mfioretti: gay marriage*

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  1. Which makes you want to ask: where, exactly, is the confessional currently being used as a torture chamber? And where is it taught that the Eucharist is only for the perfect? When you set up straw men like this, it’s usually because it’s easier than making a real argument.

    It’s impossible to know for sure, but many priests in the developed world have probably been using the “internal forum” in the Confessional for a long time, precisely in the way Francis is suggesting, to allow people in “irregular” circumstances to receive Communion. It doesn’t seem to have done much for marriage and family, or the Church. And making it a public practice now would surely bring something besides mercy and tenderness.

    Here’s a hypothetical that may soon be a test case: suppose that, taking cues from the overall tendency of Amoris Laetitia, the German bishops follow their avowed inclinations and allow Communion for the divorced and remarried. The Polish bishops, adamantly orthodox and finding nothing in the text that explicitly requires changing millennia-old teaching, choose instead to read it as only encouraging greater pastoral counseling with the ultimate goal of leading people to change their lives and follow Christ’s words on marriage.

    Both readings may be possible, but the consequences, in this instance and others, are impossible. On one side of a border between two countries, Communion for the divorced and remarried would now become a sign of a new outpouring of God’s mercy and forgiveness. On the other side, giving Communion to someone in “irregular” circumstances remains infidelity to Christ’s words and, potentially, a sacrilege. In concrete terms, around the globe, what looms ahead is chaos and conflict, not Catholicity. A new Iron Curtain may descend between Western Catholicism and the Church in the rest of the world – to say nothing of civil wars within “developed” countries.
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  2. 251. In discussing the dignity and mission of the family, the Synod Fathers observed that, “as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”. It is unacceptable “that local Churches should be subjected to pressure in this matter and that international bodies should make financial aid to poor countries dependent on the introduction of laws to establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex”
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  3. What was the arc of your spiritual development in relation to your understanding of being gay in the church?

    A.: It was gradual, actually, but always had to do with my understanding of marriage, and the eventual understanding of it as being something ordered toward the production of children. I'm a convert -- I was raised a Southern Baptist -- and was received into the Catholic Church when I was 24.

    But what ended up attracting me to the Catholic Church was that a conjugal understanding of the nature of marriage -- a "traditional" view of being geared toward the bond between a man and a woman and intended for children -- wasn't compatible in most, more permissive, Protestant understandings that somewhat arbitrarily allowed for divorce and remarriage, birth control and gay marriage.

    And as I studied the early church fathers -- at one point I had a Presbyterian pastor who was very much into Augustine's impact in reformed theologies -- I came to the understanding that the Catholic Church was really the one that looked like the church of the early Christians, and not those of the more "progressive" churches I had been a part of.

    As Catholics, we believe that our view of marriage isn't arbitrary; it's something literally written in us and our experience of reality. Our culture nowadays is so obsessed with the romantic idea of love and places so much emphasis on sexual desire that it often overlooks that friendship can be just as deep and just as fulfilling, but is, by its nature, completely different than -- though in some ways similar to -- the love between man and wife.

    I think the same-sex attraction and love that's felt often and engendered in the context of those deep friendships is something good, but can be "corrupted." That's a tricky word -- corrupted -- it's something that, on a philosophical level, means for me that the good of something, and the love you feel for that person is indeed good, is misdirected. It just needs to be purified. We need to recover a sense that friendship can be deep and intimate and, by its nature, does not need, and can be lessened in some contexts, by the sexual.

    IQ.: Since you brought up language, and we've talked about pastoral care, can you comment on what many people have perceived as the church's less-than-pastoral language in the Catechism of the Catholic Church?

    A.: You mean things like "intrinsically disordered"? There's a place for that. Present-day culture doesn't understand the philosophical framework of the catechism, and often interprets it, falsely, with a psychological lens, which makes it sound less-than-merciful.

    But consider 1750-1756 (from Catechism of the Catholic Church), on the morality of human acts; some things just can't be justified because of their ends. That means that fornication is inherently disordered. Divorce is "inherently disordered." Lying is, too.

    But it's in some ways our fault as Catholics; we don't really talk about those other kinds of sins as inherently disordered, even though they are. And "Vatican" can be direct and accurate, but unwieldy. Even the church's positive teachings on heterosexual marriage and sex -- which are wonderful -- don't really have the best emotional impact.
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  4. A transgender-friendly education center for little kids in Texas fired two Christian daycare workers who refused to call one of the students, a six-year-old girl, a boy, as was insisted by her two male parents.

    The parents told employees of the Children’s Lighthouse Learning Center in Katy, situated west of Houston, to call their daughter by a masculine name and refer to as a boy. Her haircut was also a masculine one.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2015-11-13)
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  5. Rowan County, Ky., issued marriage licenses on Friday for the first time in more than two months, including the first licenses ever to be issued to same-sex couples. That change came a day after a federal judge, David L. Bunning, sent the county clerk to jail for contempt of court after she defied his order to resume issuing marriage licenses.

    The clerk, Kim Davis, stopped issuing licenses after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in June legalizing same-sex marriage. Ms. Davis said that violated her Apostolic Christian beliefs and that rather than discriminate, she would not grant any licenses.

    Below are some of the questions most often raised about the case, and some answers:
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2015-09-05)
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  6. Roger Gannam, a lawyer with the Orlando-based Liberty Counsel that represents Kim Davis, said Bunning's decision shows that elected officials no longer have religious liberties in light of the Supreme Court ruling — and that private citizens are next.

    “Today, for the first time in history, an American citizen has been incarcerated for having the belief of conscience that marriage is between one man and one woman,” he said to the crowd outside. “It’s unprecedented in American law, and it answers the question, 'What will same-sex marriage mean for people of faith?' "

    But a lawyer for the couples who have sued her repeatedly said she holds the key to her own jail cell.

    “She is not a martyr. No one created a martyr today," Laura Landenwich said. "Kim Davis had two opportunities to comply with the law, and she chose not to.”
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  7. Dolce si scusa per quelle frasi: «Mi dispiace tanto. Non volevo offendere nessuno», ha detto. «Ho fatto un esame di coscienza. Ho parlato a lungo con Stefano di questo argomento e mi sono reso conto che le mie parole erano inadeguate». Anche i bambini nati da procreazione medicalmente assistita sono «solo bambini». «Non c’è bisogno di etichette, etichette per bambini».
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  8. Following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision making same-sex marriage legal nationwide, sources confirmed Friday that only 47,000 social justice milestones need to be reached before the U.S. achieves full equality. “This is a watershed moment for civil rights that finally brings the dream of living in an equitable society one tiny fraction of a step closer to reality,” said civil rights lawyer Helene Najjar, adding that the country could now turn its attention to closing the income gap, ending racial discrimination in law enforcement, and providing equal educational opportunities for all children, among tens of thousands of other issues.
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  9. Dissenting Catholic groups have called for gay marriage to be recognized as a sacrament, but Catholic theology has a clear priority: marriage is God's creation – and not even the Church can change that.

    Dr. John Grabowski, a professor of moral theology at Catholic University of America, said that the push for “sacramental equality” by groups such as Dignity USA shows “a lack of understanding of what the Church is and the nature of the Church and what the sacraments are.”

    “'Marriage equality' made for a good slogan, but in the Church's understanding, marriage is not something that can be 'redefined'; if you will, by interest groups, by government, or even by the Church itself,” he told CNA July 29.

    “We can’t be fully equal if we are barred from any of our Church’s sacraments,” she said. Her statement cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s recognition of civil same-sex marriage in June as a precedent for cultural change.

    Grabowski said Dignity USA’s position was “unfortunate.” He said that marriage has been “created by God” and no one can reconfigure or redefine it.

    The Catholic understanding of marriage draws from the Book of Genesis in which God creates man as male and female and commands them to “be fruitful and multiply,” he explained.

    Marriage reflects God as “a communion of persons” and a “unity of love.” Marriage is how man and woman “participate in his great capacity to create new life in God’s image,” said Grabowski.

    Jesus Christ teaches this understanding of marriage in the Gospel of Mark, when he cites Genesis. Grabowski said Catholic morality distinguishes between different forms of discrimination.

    “Unjust discrimination is always morally evil, but not all distinction is discriminatory and unjust,” he said.

    “Absent a change from the leadership of the Catholic Church on these issues, the voice of one dissident group will not likely be attributed as Catholic church doctrine,” Stanley told CNA July 29.
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  10. In the same-sex marriage case, Roberts preached a philosophy for resolving such weighty questions: let the people do it. That approach may sound appealing, but it means due process protects no one from the tyranny of the majority. In Roberts's words, "There is indeed a process due the people on issues of this sort -- the democratic process." The power in a democracy lies with the people, after all, and so why should a handful of government officials with life tenure control anything?

    The answer is that our democracy is a constitutional one, in which certain areas are beyond the reach of legislatures. They might enact laws about speech and sentencing and sex, but the final word is for judges. The very reason federal judges are, as Roberts lamented, "unelected and unaccountable" is to ensure their independence, so that they can resist popular will and preserve the promises of the Constitution.

    Like so many zealots, Roberts actually harbors a fetish for what he professes to loathe. Only for him, it is out in the open. In the Citizens United and Heller cases, he had no compunction about voting to strike down democratically enacted laws about campaign finance reform and gun control.

    So for Roberts the propriety of judicial review of legislation apparently depends on the context. As for same-sex marriage, his hang-up was an inability to accept that although superficial dictionary definitions may be static, the deeper connotations of "liberty" and "equal protection" are not; the notions they evoke today differ from those in the nineteenth century, when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2015-08-03)
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