Monday, November 2, 2009

Bishops redefine Church and State

The Rachel Maddow Interview

The foregoing interview of the Governor of Maine by Rachel Maddow is an excellent synopsis of the election tomorrow in Maine. In brief, a group has placed an initiative on Maine’s ballot for November 3 and organized/funded a political campaign to overturn the State Legislature passage of a law, which extends Civil Marriage rights to same sex couples.

As Paul Harvey used to say in his commentaries, page two the rest of the story. Here page two would be devoted to bishop Malone and the role of the Catholic hierarchy in manipulating both the election regarding Civil Marriage laws and the free and open discussion of this issue by Catholics. The National Catholic Reporter states the following:

However, Bishop Malone is a primary leader in a highly visible and vocal campaign to stop any reformulation of civil marriage to include of same-sex couples.

Besides spearheading a parish-based petition signature drive, assisted by local and national socially conservative groups, Malone also padded church bulletins with anti-gay marriage messages — on six consecutive Sundays. He required that pastors throughout the diocese preach on traditional marriage.

Bishop Richard J. Malone has produced a DVD, in which he stars, explaining why marriage matters, and directed that it be shown in all parishes. (See Marriage: What the church teaches.)
Last month, Malone called for a second collection to be taken up during Sunday Masses, with proceeds going to Stand for Marriage, the organization leading the repeal effort.
The second collection netted $86,000. In total, the Portland diocese has given $550,000 to the effort to repeal the same-sex marriage legislation. The Catholic fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus, has given another $50,000 to the cause.

Please note, bishop Malone ordered a second collection to fund a political campaign in his State. He felt that the amount was insufficient and so he gave an additional $550,000.00 of Church funds to pay for the political campaign. This raises several issues. Is there a Diocesan Finance Committee? Did they approve this expenditure of over half a million dollars for a political campaign? Is it lawful for a tax exempt non-profit organization to spend funds collected for charitable purposes to fund a political campaign? Was the “intent of the donors” respected in the expenditure of these funds? Should the Federal government investigate such funding by non-profit organizations of political campaigns?

I have said this before and I will restate it once again, it is time for Catholics to withhold contributions when they believe that the local bishop is misspending funds. Many Catholics do strongly disagree with the bishops on marriage equality as is evidenced by the following article in the National Catholic Reporter (NCR). I encourage you to read the comments made by readers of this article in the NCR.

The scandal in that article is that a Catholic wrote a letter to the editor of her local newspaper. Because, her political opinion was contrary to that of her bishop she was summarily removed from parish assignments regardless of how you feel about the particular issue, consider the implications of this for Catholics. It means that the clergy will now monitor and become the final arbiters of political opinions of the faithful.

The late Pope John Paul II forbade clergy from holding public office. His rationale was that politics is the proper role of the laity. At this point, a vociferous objection will be raised by the bishops that they are merely teaching morality and principles. No, they are not. Teaching a principle or a moral position does not involve funding political campaigns. It may mean publishing articles, such as this one. It may mean preaching and teaching. It may include editorials, demonstrations, protests and marches, but it does not include taking funds donated for charitable purposes and expending them for political media campaigns and political consultant’s fees and salaries.

Bishop Malone and many other bishops have chosen to deal with the faithful as errant children and not as adults capable of independent thought and right judgment. The bishops have chosen to set aside reason and resorted to censorship, coercive use of power, intimidation and expenditure of charitable funds to finance a political agenda.

At the end of the day, the truth does not require a fortress to protect it. The truth is irrepressible and will manifest itself with time. The truth does not require an inquisition or censors, these are the enemies of the truth and its natural ally is liberty. This is true because in an honest and open discussion, reason and truth are served and ultimately prevail.


Anonymous said...

The bishops are bankrupt, morally and financially. They are the most mendacious of politicians, and it is time that they be treated with all the respect due their class.

Anonymous said...

Geoff, get a grip. It's not marriage equality. It's marriage redefinition.

Marriage has never been available to all. You, yourself, before you abandoned your vocation, refused marriage to at least one couple, didn't you? So, this equality semantics is just a vain attempt to paint people with deviant sexual desires as victims of bigots.

No, when the people are asked, they always answer that marriage requires a slot a and a tab b to become one flesh.

Jackie said...

"and Jesus wept."