- Boycott the Knights of Columbus
- A wedding sermon.
- An open letter to my parish community.
- When the Church married Same-Sex couples.
- How It All began
- Why was a college student in the car of drunken Archbishop-elect Cordileone at 12:26 AM, when Cordileone was arrested for a DUI?
- What the Vatican & American bishops DO NOT want you (and Politicians) to know.
- The Supreme Court’s Decisions and the New Mason-Dixon Line
- The Morality of Sex, gay & straight.
- San Francisco in archbishop Cordileone’s sight
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The man who will become the new Archbishop of Philadelphia in September, Charles Chaput:
“This is the issue of our time,” Chaput adds, speaking of “gay marriage,” in an interview published today in the National Catholic Reporter. “The church understands marriage as a unique relationship, with a unique definition, which is the faithful love of a man and a woman for each other, permanent, and for the sake of children. As children, if we don’t know that our parents love one another, our lives are very unstable. That’s why I think every child deserves a family where the father loves the mother, and the mother loves the father. For us to redefine marriage as anything else undermines that notion. I think it’s very important that the church keep insisting on this.
Let us take a closer look at Chaput’s argument, he claims marriage is, “for the sake of children.” Curiously, “The Roman Ritual” revised by decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and published by the authority of Pope Paul VI, places references to children in red brackets. This is done so that the sacred minister at Catholic wedding rites can easily omit all references to children/childbearing in wedding ceremonies.
Catholic theology specifies two ends to marriage. First the “unitive end” and secondly, the “procreative end.” Marriage is a union of love and life that may also lead to physical reproduction. However, not all marriages will be procreative, a common example would be any marriage entered into by a woman who is no longer capable of reproduction. These marriages are recognized as valid and a sacrament by the Church, even though procreation is impossible. The unitive end of marriage is sufficient for a valid and sacramental marriage in the Catholic Church and always has been. This is not “new” nor does this in anyway constitute a “redefinition” of marriage.
As regards Chaput’s statement, “As children, if we don’t know that our parents love one another, our lives are very unstable. That’s why I think every child deserves a family where the father loves the mother, and the mother loves the father.”
On surface, this statement seems perfectly reasonable and it resonates interiorly with most people. Of course, a child should be raised in a community of love (family), where he/she is loved. However, the term “parent” needs to be defined. The simple biological act of reproduction does not make a person a parent. Saint Joseph did not engender Jesus and yet, I doubt that Archbishop Chaput would argue that Saint Joseph was not a father to Jesus.
Being a parent means taking an active role in the life of a child. It means loving that child. It means waking up in the middle of the night to nurse a child suffering from the flu, measles, or chickenpox. It means making time to help the child with homework and encouraging him/her to pursue their dreams. It means nurturing that child physically, psychologically and emotionally. It means enabling that child to mature into an autonomous adult, who can stand on his/her own, face the world and have a real shot at happiness.
That child may or may not share your DNA. That child may be your grandchild, your niece/nephew, or may be your adopted son/daughter. What makes you his/her parent is honestly loving and caring for him/her. That, Archbishop, is what every child “deserves.” I doubt, hope, that you never “checked” your parent’s genitalia and I sincerely doubt you ever considered that central to their parenthood.
Chaput goes on to say, “I think it’s very important that the church keep insisting on this [that marriage must always be heterosexual].” Again, we need to define our terms. I have already addressed the false notion of “redefinition of marriage.” I would take issue with the use by Chaput of the term “church.” The Second Vatican Council defined the “Church” as “the people of God.” This was beautifully illustrated in the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s:
“Catholic participation in the southern civil rights movement culminated at Selma in March 1965. As was customary in much of the South, Selma’s Catholic churches were strictly segregated, with the priest in charge of the African American “mission” parish ignored by the city’s other clergy. (One attempt at integration of the city’s “white” parish by a group of African American teenagers met with fierce resistance.) 1 In addition, the bishop of Montgomery, Thomas Toolen, attempted to prevent northern Catholics from responding to the please of civil rights activists for assistance, maintaining that outsiders were “out of place in these demonstrations—their place is at home doing God’s work…”2 Regardless, priests from fifty different dioceses, lay people, and nuns flocked to Alabama to join in the marches.
One participant observed that many speakers at the headquarters of the Selma campaign “pointed out with happiness and gratitude that this was the first time that so many Catholic priests, acting with their bishop’s permission, had joined them on the front lines of the movement.” 3 Ralph Abernathy congratulated one priest on the Catholic turnout, jocularly adding that “the only ones they hate more than Negroes down here are Roman Catholics, especially Monsignors.”4 Newspapers across the country, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, carried front-page photos of nuns in full-habit striding down Dallas County roads.5 One editorial concluded that “For a great many Catholics…the pictures of demonstrating clergymen and religious, flashed on TV screens or bannered across front pages, spoke more clearly and directly than any conciliar decree could ever do about the effective presence of the Church in the world today.” A nun marching down Selma’s Highway 80 made the same point more emphatically: “We are the Church,” she declared.6”
During discussions at the Second Vatican Council a “proof text” for the concept of collegiality (that the bishops come to decisions jointly) was being sought. Cardinal Ottaviani quipped, “the only one I can think of is, ‘…and they fled’ [Mark 14: 50]” As citation above demonstrates, bishops (like Bishop Thomas Toolan & his Southern colleagues) often get it wrong. The hierarchy simply remains silent about these popes and bishops, knowing that silence is a stealthy censor and ignorance of history serves as an effective “white-out.”
Chaput’s comment, “It’s also important to say that we’re not against gay people”
It is the standard bromide employed by members of the hierarchy whenever they attempt to destroy the Civil Rights of LGBT people. It is as threadbare as it is hollow; it is a hypocritical nod by vice to virtue. It is reminiscent of bromides such as, “Hate the Race, Love the man.” Employed by Southern racists to justify segregation, Jim Crow laws and the ban on interracial marriage.
Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by the hierarchy, later the hierarchy declared her a saint and martyr for the Faith. It seems that bishops don’t make mistakes, just martyrs and saints, but not always the way God prefers.