"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Swamp

I'm finally ready to dive into the swamp muck that came out of various and sundry Catholic bishops last week. It's pretty stinky.

Let's start off with my own home-town atrocity, Cardinal Francis George. He's been relatively quiet lately, compared to someone like Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, but he couldn't resist using a celebratory mass honoring couples who have been married fifty years to slam gay couples:

Without mentioning gay marriage specifically, George also spoke briefly about the Catholic Church’s opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage, saying the institution of marriage is something that “comes to us from God,” not from the church or from the government. . . .

George said, “There must surely be ways in our civil society, where we can honor friendships, where we can respect other people, without destroying the nature of marriage. It is very important, for your whole lives, give witness to what marriage truly means. And while civil laws might change – if they do – then society will be the worse for it.”

OK, first point: I require some evidence that "marriage comes to us from God," and I'm afraid that quoting from the Bible won't do it. What the evidence says is that marriage is and always has been a human institution, created by societies as a means of recognizing families, or, to put it in more basic terms, the establishment of new households. Coming from a church that didn't even recognize marriage as a sacrament until the thirteenth century, claiming ownership of the institution is a bit much.

Second, the utter contempt in which George holds gay people and our relationships is evident in his reference to "friendships."

If I thought the man understood the nature of marriage at all, I might be inclined to listen, but he obviously doesn't have a clue, any more than the Church seems to have a clue as to the true nature of morality. Remember, this is the man who said that Chicago's Gay Pride parade could "morph into" a KKK gathering. Classy, that one.

And I'm sure the 400 couples celebrating their fifty years of marriage were more than delighted to have their celebration hijacked for some not-so-subtle politicking.

(Via HuffPo.)

And how about the Bishop of Springfield, Thomas John Paprocki, as long as we're talking about politicking?

Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against, but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.

This is just to blatantly cynical that even I'm aghast. Of course he's telling people how to vote, but I'm sure he's got a fleet of lawyers who told him exactly how to phrase it so he can keep his 501(c)(3).

(Footnote: I notice the Catholic hierarchy is really big on "intrinsic" this and that -- as in, abortion is intrinsically evil, gay people are intrinsically disordered, and on down the line. As someone whose religion stresses that one is individually responsible for making moral choices, and who knows that those moral choices are made in a fluid milieu, this "intrinsic" bullshit is just that. Althoughj I might note that raping children is intrinsically sick.)

Mistermix at Balloon Juice has an on-point summation of Bishop Paprocki's little homily.

Moving farther afield, the Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, came out with a "pastoral letter" that turns out to be little more than sixteen pages of gay bashing. This is just a sample:

If our society enshrines in law a “civil” right to “marry” someone of one’s own sex, then any persons or groups that believe otherwise will be seriously disadvantaged in law and in fact. Already we hear public officials and news organizations refer to those of us who hold the conjugal view of marriage as “bigots.” States such as Illinois and Massachusetts have made it impossible for Catholic Charities to provide adoption services. Hotel managers, photographers, owners of reception halls, etc. who hold to the view of marriage as a conjugal partnership have had legal or civil actions taken against them. How long would the state permit churches, schools or parents to teach their children that homosexual activity is contrary to the natural law if homosexual marriage were a civil right? Already in Canada and other democratic nations “hate speech” laws have been used to harass or even arrest clerics who preach the Biblical message about marriage.

It's just one distortion and fabrication after another. Let's just take a quick run-through: 1) recognizing the right to marriage for same-sex couple disadvantages no one. People call you a bigot for expressing your desire to continue discriminating? That's called "the free marketplace of ideas," and your ideas aren't selling so well. Catholic Charities in Illinois and Massachusetts chose to close their adoption services rather than comply with long-standing anti-discrimination laws. Same holds true of hotel managers, photograpers, et al.: they are providing services to the public and fall under anti-discrimination laws as well. As for teaching children that homosexual behavior is contrary to natural law, it's not. At least, not any real natural laws, as opposed to the fantasy "natural law" promulgated by the Church. And the hate speech laws of foreign countries have no relevance here -- we don't have them, and we have fairly robust protections for free speech in this country.

Bottom line: total bullshit.

There was another story that I ran across, but my link was to the post at AmeericaBlog Gay, which is undergoing server transfer, and I can't retrieve the story. Fear not, though -- it's just as disgusting as those above.

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