Catholic Church Hands Out Pledge Cards Against Civil Unions

Colorado’s Catholic churches are handing parishioners a pledge card in which those that sign vow to oppose the pending civil unions bill.

Bishop Conley [left] urged people to participate in the campaign because “it allows each of us to speak the truth – to ask the government to respect the plan for marriage God has given us.” “Doing so protects children, protects marriage and, ultimately, protects the common good of all of us.” He warned that recognizing civil unions for same-sex couples would allow them to adopt children and infringe on religious liberties for many groups. Some also view civil unions as “a stepping stone” to endorsing polygamous relationships. “Redefining marriage means that government will try to redefine truth,” he said. He then cited Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ conference subcommittee on marriage. Bishop Cordileone recently said that civil unions can “in no way” be considered a permissible compromise or an advance for the common good.

Bishop Cordileone, you should know, is considered the creator of Proposition 8.

Complete Article HERE!

Bishops: Same-sex marriage ‘not in the public interest’

Legislation introduced by lawmakers in Washington state that would redefine marriage to allow same-sex marriage “is not in the public interest,” said the bishops of the state’s three Catholic dioceses.

“Marriage in faith and societal traditions is acknowledged as the foundation of civilization. It has long been recognized that the stability of society depends on the stability of family life in which a man and a woman conceive and nurture new life,” the bishops said in a statement released Jan. 13.

“In this way, civil recognition of marriage has sought to bestow on countless generations of children the incomparable benefit of a loving mother and father committed to one another in a lifelong union,” they said.

The current state law says that “marriage is a civil contract between a male and a female,” the bishops noted. “This same law also prohibits marriage to close-blood relations, a clear indication that the definition of marriage is related to bringing children into the world and the continuation of the human race.”

The bishops called on all citizens of Washington to support the current legal definition of marriage and contact their state senator and representatives to urge them to “defend the current legal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.”

At the same time, the bishops asked everyone to join them in praying “for married couples and families and to do everything possible to support them.”
NCR: January 6-19, 2012

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The statement was signed by: Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle; Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane; and Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima. It was released by the Washington State Catholic Conference in Seattle, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops.

On Jan. 10 in her State of the State address, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire announced her support for legalizing same-sex marriage. Three days later, 23 senators — 21 Democrats and two Republicans — introduced legislation that would make Washington the seventh state where same-sex couples are allowed to marry.

Gregoire told The New York Times in an interview that as not only a governor but as a lawyer, a wife, a mother and a Catholic, she has “struggled with this issue for the last seven years.” She described her position on the issue as having evolved, in part because of conversations she said she has had on the topic with her daughters, who have “grown up with kids who’ve got two moms and two dads.”

In their statement, the bishops said that “by defining marriage both in terms of the relationship between a man and a woman and its important role of guaranteeing the succession of generations, the state is recognizing the irreplaceable contribution that married couples make to society.”

Changing the law “would mean that the state would no longer recognize the unique sacrifices and contributions made by these couples, thereby adding to the forces already undermining family life today.”

Upholding the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman “does not depend on anyone’s religious beliefs,” they said. “Washington state’s present law defining marriage as ‘a civil contract between a male and a female’ is grounded not in faith, but in reason and the experience of society.”

The law now recognizes “the unique and irreplaceable potential of a man and woman to conceive and nurture new life, thus contributing to the continuation of the human race,” they said.

“Married couples who bring children into the world make particular sacrifices and take on unique risks and obligations for the good of society,” the statement said. “For this reason the state has long understood that it has a compelling interest in recognizing and supporting these mothers and fathers through a distinct category of laws.”

Complete Article HERE!

Bishops don’t speak for the flock on same-sex marriage

COMMENTARY — Joel Connelly

Our state’s Catholic bishops came out strongly against same-sex marriage this past weekend, and appealed for members of the flock to contact their legislators and tell them to uphold the traditional definition of marriage.

The bishops’ letter left this recently returned Catholic perplexed at the way my shepherds view their faith and human commitment . . . and how they treat people I know who are in loving, committed same-gender relationships, in several cases doing a splendid job of raising children.

The bishops used biology to defend the “present definition of marriage”, returning again and again to a theme they described as “the unique and irreplacable potential of a man and woman to conceive and nurture new life thus contributing to the continuation of the human race.”

We humans are, however, created by God as emotional and spiritual and reasoning beings. Is society to legally “recognize” committeed partnerships only for the potential and purpose of procreation?

“Jesus befriended those who were marginalized because He knew it was only in the security of loving, unconditional relationships that hearts and lives are healed,” argues writer Justin Cannon, reflecting the Christian faith as taught to us by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Not only healed, but enriched. I’ve witnessed a warm, very traditional moment over the years. A goofy, dreamy smile crosses the face of a friend, who after years of playing the field announces “Well, I met this woman (or guy)!” It signals a readiness to settle down. My natural reaction is to say, “You lucky dog!” and to be there, in affection and support, when the knot is tied.

Life together is a natural passage in life. Yet, according to “natural law” the Catholic church frowns on my friends who fall in love with somebody of their own gender. It violates nature, according to a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops statement, because such “inherently non-procreative” relationships “cannot be given the status of marriage.”

The church’s positions are, as state Sen. Ed Murray put it Friday night, “hurtful” as well as contradictory.

Out of one side of its mouth, the church condemns “all forms of unjust discrimination, harrassment and abuse” against gays and lesbians. At the same time, the Cathechism of the Catholic Church describes “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” as “objectively disordered.”

The bishops see themselves as shepherds, but American Catholics are not sheep. They think and act independently. A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that nearly three quarters of Catholics favor letting gays and lesbians marry (43 percent) or form civil unions (31 percent).

“Catholics are more supportive of legal recognitions of same-sex relationships than members of any other Christian tradition and Americans overall,” the survey concluded.

The church is also hurting itself: Its social activism, defense of human dignity and witness to peace should make it a beacon for all who seek justice. Instead, the church is pilloried as an instrument of reaction.

Its wounds are self inflicted, a classic case of clerical error. As the National Catholic Reporter put it, editorializing after New York legislators approved marriage equality last spring:

“Even if the bishops had a persuasive case to make and the legislative tools at their disposal, their public conduct in recent years — wholesale excommunications, railing at politicians, denial of honorary degrees and speaking platforms at Catholic institutions, using the Eucharist as a political bludgeon, refusing to entertain any questions or dissenting opinions, and engaging in open warfare with the community’s thinkers as well as those, especially women, who have loyally served the church — has resulted in a kind of episcopal caricature, the common scolds of the religion world, the caustic party of ‘no’.”

A couple examples: Bishop Nichlas DiMarzio of Brooklyn directed that his diocese is “not to bestow or accept honors, nor to texend a platform of any kind to any state elected official, in all our parishes and churches for the forseeable.”

Archbishop John Nienstedy of Minneapolis is pushing an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. He recently issued a fiat to diocexan priests: “There ought not to be open dissension on this issue. If any have private preservations, I do not wish that they be shared publicly.”

These guys are losing touch, and costing the church credibility.

Public opinion, among believers and non-believers, is undergoing rapid change. The change is rooted in day-to-day human experience.

Contacts with gays and lesbians — as family members, co-workers and friends — underscores the absurdity of such phrases as “objectively disordered.” As NCR noted: “The label is not only demeaning but to contemporary Christians has no resonance with the heart of the Gospel.”

The best advice, which Catholic bishops in Washington and elsewhere should heed, came recently from Nicholas Cafardi, formerly legal counsel to the Diocese of Pittsburgh and formerly a board member of the bishops’ National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth:

“We need to give it up. This is not defeatism. This is simply following Jesus in the Gospels, who besides telling us not to act on our fears, also told us to render to Caesar what it Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Civil marriage is Caesar’s.”

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic Church Continues its War on Gays

The Roman Catholic Church has been in the news quite a bit lately. At times, it seems like positive change is happening. We saw this recently when, under pressure, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago issued an apology for his comments comparing the LGBT community to the Ku Klux Klan. It was a small victory, and was prompted by a large outcry, but gave us a glimmer of hope that the Roman Catholic hierarchy may be slowly coming in line with the vast majority of Catholics who already support their LGBT friends and family.

Then, we saw a barrage of stories that brought us back down to earth, for now. Since there’s been extensive media coverage of Cardinal George in Chicago (and in Green Bay), the following is a roundup of other actions and statements from the Roman Catholic hierarchy that continues to alienate and demonize both LGBT people and fair-minded Catholics.


The American Independent has reported that Archbishop John C. Nienstedt has ordered his priests to either speak in support of the proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment, or to remain silent. If a priest opposes the constitutional amendment which would constitutionally ban marriage equality, the priest is forbidden from speaking his opinion publicly. Instead, that priest has been instructed to speak to Archbishop Nienstedt personally. The order for priests to remain silent was given in a speech last October. Presumably this was the same time that the Minnesota bishops organized teams of priests and married couples to canvas the state to support the amendment. A letter was sent to those who did not attend the speech. A copy of the speech was leaked to the Progressive Catholic Voice, which has now published the full text.


The Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, is launching an abstinence program for gay and lesbian Catholics. According to the Hartford Courant, the Archdiocese is establishing a chapter of the anti-gay so-called “support group” Courage“to support men and women who struggle with homosexual tendencies and to motivate them to live chaste and fruitful lives in accordance with Catholic Church teachings.” While not technically an “ex-gay” program, Courage encourages gay and lesbian people to live in chastity. The story has been picked up by CNN, giving it national attention.


The Bishop of Córdoba, Demetrio Fernández, used his Boxing Day sermon on December 26 to make the outlandish claim that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is participating in a conspiracy to make half of the world’s population gay within twenty years. The comments were picked up by el Pais.

New York & Maryland

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and former Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O’Brien who are known for their opposition to LGBT equality, have been elevated to the office of Cardinal. Dolan is particularly well-known for his vocal opposition to marriage for same-sex couples, most recently and vocally about the passage of marriage equality in New York State.

With so much Roman Catholic LGBT-related news lately, GLAAD reminds media outlets and our own constituency that the vast majority of Catholics are supportive of LGBT people, including marriage equality, despite opposition from Roman Catholic hierarchy. GLAAD wishes to amplify the voice of LGBT-affirming Catholics, including organizations such as DignityUSA, Equally Blessed, Fortunate Families, Catholics for Equality, and so many more national, statewide, and local affirming Catholic organizations. GLAAD continues to call on the media to lift up stories and voices of LGBT-affirming Catholics who will likely differ from the hierarchy on issues of LGBT equality.

Those of us who identify with the Christian faith will continue to pray for a change in the Roman Catholic hierarchy’s attitude toward LGBT people, for LGBT Roman Catholics, and for ourselves as we continue to work for justice, peace, and reconciliation for all God’s children.

Complete Article HERE!

Same-Sex Marriage Endangers Humanity, Says Pope

Pope Benedict XVI today unleashed some of his strongest antigay rhetoric yet, telling diplomats from about 180 countries that same-sex marriage threatens “the future of humanity itself.”

In some of his strongest antigay rhetoric yet, Pope Benedict XVI said today that same-sex marriage threatens “the future of humanity itself.”

The Catholic pontiff made the comment in his annual State of the World address to the diplomats from about 180 nations who are assigned to the Vatican, Reuters reports. He said the traditional family, “based on the marriage of a man and a woman,” is “not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.”

Benedict has a long history of staunch opposition to gay rights, both before and since he became pope in 2005. Also, next month he will bestow the title of cardinal on New York City archbishop Timothy Dolan, who strenuously fought his state’s marriage equality law (which nonetheless passed last June) and in September sent a letter to President Obama criticizing his administration’s decision to no longer defend the antigay Defense of Marriage Act.

Complete Article HERE!