. While we are deeply appreciative of and respectful of the hard work done by many of the Protestant denominations, there remain some differences between us in the way in which we articulate and understand the problem of homosexual activity. The Catholic approach is to make careful distinctions between orientation and behavior. Many Protestant denominations do not speak with these distinctions, and sometimes consider the orientation itself to be sinful, not just the behavior. These differences have made it somewhat difficult, and or awkward for us at times to speak with a common voice and to stand together easily. The Catholic position on homosexual activity, and so-called homosexual “marriage” is clear but our pastoral practice is to maintain important distinctions, as a matter of pastoral practice and out reach to those who struggle with a homosexual orientation. All of this makes building coalitions, while not impossible, more delicate and difficult.

Fifth – teaching on this matter at the homily moment, as pastors were instructed to do can be effective, but also depends upon the capacity of preachers whose skills are often very uneven. It is a sad truth, that over the last decades, most Catholic priest instinctively avoid speaking about controversial issues, and as a body, have a poor skill set in addressing matters of controversy forthrightly and with charity. This is beginning to change with younger clergy, but the fact remains that when too much depends on the individual priest, the overall effect is very uneven.

Six – Another problem in using the homily moment, is a matter of time. Most Catholics have an expectation that the homily should be 7 to 12 minutes, no more. Setting forth the Catholic teaching on marriage, and why we oppose so-called gay “marriage” does not easily fit into such a brief format.

Of course then, if it is not the Homily moment, when can such information be given the people of God? Would they attend special seminars, would they come to a parish meeting? Not likely in large numbers.

Surely then we should use the Internet, and we have. But it remains a fact that most religious people, especially Catholics, do not get most of their religious information from the Internet. There are also email outreaches, flyers, bulletin inserts, etc., but frankly, most people no longer read much.

Yard signs etc. could have been more ubiquitous, as could have bus ads etc.

In the end however the greatest challenge, it would seem, is simply to get our own house in order.

Most Priests are well aware that increasing numbers of Catholics, especially younger ones, have no idea why we oppose so call gay marriage. Further, marriage has been in such disrepair in the Church for over fifty years now that almost no one even knows what marriages is at all. Contraception, has shredded the meaning of sex and marriage and severed their intrinsic relationship to bearing children. Divorce has also shredded the meaning of marriage. Pornography has destroyed innocence and, after over fifty years of heterosexual misbehavior, most people think of marriage as little less than two adults being happy with or without kids, whatever they choose, for only as long as they please.

Yes, we have sown in the wind and we are reaping the whirlwind. If most people merely think of marriage as two adults being happy for as long as they please, of course it is difficult for them to understand why to Gay people can’t get married. If marriage is not intrinsically about children in its fundamental meaning, why should it either be stable or heterosexual, necessarily?

Increasing numbers of Catholics, especially younger ones just don’t get it. Marriage of course is fundamentally about children, and takes it structure as heterosexual and stable because they are Integral to the meaning of marriage.

That is why marriages should be stable, lasting unions, and why divorce is wrong and why a child should have a father and a mother, because this is what is best for children. This is why contraception is wrong, why marriage must be heterosexual. But a lot of this doesn’t make sense to modern people who reject many if not all of these premises.

We have a lot of work to do to restore a biblical understanding of marriage.

Yes, even more than publicity issues, here is where the Church needs to do some very deep soul-searching. Too many of us clergy have said little over fifty years of heterosexual miss behavior, and deep misunderstanding about marriage has gone largely unaddressed.

When no-fault divorce railroaded through this country in 1969, it is hard to note that the Church said much of anything We were inwardly focused at the time, turning around altars, tuning up guitars, debating liturgy and authority etc. Yes, for over 40 years we have been inwardly focused and we lost the culture.

More than yard signs, or PR in this latest go-round, we have some serious repenting to do. We have not done in maintain the family or preserving marriage in the Church. We have been sleepy and distracted. It will be a long hard journey back to sanity in our culture, and to a good degree we must accept our responsibility for the mess we’re in.

This has happened on our watch.

107 Responses

  1. Crowhill says:

    >Pastors were instructed to read several letters from the Archbishop

    Yeah. Gosh, they were such impressive letters. We were bowled over by the sheer magnitude of it. The idea that the archbishop himself would write us a letter. Were we worthy of such attention? Surely that would do it.

    I’m being sarcastic, but it’s not directed at you. It’s directed at what I perceive as the attitude in the archdiocese. It’s as if they think we’re still in the Middle Ages and we actually care what the “men in authority” say.

    The RCC has a deadly infection. It’s called “believing your own rhetoric.” In this case it involves believing that anybody cares what the archbishop says about anything.

    “Authority” means nothing in today’s world, and less than nothing in America. We don’t care if it’s the archbishop or the cardinal or the pope speaking. We really, really don’t. Until the Catholic Church gets that fundamental point, it will be ineffective in the United States.

    The church has to convince us with sound arguments. It doesn’t matter if you think that’s unfair, if you think we should defer to your judgment, or if you think we should trust you. We won’t. Sorry, but that’s the plain truth.

    We want sound reasons, and without them we don’t care what you say. We want persuasive arguments. We want to be able to say that we’re against homosexual marriage and not have the office homosexual rip us a new one because we have no idea what we’re saying … or why.

    Maybe in the archdiocesan offices you can say “this is what the church believes” and that settles it. If we tried that in the office we would be laughed to scorn.

    We want reasons. We want arguments. We want to be able to defend a position rationally, without appealing to Aristotle or Thomas Aquinas. We want to be able to speak to modern people, with modern language, and defend why we think marriage should be a certain way.

    The Catholic Church has completely failed in this.

    >Most Priests are well aware that increasing numbers of Catholics, especially younger ones,
    >have no idea why we oppose so call gay marriage.

    Exactly right. We don’t hear practical, logical, convincing arguments.

    I know Catholics have a long history of not liking the idea of “private judgment.” You can not like it all you want. It’s simply a fact of life, especially in America. If you want us to believe something, you have to convince us.

    It used to be that there was some moral weight to something simply because a priest said it. Those days are gone. Now we need arguments and reasons. I think the church hasn’t quite learned that lesson yet.

    There are incredible riches in the Catholic tradition. There are deep arguments. There are sound, practical reasons for things. But there is a huge disconnect between the riches that lay in deposit somewhere (deep in a Vatican treasury?) and the miserable slop the average parishioner is fed.

    I know I’m being very critical, but I feel as if an all-star quarterback is sitting on the sidelines crying about his mother. Somebody needs to slap him and tell him to get in the game.

    • Karen LH says:

      Crowhill, while your tone is a little harsh, I think I agree with your point.

      The Archdiocese produced several videos on marriage prior to the election, and, frankly, I found them disappointing. They basically said: this is Church teaching on marriage, and went no further.

      Just as a reasoned argument against abortion can be made without appealing to religion, so also can a reasoned argument for traditional marriage. We need to be taught that argument until we know it in our gut and can repeat it ourselves. Right now, we can’t.

    • Nathan says:

      You claim authority means nothing in America and that Americans will only be convinced by sound arguments and clearly explained reasons, if only this were so it would make the Church’s job so much the easier. In fact, most Americans are as led by authority as any Medieval peasant, it’s just not the Church they turn to. Americans are looking to celebrities, political parties, and what “everybody” thinks as their authorities. When have you heard either political party march out a lengthy logical argument to support their positions in the manner of Aquinas? Does Brad Pitt or Jon Stewart or the MSM bowl you over with their logical precision? The sad fact is not that Americans don’t listen to the Archbishop because they are demanding “practical, logical, convincing arguments,” it’s just that they are already listening to George Clooney or the GOP or the Dems or trying to fit in.

    • Bender says:

      The Church isn’t just the priests and the bishops. It is the laity too.

      You too have a duty and obligation to speak truth, including the truth of marriage.

      There is a sound argument to be made? Then make it. Don’t complain that others are not making the argument — you make it yourself. (SLAP) — GET IN THE GAME AND QUIT CRYING.

      (If you do not accept the invitation, then I’ll come back later and make it myself.)

    • Jason Miller says:

      I completely disagree. Young people, such as myself, get our information on the internet. There is a TON of information about marriage and the natural law. We are not in the middle ages – correct. But that means that communication lines are not in the middle ages as well. It doesn’t have to come from your archdiocese anymore. We have access to information from many different bishops. Actually, it sometimes feels like Chaput and Dolan are my bishops because I hear from them so much! It is a wonderful thing. Then Catholic radio…again, we are swimming in information. A lot of these Catholics who voted for gay marriage are NOT real Catholics at all. They are self identified, but they don’t attend mass. They neither talk the talk or walk the walk. Dead wood. They sold us out because they never really bought in anyway. It is okay to be angry and fret for a little while, but ultimately God will take care of it all. This is why He will eventually come back again – because humanity will decline and regress to a no turning back point. The writing is on the wall brothers and sisters.

      • I don’t remember the exact age break-out but a recent CARA survey and study said that 12% of Catholics get their information on the faith form the Internet. This is not to say that they don’t use the Internet for other stuff, just that they don’t go to are regularly read Catholic sites or sources.

        • VistaNow says:

          These days you almost don’t know who is in the pew next to you, there is no openness and most pastors don’t do home visits nor parishioners invite the pastor over to meet the family – the absence of faith, the most common greeting exchange goes as far as Father I liked your homily. I agree with Jason when he said we are swimming in information, but many are lost because they are reading the wrong source as you Father pointed out. Catholics in the pew need to be engaged with fundamental questions about the/their faith, Just like St Peter stated in 1Pt 3,15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.-NABRE Also forming small communities can help make the words of Jesus give true direction of unity. The Eucharist is the most beautiful and ultimate gift of love our Lord has given us, but may receive it and remain unchanged, but we have this most precious gift part of the Mass, the other part of the Mass should be engaging. Helping them reflect in their mind and heart the truth – I think people should look forward to coming to Mass, and not out duty

    • Rob says:

      “We want reasons. We want arguments. We want to be able to defend a position rationally, without appealing to Aristotle or Thomas Aquinas. We want to be able to speak to modern people, with modern language, and defend why we think marriage should be a certain way.”

      I find this comment of yours amusing, since both Aristotle and Aquinas were masters of the rational argumentation that you claim to want to hear. Sadly, rational argument is simply impossible in the soundbite/ADD culture that we live in.

    • Mark K. says:

      Dear Crowhill

      Frankly, your post is a copout. You’re asking for enlightened arguments to convince you why the Church opposes same sex marriage, but why aren’t you asking the secular society the same question? Proponents for same sex marriage have provided few arguments to change marriage, in fact it’s been very shallow, hardly anything more than it’s for my happiness, relationships are good for society, and we can also be good parents. Well guess what, the gay community didn’t need to provide any arguments other than I want to marry, and that was good enough for many Maryland voters. They’ve been like little children, …I want it, I want it, I want it, and Maryland gave it to them.

      Now you complain the Church didn’t spoon feed you with enough enlightenment to stop you from voting for same sex marriage (OK, I’m speculating here). Please stop complaining and go educate yourself – what a novel idea? There is tons of information on the topic of traditional vs same sex marriage. Five minutes at Google and you’ll find plenty of books, literature, web sites, Catholic Radio (WMET 1160 AM serving Washington DC area), EWTN, and other resources that will satisfy your thirst for enlightened argument.

      In the event you’re in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, I invite you to visit the Institute of Catholic Culture (just google that name). And they will happily spoon feed you. The Church fulfilled their obligation and taught you the difference between right and wrong – but you have dismissed it. So if you’re request for enlightenment is sincere, then I challenge you, stop complaining, get off the sideline bench, spend the time, and go educate yourself.

      • Daniel says:

        Mark,
        I think Crowhill’s point, after all is said and done, is one which needs to be taken seriously. While admitting that arguments have been put forth by “the Church”, Crowhill seems to suggest that to young Catholics these arguments are not practical or convincing. Further, it is apparent that many (most?) young Catholics do not experience gay marriage as a threat to traditional marriage. I remember reading the “Marriage Matters” flyer in the bulletin one Sunday. What struck me was how little it referenced the Bible, Christ, or “Church teaching”. I went on the website to refresh my memory and found the reasons given for opposing gay marriage were (after a passing factual reference to Christ having raised marriage to the level of a sacrament) rooted in its being a “private relationship with public significance”; in men and women physically, psychologically and emotionally being complementary; in our “experience” in the Church of working with many families and seeing what works best; in intuition; in the fact that civil governments have (until now) recognized only male/female marriage; in various “studies”; in a Time magazine article; in the practice civil and community leaders, and in natural law. If these arguments are not convincing to young Catholics, the we either continue to repeat them and blame everyone for not listening, or we ask why they are not convincing. We can hold our breath and insist on our correctness while lashing out at the ignorance of those who disagree, but we’ll be distancing ourselves from those we are called to reach out to, and we’ll become irrelevant pretty quickly.

      • MT says:

        Almost exactly my response to Crowhill. He buys the non-argument presented by the secular, anti-God Left, and then demands the Church present a pop-argument to persuade him otherwise. There is no intellectual or philosophical argument in favor of same-sex “marriage” that can withstand the scrutiny of Catholic teaching. But Catholic teachings are convincing only to people who possess intellectual honesty and spiritual integrity. In this climate of intellectual dishonesty and self-delusion, arguments based in truth fall on deaf ears. Appealing to natural law and moral sanity is impossible when such arguments are dismissed or even rejected for a political agenda that considers tolerance a greater virtue than moral truth. When the secular opposition ignores or mocks the true philosophical arguments, and then disallows those thoughts into the public debate, their seductive, largely emotional and morally adolescent ideas automatically become the “rational” default positions. They are sure to win the debate every time since real, principled thought is altogether removed from the discussion. When the arguments for traditional marriage rely on moral maturity and a valid recognition of truth, and those things are in dwindling supply in today’s pop-culture, it becomes more and more difficult for Catholic arguments to win the day.

        • Bender says:

          There once was this preacher who went around preaching and teaching. He presented things very well, as effectively as they could be expressed, and yet a lot of people, especially the elites and scholars scoffed and rejected what he had to say. More than rejected, they became quite annoyed at him. Later they conspired to trump up some charges against him, had him arrested and charged, and then mocked him when he was executed.

          That was their choice, to accept or reject the Truth that this preacher had offered to them.

          • Hey! I think I know that Preacher! There’s a book about him! :-)

          • Daniel says:

            Good example Bender–you can’t go wrong in Catholicism by referencing Jesus. A couple of challenges with that analogy: 1. it highlights the fact that it was the religious authorities who rejected the truth in an attempt to maintain power, while the social and moral outcasts of the day were directly appealed to and more often “got it”. 2. Jesus’ pedagogical style was distinctly not rooted in abstract philosophical arguments, but in real and meaningful stories and examples.

    • Hegelian Dialectic says:

      That was one of the main ideas behind the whole idea of “America” and the untamed continent and the new world…private judgment. The Catholic Church had to be left behind in the “old world”.
      (Yes, someone does need to slap him and tell him to get in the game.)

    • Catholic Momma says:

      Faith purifies reason. It will not hurt you to try praying kneel before the Blessed Sacrament and ask for faith to purify your reason. The peace is healing and feels so right and just.

  2. Bob says:

    As a 49 year-old gay man who left that lifestyle long ago, I don’t know if there is much the Church can do in this regard. But, I understand it is your job to spread the Gospel message and save souls. You can preach all you want about it, and quite frankly, I’m all for it and not against it at all, but people will do what they want to do, period; regardless of what is being preached to them. I know this from experience many years back. Nobody could tell me what I was doing was wrong, regardless of what the Bible said. Unfortunately, I had to find that out on my own. And truly I did find that out, the hard way, and emerged from it with scars that took many, many years to mend. I have been living a celibate lifestyle for 7 years now. Not having sex hasn’t killed me, or ruined my life, or made me go crazy. Sex doesn’t lead to happiness, in fact, it can lead to alot of misery. But love does lead to happiness. My experience with gay men is that they get love and sex confused. When the lust dies in their relationships, they are no longer “in love”. When I discovered that, it was my personal epiphany, and told me everything I needed to know about gay relationships. My love is focused on Jesus now. He is the one I love, and He loves me back. This makes me happy and has finally brought me the peace I prayed for. But it took a “dark night of the soul” that lasted 15 years, and a long soul search that might have driven some people over the edge. Through prayer, turning to God, and cherishing the Sacraments, I found my way to God.

    And for the record, I attend Church every single day now (although I have missed one or two masses here and there for various good reasons), and I don’t ever recall any of the priests speaking out on this issue at any of the Sunday masses I attended. In fact, today (the day after the very sad election) I was surprised the priest did not even mention the election or any of the slimy laws that got passed in Maryland. And it was obvious the congregation was hurting. Yes, I’m in Maryland, and it was an extremely solemn mood at Mass today. The glum faces, and the disappointment hung in the air so heavily you could feel it like a dense fog….so quiet too, you could have heard a pin drop. What I did notice was that when the priest sung the “Alleluia” before reading the Gospel, he dropped his octave way down today…to funeral dirge level; and at the end of Mass when we usually exit with a song, he skipped the song, walked up to the altar, bowed quietly, turned around and walked down the aisle and out the chapel doors. It was actually quite fitting. The mass ended in silence, signifying our grief. Sad day in Maryland…even sadder day in our nation.

    • Tina G says:

      God bless you Bob for sharing your story. The road to Light is sometimes very dark. I’m glad you made it through and can speak about it so openly.

    • Fr. Christopher M. Zelonis says:

      I very much appreciate the witness of your life, especially as you shared (1) the misidentification of love and sex, by no means limited to persons with same-sex attraction, and (2) the joy of your chastity, rooted in prayer and the Sacraments–also not reserved for persons struggling with same-sex attraction.

      “I don’t know if there’s much the Church can do in this regard”–not unlike many parents who, having done and said their best, must let their children live and err on their own while always holding open the door to Truth and Love.

  3. Alan says:

    Hello Father,

    I wanted to bring your attention one of the best debates on gay marriage i have ever seen. The presentation by Miravalle was respectful, clear and persuasive. I learned a lot from his arguments

    John Corvino – John-Mark Miravalle “Same-Sex Marriage” Debate
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4elxXybSuzo

  4. Bender says:

    You can bet that the fight is not over. The battle will continue.

    And by that I do not necessarily mean that the defenders of marriage will fight on for marriage, I mean that the attackers against marriage will now use this as a sword. They will continue their attack and assault by targeting the Church and attempting to force the Church to be required to recognize two men as being “married” even if the Church did not do the wedding. The question is, as was asked of Sir Thomas, will the Church bend to the “marriage”?

  5. BaltoCath says:

    I grew up in Anne Arundel County and now live in the Baltimore County (apart from a brief hiatus in Minnesota), and the first thing that always comes to mind when my state is in the news is while Md is indeed a liberal state, it is nowhere near as thoroughly and irredeemably liberal as say Minnesota, Massachusetts or California. The razor-thin margin by which the Question passed it encouraging in my view; the vote could just as easily have gone the other way. It would seem out “middle temperament” has prevailed for now. There are enough of us out there who recognize the sacramentality and importance of marriage. We can build on that.

  6. Jennifer says:

    In Maryland, I feel that support for Question 4 (the DREAM Act) was pushed at election time just as much as opposition to Question 6 (“marriage equality”). What’s with that?

    • Cynthia BC says:

      Good point. If the Church had to choose between focusing her resources on Question 4 or Question 6, clearly she should have chosen the latter. The “Dream Act,” had it failed, could have been re-worked and brought to the legislature and/or to the voters again.

      There is no un-doing the approval of same-sex “marriage.”

  7. Anon says:

    If you look at the county by county breakdown
    The geographical majority of the state was against the measure.
    http://elections.state.md.us/elections/2012/results/general/gen_detail_qresults_2012_4_0006S-.html

  8. Michael says:

    Father, I am curious, since your congregation is majority black (I think), how many voted for Obama and other liberal policies. Obama received 92% of the Black vote. What does this say about the morality of Blacks and Hispanics (71% for Obama)? What does this say about those that are supposed to be leading them?

    Have the bishops failed to feed these people spiritually, only focusing on their bellies.

    God bless,
    Michael

    • Well, I don’t take polls of my congregation to find out how they voted. But I was not born yesterday, and presumed most of them did vote for president Obama. Of course I have not failed to teach them on the matter of abortion, gay marriage, etc. And while I find many if not most of them agree with me on these issues They do not always connect the dots when it comes to equating a vote with Pres. Obama with a vote for abortion. In speaking with a few of them, they usually articulate Some disassociation with his views on abortion etc. But they see him as right on matters of social policy such as health insurance etc. They then Say that they are voting for these things But not for abortion. Of course I have tried to show the connections, but find many simply do not agree. I guess that my experience in life is that sometimes problems are so large, but they can only be chipped away at. Thus while having made great progress on the issue of abortion, and other church teachings, something I feel very good about, I have not made sufficient progress so that they can understand that a vote for a candidate who promises to fund abortion is a vote for abortion. They do not yet conclude this in large numbers. Politics is very powerful, and memories are very long

      • LOTR says:

        Msgr. Pope, your explanation is utter and complete nonsense. You have a church full of people who recognize BO as their Messiah and who certainly do connect the dots on BO and his promotion of abortion, homosexuality, and gay marriage. You need to realize that denial is not a river in Egypt and admit that you have failed.

          • Tina G says:

            Father you take that back please, unless you were just being facetious. You are not responsible for the conscience of your congregation. I am sure you teach what you should. It is up to the individual to do with that knowledge as he/she chooses. Free will and all that.

            • Thanks, I do take some responsibility, for things, but I am not going to wear everything that LOTR wants me to wear and he is wrong about my congregation, and I should be clear on that. He is wrong that they think him a Messiah, they know Jesus is, and they are not in agreement with the Presidents policy in some unenlightened way as LOTRs comments suggest.

          • Maureen says:

            We are not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful. You are faithful!

            • Thanks, as a parishioner that means a lot. I also think LOTR misses the aspects of what love, understanding and respect can do in a parish between pastor and congregation. These things often require a longer journey when it comes to preaching the Gospel than whatever LOTR is suggesting. Frankly I am not sure what he wants, I know that if I were to have the pastoral tone that LOTR exhibits it is unlikely we would have the results he demands.

        • Tina G says:

          Are you kidding me with that? Seriously??

          Yes, it is Father’s job to teach. HOWEVER, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. He cannot, and I am sure he did not, tell his congregation who to vote for.

          Quite honestly, I am afraid that the President’s race is a factor, at least with black people. At my own polling place, in Syra use, NY, I heard a woman ask one of the workers for help in understanding how to fill out her ballot. The woman answered, “Just fill out straight across this line. It’s a black thing.” My hand to God. Both the woman that was helping and the woman being helped were black. I imagine though, that she was not telling white voters to vote the Republican line because for them it’s a ‘white thing’. What exactly this means I’m not sure. I know that people felt that Obama cared about them more than they felt like Mitt and the Republicans did. This is a problem that the Republican Party needs to seriously look at and solve.

          As for Father’s being responsible for not leading his flock effectively, I don’t buy it! Look at how strongly he speaks in these blogs. I can only imagine that his actual Homilies must be even more effective.

        • Karen LH says:

          No, Msgr. Pope’s explanation isn’t nonsense. Look: I voted against Obama because of abortion, gay marriage, and the attack on religious liberty. But I also voted against him because I think his fiscal and foreign policies are a disaster for the country. Suppose things were reversed? Suppose Obama’s and Romney’s policies and actions were what they have been, except that Obama was pro-life and pro-marriage, and Romney was pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage? Then Obama would be right on the non-negotiables and Romney wrong, but I would still think that Obama was a disaster for the country.

          If that were the case, there would be a strong temptation (for me, at least) to vote for the pro-abortion/pro-gay marriage candidate with sound fiscal and foreign policies.

          I suspect that this sort of thing is what is going on with Catholics and other religious voters who have a hard time bringing themselves to vote Republican.

          • Yes, you have articulated things pretty clearly here. These things do run deeply and voting is a complex human action! I would like to see abortion taken more seriously by everyone, but many people do bracket it or see it only proportion to other issues. Changing that isn’t easy and the pace is in inches not yards.

        • Romulus says:

          LOTR, at least he tried. One man can do only so much. Seeing that Catholics have handed BO his presidency on two occasions, my bitterest disappointment is reserved for the past two generations of American bishops, who spectacularly, catastrophically failed to teach the faith and defend the flocks entrusted to them. There will be a heavy reckoning in the spiritual realm for these men and the curial wolves who set them on us. As for Blessed John Paul — well let’s invoke his prayers that the blunders and treacheries committed in his time will be repaired.

      • yan says:

        Msgr, maybe they need a little bit of basic civics. Have you tried to explain to them how the President appoints justices, and the justices determine the fundamental outlines of rights in this country, including the right of abortion? How that right came to be because of the justices? And how justices alone, excepting a constitutional amendment, can limit or even take away that right? And how Democratic presidents without exception [so far] knowingly appoint justices that they believe will preserve and/or enlarge that right?

        Don’t know if that would help, but maybe.

    • Karen LH says:

      My guess is that a certain number of black voters don’t want the first black president to leave office a failure. That may have factored into the vote. Also, the Republican presentation of the immigration problem may have put off Hispanic voters.

  9. edracruz says:

    GOD bless you, Bob. You could be a powerful witness in this arena. We pray for the strength to continue your walk in the Light.
    In regards to marriage between one man and one woman, we have failed the vocation. We were not good examples to our community, to our own family and to our children. There is a need to strengthen this by the Church. Marriage encounters can be a good tool.
    Of GOD’s Wisdom, this is being allowed for something good will come out of it.

  10. crazylikeknoxes says:

    Thou wilt not cower in the dust, Maryland!
    Thy beaming sword shall never rust, Maryland!
    Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
    Remember Howard’s warlike thrust,-
    And all thy slumberers with the just, Maryland! My Maryland!

    • Robertlifelongcatholic says:

      At break of day, as heavenward
      The pious monks of St. Bernard
      Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
      A voice cried through the startled air,
      Excelsior!

      A traveller, by the faithful hound,
      Half-buried in the snow was found,
      Still grasping in his hand of ice
      That banner with the strange device,
      Excelsior!

      There in the twilight cold and gray,
      Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
      And from the sky, serene and far,
      A voice fell, like a falling star,
      Excelsior!

  11. Bender says:

    analysis of how the Church could have more effectively taught the faithful

    Arguments are often won or lost depending upon the words used to make the argument. Words mean things, sometimes the words are conclusive of the matter.

    Case in point — that species of death whereby a child is partially born before being killed by ramming sharp scissors into her tiny head. The pro-life argument has been grievously wounded by whoever coined the term “partial-birth abortion.” Right there and then the battle had been lost for many years. For one thing, it is factually incorrect, it is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. If the child is being born, if she is outside the womb, then it is not an abortion, it is infanticide. But by calling it “abortion,” that allowed all of those who say they are “pro-choice” to oppose efforts to outlaw it. That allowed them to pull that evil practice into the arms of Roe v. Wade. By calling it “abortion,” they allowed advocates and courts to say it is a fundamental right. Thankfully, we have to a fair extent recovered from that self-inflicted wound, but the argument is still made harder by those who use that wrongful phrase.

    So what does that have to do in this case?

    For starters, use of the term “traditional marriage.” The term “traditional marriage” necessarily implies that there is “non-traditional marriage.” And that, like the error of “partial-birth abortion,” is a grievous error. In the first words out of our mouths we have already lost substantial ground in the battle. There is no such thing as “non-traditional marriage” of whatever kind. Rather, there is marriage and there is not-marriage. Period. The union of a man and woman is marriage; the union of a man and man is not-marriage, it is an ontological impossibility. To say that same-sex unions are a form of “non-traditional marriage,” which is what one does when he refers to “traditional marriage,” is to say that same-sex unions are, while non-traditional, still marriage!

    Further, to accept the premise the opponent’s argument, that persons with a same-sex attraction do not have a right to marry, is again a grievous error. So-called “gay” people do have a right to marry. A fundamental right to marry. That they may not want to enter into a real marriage, into true marriage, is another question entirely, but they do have the same and equal right as everyone else does. They have equal rights already.

    And, to conclude — yes, I know that even some earlier Church documents refer to same-sex attraction as an “orientation.” But that terminology is also very problematic and immediately sets back the argument and the ability to understand exactly what the truth is, including moral truth. To refer to a homosexual orientation is to say that some people are innately pointed toward sexual union with persons of the same sex. Likewise the use of the term “gay person.” And that would be in both cases a fundamental error. “Gayness” is not ontological. The nature of one with a same-sex attraction is not “gay,” but is simply “human person” male or female. By their very nature as human persons, each and every male is ontologically and biologically made for, that is, oriented toward in our very essence, joinder with a female, and vice versa. Again, that some might not want to do so is another question entirely. Thankfully, the “orientation” terminology has fallen into disuse in many areas because of this, referring to same-sex attraction instead, but continued usage still makes it harder to make the argument effectively and persuasively.

  12. Jeffrey Quick says:

    Do we know how Catholics voted on this? Consider that 50% of Catholics voted for Obama, in spite of his support for abortion, gay “marriage”, and the HHS mandate, All the pastoral letters and teaching reduced the customary Catholic vote percentage for the Democrat by no more than 5%. They could make milemarkers on the Beltway out of crucified Catholics, and there’d be a significant portion of the Church still saying, “Social teaching preferential option the poor no can’t vote GOP” Folks, there’s a difference between coming up off the dime, and voting for Caesar to rob you of the dime. And I don’t see much chance of this changing until the number of Catholics plummets due to apostasy and martyrdom.

  13. tz says:

    In Maine, the Archbishop’s letter contra gay marriage did mention “open to children” but said nothing about being indissoluble, permanent, etc. 50% Divorce rate among Catholics, just like the rest of society.

    If an angel was to appear to you and said your prayers about marriage were heard and gave you the choice of two alternative miracles, which would you choose?

    1. Tomorrow, and until the return of our Lord, the State will recognize marriage as indissoluble, and divorce would be as hard as getting a student-loan debt removed, but it will recognize marriages between same-sex couples.

    2. Tomorrow, and until the return of our Lord, the State will only recognize marriages between one Man and one Woman, but anyone can file for marriage or divorce at no cost, online, in about 3 minutes.

    Henry VIII married a woman each of his six times. That’s natural I’m told. Why did Thomas More lose his head? I thought it was over the definition of marriage.

    We should legalize Catholic marriage (allow a BINDING contract that divorce laws would not override that made breaking up very difficult and require a serious reason, as well as prohibiting contraception, and the Diocese could demand couples sign on as a condition of being married in a Catholic church by a priest). The pagans can do whatever they want. Protestants too. But the definition of marriage was changed by “no-fault” divorce, so we are trying to defend our nation from invasion at the Nebraska borders.

    The church could use this as an example. Instead of trying to force the view at gunpoint, set a higher, as in heavenly, standard of Marriage, and invite people to partake of real marriage instead of Caesar’s sham.

  14. RichardC says:

    I had this idea. It probably won’t catch on. This is it: when using Gay to mean homosexuals or homosexual activity, capitalize the ‘G’. This will not restore the word ‘gay’ to its true meaning of happy or joyful, but it is a way of not surrendering the vocabulary battle.

  15. Pete McNesbitt says:

    Maybe the sheeple of G-d, have started to look past the men behind the curtain. You know the Church has become bit more anarchistic in its world view for the last quarter century. The men at the top of the corporation remember when people were much more reverential to the hierarchy. That is in the past and no amount of trying to force the genie or Pandora back into the box will really work. You can run more Latin masses, but most pew warmers have figured out a long time ago that the Latin mass people, usually have paid off the church mortgage fast through tithing. And not to embrace a Latin mass parish would be cutting off a revenue stream.

    So out with Vatican II reforms, and let’s embrace the fiscal past. And maybe all our financial problems will be gone. The old saw about marriage is only for procreation, has got to be put in the dustbin of history. A cousin of mine was told only fifteen years ago that since his wife couldn’t conceive, it would be a valid reason for divorce/annulment. How easily the Church can put aside love or marriage is shocking, since it didn’t appear that it would profit the Church.

  16. David Alexander says:

    One of the biggest ironies: Question 6 passed because Catholics showed up at the polls. According to a study by the Pew Forum, the fact is that the majority of American Catholics support marriage equality. Because, this support is even stronger for young Catholics, this support is likely to grow. It is not difficult for me to understand this support — Catholics have a strong sense of social justice and a clear understanding of the distinction between marriage as a sacrament and marriage as a civil institution. Father Richard Lawrence from Baltimore’s St. Vincent de Paul church gave a very moving homily on the Catholic case for why Question 6 deserved to pass. While you, of course, disagree with his sentiments, most other Catholics have been found similar arguments to be persuasive. Marriage equality is our future. I, for one, am very pleased that my family will now be treated equally under the law. In the eyes of the state, my “marriage” is now a marriage.

    • Arthur says:

      David,

      What definition of marriage do you advocate? Equality is not the end all be all of society. Making things equal that are simply not equal, I think you would agree, is moving backward (or deviating), not forward. So if homosexual “marriage” is equal to marriage, how do you define marriage?

      Arthur

  17. LOTR says:

    The passage of Question 6 represents an egregious, massive, and catastrophic failure on the part of the Archdiocese and all its pastors. It is probably the case that the same 50%+ of Maryland Catholic voters who cast their ballots for BO also voted in favor of Question 6. The various excuses that Msgr. Pope puts forward to explain away this are limp and even absurd.

    The Archdiocese that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the past four decades on liturgical wreck-o-vations has no money for a full-time PR firm? Absurd.

    And the Archdiocese has so many “fronts” on which it is fighting! …..[omitted personal attacks] … Pathetic.

    And isn’t it just amazing how “many cultural issues [like homosexual marriage] have come on us so quickly”! Like, say, over the past 50 years that have passed since the 1960’s where the neo-paganization of this country has been spread every day on television screens and newspapers pages for all to see. A quarter to one-half of Msgr. Pope’s own seminary contemporaries were in all probability homosexual or otherwise psycho-sexually deviate (chronic masturbators, pornography addicts, drug/alcohol a users, etc.), but apparently he was oblivious to that too. Ridiculous.

    And then the great difficulty of teaching in the “homily moment”, whatever that is supposed to be. Note to Msgr. Pope — guess what, nobody has been listening, for years and years and years to ….[omitted offensive descriptions of bodily functions etc ] ……that are passed of as sermons. The quality of homilies — yes yours too — are so poor that the USCCB is apparently issuing still another document at its upcoming Baltimore to deal, once again, with this abject mess.

    The failure to defeat Question 6 has been 45 years in building and lies fully and precisely at the feet of the cardinals, bishops, and priests of the Archdiocese of Washington. Nemo dat quod non habet. Your flock is ignorant and erring because you, its shepherds, are ignorant, lazy, and erring.

    • Perhaps we need to hire LOTR to solve this mess, if he can keep his potty mouth in check and try to avoid extraneous and personal attacks. It would seem the LOTR knows how to resolve all this mess quickly. LOTR for head of USCCB?

      • LOTR says:

        I do not have a potty mouth. Nothing i said was scatological or obscene. You can play the petty censor and tyrant, but you are an empty gong, a clanging symbol. You are listed as a pastor of Holy Comforter/St. Cyprian’s and yet you have hours daily that you waste on your vacuous blogging. I have heard your blowhard, tent-revival sermons at St. Mary’s.

        • I wonder (LOTR) if you really think your approach to life wins people to your views. It is interesting that you and I would seem to agree on Gay “Marriage” and abortion, yet you are so alienating.I understand that you are upset at having lost these issues, so am I. But your tone is so nasty as to be laughable. You are so over the top that even people who might agree with you are both put off and simply dismissive of what you have to say. In fact I would go so far to say that you are likely a dangerous member of the pro-life movement and I hope you don’t take this approach with others, talk about a counter-sign. You say you know me, I don’t know if I know you personally or not, perhaps I have offended you and your anger is personal. If not, I surely hope you will consider not weighing in on pro-life matters, or Gay “marriage” for that fact. Your type of angry and personal invective is surely not what we need out there.

          • Thomas says:

            I love reading your blog Father, I’m very glad you spend time on it. I live in Michigan and yet every week I benefit from your writing. I wish more priests would blog more. It’s an excellent way to communicate the truth.

        • I Like the Church Fathers says:

          Boy, I thought I was sometimes hard on Monsignor Pope! “Vacuous blogging”? Hardly!

      • Kristine says:

        God Bless you Msgr. Although we do not live in Maryland, my husband and I were lamenting about the poor job our own diocese did in preparation for the election. It seems our pastors’ hands are tied as no concise tools for communication is provided for them to use in their parishes. I live in Michigan, where the Michigan Catholic Conference is clueless on the effective use of social media, and every piece of communication put out is wordy and laden in a sort of veiled double-speak. Our dear pastor is fantastic, but is tapped for time with the amount of responsibility he carries within our own parish and the Archdiocese. And although we are a large parish, it seems our efforts go to fund raisers, sporting events and other time-consuming endeavors that do not include catechesis on matters that matter (as understanding the non-negotiable issues, etc.). My husband and I offer so much of our time to our parish and are at the burn-out point after years of hoping more would step up to the plate. BUT we want to do what we can and focus on what’s most important. We have a large family and really need to stop feeling so completely strapped for down time. From your objective perspective, what would you like to see the laity do better to help spread the truth? Seriously. Where’s the biggest bang for the buck (so to speak)?

  18. GP says:

    MSgr, thanks for another great insight on a very “hot” and important topic!! Definitely we the Church have a true and tough “battle for the ages” in our sight and path, and not only with this issue but with many others as well!! I just read how the marriage issue was also defeated in Minnesota and how the archdiocese spent funds to educate the faithful. And now, a priest within the archdiocese has publicly written for the resignation of the archbishop!!! What gives?!? Our battle is definitely deep from within and beyond!!!

    I sincerely pray that this “Year of Faith” be taken seriously by all — clergy and lay people!! The “revolving door catholicism” has to be changed and effectively infused with true spirit and zeal!!!

  19. Deo volente says:

    LESSON THIRTEENTH: On the Sacraments in General

    Q. 574. What is a Sacrament?

    A. A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.

    Q. 575. Are these three things, namely: An outward or visible sign, the institution of that sign by Christ, and the giving of grace through the use of that sign, always necessary for the existence of a Sacrament?

    A. These three things, namely: 1.An outward or visible sign, the institution of that sign by Christ, and the giving of grace through the use of that sign, are always necessary for the existence of a Sacrament, and if any of the three be wanting there can be no Sacrament.

    Q. 576. Why does the Church use numerous ceremonies or actions in applying the outward signs of the Sacraments?

    A. The Church uses numerous ceremonies or actions in applying the outward signs of the Sacraments to increase our reverence and devotion for the Sacraments, and to explain their meaning and effects.

    Q. 577. How many Sacraments are there?

    A. There are seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.

    Monsignor,

    This is what I learned from the Baltimore Catechism over 55 years ago. Since Christ instituted the sacraments, there is NO EXPLANATION NEEDED AS TO WHY THEY WERE INSTITUTED OR HOW! Christ said “Do this in memory of Me.” He did not enter into a theological exegesis with the Apostles because He knew they would only understand fully by the gift of Faith which is so sadly lacking nowadays.

    Civil society can/does enact laws and has done so in abundance. However, these laws do not trump Christ’s sacraments or His commandments! Abortion is legal (in civil law) but is a mortal sin and causes one to be excommunicated “latae sententiae.” So, despite what civil society says, Catholics follow Christ and His laws and are not bound by unjust or immoral laws which cause one to commit mortal sin.

    The onset of wholesale relativism is well known. I have heard of cases, as have you, of individuals who approach a priest and say “I am against same-sex marriage, but my daughter has come out as a lesbian and wants to be married! What should I do, Father?” In more cases than not, the family decides to go along so as not to lose the love of a child as this is a heartbreaking decision. I believe this kind of situation is what drives many families to vote in favor of SSM because they are placed in a proximate situation in which they don’t wish to offend or to lose the love of children even though they follow the Church’s teachings. It is a satanic form of divide and conquer.

    In the end, it comes down to the fact that while Jesus is Divine Mercy, He is also Divine Justice! That is something that we should all remember as we ponder what He will say to us at our particular judgment.

    The groups which lobbied for this law did not wish Civil Unions or the societal benefits of marriage (like visitation, inheritance and so on). They wanted its name. In fact, that is the basis of the entire attack.

    Finally, I bristle when someone seems to attack a priest like you who has worked so hard to define the positions of the Church, the Bride of Christ, so well on this fantastic blog. If some find information lacking, perhaps doing more study of what our Church really does teach (like reading the Catechism) might be helpful to begin with!

    • Aaron says:

      I’m actually going to disagree with you about the Baltimore Catechism being all that is needed. It is a valuable resource, and an excellent introduction to Catholic doctrine. The problem is, most people who are raised Catholic never grow beyond an elementary understanding of the faith. How many Catholics who were taught from the Baltimore Catechism 55 years ago quickly lost their faith as soon as it was challenged in the 1960s and 70s? I think a lack of people with mature faith had a lot to do with it. Many of the faithful saw Catholicism as a list of rules to follow in order to get to heaven and not much else.

  20. dmw says:

    I think the approach to defending marriage as “a one-man-one-woman lifelong union for the good of the spouses and the nurturing and education of children” against so-called homosexual “marriage” is fundamentally flawed. I think the starting point needs to be a re-emphasis on the grave immorality of homosexual acts and the equally immoral “stepping stones” to further unnatural sexual immorality found in pornography, masturbation, and fornication. There is so much about how we should have compassion on those with Same Sex Attraction, but it stops there. We should give reasons for why sodomy–and let’s use that word–is a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance. The debate can’t just be over the definition of ‘marriage.’ The culture being what it is–with divorce and remarriage as a given–cannot fathom when anyone dares try to define marriage as one thing versus another.

  21. Bender says:

    I think the starting point needs to be a re-emphasis on the grave immorality of . . . We should give reasons for why . . . is a sin

    We need an earlier starting point than that. First people need to understand what the words “immoral” and “sin” mean before we can get to the immorality and sinful nature of homosexual acts. And for that to be convincing to people — believers and non-believers alike — the explanation needs to be more than “these are God’s rules.”

  22. MikefromED says:

    Crowhill is possibly right in thinking that many Catholic people no longer accept something on the authority of the Bishops. And he is also right to suggest that people need to understand the reasons for Church teaching. However, we must remember that we ought to believe something because the Church teaches it, not because we think so. The opposite is the sin of pride. The fundamental need is to get back to the situation where Catholic people understood that Catholic doctrine comes from the Church. It was once people stopped understanding that, that the battle against the acceptance of gay ‘marriage’ by Catholics was lost.

  23. Mike says:

    Msgr, I think your post-mortem is well done. I would add one significant point.
    The bishops need to do something to quell dissent among priests.
    The whole issue with the Baltimore priest who gave a pro gay marriage homily after reading Abp Lori’s letter underscores this point. Lay people on the whole do not understand the unique relationship between a priest and his bishop. What lay people do understand is that in any other profession or job, if an employee so publicly challenged his boss, there would be repercussions. When they then see the Abp do nothing but release a vague non-specific letter 3 days later, can you blame them for not understanding the importance of the issue or how they should form their conscience?
    Similar situations arose in the other states where marriage votes took place and on other issues also.
    For the life of me, I don’t get why some of these rogue priests cant simply be fired, or relegated to a desk job.
    It really makes the laity wonder if “the salvation of souls” really matters when such obvious dissidents are allowed to continue to shepherd their flocks.

  24. Mike B. in Baltimore says:

    What I find sad about this whole process is the continued Roman Catholic campaign against gay and lesbian people and those they love.

    Where is the justice that Christ Jesus taught that allows the majority of the population vote to possibly revoke the rights of the minority but keep the same rights themselves?

    Where is the love that Christ Jesus taught where the Roman Catholic Church continues to aggressively condemn the very existence of gay and lesbian people?

    Where the love and justice came from are the over one million Marylanders – including many Catholic Marylanders – who stood with their fellow citizens to agree that all families have equal rights and responsibilities that marriage affords. On top of that, the Civil Marriage Protection Act protects religions to allow them to continue teaching their beliefs. Even better, traditional marriage remains because marriage between one man and one woman will continue to be recognized in Maryland.

    So what’s the problem?

    The Catholic Church’s continued path of condemnation of gay and lesbian people reminds me of the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.”

    Look it up.

    • How about Justice for Children? Are irregular families just for them? Do they not have a right to be raised by a father and mother? Is therefore single motherhood, single fatherhood and gay coupling not an injustice to them? Do not hinder the children, let them come to me….it would be better if any who scandalize one of these little ones to be thrown into the sea with a great millstone around his neck….. Look it up.

      • Mike B. in Baltimore says:

        Monsignor, I’m guessing that you’ve not met too many gay and lesbian families with children. When my husband and I raised his terminally ill niece after her mother died, we were a very loving family. Our niece had plenty of female contact with her aunt, grandmother, and cousin as we all provided a loving home and family environment.

        The gay couple living behind us are raising three wonderful children, who are well-adjusted, good kids. There are thousands of such families in Maryland and many more all over the United States.

        I am amazed that you seem to condemn single parents. Are you suggesting that if a child is in a single parent environment that it would be just to separate the family? What if the family lost a parent to divorce or even worse, death? By the way, my mother, sister, and I buried my father today and we are certainly not in an unjust family situation because he’s no longer here on earth.

        I shudder to think that you may be suggesting that these children be removed from their families because there is not a mother and father heading it. That’s destroying families, not building them up. Again, I am guessing that Christ Jesus would prefer families to stay together. Unless and until you have had the experience of raising children, I certainly don’t believe you have the authority to dictate how families should be formed and how they should love each other.

      • Todd Flowerday says:

        Don’t forget about the half million Americna children in the foster care system with no permanent parents. If they have a right to be raised by a mother and father, where are the Catholic families lining up to adopt them?

        • We need to do everything we can to get them into two parent families, but it is no more the fault of Catholic families than anyone else for failing to adopt them. Further weakening marriage also will not help them.

          • Todd Flowerday says:

            I think we need to do more. If two-parent families aren’t adopting, one parent or gay parents are better than none.

            I think if Catholic families and the Church should be more at the forefront of this pro-life effort. That one couple doesn’t discern to adopt children is acceptable. But that Catholic families don’t adopt more of them is a missed opportunity for pro-life and pro-marriage witness. Being “no more at fault” sets the bar very low. Unacceptably low, in my opinion.

            ….Nothing’s stopping us from flooding the other agencies with applications by the hundreds of thousands, is there?

  25. Max says:

    I think you really hit the nail on the head in showing that society now believes marriage is two people living together with or without kids, and so why can’t gays married? The only way that we can really move forward is to remove civil marriage licenses from the purview of government. This would protect the Church and its affiliated institutions (Knights of C halls, etc) from discrimination lawsuits if they refuse to host gay wedding receptions. We are going to have to realize that defending a system in which Larry King can get married 8 times, Britney Spears can be married for 28 hours, no-fault divorce, and two people getting married by Elvis at 2am is not defending marriage in any way shape or form.

    We in the Church take marriage much more seriously than government ever will. Government allowing practically any two people to get married for any reason has changed the concept of marriage in the minds of most Americans. Marriage belongs to the people, not to the government. Get rid of civil licenses, which would remove “gay marriage” from being a protected civil right (with all that entails). When it comes to taxes, property, inheritance issues and the like; all of these things can be handled by private contracts (wills, living wills, etc). This is the only route we can take. The younger generation will be even more “pro gay marriage”, and the elderly are dying off. This is the first of many victories for gay marriage advocates. The Church can keep its head in the sand and keep hammering away at this in futility, or we can realize that there is an alternative way which protects the rights of the Church.

    • Hegelian Dialectic says:

      Sound thinking at this stage of the debacle that is “modern society.”
      Marriage was always a religious institution. It was never meant to be civil. Of couse, the state makes sooooo much money on licensing everything and soooo much bureaucracy has been built around it that the state will never let it go..

  26. Nate says:

    Fighting gay ‘marriage’ is fighting a symptom. Nor should anyone find the speed of our culture’s collapse surprising. This was all predicted:

    Consequences of Artificial Methods

    17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

    Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

    Limits to Man’s Power

    Consequently, unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions—limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed. These limits are expressly imposed because of the reverence due to the whole human organism and its natural functions, in the light of the principles We stated earlier, and in accordance with a correct understanding of the “principle of totality” enunciated by Our predecessor Pope Pius XII. (21)

  27. An observation from the other side says:

    First, I agree that you did not have out many yard signs. I saw many Catholics banding together FOR Marriage but there were not as many high-profile marches or activism AGAINST gay marriage.

    I worked the polls and while I was there from 6:30a.m. to 8:00p.m. I saw only Protestant opposition, not Catholic opposition. Frankly, I only saw them at a “Tier 1″ polling sight from approximately 5:00p.m.-7:30p.m. Regardless of which side you were on, I found the practicality of handing out literature at this time of the evening useless. People are coming from work and just want to get in and out. They will not even take the paper. They are grumpy because they had a stressful or bad day. Even a good day at work can be stressful. They are not prepared to hear anything, regardless the position.

    Then, some the Catholic poll workers pushed people to the other side by being too aggressive or saying things like “vote against Question 6 and I can guarantee you a place in heaven.” I am not lying. I actually heard this.

    Now, to the the main point I wanted to address. Young people voted increasingly pro-marriage equality. As those young people become older the paradigm will shift and being gay or being in a same-sex marriage (btw, now there is no distinction between same-sex marriage and straight marriage, according to the state law.) Instead of alientating or making the youth question, I suggest the church focus on God’s love and be all-inclusive of that love. Without it, we are banging gong and clashing symbol. The role model you set for the children is crucial. They will see the world and question. Have answers grounded in the Word of God, yes. But have them understand the reality of the world, too. Without it, I fear that the Catholic church may become irrelevant. And, quite frankly, that would be a shame.

  28. Mike says:

    Perhaps the Biblical lesson on homosexuality was a misinterpretation to begin with and perhaps this is why our argument is irrational and unconvincing to educated people. Perhaps these changes is God’s will.

    • MT says:

      Perhaps not. Catholic teaching on homosexuality is largely based in natural and moral law which is unchanging and not subject to the whims of the majority nor to the errors of the age. That homosexual behavior is also sinful is a theological truth that happens to fall perfectly in line with natural law theory. That is a definition of sin — breaking from the natural order. God’s will, as taught in the Church, is that we are directed toward our true nature, toward truth in every situation, which ultimately mean being directed toward Him. I think our arguments are unconvincing because the modern world has unknowingly accepted the false replacement philosophies of the last 500 years. They all offer many enticing ideas, because they all ultimately reject the notion of sin and repentance. Abandoning the fullness of Catholic philosophy was the single greatest error ever made in the history of Western thought.

    • Bender says:

      You don’t need scripture to know moral truth with respect to homosexuality.

      God has revealed this truth, He has spoken to us on the matter, in the human body itself. Even the most militant non-believer can observe the body of man, male and female, and by use of right reason understand this truth. For this reason, it cannot be legitimately or rationally argued that the Church is imposing its faith on people who do not share that faith. Rather, the Church merely points to that truth which is available to anyone who will but look at it.

  29. Howard says:

    Msgr. Pope, I think when you say that the skills of preachers are often very uneven that you must mean their flair at delivery, which is certainly uneven. However, many of the most powerful sermons in history have been merely read, with no method-acting necessary. We have homilies dating back almost 2000 years, including thousands of homilies from Saints and Doctors on all kinds of topics in all kinds of situations. It seems to me that the first thing a preacher should do is READ. If you need to cut down the time, summarize where necessary, and take excerpts of the best parts; if that is beyond a preacher’s ability, he could read the whole sermon, a few paragraphs each Sunday if necessary. These older homilies were both meatier and more poetic than what is typically served today.

    • Whatever….de gustibus, the point is the message must go out. I am absolutely not going to engage a thread on style.

      • Howard says:

        Actually, I did not mean this to be about style, but rather about content. The homilies that were written down were not just written down because they had excellent style — though many of them did — but also because they had something worth saying and did not flinch from saying it. If a modern homilist can compose a sermon that is completely original, great!! But as you pointed out, not all priests (or deacons) are especially so talented. That does not mean they are without resources! With so many excellent homilies already recorded, there is no good excuse for a sermon that has all the theological depth of a fortune cookie — yet everyone reading this has sat through enough of those to last a lifetime.

  30. Robertlifelongcatholic says:

    So the Church should start emphasizing homosexual unions as “sodomy” and homosexual partners as sodomites. Abortion should be emphasized as martydom of the unborn. Abortion clinics should be emphasized as secular coliseums for martyrdom. Secularism should be empasized as neo-barbarism and secularist as neo-barbarians. Why parse words. The Church has been doing that for the last fifty years and look where we are. Pavlov’s dogs.

  31. Andkaras says:

    Perhaps we should begin to distinguish between “sacramental”, and “man-made” marriage in our diologues,thus underscoring the integrity of the meaning of “natural” (from the latin meaning “to birth”).

    • Howard says:

      The situation is more complicated than that. There are Christian sacramental marriages; natural, non-sacramental but real marriages involving at least one non-Christian; state-recognized adulterous unions in which at least one partner is still bound in a sacramental marriage; and unnatural unions. It would be hard to devise short, obvious names for each of these.

  32. Mali says:

    Father, have you ever thought that the reason your flock failed was because the members of your congregation don’t appreciate being treated like uneducated peasants? Really, arguments should be based on sound logic as well as faith, and not boil down to “We believe this is wrong because of reasons.” The members of your church are not sheep, despite the numerous metaphors of priests being shepherds.

    Catholic authority is outdated, arrogant, and frankly like rubbing a cat’s fur backwards. The American people have had more than two centuries of choosing our leaders, but the Catholic Church still gathers a bunch of men together who then decide the next person in power, with little power going to the people who will follow despite any reservations.

    The Church is still the most sexist and outdated religious organization I’ve come across. Perhaps you should look into fixing that before trying to take on the monumental task of denying basic human rights again.

    • Well I don’t treat them as stupid, they are not stupid and neither am I. As for charges of arrogance etc., I usually find that those who make this charge are making a projection of their own issue. As for being outdated, voting is a great thing, but if you have a family, I’ll bet you don’t take votes or run it as a democracy. IOW not every human gathering is suited to vote taking. No one is forced to stay in the Church. Finally you may wish to consider that the Church has buried every one of her undertakers. There have been any number of people like you who have announced that the Church is outdated and is dying etc. They and their philosophies have come and gone, the Church is still here. Time proves where wisdom is. You may wish to point the finger of arrogance but in the end it may be far more arrogant to think you know better than the Church which has remained while earthly kingdoms and philosophies have come and then faded away.

      • Arthur says:

        Well said, Msgr.!

      • billy says:

        Msgr., the fact that you would say that (and actually believe it) shows how out-of-touch you are. You’re in your own little world, without the realization that what you’re promoting was just as wrong when the Catholic church first started denying basic human rights as it is today.

        • Well of course it isn’t the job of the Church to stay in touch with the world, the Church is a sign of contradiction. As for the charge of basic human rights, your charge is absurd and makes it clear that you just hate the Church and her teachings. You are not a credible opponent to take seriously.

    • Maureen says:

      I can assure you that Monsignor’s flock is not “treated like uneducated peasants.”

    • MT says:

      Basic human rights, correctly defined, must align with truth. That truth is found in the proper understanding of what it is to be human, of our essence, of our nature. Apart from that definition, rights that are synthesized in the sterile laboratory of rationalism are ultimately false and destructive. The “right” to butcher a child is a false right. The “right” to “marry” a person of your same gender is a false right. They are false because in order to be realized one must ignore, dismiss or reject dozens of truths about just what abortion, homosexual behavior, and same-sex “marriage” actually are, and what they do (or undo) with respect to human nature. The only way to then justify these things is to redefine words, revise history, and when all else fails, to call names. In short, these “rights” are falsehoods, because they are not aligned with truth. An individual life and a society based in falsehoods cannot flourish.

    • Hegelian Dialectic says:

      @ Mali; the idea that the American people have chosen their leaders –especially during the last 125 years is incorrect. First of all the electoral college makes one man, one vote impossible. More importantly however, the historian for the Council on Foreign Relations, Professor Carroll Quigley, who had a position at Georgetown University, stated in his books (written in the 1950-60s), that no American President was permitted to campaign for the office of the President (or to be “elected”) unless the Council on Foreign Relations vetted and approved of him and he was therefore a member of that group –the Council on Foreign Relations is a private organization answerable to no one. It is the American branch of the Royal Institute for International Affairs (another private group based in England) which was GIVEN a CHARTER to exist from the British crown; which means it answers to the nobility of Europe. The Royal Institute’s think-tank is the Club of Rome, which is directly under the United Nations. So who really runs the U.S.? You may also wish to look into the Pilgrim Society and Senator Thorkelson’s remarks in the Congressional Record from the 1940s; and perhaps also look into the Milner Group. You are living in a reality that was given to you.

      In addition, if you think the Catholic Church is arrogant; that’s fine. No one is forcing you to take part in any Catholic worship. Be careful what you wish for however; I hope you don’t have any children when someone comes knocking on your door in a few years in order to have sexual relations with your children or grandchildren. That is where this is all headed. And you won’t be able to deny the pedophile “his/her basic human rights” because that would be a hate crime. Just as homosexuality was pushed from “on high” as a basic human right, so will pedophilia and necrophilia and in the end, human sacrifice. And not just the kind that happens in back rooms of abortion mills or when no one is looking in hospital wards. I’m talking about real, live sacrifices.

      • Mali says:

        Okay, can we please accept the understanding that no matter what people say, NO ONE is going to accept any law that says it’s okay for someone older than 18 to have sex with someone under the age of majority? Seriously, welcome to the slippery slope part of logical fallacies. There are already laws that prevent that, and even if some sick person did want to repeal those laws, psychologists, parents, lawmakers and the vast majority of the population would not stand for it. Please take the rope I’m offering you, and come back from “Oh noes, the pedobears are going to take over the country!!” Please, it’s just sad at this point. A pedophile would not have the right to walk up to my door and demand sexual congress with my child or grandchild because A. Private property, and I do post signs; B. The child in question cannot give informed consent, which is why we have laws for this sort of thing; C. Said child is a minor under the guardianship of his/her parent or legal guardian, so unless I gave my consent, it isn’t happening. Come back to reality, it really isn’t THAT bad. Also, pedophilia, necrophilia etc.-discrimination isn’t illegal discrimination unless they are a recognized portion of the population with rights being withheld by a person that are upheld by the federal, state, tribal or local government. There are laws against these things, as I’ve said, and the pedophiles more than likely are not going to be able to raise money to petition states or Congress to change that. Human sacrifice amounts to murder or assisted suicide, probably both. Logic, it is our friend.

        @ Hegelian Dialectic: All you have to do is write in your candidate, really, it’s that simple. I am all for the electoral college being abolished and giving the vote to the people so that we can say that we really did choose our leader. Seriously, I’d be leading that charge. Because the electoral college was established by a group of people two centuries ago when transportation was a serious pain and they understood most recognized citizens weren’t able to process everything. You know, back when anyone not a white male who owned property couldn’t vote at all. Honestly, I’m of the opinion that the Constitution needs an overhaul anyway, to reflect the changes of society.

        And really, as conspiracy theorists go, you fall fairly low on my list of interesting.

        @MT: We have this fun little thing called “implied rights” such as your “right” to privacy. Technically, it doesn’t exist; nowhere in the Bill of Rights is it explicitly stated. But because the Supreme Court Justices interpret several of the first ten amendments in a certain way, the American population can argue–and win!– that they have a right to privacy.

        So here’s a little history lesson: On one of the most important documents in American History, there is a line that goes like this: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
        So tell me, MT, you have the right to marry someone yes? That’s part of your inalienable right to Pursuit of Happiness. So please tell me where it says that the pursuit of happiness has a clause that a man can only marry a woman? Because I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen the Declaration of Independence, and I can say I don’t recall seeing that little clause anywhere.

        • MT says:

          We are speaking from two entirely different realms of thought — mine from a cosmic or eternal perspective, and yours from a man-made or temporal perspective. Implied rights fall into the latter category and thus have the potential to fall into error.

          A little deeper into the history lesson: The final draft of the Declaration contained “pursuit of happiness.” That replaced the original, “property.” The Bill of Rights (which is backed by the force of law) includes “property” and not “happiness.” The point is that property is easier to define as a natural right than is happiness. One man’s happiness could include any number of moral vices that seemingly offer freedom, but in fact harm himself or others and thus lead to some degree of enslavement. Freedom separated from moral virtue is an illusion. My ‘cosmic’ argument connects rights to truth — the truth of human essence based in natural and moral law. It also connects freedom and liberty to truth — outside of truth we are in falsehood, and, as Someone said, it is the truth that makes us free. Your argument is not just an assault on morality, but an assault on the very possibility of morality. Your free and happy society is not so much immoral as amoral. Amorality is not directed to truth, and thus can never be truly free or happy.

          Marrying someone of the same sex with reference to “happiness,” is thin and flawed, since happiness is found only in accepting the fullness of our nature. That’s not always easy, and most people spend their entire lives resisting truth at some level. How many truths concerning the biological, spiritual, moral, and natural aspects of homosexual “sex” must be rejected in order to advance the cause? How many definitions of terms (marriage, sex, love, and happiness itself…) must be fundamentally altered in order to rationalize the case? How many names must be called in order to justify a false position? Same-sex “marriage” is a metaphysical absurdity. That it seems reasonable to the Secularist Man of the 21st century reveals the philosophical shallowness of modern man. Marriage is an objective metaphysical fact that cannot be changed by a trendy human redefinition, law or right. It is inherently procreative, and thus inherently heterosexual. No “right” can change these facts any more than a “right” could repeal the law of gravity. If same-sex “marriage” is not contrary to nature, then nothing is; and if nothing is contrary to nature, then there can be no grounds for moral judgment. Welcome to the most convenient and destructive ideology ever invented — Relativism.

          Liberty and happiness are not found in falsehoods. They are only found in truth, and there is one intellectual tradition that offers the richest and deepest study of the truths of human existence anywhere to be found. To dismiss or ignore the Catholic intellectual tradition in favor of shallow philosophies that ultimately fall short is the height of unreasonableness. I might suggest a short study on natural and moral law. They are often misunderstood, and many mistakes are commonly made about what they truly mean.

          I won’t go into the Protestant origins of our country, except to say that there is a fundamental flaw in our DNA that has led to our inevitable fall into secularism, relativism and atheism. The fallout from that flaw is being seen now as people reinterpret things like “pursuit of happiness” to fit a flawed political agenda based, unfortunately, in moral adolescence. The foundational moral, ethical and spiritual truths are now trumped by tolerance and political correctness. No society can survive, let alone flourish, apart from real first principles and eternal truths.

        • Hegelian Dialectic says:

          @ Mali:
          It’s incrementalism. Never say never. Anything can be made legal.
          Homosexuality was considered an illness in the DMS-IV until a few decades ago.
          Partial birth abortion is a euphemism for infanticide since the child is born prior to being “aborted”, but it’s legal in some parts of the country.

          B4U-Act bills itself as a group of mental health professionals who are either “minor attracted” or who support people who are “minor attracted”. This group participated in a conference in 2011 which included psychologists and mental health professionals from Harvard and Johns Hopkins. One of the purposes of this conference was to discuss revisions to the DSM-IV which is to be published in 2013. Will the DSM be revised in 2013 to no longer include pedophiles as having a mental illness? Probably not. Will it happen down the line? You can (legally) count on it. The age of consent will slowly be lowered. There will come a time when children who are under 10 will be able to give “legal” consent to sex (of all kinds) with adults and if it’s your child you won’t have the legal right to stop those 2 people from their “pursuit of happiness”.
          Where will a line be drawn that can’t be erased by legalities?

  33. Hegelian Dialectic says:

    The U.S. Dept. of State (which is controlled by the Council on Foreign Relations which is an arm of the Royal Institute for International Affairs–which was begun by the Milner Group to take over all the world and its resources) under the inauspicious leadership of Hilary Clinton, recently made clear that any financial assistance or otherwise from the U.S. WILL BE TIED TO that nation (I use the term quite loosely) first taking definitive stpes to IMPOSE the U.N./UNESCO, “Rights of the Child” Agenda. The Rights of the Child is code for legalized/normalized intergenerational sex –also known as pedophilia. You see, while we are all spinning around like tops debating same-sex “marriage”, our owners are far past that bump in the road. They are pushing for the rights of pedophiles and necrophiliacs. The evidence is all around if you open your eyes. Have you heard about Sir Jimmy Savile, the pedophile procurer for the uppercrust of Britain who had keys to hospital morgues and orphanages? Or have you seen the oh-so-sexy, nudie advertisements for a Polish casket company? Have you watched what passes for entertainment on television? It’s soft porn; soon to be live sex shows. And everyone will yawn and stretch and say, “what can I do?”
    Sorry Catholic bishops the world over; it’s way past your wake-up. And sorry too Amerika. The “culture” was contaminated long ago, as Yuri Bezmenov (ex KGB) said.

  34. Hegelian Dialectic says:

    Dear Monsignor: I think some of your posting are worthy of the reader’s time. I respectfully state that this post is not worthy of you or us. You sound like a bureaucrat trying to hold onto a job rather than a man of Truth. Frankly, we need more of the latter and preferably none of the former.
    FIRST: the Vatican is the Catholic Church’s p.r. firm. We need no other. Where has the Vatican been for the last 60 years…other than navel gazing? And one must ask oneself…..”why?” Why has the Church been navel gazing when it had the Truth all along? What CAUSED it to navel gaze? This doesn’t happen “by accident” to an organization of this size, influence, (dare I say) and power. So why? Could it be that something happened INTERNALLY in the Church?
    SECOND: You state the Church has the “problem of there being numerous fronts in which the Church must currently fight”. You mention “life” issues, which is code for abortion & euthanasia and I’ll throw in, medical ethics, which is code for eugenics. I beg to differ with you; the Church has supposedly ALWAYS been at the forefront of fighting on those fronts in one form or another, hasn’t it? To pretend that the Church (IF IT TRULY WANTED TO) hasn’t got the where-with-all to fight each and every one of those society-destroying evils is tantamount to saying we are just another social construction. Either the Catholic Church has the truth AND PROCLAIMS it always and everywhere, or it doesn’t.
    THIRD: the “pace of change” has been incremental (Fabian socialism is the latest incarnation of this evil) and anyone with eyes to see with and ears to hear with, has known that the U.N. agenda (because the League of Nations was a bit of a flop) has been to centralize EVERYTHING. The idea of the nation-state (an idea initially propagated by the private central bankers in order to BEGIN the movement toward world-wide centralization) is the withering away of the nation-state AND the entire purpose of separate and competing religions is to ensure that they all wither away too. After all, that which WAS LEFT IMPERFECT BY GOD would be made perfect and that perfection requires the collectivity of the human beehive. Therefore, the notion that gay “marriage” has “emerged as a credible threat, really only in the last five or six years” is an insult to your readers. I will stop short of calling it a lie.
    FOURTH: To blazes with the “coalition” with other Christian denominations. Either you are Catholic or you are some “other denomination”. And to blazes with “understanding the problems of homosexual activity”. There is nothing to “understand” (or to stand under). Homosexual activity is against the law of God and nature. Period. It is the ultimate act of “self-love” and self-aggrandizement and nihilism. If the Catholic Church is afraid to call it what it is then what can we expect from “other denominations”? Do we really need “to stand together easily” to speak the truth? Those who “struggle with homosexual orientation” are struggling with something akin to demonic activity. Let us stop with the pandering and sugar coating of reality.
    FIFTH: If you are a Catholic priest it is your DUTY before the triune God to make it your business to express the immemorial teaching of the Magisterium in order to safeguard souls and society at large. What happens in the Catholic Church happens to society at large. (Or do we not see that yet?) True Catholic charity is one thing in a private setting; during a homily there is little call for charity since the teaching is directed to all sitting in the pews and is not singling anyone out.
    SIXTH: If the Catholic priest doesn’t require a few extra minutes out of the precious time (what with Sunday football and all) of those in the pews, then he has no business being a priest. You are not our “buddy,” or “friend” when delivering a homily. You are a Catholic priest. You are expected to speak as a Catholic teacher who has vowed to live a Catholic life until death.
    SEVENTH: The internet, for the most part, is unfortunately another instrument of controlled, mass media. The sheer amount of evil conveyed far outweighs the good. Sure, the Church can use it to some degree but to rely on it as an instrument of true “teaching” is pollyana at best.
    And please, God please, stop calling us “the people of God”. All humans are people of God because God made all of us. However, must I remind you that not all listen to or even accept God? Talk about meaningless terms in a meaningless age.
    FINALLY: You state “we have serious repenting to do.” Yes. BUT MORE THAN REPENT, we must PRAY and ACT. And the Catholic priests and hierarchy had better set the example. Catholics are desperate for the truth. Many will not like to hear it. Many will turn away and never return or perhaps return later. The truth is difficult. The truth requires us (as individuals) to make changes in how we live and to take RESPONSIBILITY for our action AND inaction. Many Sunday ‘Catholics’ won’t want to do that. We’ve become soft. We’ve become contaminated and corrupted by hedonism and nihilism. Many churches will close. But the Catholic Church must go on and will go on. I’ve said it before; we will need martyrs — especially martyr Popes.

  35. workingclass artist says:

    These “issues” are not new…The new “tactics” of the Pagan enemy are not really new either.
    Statism is Pagan, it threatens the unity of our subsidiarity and it is dominant in this country.

    I think the Church should be clear,unified and simple in the message. I am glad the Bishops have spoken out.

    We live in a Pagan Culture and these folks are focused on hedonism and they seek to undermine families and tempt our children. They attack our constitutionally protected right to worship and practice our faith as we have always done. These Pagans seek to cause schism with St. Peter and silence dissent and moral criticism of both clergy and laity.

    Our elected President acts as King dictating to Bishops.

    I think aligning ourselves with Protestants who won’t unify in message or tactics is not going to work either. Protestants tend to chafe at moral authority and get lost in the weeds so to speak. They get caught up in old grudges and lose common ground with us.

    Sex outside of marriage is a sin….Or has this changed?
    Sex is sanctioned within Marriage according to Faithful teaching…Or has this changed?
    Every man and woman should be chaste and honor God…Or has this changed?
    Human Life from beginning to end is precious….Or has this changed?

    God will judge our immortal souls and we risk Hell, if we do not confess our sins regularly and repent them…Or has this changed?

    Rebellion against the Authority of St. Peter =schism = enemnity to the Body of Christ…Or has this changed?

    The Holy Spirit guides our Pope,Clergy and our Church in matters of faith and morals…Or has this changed?

    I left the church as an adolescent child because my Catholic Parents did not fulfill their duty during the turbulent 1970’s.

    The result of this was the interruption of my moral education which caused havoc in my life. I fell pray to the confusion of the dominant secular voices who urged me to conform and I had little moral foundation to understand my jeopardy.
    I think this is true of many children who experienced the confusion of Vatican II and how this was presented in America.
    My parents fell way and I did too.

    When I became a parent I made certain to give my child a Catholic Parochial School education, that included weekly Mass, the sacraments and she was confirmed. I worked hard to provide the funds to do it because I missed out on something important and I wanted the Church to teach her. She started Catholic kindergarten in Dallas, Texas 1995 when our dioceses had been rocked by the priest scandals…But even I a wayward,ignorant Catholic trusted her to the church because I knew this was right and we could reform to right the Bark of St. Peter. I trusted there were faithful Priests and Nuns as well as faithful laity who cared about their roles as shepherds and teachers.

    I was honest with her about my own confusion and ignorance…She has shared her faith journey with me and I have been inspired to return to the Church. The soul hungers and thirsts, and mine is no different.

    I feel lost during Mass…But I go to Mass anyway. I listen and I pray.
    I feel awkward lining up for communion to receive it on the tongue from the priest…But I do it anyway.
    I feel clumsy during confession…But I confess honestly and repent anyway.
    I have forgotten how to pray the Rosary (My Grandmother used to pray it with me when I was small)…But my daughter bought me a rosary so I am learning.

    I have led a reckless life plagued with alcoholism and rebellion resulting in grave sins that filled my heart with pain and terror. When I got physically and mentally sober of alcohol I was led to become sober in spirit, which has led me home, although I feel like a stranger and I am shy.I know I will feel better as I learn more and practice more. I know I can seek forgiveness for my sins and repent sincerely. I know God is merciful if I try…But I also know I will be judged and I am so sorrowful that I scarred my soul and offended God.

    There can be no replacement for the Church and the Sacraments. There is nothing on earth to compare with our beautiful church, her holy scripture and doctrine,her traditions,her role and her history,her faithful,her saints,her savior and his sacrifice and promise to us.

    People have become confused by shifting definitions outside catholic teaching. The pressure to conform to a protestantism or the pagan culture is immense and this is true especially of women.

    I remember clearly when my mother was offended by Msgr. Johnson at St. Paul’s who had the audacity to lecture mothers and fathers who allowed their daughters to wear revealing immodest short skirts to mass…I was 12 and my 3 older sisters were wearing fashionably short dresses that barely covered them. My mother was offended. Shortly afterward we quit going to Mass on Sundays.

    But wasn’t Msgr. Johnson right to do this? Wasn’t this part of his job?….Or has this changed?

    I have a Gay Twin brother who is so confused, he’s decided to be baptized in an evangelical church. He invited me to come support him…I said to him you were already Baptized when I was. I said cannot in good conscience participate in this error you are committing and I will not watch you sully something you and I share as twins.

    Aren’t we baptized once as our first sacrament?….Or has this changed?

    Well He was offended…kinda like my mother was by Msgr. Johnson.

    But in the end God in his mercy pushed me to convince catholic my sister to do our duty and get Father Tony to visit my mother on Good Friday morning to perform Anointing of the Sick , which got my mother’s attention…Her rebellion against God was over and I suspect she was chastened, But her last days were peaceful and loving.

    Do we not have an obligation to do everything we can to get a Priest to perform this sacrament for our baptized family members before they die?….Or has this changed?

    I spoke to this same sister about this election and how the Bishops have warned about the jeopardy to our souls…and she got offended, cutting me off saying she’d already voted. I guess I know how she voted otherwise why would she be offended? I wasn’t telling her how to vote…just warning her of the real results to the Church and the role every Catholic plays.

    Do we not have a moral obligation to discuss these things as matters of faith amongst people of faith…Or has this changed?

    This sister and all my older sisters were confirmed in the church…But I,my twin and my youngest brother were not….By then our parents had fallen away. They failed in their obligation.
    Did not my older sisters promise God they would defend his church and their faith? Isn’t this what confirmation is? I have a foggy memory as witness to their confirmation…But I went to my daughters confirmation in 2004 and this seemed clear….Or has this changed?

    I apologize for my lengthy post.

    I know how I fell victim to the idea that God Changes…That the Church has changed and shifted…That our clergy has no right to speak in the public square on matters of Faith and Morals. It began when I was 12 with the example of my parents who rejected the Church out of pride, they caved to the pressure to conform to a modern culture that is largely anti-catholic and this ripped apart my family.

    My parents divorced when I was 17. My father is on his 4th marriage and joined a church that doesn’t make him feel as guilty. My mother became a hollow and bitter catholic who sought to use recovery programs to replace the Church. She suffered an epic spiritual tantrum fueled by alcoholic insanity that caused her to act against her maternal nature and lash out at her children for 10 long years. These parents had six children baptized as Catholics.
    All six received the sacrament of confession and communion. Of the three sisters that received Confirmation, One adopted the protestant faith of her second husband and her son has no knowledge of the faith he was baptized in, The second adopted the Buddhist Pagan Practice of a rebellious former catholic husband whom later divorced her anyway,She has rejected most of her family and is alone with no children, and the third sister married a nice catholic boy, had three children she has raised in the Faith but became offended by my query during this election. I was lost to the faith for a long time but made sure my daughter wouldn’t suffer the same confusion.My twin led a reckless homosexual life and when he sought redemption he did it in a protestant church and my youngest brother has been married two times, and seeks reconciliation with the church propelled by the pain of our mother’s death, yet he announced his engagement on face book and is estranged from his siblings.

    No wonder all of us in my family were tempted to misunderstand marriage…No wonder we fell away…We lost our footing.

    I hope the church takes me back. I will ask and I will try. I will align my will to her teaching because this is what God’s will is for me. God created me and sacrificed his son for me. He guides my church and her shepherds through the Holy Spirit. He gives me examples to follow with his Son The Word,the Saints and our Holy Mother. I am an ignorant sinner but God wants me to learn how to be useful to him and my neighbors…To learn to Love him with all of me and love my neighbor as myself. I pray for my parents,my young catholic daughter who lives away from me,my siblings and their children…And I’m sad our family fell away because I see this is what should have bound us together.

    I am so grateful to find my way back…and to find there were always clear and faithful teachers and shepherds.

    God does not change…His Church does not change her teaching or her role…God does not break his promises.

    I learn so much at this blog….Thank you Msgr. Pope and thank you to all who comment.

  36. Hegelian Dialectic says:

    No, we’ve not met. Although I’d like that. I don’t see that I’ll be in the district any time soon. I apologize if I’m preachy.

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