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The Dignity of Persons and Marriage

Posted Aug. 27, 2015 by DOM No comments yet

francis-20130619cnsbr0740-cns-photo-240Archbishop Sample from Portland, Oregon, reflected recently on the famous words of Pope Francis, “Who am I to judge?” in light of its context. These words are usually taken out-of-context to imply that the Holy Father sees nothing wrong with sexual acts between two persons of the same sex. Instead, “These words of Pope Francis were delivered in response to a very specific question about a particular individual who was accused of inappropriate homosexual behavior in the past.”

Bishop Sample included the pope’s whole quote: “I see that many times in the Church people search for ‘sins from youth’, for example, and then publish them. They are not crimes, right?  No, sins. But if a person, whether it be a lay person, a priest or a religious sister, commits a sin and then converts, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is very important for our lives. When we confess our sins and we truly say, ‘I have sinned in this’, the Lord forgets, and so we have no right not to forget, because otherwise we would run the risk of the Lord not forgetting our sins. That is a danger. This is important: a theology of sin…If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?… The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another…”

Indeed, as Bishop Sample points out, Pope Francis is bringing out what the Catholic Church has always taught: that our God is a God of mercy. He then goes on to highlight some of Pope Francis’s other words which show that he is certainly not an advocate for so-called same-sex “marriage.”

Read the full text here.

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USCCB Statement on Marriage Ruling

Posted Jun. 26, 2015 by DOM 28 comments

StatementSCOTUSToday Archbishop Kurtz issued a statement about the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling, calling it a “tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us.” Read the full statement here.

Archbishop Kurtz compared the decision to Roe v. Wade and how it doesn’t change the truth- which is “unchanged and unchangeable.” He continues on to say that, “Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.”

It is a deep truth that the human being is an embodied soul, male and female. The archbishop writes, “The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female” and notes that this is part of what Pope Francis has described as “integral ecology.” “The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.”

The bishops follow Jesus Christ who taught these truths unambiguously, and the president of the USCCB encouraged Catholics to keep speaking for the truth and moving forward with the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. Archbishop Kurtz ended by saying, “I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.”

In addition, a number of other statements have been made:

Also of note are statements from our Ecumenical partners:
The Anglican Church of North America
Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

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Archbishop Listecki on Radical Individuality

Posted Jun. 24, 2015 by DOM No comments yet

Archbishop Listecki of the Archdioces of Milwaukee wrote a piece on his blog about the recent headlines regarding Bruce Jenner and Rachel Dolezal.

The archbishop reminds us that, “[F]reedom is never exercised in a vacuum. Freedom demands responsibility and that is a responsibility to truth, beauty and goodness…” and “we have characterized “truth” as whatever we want to make of it. Therefore, truth is only accountable to the individual.”

Finally, Archbishop Listecki says, “We have lost the sense of sacred and in so doing, everything becomes profane and is subjected to our own individual appreciation.”

 

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First Amendment Defense Act

Posted Jun. 22, 2015 by DOM No comments yet

Representative Labrador (R- Idaho) and Senator Lee (R-Utah) introduced the First Amendment Defense Act last week.

Archbishops Cordileone and Lori sent them each a letter of support, and the USCCB put out a media release.

Quoting from the letters: “FADA would provide significant protection for religious liberty at the federal level and would be an important measure in extending conscience protection to individuals and organizations who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. As a non-discrimination Act, FADA would protect these individuals and organizations from federal government discrimination. In a climate of increasing intolerance, these protections are very much needed.”

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Australian Bishops Speak Out: Don’t Mess with Marriage

Posted Jun. 4, 2015 by DOM No comments yet

The Catholic bishops of Australia are rallying against the increasing acceptance of same-sex “marriage” and the pressure to adopt it. Their Pastoral Letter is named “Don’t Mess with Marriage”.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher, OP wrote about it to his people. Bishop Gregory O’Kelly, SJ of Port Pirie added his own letter to the mix, saying it simply and clearly:

“A pear is not an apple. Same-sex marriage is not the same as a marriage between a man and a woman. The opinions of media personalities, or politicians, or a parliamentary vote can do what they wish, but no matter how much they say it, a pear remains a pear and does not change into an apple. Equally same-sex marriage is not identical with a marriage between a man and a woman. In the Christian tradition marriage has the two aspects of the mutual support and love of a man and a woman, and the openness to procreation, to bearing life. That is what the word “parent” means in its Latin origin, a bearer, a creator, a life-giver. No matter how you use the word “marriage”, a same-sex union does not have the fundamental possibility of parenting. True marriage remains a vowed union between a man and a woman, a commitment for life, to provide a context in which new life might be born. The nature of marriage cannot be altered by the vote of politicians; it is not their area, it is the plan of God for the natural order.”

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Bishop Seitz: “Male and Female God Created Them…”

Posted May. 29, 2015 by DOM No comments yet

bishopseitzportrait-199x300Today we are happy to share a blog post from Bishop Seitz of El Paso, Texas! Go to his blog directly to leave a comment!

“Mommy, how are boys different than girls?”  Most children ask this question or some variation of it in the early years of their lives.  Even now, long after I learned about the physical differences between the two genders, I am still learning about the many differences between men and women and, frankly, I’m still trying to understand the opposite sex.  Even science is adding to our knowledge about the differences between the genders.  Recently research came out pointing to different ways in which the brains of most men and women are women are wired.

Yes, Johnny, boys and girls are different and I thank God for that!   The physical differences between the genders are more than skin deep.  They are differences meant to create a complementarity that is directed toward a profound union of life and love.  I think we could all agree that the differences between the genders have been overly stereotyped in the past by cultures and that, in many cases, women have not been given their full role in society and the Church.  Our Holy Father, Pope Francis recently addressed this in his Wednesday Audience as he continued his teaching on the family.  He said much more work is needed to give women their full voice.  But he also warned against going to the other extreme and losing sight of the essential complementarity of the genders: “Not only man as such, not only woman as such, but rather man and woman, as a couple, are the image of God. The difference between them is not a question of contrast or subordination, but instead of communion and generation, always in the image and semblance of God.”

According to Pope Francis, the gender difference between man and woman is directed toward their union and through that union, to the potential for the generation of new life.  It is not about superiority of one over the other or about competing claims.  Our Holy Father sees the differences as a call to unity that is intended to be a model for the rest of humankind.  He wonders if the efforts to minimize these differences, to suggest that the differences of our bodies are not important, is perhaps a capitulation to the challenges involved in making the deep, life-giving union of man and woman a reality.

Here is how Pope Francis says it: “Modern and contemporary culture has opened up new spaces, new freedoms and new depths for the enrichment and understanding of this difference. But it has also introduced many doubts and much skepticism. I wonder, for example, if so-called gender theory is not an expression of frustration and resignation, that aims to cancel out sexual difference as it is no longer able to face it.”

The Pope goes on to assert that running from the challenge is not the solution.  I’ll let Our Holy Father have the last word: “Yes, we run the risk of taking step backwards. Indeed, the removal of difference is the problem, not the solution. To solve their problems in relating to each other, men and women must instead speak more, listen more, know each other better, value each other more. They must treat each other with respect and cooperate in friendship. With these human bases, supported by God’s grace, it is possible to plan a lifelong matrimonial and family union. The marriage and family bond is a serious matter for all, not only for believers. I would like to encourage intellectuals not to ignore this theme, as if it were secondary to our efforts to promote a freer and more just society.”

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Bishop Conley: Martyrs, Witnesses and Public Life

Posted May. 14, 2015 by DOM No comments yet
Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Neb., discusses the key to evangelization Sept. 27 during the Catholic Medical Association's 83rd annual educational conference in Orlando, Fla. Bishop Conley is the association's newly appointed spiritual adviser. (CNS photo/Jacque Brund) See CMA-ROUNDUP Oct. 1, 2014.
Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Neb., discusses the key to evangelization Sept. 27 during the Catholic Medical Association’s 83rd annual educational conference in Orlando, Fla. Bishop Conley is the association’s newly appointed spiritual adviser. (CNS photo/Jacque Brund) See CMA-ROUNDUP Oct. 1, 2014.

This past March, Bishop Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska gave an address for the “Catholics in the Capitol” annual Legislative Advocacy Day at the Nebraska State Capitol. It is entitled: Martyrs, Witnesses and Public Life: Catholics at the Capitol”

Here are a few sections from his address that are pertinent to the work of the USCCB in promoting and defending marriage. He says, “The freedom to practice the faith is threatened by aggressive unchecked secularism, which stops at almost nothing to establish what Pope Benedict XVI called the ‘dictatorship of relativism.’ Relativism today is veiled by words like ‘tolerance’ and ‘non-discrimination’ and ‘progressivism.'”  Indeed, the truth about marriage is currently being portrayed as bigoted or discriminatory.

Bishop Conley notes, “Today, our lives are not threatened in the state of Nebraska. But our liberties are. But in our state, faithful Christians face threats to their livelihood, to the education of their children, and to their family life.”  These will only continue and become more serious as time goes by if we do not have the courage to stand up for our religious freedom now.

He reminds us that it is the call of the laity to bring Christ into the public sphere. “The Second Vatican Council said that your [lay] task is to ‘animate the temporal order’ with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. This means that our civil laws should reflect truth: the truth about the dignity of every human person; the truth about the sovereignty of families; the truth about the rights of children, and the disabled, and the elderly.” Catholic laypersons cannot sit on the sidelines on the debate about marriage. 

Marriage is part of the common good for society. Bishop Conley notes, “Promoting human dignity is the common good. Promoting the family is the common good. Protecting truth and preserving justice is why we make law.”

And finally, Bishop Conley reminds us that we are in a spiritual battle with demons, “minions of the evil one,” and must fight  for the good of all souls, including those who disagree with us. “We need to remember that those who disagree with us are created by God for salvation with him—and we are called to be missionaries to them, in order to invite them to a transformative religious relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Amen!

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Archbishop Gomez on Marriage and Religious Freedom

Posted Apr. 10, 2015 by DOM 1 comment

This Easter, as we celebrate the Resurrection, we may also contemplate the gift of religious freedom; a gift that sometimes requires vigilance.

Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles wrote an article for The Tidings Newspaper in which he highlighted the importance of marriage and family to the plan of God, and the necessity of all citizens to be able to express their views about it. He noted, “Those who govern and shape the way Americans think and behave — in politics and law, education, entertainment and the popular media — form an increasingly secularized elite that has little tolerance for religious institutions or values.”

Regarding marriage, Archbishop Gomez reminded us that, “In his own teaching, Jesus pointed us back to this “beginning.” He told us that the marriage covenant between man and woman is at the heart of God’s design for creation — and that no one has the power to change that design.”

He encouraged us to pray for our country, and said, “But I’m sad to say that right now across the country, others are trying to impose their  “faith” — a secularized ideology and an anti-religious morality — on religious believers and it is our rights that are at risk of being denied.”

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USCCB Amicus Brief

Posted Apr. 9, 2015 by DOM No comments yet

shrine-with-draped-us-flag-cns-bob-roller-home2

On April 2, 2015, the USCCB submitted an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, supporting the right of states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The basic arguments of the brief are as follows:

  • The Catholic Bishops support the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman out of love, justice, and concern for the common good
    •  When it uniquely reinforces the union of one man and one woman, the law furthers the interests and well-being of children.
    • When it uniquely reinforces the union of one Man and one Woman, the law furthers the interests and well-being of mothers and fathers.
  • The legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is not based on hatred, bigotry, or “animus” or any other impermissible purpose or classification.
    • When it draws distinctions based on conduct rather than status or inclination, the law does not reflect hatred, bigotry, or “animus.”
    • When it treats one type of conduct differently from conduct with very different practical consequences, the law does not reflect hatred, bigotry, or “animus.”
    • When it reinforces norms that happen to correspond with religious beliefs, the law does not impermissibly endorse religion
    • When it declines to specially reinforce a particular relationship between persons, the law does not thereby “ban” that relationship or make it “illegal.”
  • A holding that the unique affirmation of man-woman marriage is grounded in hatred, bigotry, or “animus” would needlessly create Church-State conflict for generations to Come.
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Cardinal Wuerl: Silencing the Church’s Voice

Posted Mar. 10, 2015 by DOM No comments yet

Wuerl picOn March 2, Cardinal Wuerl sent out an email to his people about being courageous in the face of the government’s increasing encroachment on religious freedom.

He writes, “We are being told that in our schools, social service ministries and other Church programs we may not insist that those who teach the Catholic faith and carry out Catholic ministry should do so in word and the manner they live their lives.”

The two laws the Cardinal draws our attention to are:

  1. The  Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act of 2014 (RHNDA) which would deprive the Church of its right to ensure that those whom it entrusts to carry out its mission are faithful to its teachings on human life and sexuality, and
  2. The Human Rights Amendment of 2014 (HRAA) which would require Catholic schools to formally recognize, endorse, and support student groups dedicated to promoting homosexual behavior.

The Cardinal connects all of this activity back to Lent, writing, “This Lent we all need to ask ourselves if we are prepared to stand up for our beliefs and to speak up on behalf of our schools, parishes and charities.”

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50 Hues not 50 Shades

Posted Feb. 13, 2015 by DOM No comments yet

50shadescolormemeIn light of the cultural phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Grey, the bishops and other religious leaders have responded, reminding us all of the truth and beauty of the gift of sexuality in marriage. Here are some of the responses:

Bishop Richard Malone, Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth: Letter to Bishops
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr: Note to Pastors
Bishop Paul Loverde: Porn Goes Mainstream
Religious Alliance against Pornography Statement, signed by several Catholic Bishops
Morality in the Media: Statement

Let us pray for all those involved in the film, and for all those planning to see it this weekend. 

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SCOTUS Accepts Case, Archbishop Responds

Posted Jan. 20, 2015 by DOM No comments yet

Media-release-SCOTUSArchbishop Cordileone of San Francisco responded to the announcement on Friday that the Supreme Court will hear the Sixth Circuit marriage cases.

The Archbishop notes,  “Only a man and a woman can unite their bodies in a way that creates a new human being. Marriage is thus a unique and beautiful reality which a society respects to its benefit or ignores to its peril.”

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Bishops Respond to New Dept of Labor Regulations

Posted Dec. 9, 2014 by DOM No comments yet

The chairmen of four committees responded to the new Department of Labor Regulations that are the result of the Executive Order of July 21 prohibiting federal government contractors from what the Administration deems “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” discrimination. The chairmen are Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the Committee of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.  

Here is the full text:

The regulations published on December 3 by the U.S. Department of Labor implement the objectionable Executive Order that President Obama issued in July to address what the Administration has described as “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” discrimination in employment by federal contractors. We will study the regulations carefully, but we note the following initially. Our Church teaches that “[e]very sign of unjust discrimination” against those who experience same-sex attraction “should be avoided” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 2358)—but it appears on an initial reading that these regulations would prohibit far more than that “unjust discrimination.” In particular, they appear also to prohibit employers’ religious and moral disapproval of same-sex sexual conduct, which creates a serious threat to freedom of conscience and religious liberty, because “[u]nder no circumstances” may Catholics approve of such conduct (CCC 2357). Very many other people over a broad spectrum of different religious faiths hold this same conviction. Additionally, the regulations advance the false ideology of “gender identity,” which ignores biological reality and harms the privacy and associational rights of both contractors and their employees. In justice, the Administration should not exclude contractors from federal contracting simply because they have religious or moral convictions about human sexuality and sexual conduct that differ from the views of the current governmental authorities.

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