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  • “Same-Sex” Marriage Legislation: What’s at Stake?

    by Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I

    illinois-gay-marriage

    At the beginning of the New Year, 2013, a law is being proposed in the General Assembly to change the legal definition of marriage in Illinois to accommodate those of the same sex who wish to “marry” one another.  In this discussion, the Church will be portrayed as “anti-gay,” which is a difficult position to be in, particularly when families and the Church herself love those of their members who are same-sex oriented.  What’s at stake in this legislative proposal and in the Church’s teaching on marriage?

    Basically, the nature of marriage is not a religious question.  Marriage comes to us from nature.  Christ sanctifies marriage as a sacrament for the baptized, giving it significance beyond its natural reality; the State protects marriage because it is essential to family and to the common good of society.  But neither Church nor State invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.

    Nature and Nature’s God, to use the expression in the Declaration of Independence of our country, give the human species two mutually complementary sexes, able to transmit life through what the law has hitherto recognized as a marital union.  Consummated sexual relations between a man and a woman are ideally based on mutual love and must always be based on mutual consent, if they are genuinely human actions.  But no matter how strong a friendship or deep a love between persons of the same sex might be, it is physically impossible for two men, or two women, to consummate a marital union.  Even in civil law, non-consummation of a marriage is reason for annulment.

    Sexual relations between a man and a woman are naturally and necessarily different from sexual relations between same-sex partners.  This truth is part of the common sense of the human race.  It was true before the existence of either Church or State, and it will continue to be true when there is no State of Illinois and no United States of America.  A proposal to change this truth about marriage in civil law is less a threat to religion than it is an affront to human reason and the common good of society.  It means we are all to pretend to accept something we know is physically impossible.  The Legislature might just as well repeal the law of gravity.

    What is, then, at stake in this proposed legislation?  What is certainly at stake is the natural relationship between parents and children.  Children, even if they are loved and raised by those who are not their biological parents, want to know who their parents are, who are their natural family.  The fascination with genealogical tables and the opening of adoption records are evidence of this desire to find oneself in a biological succession of generations.  No honest “study” has disproved what we all know.  Stable marriage between a husband and wife has safeguarded their children, surrounding them with familial love and creating the secure foundation for human flourishing.  This natural desire, already weakened in a seemingly more and more promiscuous society, will no longer be privileged in civil law.  It will be no more “normal” than any other “family” arrangement.  If the nature of marriage is destroyed in civil law, the natural family goes with it.

    As well, those who know the difference between marriage and same-sex arrangements will be regarded as bigots.  This is where the religious question does come into play.  Including “religious freedom” in the title of the proposed law recognizes that religious teaching based on natural truths will now be considered evidence of illegal discrimination and will be punishable by law.  The title of the law is ironic if not disingenuous.  Those who know that marriage is a union between a man and a woman for the sake of family will carry a social opprobrium that will make them unwelcome on most university faculties and on the editorial boards of major newspapers. They will be excluded from the entertainment industry.  Their children and grandchildren will be taught in the government schools that their parents are unenlightened, the equivalent of misguided racists.  Laws teach; they express accepted social values and most people go along with societal trends, even when majority opinion espouses immoral causes.

    The legalization of abortion is a good example of how an immoral procedure that kills babies in their mother’s womb is first permitted legally in limited circumstances as a necessary evil and then moves in forty years to become a condition of human freedom, necessary to be preserved at all costs, an essential part of “reproductive health care.”  We are on the same trajectory with marriage.  Model laws creating same-sex unions as civil marriage have been part of legal education for decades.  The media have engaged in a campaign on this issue for almost as long a time, desensitizing people to accept as normal something that had previously been recognized as problematic.  We are at the end of a tremendous propaganda effort by those secure in their conviction that they are at the cutting edge of human development.  But what we’re seeing is not particularly new.  Two thousand years ago, the Church was born in a society with the values now being advanced as necessary for a fair society today.

    Why this law?  Since all the strictly legal consequences of natural marriage are already given to same-sex partners in civil unions, what is now at stake in this question for some homosexually oriented people is self-respect and full societal acceptance of their sexual activities.  Because fair-minded people cannot approve of hatred or disdain of others, “same-sex marriage” becomes for many a well-intentioned and good-hearted response to help others be happy.  But marriage is a public commitment with a responsibility that involves more than the personal happiness of two adults.  Inventing “civil rights” that contradict natural rights does not solve a problem of personal unhappiness.

    Some religious people have framed their acceptance of this proposed law as an exemplification of compassion, justice and inclusion.  As attitudes, these sentiments have been used to justify everything from eugenics to euthanasia.  If religion is to be more than sentiment, the moral content of these words has to be filled in from the truths of what human reason understands and God has revealed.  Same-sex unions are incompatible with the teaching that has kept the Church united to her Lord for two thousand years.

    The Catholic Church in this Archdiocese has consistently condemned violence or hatred of homosexually oriented men and women.  Good pastoral practice encourages families to accept their children, no matter their sexual orientation, and not break relationships with them.  The Archdiocese offers Mass and other spiritual help to those who live their homosexuality anonymously (Courage groups) and also to those who want to be publicly part of the gay community (AGLO, which celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary this year).  People live out their sexual identity in different fashions, but the Church consistently offers the means to live chastely in all circumstances, as the love of God both obliges and makes possible.

    Finally, what is at stake in this proposed legislation was the subject of a few sentences in our Holy Father’s recent end of year address to his co-workers in Rome. Citing the Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, who recently spoke to the impact of the “philosophy of gender” as it affects proposed marriage laws in France, Pope Benedict commented: “The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned.  From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be.  Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed.  But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and women in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation.  Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him.  Rabbi Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of right, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain.  When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being.  The defense of the family is about man himself.  And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears.  Whoever defends God is defending man.”

    That is what’s at stake now.  Despite the seeming inevitability of “same-sex marriage” legislation, each responsible citizen should consider what he or she must now do, as a lame duck legislature, many of whose members are no longer accountable to their constituents, prepares to make a decision that will have enormous consequences for everyone.  God bless you.

    This column first appeared in the January 6, 2013 – January 19, 2013 edition of Catholic New World, the Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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    • NormChouinard

      Spectacular piece by Cardinal George. Love the reference to B16′s piece that notes the duplicity of natural law application in environmental and SSA issues. For all of our travails, it is a great time to be a Catholic. “As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonour for the name of Jesus. And every day… they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah” (Acts 5:40ff.).

    • Pingback: “Same-Sex” Marriage Legislation: What’s at Stake? | Catholic Canada

    • Ray Olson

      Cardinal George is a fine spokesman, for the Catholic (or, for that matter, Protestant or Jewish) traditionalist position on gay marriage. Having lived in Chicago for a quarter of a century, I can also affirm that he seems to be a good man and a force for good in that city. That said, it is sneaky, or maybe just disingenuous, to write, “Basically, the nature of marriage is not a religious question,” and then to use throughout the rest of this statement the word “nature” as it is defined by Catholic natural law theory, which is prescriptive or normative according to a religious understanding of existence. The common or person-on-the-street definition of nature is descriptive, materialistic, and nonreligious, and as any common person plainly sees, gay marriages already exist. They are simply not recognized in law and so do not enjoy the civil rights (the only kind of rights that exist in a secular polity like those of the State of Illinois and the United States of America) and privileges granted to nongay marriages. I believe it is high time that those rights and privileges either be extended to gay marriages or withdrawn, perhaps, from nongay marriages.

      • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

        I agree with your point on the improper use of the natural law argument. As for expanding rights to civil unions, the article says that Illinois has civil unions that are equal to marriage as far as the state is concerned. So once the federal government allows rights related to marriage to extend to same-sex civil unions, the fight for marriage itself might be slightly less fierce.

        The problem is that not all states have broad civil unions like Illinois or broad domestic partnerships like California. There are so many rights related to marriage that it is very difficult to create a parallel system that affords those same rights to a same-sex couple. In states where there is no civil recognition of these relationships it would be much easier to simply expand marriage rather than going through all the steps necessary to create a largely equivalent civil union.

        • http://www.facebook.com/DeaconJasonMiller Jason Miller

          There is nothing improper about the natural law argument. Only two people engaging in heterosexual intercourse can produce offspring. That is a scientific fact. That is why our sexual organs are part of what is scientifically dubbed “the reproductive system.” It is not the “pleasure system,” but the “reproductive system” because that is what the genitals are designed for – perpetuation of humanity. Our brains are even designed to bond partners during intercourse for the protection of this union and the offspring of the union. Marriage is simply the the outgrowth of this physical union that leads to offspring. You change the definition of marriage and it becomes something else, but it is no longer marriage. It is merely a civil contract. Even if same sex marriage is made legal, it would still never be equivalent to real marriage. It is fundamentally, scientifically NOT the same. That is why you get some rather resentful homosexuals referring to heterosexuals as “breeders” That is also why some of them want to adopt – so they can approximate the real thing even better. And when people point out the plainly obvious, they are labeled as “bigots.” I guess nature is bigoted. By the way, what is the scientific basis for your claim that celibacy is more unnatural for the gay man than a “loving union” – aka, sex? The last I checked, celibacy does not place gay men at higher risk for HIV, anal cancer, syphillis, hepatitis, and a host of other diseases that gay men are at higher risk for? Again, objectively speaking, you are wrong. Finally, what you call “love” is not even on the same page as Christians. All Christians are called to brotherly love – but that is NOT the same as eros You don’t have sex with everyone you love.

          • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

            Gay men are only at a higher risk for those things if they are promiscuous. Two gay men in a monogomous committed relationship have just as much risk as a straight couple if they both start out free of those diseases you mentioned.

            Second, if you accept that certain men are attracted to and fall in love exclusively with other men (i.e. gay men) then it follows that it is natural for those men to pair off with other men and have sex with those men.

            Unless someone is born a-sexual (you could say called to celibacy in biblical terms) then it is natural for humans to engage in sex with other humans. The majority of the population (perhaps up to 90%) are sexually attracted to the opposite sex and so it is natural for them to engage in sex with someone of the opposite sex. The Church calls for them to marry to protect the rights of any children born of the union.

            For the rest of the population, the gay and lesbians, there is no attraction to the opposite sex but instead an attraction to the same sex. For them, it is natural to pair with someone of the same sex. Nobody here is attempting to change the default for straight people, only to get people to recognize that a similar default (same-sex marriage) works well for gay people.

            Thus, the problem with the natural law argument is it assumes that one’s gender at birth is the full expression of their inner self in all cases (i.e. that all men are born attracted solely to women and vice versa) It ignores the reality that some men and women are born gay. It also ignores the reality that a small portion of the population are born transgender (physically one gender but in all other respects another gender).

            • dover_beach

              Second, if you accept that certain men are attracted to and fall in love exclusively with other men (i.e. gay men) then it follows that it is natural for those men to pair off with other men and have sex with those men.

              Firstly, this is an improper use of ‘natural’ so far as the natural law tradition. Secondly, it doesn’t follow that it is natural for them to ‘pair’ off. Why should gay men or women ‘naturally’ be found in dyadic sexual relationships? There is no more sense to a dyadic than to a triadic sexual relationship between same-sex attracted men or women.

              Unless someone is born a-sexual (you could say called to celibacy in biblical terms) then it is natural for humans to engage in sex with other humans.

              What do the words sexual and a-sexual typically qualify? Reproduction. So, according to the natural law tradition, the end or purpose of sex is reproduction. So, what is natural is that a couple engage in sex for reproduction. But, that is too strict, since sex also serves a unitive purpose, that is to deepen the affection between the couple which also serves the interests of the child.

              Thus, the problem with the natural law argument is it assumes that one’s gender at birth is the full expression of their inner self in all cases (i.e. that all men are born attracted solely to women and vice versa)

              No it doesn’t. There is no such assumption. As stated above, the natural law argument designates certain sexual acts, whether they are engaged in by straight or gay men or women alike, as disordered because they are either contrary to, or frustrate, the end or purpose of sexual activity.

              • thebentangle

                Dover, my understanding is that natural law theory was originally articulated by Thomas Aquinas and that he is still considered authoritative on the subject. However, he certainly had no inkling of our current scientific understanding of human nature and sexuality. Throughout the animal kingdom, animals of the same sex have been observed “pairing off.” They don’t form triadic relationships.

                Yes, you are right that “according to the natural law tradition, the end or purpose of sex is reproduction.” But that is not our current understanding. Evolutionary theory, which I HOPE you accept, does not recognize “purpose” in evolution. Organs and appendages simply do what they do, and they are used in all kinds of ways. Some of these uses are adaptive and others are not. But an adaptive use does not preclude a use that is simply neutral. Also, some uses of these organs and appendages are indirectly adaptive in the sense that they provide pleasure and stress relief, which are welcomed by the organism and contribute to its longevity.

                What are your hands for? If you guessed, “for standing upside down,” you are right! Obviously, you can stand on your hands, so they must have been made for that “purpose.”

                What is your tongue for? Tasting? Moving food around in your mouth? forming vowels and consonants? Licking frozen lamp posts? Kissing?

                To assert that there is only one purpose for every organ or system of organs is just, well, pre-scientific. Natural law, insofar as it does this, is pre-scientific and cannot be reconciled with scientific understanding. This is why I would just drop the natural law arguments if I were you—that is, unless you want to go full bore against modern science, which you are free to do.

                • dover_beach

                  “Dover, my understanding is that natural law theory was originally articulated by Thomas Aquinas”

                  The tradition begins more or less with Plato and Aristotle.

                  “Throughout the animal kingdom, animals of the same sex have been observed “pairing off.””

                  And what does this “pairing off” achieve? It certainly isn’t procreative.

                  “They don’t form triadic relationships.”

                  Are you sure about this? Are you telling me lions, for instance, ‘pair-off’?Or are we still strictly speaking about same-sex relationships, if so, again, what is this “pairing-off” achieving”?

                  “Yes, you are right that “according to the natural law tradition, the end or purpose of sex is reproduction.” But that is not our current understanding.”

                  Really, biologically speaking, sex serves some other function then reproduction? Come on, let’s be serious. BTW, so far as human beings are concerned, sex is also unitive, as I made clear in my first comment.

                  “Evolutionary theory, which I HOPE you accept, does not recognize “purpose” in evolution. Organs and appendages simply do what they do, and they are used in all kinds of ways.”

                  I’m sorry, but evolutionary theory is suffuse with purpose. The idea of adaptation is unintelligible without it. Organs do not simply do what they do, they perform particular functions more or less better and this is consequential so far as the ‘fitness’ of the organism is concerned.

                  “What are your hands for? If you guessed, “for standing upside down,” you are right! Obviously, you can stand on your hands, so they must have been made for that “purpose.””

                  The fact that you can stand on your hands doesn’t mean that the purpose or end of your hands is to stand on them. You are parading your ignorance here. Tell me, what is the purpose of the digestive system? Thankfully, for you, biologists have made the purpose of this system quiet clear.

                  “To assert that there is only one purpose for every organ or system of organs is just, well, pre-scientific.”

                  You are right, that is why natural law theorists never argue that organs or systems can or must only serve one purpose.

                  thebentangle, you would do well to actually read an introductory text on natural law theory. David S. Oderberg’s Moral Theory would be a good start. Failing that, I would drop the pretense that you have a clear understanding of the tradition or its weakest points.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

                    Dover, Ben is correct about the idea of “purpose” in evolutionary theory. I can go into it in more detail if you like, but organisms experience random (and purposeless) mutations all the time. If these mutations help the organism survive, then they may be passed on to the next generation. If they do not, then they are “maladaptive.” I wonder if you are not confusing the idea of “use” with that of “purpose.” Organs and appendages are in fact used for a great number of “purposes,” but they are not “purposed” for any single use, or in fact for any use at all. They just evolved because they help the organism pass on its genes. Ben is right that natural law and modern science do not mesh.

                    • dover_beach

                      Sorry, Timothy, that is not correct. It really doesn’t matter that the mutations are random, what matters is that those mutations may improve the fitness of that organism and thus make it more likely to survive and assistance that organism’s descendants. The relevant point here is that the process of selection is not random even though it is unconscious and that is why such a process is intelligible. This also answers the objection you raise about mutations needing to be “purposed” in order to be teleological. No, all these mutations need to do is to tend to do this rather than that so far as the organism is concerned. And no, your last claim is not correct either, I would look at the work of new essentialists like Brian Ellis, or Nancy Cartwright. Even Thomas Nagel has moved in a teleological direction lately.

                      • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

                        Dover, I didn’t understand anything you wrote, despite my best efforts. Could you try explaining that again? Or could someone else please paraphrase it for me?

                      • dover_beach

                        Tim, let me explain it in other words. You’ve focused on the wrong end of the process; actually, you’ve failed to recognize process at all, and that processes are in and of themselves teleological. The fact that mutations are random is neither here nor there. What is important is that the process in which these mutations are selected is not random; in fact, this process tends, unconsciously, towards improving the fitness of the organism. Because it has such a tendency towards improving fitness, we are able to understand it. All of this is inexplicable outside of a teleological framework.

            • Ford Oxaal

              Society also “calls for them to marry to protect the rights of any children born of the union.” Wouldn’t it follow, in a purely non-religious mode, that society has no need for marriage unless there is the possibility of children born of the union?

              • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

                Ford, your conclusion does not logically follow from your premise. Let’s say that your home insurance policy covers damage from wind, fire, and water. If you and your neighbor are talking about fire hazards in the home, you might say, “We’re going to buy insurance to protect our home from fire.” It doesn’t logically follow, however, that home insurance exists only for that purpose.

                • Ford Oxaal

                  And if you extend insurance to cover bad days, bad hair, headaches, traffic jams, annoyances, then you effectively nullify insurance. That is what happens with health insurance — health insurance is a bad idea because it extends insurance to things that cannot be insured, and it does so in a way that encourages abuse from both providers and consumers. The biggest building in any city is the health insurance building. Where is the clinic where I can take a poor old soul to get a few stitches after they fall on the sidewalk. Why does a team of doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, lawyers and bureaucrats have to get involved? Same with marriage. If it is reduced to an equal rights issue, then it tends toward nullification. Where would you draw the line? Why can’t I marry my cat? The line is drawn at procreation. It is a gift.

                  • thebentangle

                    Ford, your idea of drawing the line at procreation is a very particular one. I do not think it is taken seriously by very many people, not even most Catholics.

                    Also, I think you are carrying the insurance analogy to absurd extremes. Tim’s point is sound. There is no reason why an institution such as marriage shouldn’t serve more than one cohort. No one is asking for the right to marry his cat, and no one will. These are just the usual “slippery-slope” scare tactics, and they have long passed their expiration date.

                    • Ford Oxaal

                      We live in an age where the most dire slippery slope arguments have all come spectacularly true. If you would extend an institution, which is based on the most fundamental and powerful of human allegiances and rights, on the basis of an equality issue, you would do so falsely, and enter the slippery slope. If that institution is the basis for society itself, then It is not rational for you to desire this.

                      • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

                        Ford, the slippery slope argument is classified by logicians as a logical fallacy, so the most dire slippery slope arguments are certainly not true. There are reasons for this. Just Google the term and find out.

                      • Ford Oxaal

                        Not quite the whole truth. It is a valid argument, especially if the conclusion is that marriage will be weakened, not destroyed altogether. Nor have you provided any basis for extending marriage other than it might make some people happy.

                      • thebentangle

                        Ford, you ask if I have provided any basis for extending marriage other than that it makes some people happy. Yes, I have, several times in this thread.

          • thebentangle

            Jason, you say that changing the definition of marriage turns it into “merely a civil contract.” But it is already a civil contract—one that nine states have already allowed gay couples to enter into. The definition of marriage has already changed in 10 countries, and the Merriam-Websters dictionary entry now reflects that fact. I don’t think we’re going to roll that back. Maybe it’s time to just accept that there can be two kinds of marriage. Calling the one you favor, “real marriage,” just reeks of classism and privilege.

            Of course, as you say, a marriage between two women or two men is not the same as one between a man and a woman. But does it need to be? Marriage can be a desirable lifestyle choice for everyone. It stabilizes and settles individuals and has positive reverberative effects throughout communities.

            To say that homosexual couples want to adopt just so that they can “approximate the real thing even better” is just cruel and unfair. I know two lovely lesbians–one from France and one from Colombia–who have adopted two precious children, and I can assure you they were not just trying to simulate a “real” family in doing so. My instincts are to protect them from any such slanders. You can protest being labeled a “bigot” for your views about them, but you might want to think more deeply about what bigotry is and consider whether it applies to you.

            • dover_beach

              No, marriage has certain characteristics, as friendship does as well, which we don’t get to erase according to our own particular interests. And since when did abiding by definitions that have been common currency for thousand of years reek of classism or privilege? I would have thought attempts by elites to redefine these words in ways that are contrary to what has been commonly accepted in fact reeked of “classism and privilege”.

              “Of course, as you say, a marriage between two women or two men is not the same as one between a man and a woman. But does it need to be?”

              Yes, if we are to call them both marriage. Otherwise, it just appears as if we’re cheering one of them up.

              “To say that homosexual couples want to adopt just so that they can “approximate the real thing even better” is just cruel and unfair.”

              To the extent that they provide a loving home to abandoned children, they perform a wonderful service, but this could also be achieved by two friends. And in each instance, we don’t need to recognize either of them as married and that is because children are not a natural part of either relationship.

              • thebentangle

                Dover, usually exclusionary policies are more often associated with “classicism and privilege” than are inclusive ones. Citing “thousands of years of tradition” for one’s arguments also reeks of classism and privilege. (“We have ALWAYS lived in the manor.”)

                In the matter of children, it is highly desirable for the parents to be married. I think you would agree about that. So let’s facilitate marriage for these wonderful gay couples who have children from previous marriages or by adoption. It gives the children a “leg up” in their life’s journey.

                • dover_beach

                  I’m not excluding SSA men or women from engaging in committed relationships; I’m simply arguing that this sort of relationship is not marriage.

                  The second point relates to a problem that is infinitesimally small and will be over within a generation. And anyway, nothing is stopping, in those instances where the gay partner has custody to look after the child in concert with his/ her mother or father, along with the new partner. Consequently, there is no need to recognize such a relationship as a marriage for the sake of the children.

                  Still, I like your style of argument here, Sir; that was a fine stroke but I hope you found my parry up to the task.

        • Ray Olson

          Dear Mr. McGuire–You and I share the same perspective on civil union vis-à-vis marriage for gays. It seems to me that the movement for gay marriage has moved on, however, and now won’t accept any term other than marriage. Also, I believe that many Catholics involved in the conflict reject civil union for gays as unequivocally as they spurn marriage for gays.

          BTW, you surprise me when you write, “There are so many rights related to marriage that it is very difficult to create a parallel system that affords those same rights to a same-sex couple” I did not know that.

      • MarkRutledge

        Evidence falls strongly on the good Cardinal’s side, Ray. EVERY human society of every age has understood marriage as a union between a man and a woman, regardless of the religiosity of the society. Natural law bats 1.000.

        • thebentangle

          Well, Mark, it’s not quite true that every society in every age has understood marriage as a union between a man and a woman. And it wouldn’t matter if it were.

          The twenty-first century is part of human history, and there are now about a dozen countries where marriage is understood in this new way.

        • Ray Olson

          Dear Mr. Rutledge–Please see my reply to BrandyMiller above and my objection in my original posting to the unusual definition of “nature” that you and Cardinal George both reference.

          • MarkRutledge

            I have not need any responses from you addressing natural law. Quite frankly, all I see from you are arguments based on relativism.

            • Ray Olson

              Dear Mr. Rutledge–Relativism? If you are referring to my pointing out the factual existence of many gay marriages already and their recognition by Christian bodies other than the Roman Catholic Church, then I plead guilty to believing that Catholics and Protestants are relatives in the body of Christ. I’m under the impression that the Catholic Church acknowledges that to be true. On the matter of natural law, far from relativizing its understanding of nature and the common understanding of nature, I want to sharply discriminate them from each other. I do object when statements to the general public, such as Cardinal George’s, do not acknowledge the special sense in which they cite nature and natural law. Not to acknowledge the discrepancy between Catholic “nature” and nature as its commonly understood is equivocation and itself a practice of relativism that suggests the intention to deceive or to flummox and silence.

              • dover_beach

                Gay ‘marriages’ no more factually exist than square circles would had the government of the day passed a law defining a circle a plane with four sides of equal length. On the matter of the use of nature, your are also incorrect. Its use in the phrase nature of X, here marriage, is entirely consistent with the use of that word since at least Plato which is to describe the essence of X.

                • thebentangle

                  Dover. You are a Platonist. That explains everything. Come to think of it, I suppose most Catholics are also Platonists. You believe in essences. What do you make of the last couple centuries of philosophy and science? E.g., the phenomenologists? Heidegger, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Scheler? What about all the weird and non-essentialist discoveries of modern science, like the wave/particle nature of the electron, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Higgs Bosons, Quantum Theory, and the Theory of Relativity? For that matter, what do you think about Evolutionary Theory? Are you aware that it is incompatible with Platonic idealism?

                  • Ford Oxaal

                    Great questions! Love it! All answerable from reason alone. The key is the proof of the external world, which should be short — I think I have a good one. On the Theory of Relativity, there is something profoundly amiss there — while it may be useful in predicting observations at the limit of our ability to observe, it is more reflective of the limits of perception than it is the reality of the external world. I know this because I co-discovered the geometry of visual perception — which, I’m sorry, is irrefutable and easily demonstrated — this geometry is the very same which Japanese scientists came up with when visualizing relativistic speeds according the the special theory. But no, it is the visualization of standing still — something is amiss and I want to nail it down.

                  • dover_beach

                    No, I’m not a Platonist; more an Aristotelian-Thomist -Hegelian-Oakeshottian. I believe that most scientists are, unbeknownst to themselves, closer to Aristotle, metaphysically speaking, than to Hume and that these discoveries are unintelligible outside of an essentialist framework; see the work of , for instance, Cartwright and Oderberg. The fact that quantum mechanics, for example, predicts a determinate range of effects is a dead giveaway.

                • Ray Olson

                  Dear dover beach–I must beg to differ. Gay marriages do exist in fact, and nature as it is understood in natural law theory, from the classical Greeks on but especially in its Catholic avatar, is not the same thing as the nature that the average person thinks of when they use the word. I am not saying that the Catholic understandings of marriage and of nature do not exist. But the persons of flesh and blood who are in gay marriages and the rocks and trees and creatures and other material that the average person believes are subsumed by the word nature–these animate and inanimate things exist “factually”, as you say, too, and they have real, “factual” relationships.

                  • dover_beach

                    Ray, but that is where we differ. I do not deny that SSA attracted individuals can form relationships, whether sexual or non-sexual, or that these relationships in fact exist; I’m simply denying that SSA relationships constitute marriages.

                    • thebentangle

                      Well, Dover, in fact SSMs are marriages according to some state and national laws. You can deny that of course, but then you will be in denial. And denial is not just a river in Egypt. It’s a dysfunctional separation from reality.

                      • Augustus

                        Douglas, You are really losing it. If “some state and national laws” declared that the sky was green and Dover denied it saying the sky was blue, you would accuse him of separating himself from reality if getting your way depended on green skies. This is clearly a dispute over the definition of marriage (understood by civil law) and over the meaning of sex (proper moral conduct). Why can’t you just admit that there is a chasm between your definition and the Church’s and leave it at that? Bullying, badgering and nagging Catholics will get you nowhere. Your obsessive behavior is growing tiresome. You’ve been at this for months. If I thought marriage would mean that you would finally get a life and leave us alone, I might support it in your case. But since you have been shacking up with your boyfriend for 12 years, I doubt that that piece of paper from the judge would make much of a difference.

      • Brandy Miller

        Gay relationships exist. Gay marriages do not. Gay marriage is a biological impossibility, since marriage by necessity includes the possibility of procreation even if that possibility is not realized (as in the case of those who are infertile). No two partners of the same sex can conceive. They require help from a member of the opposite sex to achieve conception.

        • thebentangle

          Brandy, your conclusion, that gay marriages “do not exist” is belied by the empirical evidence that they do. I myself witnessed over a hundred gay couples coming out of the Seattle courthouse after exchanging their vows on December 9. So continuing to credibly assert that these marriages don’t exist is an impossibility. The source of your faulty conclusion is your false premise, i.e., that marriage by necessity includes the possibility of procreation. In American civil law, no intention of procreation is required of couples wishing to marry. My partner and I will marry in July. The state will not inquire about our intentions to have children.

          You have expressed a purely Catholic conception of marriage. My partner and I are not Catholic, however, and we would not expect to be bound by Catholic teaching on this matter.

          • Ford Oxaal

            So if there is no hope or desire for children from the union, why do you need to be married, as opposed to some sort of civil union? Marriage has no meaning or purpose beyond civil union if children are an impossibility. By making marriage an individual right, don’t you render it merely a civil union?

            • thebentangle

              Ford, in the first place, some gay couples do already have children from previous marriages, or they adopt. Wouldn’t you agree that it’s best for the child if his or her parents are married? Educators know that children benefit from knowing that their parents are considered respected members of the community. Any sort of language that unnecessarily sets them apart also sets up their children for stigmatization.

              As for me, I want to be able to look at my partner and say, “I am so glad I married you!” instead of “I’m so glad we entered into a domestic partnership arrangement together.” And I want to be able to call his sister my “sister-in-law” and his mother my “mother-in-law.” These may seem like unimportant details to you, but they are emblematic of the merging of families, and that’s an important part of what marriage is.

              • Ford Oxaal

                The big question is whether society is served by opening marriage up beyond its original purpose of fostering procreation. I would argue “no” based on the simple observation that by doing so you tend towards the nullification of marriage. (1) you open up marriage to attacks that it is merely an equality issue, and (2) you open it up to any sort of inclusiveness attacks — I should be allowed to marry my “fill in the blank”.

                • thebentangle

                  Ford, you write about same-sex marriage as though it did not yet exist and no empirical observations could be made about it. It is not just a gleam in someone’s eye. It has been around for more than a decade, and we have really not heard people saying, “I should be able to marry my ‘fill in the blank.’” I’m sure that if any such thing had happened, we would all know about it and have the information on our fingertips. I really think there are more important things to worry about. Furthermore, there will always be enough procreation. The earth’s population is still growing. It will wax and wane in some places, but the overall trend is up for the present. If marriage makes two gay people happy and is obviously good for them, then why begrudge them that experience?

                  • Ford Oxaal

                    But I think it is a charade of sorts. Marriage is the mechanism surrounding the begetting of children, their well-being, and society’s survival. It entails duties first, rights second. The duty is to procreate. The right is the marital act. Neither are possible in a same gender union.

                    • thebentangle

                      No, Ford, SSM is not a charade. Children are not necessary for a happy marriage, and society will survive. There’s no duty to procreate. This is Catholic thinking, and you are entitled to it, but it’s not the way things are outside the Catholic bubble.

                      • Ford Oxaal

                        My argument is derived from reason applied to the premise of self-preservation. Society exists to augment the well-being of family — family precedes society. Marriage is at the core of society. It is a charade for *society* to discover a right to form a family and beget children when that right precedes society itself. When society pretends it is the entity conferring that right, that right is reduced in rank. I maintain this is harmful to society — kind of like turning it upsidedown. I suppose we will not find common ground on this, but I have very much enjoyed your conversation.

        • Ray Olson

          Dear Ms. Miller–Many churches already solemnize and bless gay marriages, my own Quaker meeting has been marrying gays for many years, and I understand that eight states recognize gay marriages. None of those may be gay marriages according to Catholic dogma, but that does not make them less legitimate in the eyes of the couples in them and in the eyes of the churches that solemnized them. Until Roman Catholicism becomes universal and transforms the U.S. into a Catholic polity, to deny that those unions are marriages is to flout legally constituted authorities (in the states that recognize gay marriage) and to despise other Christians, neither of which actions is approved by the Catholic church, as far as I know. As acceptance of gay marriage increases, it is well that we recognize with Cardinal George that “People live out their sexual identity in different fashions” and with him help assure that “the Church consistently offers the means to live chastely in all circumstances.” More than that, in the absence of successful proselytization and conversion, seems quixotic, at best.

      • musicacre

        In places where gay marriage is already legalized the curriculum in elementary schools immediately started to push the homosexual agenda on children, as young as grade 1. That’s really what this is about, because gays already live together and and have marriage ceremonies for themselves. The point of legalizing it is the opportunity now to say it is legitimate for education,and the children are unfairly and extrememely affected, because the school is where they spend the greater part of their day, and the teachers are their mentors. These are innocent children in a sexually latent stage that are being sexualiized (woken up to information that is irrelevant to them, as much as driving a car,) for who-knows what (or whose ) reasons. Very diabolical. No other word for it.

        • Ray Olson

          Dear musicacre–You may be correct, but I doubt that, as you say, “That’s really what this is about.” I’m in favor of leaving sex education to parents and agencies particular parents specifically trust.

          • musicacre

            I wish I could agree with you but it’s already happened in Canada. People aren’t usually actually aware of the devil’s plans, but corrupting the children absolutely cooperates and helps to fulfill a long-term plan.

            • thebentangle

              Musicacre, be specific. What happened in Canada? Can you provide links?

            • Ray Olson

              Dear musicacre–I’ll call your bluff, too. What happened in Canada? And while we’re at it, what is the homosexual agenda, who (persons and organizations) drew it up, where did you see a copy of it, and what persons and organizations are distributing/posting copies of it?

              • Augustus

                Ray, I am constantly amazed by what you don’t know. Perhaps you should start watching more television. Here is a good summary of the controversies arising over the gay agenda in the public schools: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/10/08/flash-points-in-the-sex-ed-curricula-across-canada/ And here is an essay on the impact of “gay marriage” on Canadian pubic life, including the school curriculum: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/11/6758/ Since presenting the gay lifestyle positively in public schools is unlikely to be problematic for you or Douglas, I don’t expect either of you will find the actions of provincial governments in this regard objectionable. As usual, there is a legitimate debate over the wisdom of these policies which both of you, perhaps intentionally, refuse to acknowledge in favor of marginalizing and ridiculing anyone who does not share your opinion. It is a long-standing tactic of the Left which you should be familiar with.

          • thebentangle

            Ray, here’s where I might differ with you. I don’t know about every case in every school, and certainly each incident that offends parents has to be judged on its merits. But certainly you must be aware that children, by their very nature, create hierarchies within a very short time of being put together in a class. Not only do they know where everyone else belongs in the ranking system, but they also know their own place in it. I recently heard a fascinating account of a sociological study that confirms these facts, and I may be able to dig it up for you if you’re interested.

            I believe educators are trying to eliminate any contingent factors that might become the focus of a group of children bent on ranking each other. For peace in the classroom and for an optimal learning environment, they cannot have children singling out individuals who are of a different race, or religion, or ethnicity, or sexual orientation. And they MUST help children understand that not all families consist of a biological mother and father and their biological children. Children are very quick to seize upon any sign of difference and to use it in their ranking systems. Educators have to deal with this, and the unfortunate thing is that they cannot always get parents on board for it.

            To give us a bit of perspective, France went through this kind of controversy over a period of about 15 years, but it had to do with Muslim girls’ wearing the veil in the classroom. A law was passed in, I think 2004, forbidding the wearing of the veil but allowing “discreet” religious emblems.

            • Ford Oxaal

              Meanwhile, the Christian values of love your neighbor as yourself as a reflection of loving God solve these issues. These are the values of a happy society.

            • Ray Olson

              Dear BentAngle–We don’t really differ (except, that is, in our attitudes about Christianity and the Catholic Church). I realize the value of nipping invidious distinctions among children. But I also think that very specific instruction on sex is generally better when it is overseen by parents, and i mean sex, not social categories of sexuality, such as gay and straight.

              Keep up the good work! You impress the heck out of me.

        • TheBentAngle

          No, Musicacre, this is all just politically-motivated exaggeration. I don’t really believe the schools are “sexualizing” children, and there is nothing “diabolical” about their attempts to be inclusive. Schools enroll children from a variety of family backgrounds, and they try to ensure that no child is stigmatized for his or her family configuration. Why would you want it any other way? If a child is parented by two lesbians, this should not become an obstacle in the child’s learning. The schools are trying to ensure that children are not stigmatized, ostracized, bullied, and demeaned. They are there to learn.

      • Ford Oxaal

        The rights and privileges afforded marriage and the fruits therefrom precede civil society, and, in fact, are the basis for society and the further freedoms it discovers and confers as constrained by liberty. Whether you believe God is the author of natural law or not, the natural law understanding of marriage is sound. Same gender marriage under natural law is at best a cruel farce. When we speak of Sacramental Marriage, same gender marriage is an impossibility. There is no basis for same gender marriage other than the notion that it will somehow bring happiness to same gender couples who attempt to practice the marital act, but do so without any hope of procreation.

        • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

          Ford, any set of behaviors can be a “cruel farce” if you set up a moral framework that defines them that way. Most people do not think inside that particular box. For married gay couples, marriage may be a very wholesome and stabilizing experience, just as it can be for straight couples. I would imagine that very few gay couples have even heard of natural law and would be perplexed and offended if you told them their marriage was a “cruel farce” because they are not procreating. I think the real cruelty lies in telling them such things. My own son is now engaged to be married to his partner, and I would hope you could wish him well.

          • Ford Oxaal

            I do wish him well. Does he really need the atmospherics of a ritual designed around fertility to achieve that?

            • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

              Ford, that was not exactly what I meant by “wishing him well.” Why append an insult to a congratulation? Isn’t this just further proof of your disrespect for homosexuals?

              Your “ritual designed around fertility” is archaic. If you want fertility rituals, then you should re-introduce sexual orgies into the Holy of Holies. We are living in the 21st century.

              • Ford Oxaal

                Yes, marriage is archaic in the sense of ancient. It entails duties which precede the rights it confers. One of those duties is to bring the next generation into the world — it is fundamentally a ritual surrounding and enshrining fertility and procreation.

    • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

      I can’t take seriously the claim in here that “families and the Church herself love those of their members who are same-sex oriented” when it is followed by the same age-old suggestion that celibacy is required for all gay men and women. If the Church truly recognized the reality of gay men and women, they would recognize how hurtful it is to be told you must be celibate and how blessed most gay and lesbian individuals feel when they find the right partner.

      Many of these men and women seeking to enter into same-sex marriages have not been celibate and never will be. They do wish to enter into a marriage because many of them believe in the power of the institution. Last time I checked, the Church’s position is also that not everyone is called to a life of celibacy. Celibacy is more un-natural for a gay man than sanctioning a loving union between two gay men.

      It is one thing to tell a young straight man that he should save himself for marriage before having sex. It is another for one of those men when he realizes his sexuality and comes out to be told that he should save himself forever. It can be very damaging when you tell someone that any expression of their sexual desire is sinful because they can never enter into a Church-sanctioned relationship.

      • msmischief

        Is saving yourself forever a problem only for the homosexual? Do people with other problems that preclude normal marriage have no problems with that?

        • TheBentAngle

          Msmischief. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m gay, and I have no “problems that preclude normal marriage.” I am engaged to be married in the summer, and my spouse and I will then have a marriage certificate from the State of Washington hanging on our wall.

          Often I am asked why I want to get married, why not just accept a civil union. Well, one reason (among many) is that the terms “normal marriage” and “real marriage” get attached to heterosexual marriage in comments likes yours, implying that anything else is sub-standard. I think a lot of gays, like myself, will welcome the day when you cannot un-self-consciously refer to heterosexual marriage as “normal marriage.”

      • MarkRutledge

        You can’t take the claim seriously until you take the Church seriously, in particular Her magisterial authority. The Church cannot, and must not, depart from preaching the Truth to fit the fads and fashions of the age.

        • TheBentAngle

          Fine, Mark. You can take the Church seriously. I don’t. What you call “fads and fashions,” I call progress. There was a time when women’s suffrage was probably called a “fad.”

          • mally el

            Women fought for womanhood to be respected and not simply for women to be treated like men. In the push for same-gender marriage people want us to ignore or reject the fact that the characteristics of the two genders built into our nature are the critical factors that make a marriage happen. Relationships take into consideration our likes and dislikes or feelings, but marriage is about a meaningful union of man and woman that helps to provide the community with stability and continuity. No other relationship has the potential to do this naturally. Marriage belongs to humanity; states simply record their marriages and ensure that, for its citzens, it is a safe environment. Marriages make the families that make the societies.

            • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

              Is adoption found in natural law? Perhaps that is the real reason Catholic Charities got out of the adoption business. Is it a mortal sin for a man or woman to walk on their hands, or even fly in a airplaine since according Cardinal’s George’s positon on natural law is not found.
              The Cardinal does harm to the Common Good by encouraging ancient taboos. Whats next will we give fertility tests to those hetersexuals who want to get married since in the Cardinal’s mind that is also a critera for marriage.
              The real issue is one of faith for all involved. There are more roads to heaven than the Catholic road. Most reasonable people understand Cardinal George’s view as unreasonable. What facts if any has the Cardinal brought forward to show Gay Marriage would in any way be deterimental to society. On the other hand where Gay Marriage has been legalized it is flurishing.
              I would tend to agree with the Cardinal he will be viewed as a bigot, and history will not be good to his memory.
              Joe Murray
              Exeuctive Director
              Rainbow Sash Movement

              • dover_beach

                “Is adoption found in natural law?”

                Is it contrary to natural law? No.

                “Is it a mortal sin for a man or woman to walk on their hands, or even fly in a airplaine”

                No, and no.

                “Whats next will we give fertility tests to those hetersexuals”

                Again, no. However, non-consummation has historically been a ground for annulment; infertility never has been.

                You seem to have stumbled on this conversation with ancient tropes and fallacies, but I’m not surprised.

                • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

                  The fact that we understand consumation differently should not inhibitate the flow of communication. The Cardinal uses the term consumation in a heterosexual context not a homosexual context or a historical legal context.. I am not sure I should get into the mechanics but LGBT people do have consumation.
                  You tapped danced around my position on natural law. No where in natural law can adoption be justified does that mean we should not have adoption?
                  Joe Murray
                  Executive Director
                  Rainbow Sash Movement

                  • dover_beach

                    We don’t understand consummation differently. You have misunderstood it; I have simply used it as it has been used in various legal and moral traditions for hundreds, if not thousands of years. You cannot consummate a homosexual relationship, any more than you can consummate a heterosexual relationship outside of marriage. The word is associated with what completes marriage, that is, the marital act, and it excludes sexual acts apart from sexual intercourse. See, for instance, the OED, or Black’s Law Dictionary.

                    And no, I didn’t tap dance around your bald assertion, I treated it with the respect it deserved. Unless you make an argument that at least purports to demonstrate that adoption is contrary to natural law, I have no actual argument to address. But if your statements about walking on one’s hand being contrary to natural law are anything to go by my hopes of a meaningful exchange are likely to be unfounded.

                    • Ray Olson

                      Dear dover beach–Your reply to Joe Murray is so disrespectful that i ask you to consider withdrawing from this stream.

                      • Ford Oxaal

                        Seriously? I learn a heck of a lot from dover_beach. Very articulate, very well-read, etc. And entertaining in this case. Nor has dover-beach impugned motives to Joe Murray’s comments.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

                      Are you familiar with jumping over the broom stick tradition in the African American Community? It is similiar here we don’t wait for people who don’t like us for whatever bigoted reasons, to approve of our love for one another. I can assure both you and Cardinal George in my 33 year relationship I consumated it.
                      Joe Murray
                      Exuctive Director
                      Rainbow Sash Movement

              • mally el

                The bigots are those who envy marriage as it is. They want to claim marreiage and eventually destroy it. Marriage is not simply azbout Faith; it is about conforming to human nature. Marriage is the only relationship that provides the community with stability and continuity. It is unique.
                Homorage or whatever one might want to call same-gender unions is not marriage.

          • MarkRutledge

            You can call the night day, and the day night, if you prefer, but that does not make it so.

            • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

              Mark, the real test of whether something is a “fad and a fashion” is its ability to endure. We don’t know yet whether same-sex marriage will be around a century from now, but my guess is that it is here to stay. Furthermore, I believe that its benefits will become more and more apparent as time goes on.

      • Brandy Miller

        @twitter-487070307:disqus : It is only hurtful to be told you cannot do something if you consider yourself entitled to it. No one is entitled to a sexual relationship. It is a gift given to them by God for His purposes and His plans. The marital relationship is a gift for those who are properly disposed to receive it as such, but it is poison to those who are not. The Church is doing the most loving thing she can do – preventing those who are not properly disposed from entering into a relationship that is the moral equivalent of poison for them.

        • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

          Brandy, I must take exception to your description of my son’s marriage as “poison.” That is most unkind. I know that he and his partner love each other very deeply and that their relationship strengthens them both. They are not Catholics, so why should the Church attempt to prevent them from marrying?

          • John

            Timothy,

            Perhaps a better word than “poison” might be “illusory.” “Invalid” or “imaginary” might also suit. Civil marriage imitates the sacrament of marriage because society recognizes (or recognized, increasingly) the importance of the institution for the good of the spouses and for the procreation of children. Civil marriage is a pale imitation of the sacrament. The sacrament, ordained by God, precedes and excels over it. Your son and you may call what the relationship whatever you wish. What it IS, however, is subject to the laws of God, of nature, and the church. The Church does not prevent them from marrying: it simply articulates those laws. Blame satan for our disordered appetites, not the laws that describe them as disordered or the Church for articulating those laws.

            • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

              But John, my son and his partner are not Catholics! They have a different idea of marriage than you do. For them it is not a holy sacrament. Why would you want to impose your framework of belief about marriage on them? This would be like a Muslim trying to tell you how to conduct your life according to Islamic principles.

          • Ford Oxaal

            I think we can agree that the deepest act of love is laying down one’s life for another. So the essence of love does not involve marital relations. It is not unkind to point this out.

            • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

              Ford, are you running out of steam? That was pretty weak.

              • Ford Oxaal

                Trying to use the “dashboard” in disqus — but I was trying to say that “sodomy” — meant here as a term to distinguish from the “marital act” — as a judgmentally neutral term — is not required for love. The whole “sex is the holy grail” thing as adolescent at best, and that there comes a time when friendship is all that survives any relationship.

      • ACatholicMom

        Maybe that is his Cross to bear…we are not made for this world.

        Is that Cross any worse than someone who is born with a severe handicap? No, it just IS. Our job is to live out live according to God’s laws and get to heaven. Not live our lives the way we see fit. Unfortunately, we live ina fallen world and having homosexual tendencies is just one of many manefestations of that fallen condition of the world.

        • thebentangle

          Oh, Catholicmom, that is most unkind of you. Homosexuality is not a “handicap” or a “disability.” Maybe it would be more charitable of you to assist those who actually do have disabilities, rather than labeling as “handicapped” those who are not. There are plenty of “differently abled” people who would greatly appreciate a contribution of time and energy from you.

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    • 1yRolandoOFS0

      Cardinal George states that “Even in civil law, non-consummation of a marriage is reason for annulment.” And yet the Church promotes celibacy, even in marriage, as the ideal. Of those married couples who have been canonized, it was only after they ceased the “consummation of a marriage” that they were eligible to be saintly.

      Cardinal George raises many difficult questions and then answers them by the “traditional” understanding of Nature and natural law. That “tradition” is based on our understanding of human sexuality in “Bible times,” and the Church’s interpretation of how to apply that “tradition” in our times

      The Sacrament of Matrimony is safeguarded by the Church. Civil unions are the purview of civil law, especially in our pluralistic society. It is a confusing hinderance that civil unions have been dubbed “same-sex marriage.” When God saw Adam in the Garden of Eden, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” (Genesis 2:18) Homosexuality exists in Nature, and since God is the Creator of all, then a faithful and loving Creator would make a “suitable partner” for all of his children, including homosexual individuals.

      Ours is a living and maturing faith. We are still learning and we will continue learning about God until we attain full communion in heaven. In the meantime, we should keep in mind God’s universal invitation to grace. As the prophet Isaiah reminds us, God has revealed that “‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,’ says the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)

      Paz y Bien, Rolando, OFS.

      • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

        Thank You for the beautiful quote from Genesis. I think it is important to recognize that you can not apply a biblical tradition on sexuality to modern times when that tradition does not recognize that gay men and women exist. If marriage is meant to be the remedy or protection against sexual sin for Christians who lack the gift of celibacy, it should be similarly true that some gay and lesbian individuals are called to marriage and family life. Allowing same-sex marriage protects those relationships.

        • http://www.facebook.com/centipede.galaga Centipede Galaga

          Leviticus and Numbers address the existence of same-sex attraction disorder. Disordered acts promote disorder. They safeguard nothing. You have an improper understanding of sin, morality, and what Sacred Scripture is if you can propose such things. Marriage is meant to produce a family.

          • thebentangle

            This is an unfortunate and, in my view, rather disordered, religious view. The world’s major health and social services, including the World Health Organization, have declared there to be nothing “disordered” about homosexuality. Claims that homosexuality is disordered only serve to promote discord and enmity between people.

            • Ford Oxaal

              I wouldn’t cite the WHO for credentials in favor of your argument given the blood on their hands. There have been close to one million abortions so far this year worldwide, and WHO is on the wrong side of this issue.

              • thebentangle

                If it were not for WHO, there would have been even more abortions and they would have been far more dangerous for the mothers. I think that if you want to bring down the abortion rate, you would send a contribution to WHO. I also think that it speaks poorly of the Church that it is so out of step with virtually every one of these national and trans-national organizations, associations, and foundations (e.g., Bill and Melinda Gates) on the issues of homosexuality and contraception (except Catholic Relief Services, of course).

                • Ford Oxaal

                  That’s what they said about Roe v. Wade — fewer abortions would happen. But there’s money to be made in killing babies and ‘helping the poor’ — a lot of money.

                  • 1yRolandoOFS0

                    The abortion rate in the US has gone down. As to the money to be made in killing babies and ‘helping the poor’, every war we have participated in, and those we have initiated, has been very, very profitable. We have the largest armed force in the world and are the world’s leading weapons developer and disseminator. The headline of this article is a good question, “What’s at stake?”

                    Paz y Bien, Rolando, OFS.

                    • Ford Oxaal

                      Just saying that throwing money at issues at the macro level is destructive without rigorous oversight and transparency. As to the U.S. war machine — that’s what happens when central government gets too big, the draft is abolished, and executive privilege runs amok.

                      • 1yRolandoOFS0

                        Many of our bishops and Catholic leaders are throwing money at same-sex marriage legislation, some of it without oversight and transparency. If they used their pastoral voice to help end armed conflicts, and their money to help those wounded and damaged by war, we would have more men and women capable of answering and living their vocation to Matrimony.

                        As to the many children without parents or homes, the love and care offered by committed couples is more nurturing than institutional living, being shunted from foster home to foster home, or worst of all, living as a homeless commodity.

                        Admittedly, there is no simple or easy solution. However, it is imperative that we admit and accept that our understanding of human sexuality has grown and matured from its Judeo-Christian roots into an unbelievably beautiful and diverse family.

                        “As to the (fill in the blank) — that’s what happens when central (ditto) gets too big, (unconditional love) is abolished, and executive privilege runs amok.”
                        Paz y Bien, Rolando, OFS.

          • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

            And yet the bible was written before any modern understanding was developed that certain people are born gay. To push a gay man to marry a woman only leads to broken marriages and broken families. There are many children out there who would benefit greatly from being adopted and raised by same-sex couples and being given the gift of family.

            • thebentangle

              Yes, Paul, thank you for mentioning the problem of marriages between gay and straight individuals. This is something that anti-SSM often do not consider. An enormous number of such marriages exist, and they often end in divorce and psychological distress for everyone involved. Why do gay men marry women? It is often because they are confused and in denial about their sexuality and have accepted the misguided notion that homosexuality can be “cured.” It is only reasonable to expect that divorce rates will fall as more and more same-sex marriages come on stream. This should be a cause for rejoicing, and it is truly one of the most obvious of all the benefits that same-sex marriage will have for our society as a whole.

            • Celtic

              There is not a single creditable scientific study indicating that any individual is born ‘gay’. The whole human genome has been mapped. There is no such gene. How therefore can someone be born gay?

              Further, no one ‘forces’ anyone to marriage (other than abuse cases or some specific cultures…leave those aside for now). So what’s wrong with living single?

              Further, there has been insufficient time and evidence to establish whether orphaned children are really better off in confines of a gay/lesbian home. The limited data sets that have been published show very mixed results; children generally far less capable of coping, far more behavior and identity issues than those from similar heterosexual couples.

              • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

                I think you can answer the first part by speaking with some gay men. But beyond that the mountain of individual testimony from gay men and lesbian women that they knew from a young age they were gay is usually enough to convince most people that you are born that way. I will admit that it is hard to understand what it is like to be gay and I find it similarly hard to understand because I am bisexual so I didn’t experience things exactly the same way.

                Nobody forces you into marriage except for religious groups that tell people it is sinful to be gay and a society that says the only way to fit in is to be straight and get married. For the longest time this was the default and people hid their sexuality rather than face what people would say. Nothing makes you fit in as straight better than finally settling down and getting married. It wasn’t until the last 20 years or so that the pressure on young people to get married has lessened somewhat, and only in certain parts of the country.

                Many people feel a calling to enter into relationships and I for one find my relationship with my boyfriend very fulfilling. To suggest that gay men should stay single for their entire lives is just silly. Many gay men have found loving relationships with other gay men and are very happy in much the same way loving married couples are.

                As for your last point there are some recent studies that show that children raised by same-sex couples are largely well adjusted. I direct you to the most recent such study.
                http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121019094534.htm

              • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

                If you truly want to learn about why gay men marry women and what damage it can have, watch this video.
                http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/gay-spouse-leaves%2C-spouse-comes-out-of-closet/50ca6f442b8c2a4622000185

          • 1yRolandoOFS0

            “Marriage is meant to produce a family.”

            And yet in Leviticus 12:1-2, 4, 5, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites: When a woman has conceived and gives birth to a boy, she shall be unclean for seven days, with the same uncleaness at her menstrual period … and then she shall spend thirty-three more days becoming purified of her blood … If she gives birth to a girl, for fourteen days she shall be as unclean as at her menstruation, after which she shall spend sixty-six days in becoming purified of her blood.”
            In Numbers, the Lord seems more concerned with inheritance of property than with producing families. Marriage in the Old Testament was more about alliances and property rights, allowing polygamy, divorce, concubinage, and even seduction.

            In the New Testament, Jesus highlighted fidelity and permanence. Paul, however, seemed to think that marriage was a weak alternative to celibacy. As the Church established itself, marriage again focused on alliances and inheritance, with the aim of maintaining the male’s status, “Your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall be your master.” (Genesis 3:16) The Magisterium constantly reminded sinners of Psalm 51, especially verse 7, “Indeed, in guilt was I born, and in sin my mother conceived me.”

            Perhaps this is why I may have an improper understanding of sin, morality and what Sacred Scripture is. Scripturally speaking, there’s more to marriage than breeding, especially in the light of the Bridegroom and his beloved described in the Song of Songs and the Book of Revelation. I will continue studying and praying.

            Paz y Bien, Rolando, OFS.

      • Jay

        Celibacy is difficult to understand if one doesn’t believe in Heaven. Neither Celibacy nor Marriage aren’t meant to be their own ends or sources of fulfillment. They both are meant to point to something greater than themselves. Happiness lies with God in Heaven not here on earth.

        • 1yRolandoOFS0

          We begin Ordinary Time celebrating the epiphany of the divine love our Lord and Bridegroom Jesus offers. Here, by invitation, is Jesus with his mother, Mary, and the disciples Jesus has called, publicly celebrating a marriage feast. Here, Mary speaks in public to her Son. Here, she gives his servants her only command, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5) Here, prompted by Mary, Jesus offers us his first sign, changing the water of purification into the wine of salvation. This is a celebration of marriage fulfilled. Jesus’ first proclamation is spousal: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor… to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Jesus said, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
          Yes, the kingdom of God is at hand! Let us rejoice by living and sharing the Good News here on earth so that together we may be happy with God in heaven.
          Paz y Bien, Rolando, OFS.

          • Ford Oxaal

            Are you saying the message is “eat, drink, and be merry — and if you are so inclined, fornicate” ? I mean to the Viking Pagan that is my fallen nature, I like it! But no, not sure you answered Jay at all. God wants our eternal happiness, and pleasure is something that must be in its proper context to work towards that end.

            • 1yRolandoOFS0

              “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)

              Paz y Bien, Rolando, OFS.

              • Ford Oxaal

                OK, so no sodomy or fornication, right?

                • 1yRolandoOFS0

                  Jesus didn’t say anything about sodomy. Also, sodomy is not only homosexual, There are heterosexual sodomites, both married persons and fornicators.

                  • Ford Oxaal

                    He followed the letter and the spirit of the Law, which included explicit prohibitions against these forms of illicit bodily activity.

                    • 1yRolandoOFS0

                      Didn’t Jesus associate with known sinners, speak with an adulteress, forgive a woman caught in fornication, cure a pagan’s favorite servant, disregard the Sabbath laws about purification and labor, disrupt Temple business, accuse the religious leaders of using the Law for their own ends, and tell those same religious leaders that the Sabbath was made for man not the other way around?
                      Jesus did not come to follow the law, he came to fulfill it. Fulfillment came not through exclusion and condemnation, but through love and forgiveness for all of God’s children. “I have given you a model to follow so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13:15)
                      Paz y Bien, Rolando, OFS.

                      • Ray Olson

                        Dear Mr. Oxaal–There is a significant body of scholarship that converges on thinking that the biblical laws against sodomy, same-sex fornication, etc., are directed against sexual abuse. They do not apply to loving, committed same-sex relationships, which, after all, are a concept of late modern provenance, as are, for that matter, homosexuality and heterosexuality as psychological identities. See the superb forthcoming book, “Bible, Gender, Sexuality” by James V. Brownson, which is on sale now, I believe, to be delivered after publication in February 2013.

                      • Ford Oxaal

                        Of course. Love your neighbor. That does not mean coddle your neighbor. Nor did Jesus say anything goes. “Go and sin no more.” And He did follow the law to the letter and to the spirit. Yes we are now in the new testament, but that is not a license to sin.

                      • thebentangle

                        “… that is not a license to sin,” you write, Ford. Then go, and sin no more. Jesus didn’t say, “Go, and accuse your neighbor of sinning so that you can feel pure and sinless!” And, as far as I know, he did not give you authority to act like God.

                      • Ford Oxaal

                        Agreed. But we can discuss what Jesus said, no?

      • http://www.facebook.com/centipede.galaga Centipede Galaga

        I would respectfully request that you revisit your understanding of what Sacred Scripture teaches and what Christ teaches about marriage. You have made a number of false equivocations and have an underlying distorted understanding about how Sacred Scripture and the Church teach about Marriage and the Family. I suggest Bl. John Paul the Great’s “Love and Responsibility”, any book by Fr. Servais Pinckaers, and Humanae Vitae.

        Eternal law informs and clarifies our morality. Living and developing Faith cannot contradict the Eternal law of God (see Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman’s doctrine of Development, and also St. Thomas Aquinas on Law). Also, obedience to legitimate superiors, like in Religious life, is also important. The scandal that is caused by people in Religious life who oppose the Church’s teachings is a grave matter. I will pray for you and your relationship with the Truth, Jesus Christ.

    • Pingback: Same Sex “marrriage”; What’s at Stake? « working4christ2

    • http://www.facebook.com/hart.ponder Hart Ponder

      Well, the premiss of your current viewpoint may need further prayer in light of CCC 1603 “The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws…. God himself is the author of marriage.”

      My current viewpoint is that in the US, it seems that if you take the government out of marriage, instead of taking God out of marriage, we would fair much better.

      When you get down to the root of the matter, “rights” nowadays mean “entitlement” which the Government uses through social engineering, like using tax breaks as a way to influence a person’s action. Buy a home, go to school, buy an electric vehicle, etc.,

      Make marriage a matter of record for the local church (ask a historical researcher about how church records were used in times past) with no relevance for the State (excluding informational fact gathering) with a neutral approach related to strategies for health care benefits, estate planning, taxes and the like, and the issue of fairness as applied to the Government would be mostly mute, for everyone would be treated the same.

      • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

        By doing so, you also create problems for atheists and other non-believers. Not everyone in this country is religious. Not to mention I doubt you could convince conservatives to do away with tax deductions that married couples enjoy. That would just lead to even lower rate of marriage in the population.

        • http://www.facebook.com/hart.ponder Hart Ponder

          I agree, there is a meme related to our tax deductions for the last 80 years, but historically, Marriage has done quite well without the State’s help…

          • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

            Well your suggestion was that we should take government out of marriage. If we do that, people would be limited to marrying at churches. This would lead me to wonder what people who don’t go to church would do if they want to get married. I would suggest that most same-sex couples trying to get married aren’t religious. Perhaps certain denominations would sprout up to marry atheists.

            Even if you take away tax breaks, you still have issues of who counts as a spouse for purposes of hospital visitation or who counts as a parent for raising a child if something happens and the family breaks down. These are issues that the state can’t just ignore. Most people who don’t get divorced aren’t aware of the vast array of laws in most states that deal with how property is divided when a married couple splits up.

            • http://www.facebook.com/hart.ponder Hart Ponder

              Good questions… My concern is geared to the entitlement aspect of marriage in relation to the State. Civilly, you would proceed like any type of dissolution matter.

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                In Scotland, until 1940, the state was not involved in the constitution of marriage, which required no notice, no formality and no record of any kind. A mutual manifestation of consent was all that was required.

                This, and the consequent absence of public and easily accessible records, produced any number of applications to the courts for declarators of marriage, frequently after the death of one or both of the parties and 40 or 50 years after the event. This involved the tedious and expensive examination of witnesses and correspondence and the construction of doubtful expressions and ambiguous language, imperfectly remembered. Too often, the result was the nullity of a second de facto marriage and the bastardizing of issue.

            • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

              I think the shoe is on the other foot. The Church should get out of the business of civil marriage. The Archdiocese of Chicago web site has 10 things you must do to get married one is get a marriage certificate from the state. I find it interesting with all this going on no where in those 10 items is mentioned marriage is only limited to a man or a women.
              Perhaps if the Church would just focus on the Sacremental aspect of marriage, and not its civil components it would be in a more reasonable place.
              This whole debate points to change according to US Constitution not Cannon Law; for whatever reason the Cardinal has chosen to enter the political fray I suspect it is based on personal bias from within his own family.
              Joe Murray
              Executive Director
              Rainbow Sash Movement

              • Ford Oxaal

                Cardinal George is a U.S. citizen exercising his constitutional rights just like everyone else. So show a little respect. I’m sure the Cardinal knows more about human nature, human happiness, the human condition, death, life, than you or I will ever know.

                • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

                  Have you heard the statement “what goes around comes around” the Cardinal only adds to our high suicide for youth, and you are worred about priveledge, and cosmetics.

                  What a sad commentary on the condition of our Church when such things go on.

                  Joe Murray
                  Exeutive Director
                  Rainbow Sash Movement

                  • Ford Oxaal

                    Sorry to hear you feel that way. Are you saying that Cardinal George is intentionally trying to cause unhappiness and acts out of bad will?

                    • thebentangle

                      Ford, if Cardinal George does not yet know about the clear relationship between stigmatization of gay people and youth suicides, then it is his duty to educate himself about it. Ignorance is not an excuse.

                      • Ford Oxaal

                        I thought you just said one should not “accuse your neighbor of sin so you can feel pure and sinless!” — and one post later you are strongly insinuating that Cardinal George is somehow responsible for youth suicides. But no, his job is teach good moral behavior which is required for happiness and joy precisely because he loves the sinner, just like Jesus.

                      • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

                        The real issue here is education and activing listening two the things the Cardinal refuses to engage in. Two examples from a personal point of view.

                        I contacted the Cardinal about the whole situation with Catholic Charities as it concerned Lesbian/Gay adoption. I asked for a private meeting with the key players in the state. He initially responded in what I interpeted as interest, and than blew it off. I don’t know that such a meeting would of solved that situation , but on the other hand I it might of helped. In my opinion, it was certainly worth the effort.

                        The other example is having Catholic Charities take part in a Ecumenical effort to address the homless situation among LGBT youth that is being ignored by both Catholic Charities, and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in whose back yard these homeless youth congragate. The response was silence.

                        Yes I believe the Cardinal promotes his personal biases over Gospel Values.

                        Joe Murray
                        Executive Director
                        Rainbow Sash Movement

                      • Ford Oxaal

                        His duties are pretty high up the food chain. What about the pastor at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel? The idea of local help for local issues is certainly the way to go. In my parish, I tried to get what would be considered a “down and out” parishioner some help who had fallen and cut his face. Our pastor was very helpful and we got him fixed up. In hindsight, I should have gotten him to a clinic and maybe gotten a stitch or two for his cut. But there is no such thing here. You have to go to the Emergency Room. I am really into solving the obvious issues at the local level — and not with money as the primary focus. But sometimes people don’t want the help that is being dished out. That has to be considered too. Well, best of luck.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

                      The results of bigotry are not depended on Cardinal’s George’s good or bad intentions they develop their own reality’s which can only be identified as morally disordered.

                      In my opinion, a bigots intentions have no affect on the bigotry committed against a minority group, even if you claim God is calling you to that biggoted position.

                      The Cardinal is not media savy as the incident with his KKK comments, and Catholic Charities point out.

                      Even his own pastorial council recently pointed out, as reported in his recent blog confussion on Catholic Values.

                      The Cardinal apparently is more interested in making headlines than promoting the idea that love should go where sometimes reason hesitates to go.

                      Joe Murray
                      Executive Director
                      Rainbow Sash Movement

                      • Ford Oxaal

                        Well, Catholics are victims of bigotry as well, so I can understand how it feels. I googled your reference and found this was about the tactics used by certain parade organizers which would have disrupted church services:
                        ******
                        “[T]he organizers invited an obvious comparison to other groups who have historically attempted to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church,” the Cardinal said in a statement, as reported by the Windy City Times concerning the comment. “One such organization is the Ku Klux Klan which, well into the 1940′s, paraded through American cities not only to interfere with Catholic worship but also to demonstrate that Catholics stand outside of the American consensus.”

                        Cardinal George went on to note in his that “it is terribly wrong and sinful that gays and lesbians have been harassed and subjected to psychological and even physical harm” and that he is “grateful” that the parade organizers adjusted their start time to allow the parish to celebrate their Sunday mass peacefully.
                        ******

                      • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

                        You should of went further in your investigation. The Cardinal apologized for his meanspirited and biased KKK remarks on the Archdiocese web site. Our response was to call off a demonstration planned for outside of Holy Name Cathedral. We asked for an apology and that is what we got.
                        Joe Murray
                        Executive Director
                        Rainbow Sash Movement

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    • Fr. David

      Wonderfully said from a faithful and wonderful shepherd!

    • Danielck

      Homosexuality is defined by a perverted sexual act. Were sex not involved the relationship could not be homo-sexual. Homosexuality cannot be defined by marriage. It cannot be defined by love. And it cannot be defined by marriage. It is defined by sex. Period.

      • thebentangle

        Denielck, that is a rather extreme view. My partner and I have been together in a domestic partnership for over 13 years, and I can assure you we love each other just as much as our parents did (and they did and do). To call our relationship “perverted” and to reduce it to “sex” is not respectful, and I know that Pope Benedict has enjoined all Catholics to be respectful of homosexuals. I challenge you to live your faith and follow the teachings of your church.

        • Mark

          Gee what a shock.. the bent one is talking about himself again.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        Danielck, you are spot on. The truth is we all know the truth about the meaning of our bodies and what they were intended for by the Creator. This truth is hard-wired into our very being and no amount of words or outrageous behavior by some will make it otherwise. A round peg will never fit into a square hole no matter how hard you try.

        • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

          Deacon, what sort of “outrageous behavior” are you talking about? Two men marrying is outrageous? I rather think that reducing people to body parts and functions through analogies with pegs and holes is a bit outrageous. It is definitely not respectful, and I second Bentangle’s reminder that Pope Benedict has enjoined you to be respectful.

          • mally el

            Two men living together is a relationship that is purely there business. However, to call this realtionship a marriage is outrageous. This does not respect our human nature that has designed marriage.

          • Deacon Ed Peitler

            I refuse to ‘get into it.’ Our Mother, the Church, has spoken. We listen.

    • John

      Much ado about nothing it would seem. The world at large could really care less about what the church teaches, only Catholics should. People will do what they want. Men will marry men and women will marry women. It will soon be the law of the land. The sun will rise. Life will go on.

      Society WILL change. I predict that once anyone can marry anyone…no one will want to. A Brave New World, I think is as prophetic as anything I can think of. Ending with a preposition…never good. Sex, work, drugs & constant distraction until you die a drugged, peaceful death. Beautiful.

      • John

        John,

        Although your tone is inscrutably ironic (and so I cannot tell whether you’re being sarcastic, you’re dismissing the Church as irrelevant, or you despair over society), there actually IS something at stake: the dictatorship of relativism that drives our society toward same-sex “marriage” is both coercive, punitive, and (coming soon), violently repressive. As the good Cardinal indicates (and Cardinal Chaput puts quite well in another article in Crisis this week), those who believe, profess, and defend the Church in this cause or any other already face exile from professions (politics, teaching, journalism, medicine, pharmacology, counseling), they face financial sanctions (as in, the HHS mandate’s regime of fines), and, increasingly often, physical and emotional harassment. No, the stakes are not “meh.” They are real. The death will not be peaceful nor beautiful.

    • misplacedbook

      Wonderful article by his Excellency. I pray for his
      health.
      Brandy put it very well, in that a sexual relationship is not a right and it is a gift from God.
      Homosexuals may accuse us of being cruel for telling them they must “deny their nature.”
      Guess what? We are ALL called to deny our nature, without exception. We have “natural” inclinations to do all sorts of things, doesn’t necessarily mean they are MORAL.
      The animal world keeps being brought up in these discussions….as if just because some animals do it must mean it is ok and that we can do it too. Nature is a poor measuring stick for what is right. There are several species that eat their own young, or leave sickly babies to die….does that mean we should do likewise?

      We are different from the animals.

      • thebentangle

        Misplacedbook, why deny your nature when acting in accordance with it brings you happiness and harms no one? As you already know, I do think it is cruel to impose a completely arbitrary rule of abstinence on people without very sound reasons for doing so, and no one has provided those reasons.

        It is also cruel to compare same-sex marriage to eating one’s young or leaving sickly babies to die. Those practices are harmful and unacceptable for humans. Same-sex marriage is not.

        • misplacedbook

          Why deny my nature? Well….maybe its because reducing life to food, fornicating and fun is abit short sighted, not to mention missing the point.
          Reasons have been provided angle, repeatedly….our exchange in the other thread went on for pages. You ignore or dismiss every single argument or reason we give….it is not unlike talking to a brick wall.
          Spare me the faux indignation….this isn’t a panel on MSNBC or Fox News. You know full well what I was talking about.

          • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

            Misplacedbook. Your argument is weak. It would be stronger if you could show that same-sex marriage IS a reduction of life to food, fornicating, and fun. I don’t think that you can do that, but you seem to have discussed this with Bentangle before. Can you remind us what your points where about the three F’s?

            • thebentangle

              Timothy, I don’t recall Misplacebook’s demonstrating that SSM is a reduction to FFF. It is true that my partner and I are both very good cooks and that we have a lot of fun (I hope there’s nothing wrong with that). As for the middle F, that’s on a “need to know” basis. There’s a lot more to our relationship than FFF, however. We help each other through difficult times, deaths in the family, bouts of unemployment, and the stresses of everyday life. Our partnership (soon to be a marriage) has opened to each of us a whole world of family and social connections that we would not otherwise have had, and it has strengthened us immeasurably. I like to think of us as the two halves of a stone arch, mutually supporting, each sturdy because of the other. Our friends and family would be devastated if we were separated, and they totally support us in our marriage plans.

              So, I think it’s unfair and, again, disrespectful, to reduce all the richness of our lives to FFF. I keep mentioning this “respect” thing–and I know you do, too–because some of the bloggers need reminding of it.

            • misplacedbook

              I made no such assertion concerning SSA or so called SSM. My comment was in regards to “denying my nature.” The nature of humanity as an animal is to have sex, to eat, and frolick in the wilderness. That was my point…in that talking about “our nature” is an eyebrow raising conversation, for the simple fact that we are above the animals…capable of moral reasoning. I have discussed this topic with bentangle for pages upon pages. Look at the article “How Same Sex Marriage Suffocates Freedom, part II” for our exchange. I am not going to rehash any of it, because to see his posts on here demonstrates that nothing I said made any impact at all.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Ask yourself what is the state’s interest in marriage. I believe it can be summed up in a single sentence: the child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father.

      No-one will deny that the state has a clear interest in the filiation of children being clear, certain and incontestable. It is central to its concern for the upbringing and welfare of the child, for protecting rights and enforcing obligations between family members and to the orderly succession to property. To date, no better, simpler, less intrusive means than marriage have been found for ensuring, as far as possible, that the legal, biological and social realities of paternity coincide. And that is no small thing.

      What public purpose is served by same-sex marriage, I leave to others to determine.

      • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

        Michael, your question about the “public service served by same-sex marriage” is not really all that difficult to answer. Many gay couples actually do have children, so the state obviously has an interest in protecting their interests and assuring fairness in the distribution of assets, child custody, and visitation rights in case of divorce. This is the same role that the state plays for opposite-sex marriages.

        But it is not just about children. When no children are involved, the state still has an interest in the relationship between the spouses—for tax purposes, for property distribution in case of divorce, and for oversight, data collection, health and social welfare issues, and so forth. Same as for straight couples.

        So, there is your “public purpose served by same-sex marriage,” and you are no longer mystified.

        • mally el

          Sure they have children. But they are not the children of the particular relationship. All these mixed up families are not to society’s advantage.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          But all the rest depend on the question of filiation – Who is the legal father of this child? Until you have answered that, you cannot begin to deal with “the distribution of assets, child custody, and visitation rights in case of divorce..”

          This is a question that SSM can never answer.

          As for ” tax purposes, for property distribution in case of divorce, and for oversight, data collection, health and social welfare issues,” they are served as well by a civil union.

          In fact they only thing that distinguishes marriage from a civil union on the one hand and unregulated cohabitation on the other is the presumption of paternity

    • Tina G

      God bless you Cardinal George! It is difficult to explain to non-Christians why we are against same-sex marriage but you have presented the facts beautifully!

      The point the Holy Father made, ““The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned” exemplifies where we must take this arguement, if we are to convinced non-believers. In the end, homosexual unions cannot continue the species, period. No religious views there, just pure natural law.

      • thebentangle

        Tina, you are faulting homosexuals for not attaining goals that they have not even set for themselves. My partner and I are not trying to “continue the species.” That is your criterion for marriage, not ours.

        • dover_beach

          No, Tina is simply stating that since a same-sex relationship is non-procreative, that they cannot be marriages. The fact that children must either derive from a previous opposite-sex relationship, or from adoption, to be a part of a same-sex relationship simply underlines this point. BTW, procreation is not a criterion but an element of marriage.

          • thebentangle

            Dover, your definition of marriage is highly idiosyncratic and not well understood (or received) outside the world of orthodox Catholicism. Procreation may be an element of some marriages, but it is obviously not an essential element. Otherwise, you have to declare to the millions of childless couples–including those who never intended to have children–that they are not married. This is untrue and unfair to them, and it is a denial of reality. I think such couples would be justified in considering you to be not just disrespectful but delusional.

            • Ford Oxaal

              What’s left for natural families? We procreate, bond with the child while still in the womb, suffer the agony of miscarriage, etc. The fact is, natural families are the reason society exists in the first place. Open up marriage on the basis of equal rights, and you falsely reduce its standing from the reason for society to something society can manipulate at will, further weakening an institution that has already been enfeebled by no-fault divorce. It is against the well-being of society to gnaw away at its roots.

              • thebentangle

                No, Ford, on the contrary, as two of us pointed out earlier, same-sex marriage will remove gay men from the pool of eligibility for straight marriage. It will encourage them to marry each other instead of women. And the same will happen for lesbians: far fewer of them will marry men. Straight men and women should be very happy about this “cleansing” of the eligibility pool, because it will lead to more happy marriages, more sexual compatibility, less domestic discord, and less divorce. That is a positive good for everyone, especially the children.

                If anything is “gnawing away at the roots” of traditional marriage, it is the mis-matching of differently-oriented individuals in marriage.

                • Celtic

                  bentangle

                  Surely you jest. You presume that divorce will not occur within gay/lesbian couples? It already does! If those couples have adopted children, how screwed up will they be! Your argument about ‘cleansing’ smacks right out of Nazi Germanic thinking and there is no rational study or data to support your conclusions about the happy endings.

                  We are going to create a nation of extraordinarily dysfunctional children. The present argument(s) supporting gay marriage is/are only about self…ego…not about impact to children, impact to society, impact to our entire definition of human nature.

                  This controversy, by turning to the government, continues to add to the diminution of our (all Americans) civil rights, just at the HHS mandates, the intrusiveness of certain aspects of Homeland Security.

                  • thebentangle

                    Celtic, read carefully what I wrote. You are putting words in my mouth. I did not say that divorce will not occur within gay/lesbian marriages. My claim was that marriages between straight and gay spouses are more prone to divorce than ones in which both spouses are either straight or gay. Of course gays will divorce just as straights do. But they will not divorce because one finds out that the other has a roving eye for members of the same sex.

                    Celtic, please don’t equate me with Nazis. The word “cleansing” does not belong to them, and anyway, Nazi cleansing referred to mass exterminations. That is not what we’re talking about here.

                    There is no evidence that SSM is creating a national of dysfunctional children. In fact there is evidence to the contrary, which I can cite for you if you’re interested.

            • dover_beach

              It’s not idiosyncratic at all. It is the common understanding of all cultures and all ages. It was even accepted in societies where homosexuality was commonly practiced, such as China, indicated by their declining to recognize same-sex marriages. And no, marriages that have failed to conceive a child no more need to be declared invalid than marriages that have involved infidelity. And here, infertility, aside from Henry VIII, has never been offered as grounds for divorce (and we know where the Church stood on that issue). So, infertile couples have nothing to fear from me at all. In fact, they have my deepest sympathies and I’d prefer that they were not used as props in combox discussions.

              Anyway, to argue that marriage involves the elements of, or is characterized by certain features, is to speak generally about marriage. So when we say that marriage is a certain sort of relationship that is identified by fecundity, exclusivity and permanence, we are speaking generally about marriage, and distinguishing it from other types of relationship, again, understood generally. So the fact that some marriages fall short, by choice or circumstance, along these lines by being infertile, or involving infidelity, or in divorce, in particular instances, doesn’t mean that fecundity, exclusivity, and permanence are not indicative of the marriage relationship, generally understood. Else-wise you would be required to also argue that since some marriages involved infidelities that exclusivity isn’t an element of marriage either. And so on, until you had emptied marriage of all definition. What can, however, be denied is that same-sex relationships fall short of fecundity, and that is because fecundity is not a part of such a relationship at all and thus was never an expectation/ element/ characteristic. As such, same sex relationships can never be marriages. I would say the same thing about a relationship that was fecund but was not or could never be exclusive or permanent.

              • thebentangle

                Dover, the reason I say your view of marriage is idiosyncratic is that it is nowhere reflected in the laws of this country. A man confined to prison for life may, if he wishes, marry a woman on the outside. No questions are asked about their intentions to procreate, or even indeed about their ability to consummate. I fully realize that procreation is important for Catholics, but, frankly, a lot of Catholic teachings look highly idiosyncratic to me from where I’m standing.

                You can’t just define marriage for everyone in this country. To say that same-sex relationships can never be marriage flies in the face of reality. In more and more cases, these relationships ARE marriages. The state says so, and the state will prevail because we have a disestablishment clause in the First Amendment.

                This new meme, that “gay marriage is an impossibility” is never going to fly in the culture at large. It is counter-factual, and anyone hearing it will mentally add a parenthetical “for Catholics” to render it plausible. Bad design, bad concept.

                • dover_beach

                  thebentangle, it appears that you are not even reading and paying attention to what I’ve written. Firstly, it is reflected in this country’s law:

                  Ford v Ford [1987] Fam Law 232, Judge Goodman
                  H and W had a sexual relationship until H was sent to prison. They married while he was in prison, but he refused to consummate the marriage at the time and later said he did not want to live with W even after he was released. W’s petition for a decree of nullity was allowed: H’s refusal to consummate the marriage in prison was not a “wilful refusal”, but his clear determination never to do so was sufficient.

                  Read more: Non-Consummation of Marriage – Family Law | Law Teacher http://www.lawteacher.net/family-law-resources/Non-Consummation-Marriage.php#ixzz2HUnDwRJF

                  BTW, you still appear not to understand that fecundity is not a prerequisite for each and every marriage, it must simply be a possibility of the marital relationship, generally speaking. And as I said above, fecundity is impossible in SSA relationships, generally and absolutely.

                  Secondly, why can’t there be a single definition of marriage in this country, any more than a single definition of any other relationship or thing? And, no, it doesn’t fly in the face of reality to deny that committed gay relationships are not marriages even though they may be recognized by this or that civil jurisdiction. I’m not denying they are relationships, or that these relationships exist; I’m simply denying that they are marriages. I can do this as simply as gay men and women prior to the 1970s denied that being gay was a pathology or disorder, mental or moral, even though it was recognized as such by the APAs as well as by civil authorities.

                  Thirdly, it isn’t a new meme, but I also recognize a difficulty; it has nothing to do with the qualifier ‘gay’ but with the reduction of marriage to a relationship of no particular variety. But this reduction may cut both ways. We shall see.

                  • thebentangle

                    Dover, I’ll look into your Ford v Ford case history when I get time. It’s apparently not the same as the one I was citing. I will get back to you, however.

                    You write that “fecundity … must simply be a possibility of the marital relationship, generally speaking.” But I don’t find anything about “fecundity” in my own state’s marriage license requirements. Are you talking about Catholic marriages?

                    Dover, you are certainly free to deny that gay marriages are marriages, but then you will be in denial. Same-sex marriages are recognized as marriages in 9 states and about a dozen countries. Maybe your denial would be accurate if you qualified it with a phrase like “in most U.S. states.” But it simply false to assert that a SSM is not a marriage in, say, Massachusetts or Washington state.

                    So if you were to continue in denial, you would indeed be like gay men and women prior to the 1970s who denied that being gay was a pathology or disorder. With one important difference. They were right, and the APAs reversed their positions on this. Your denial is about a completely different order of knowledge–knowledge of incontrovertible events (passage of laws) as opposed to knowledge of the sometimes mysterious workings of genes, hormones, and other factors contributing to homosexuality.

                  • Bob

                    Realize when discussing an issue with thebentangle that he ( like most gays) is an atheist, and therefore does not believe in a moral law let alone argue from it.

                    • thebentangle

                      Partly correct, Bob. But where did you get the idea that “most gays” are atheists?

                      If you only discuss this issue with fellow Catholics, then you may never find out what the weaknesses of your arguments are. Challenge yourself. Try convincing someone who doesn’t share your assumptions, because most of this country does not.

                      • Bob

                        Personal experience, the vast majority of gays I encounter are atheists, like yourself.

                        At least you admit that due to your atheism there is no divinely inspired moral code that you need follow. One only has to conclude that something as Judeo Christian as the Ten Commandments are something as an atheist as yourself repugnant and you don’t need follow to form your conscience or actions.

                        You say “try convincing someone who doesn’t share your assumptions, because most of. This country does not.” hmm…….is that why several years ago 78% of African Americans(as one example) in California voted against gay marriage at the ballot box? Even more interesting is the vast majority of them are not Catholic but share my “assumptions.”

                        And it’s your atheism, bentangle, that fascinates me and why you are wasting so much of your precious little existence left (you said you were 69 years old) arguing with Catholics on websites! Why? If I was an old atheist I’d be out partying like a rock star, because it’s total lights out soon.

                        But like I’ve posted with you before, (and you’ve admitted to) you have no desire or interest to learn of the teachings of the Catholic Church, but more than willing to attack it.

                        Out of Christian love bentangle, I believe the Holy Spirit has placed you here on this website amongst some very sincere, loving and devout Catholics for a reason.

                        Out of love for you bentangle, ill invite and encourage you again to explore and learn the teachings of the Truth of Jesus Christ found in the Catholic Church. Like all of the devout Catholics on this website, you’ll be surprised and humbled by Christ’s truth in the Church. And you’ll find His Peace.

                        May God bless you and keep pursuing you bentangle.

    • mally el

      Two of the same gender do not a marriage make.

      • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

        Mally, the fact is that they do get married. It’s hard to deny that fact, and I would never be one to disparage anyone’s marriage.

        • mally el

          They do form a relationship but there is no marriage. In our nature it needs two different genders to merge for a marriage to happen. Just because some liberal or marxists regimes give certificates does not necessarily mean that a marriage has occured. Homorage is not a marriage.

          • thebentangle

            Mally, your description of same-sex marriage as “homorage” is extremely disrespectful. Are you speaking as a Catholic?

            • mally el

              It is disrectful to our human this attempt to corrupt the all-important human phenomenon known as marriage.

    • Ford Oxaal

      I am afraid a same gender couple who wants to procreate is going to be disappointed. The law should not set people up for disappointment.

      • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

        Ford, I’m hard pressed to even imagine a homosexual couple expecting to procreate. I don’t think that is a concern for them. If they want children, they can adopt. In some cases, there is already a child from a previous marriage.

        • Ford Oxaal

          Are you saying that the desire for same gender couples to adopt is behind their desire to alter longstanding marriage law? That would be a bit topsy turvy. After all, the family is the fundamental driver of society in general. Marriage reflects that fact. Weaken marriage by reducing it to an equal rights issue, and society will be weakened.

          • Ray Olson

            Dear Mr. Oxaal–The fundamental error in your argument is the assumption that gay marriage is a matter of individual rights. It is, first and foremost, a matter of the rights of couples, rights that heterosexual couples already enjoy. Beyond the matter of rights, however, the movement for gay marriage aims at binding gays more securely to the interests and the life of the general community in their neighborhoods, their municipalities, their states, and their nation.

            • Ford Oxaal

              Family/children/marriage is in fact a matter of the strongest of all natural allegiances and rights. This is the basis of marriage. It is a matter of the greatest possible profundity that forms the basis for society’s very existence, and the ample rights we all enjoy. Family/children/marriage is most certainly not about inclusiveness nor rights of an individual, nor some imaginary “couples” right. If you extend it under that false basis, you weaken it, and you weaken all of society.

              • Ray Olson

                Dear Mr. Oxaal–I don’t disagree all that much, which is why I endorse gay marriage. Marriage is good for same-sex couples just as it’s good for opposite-sex couples. BTW, just what have you got against couples? I thought that they are supposed to have the right to marry, but if they don’t, and no individual does, either, who or what does? I know the answer, and it isn’t the church.

            • dover_beach

              If it simply were a matter of the right of couples, why not simply redefine marriage even further and include friends? And why only couples? Moreover, why does “binding gays more securely to the interests and the life of the general community” require that we recognize such relationships as marriages? It doesn’t. Friendship is an invaluable aspect of our communal lives that does not require us to believe that they are only valuable or socially meaningful if they are marriages. Since when was marriage the only means by which we are bound to the communal life of a people?

    • Ford Oxaal

      The argument for same gender marriage is based on the notion that
      society is benefited by augmenting equal rights and advancing liberty.
      This argument is based on individual rights alone, and could therefore
      be logically extended to no end, thus nullifying marriage. Open to all,
      it would be eliminated for all. To the contrary, the promotion of
      family is the very reason for society’s existence. As same gender
      marriage tends toward nullification of the marriage contract, it is
      harmful to society. The legitimate benefits of the marriage contract
      are not privileges contrary to equal rights, but rather, are rights
      prior to, underlying, and in support of individual rights. Of all
      intrinsic rights and natural allegiances, family is first.

    • John

      The rancorous comments below belie one key issue at stake: Is the Church competent to instruct on matters of morality? If she is (and I believe she is), those who think she will do a 180 on her ancient and venerable doctrine that only sexual activity performed within valid sacramental marriage and open to the procreation of new life is licit. All other sexual activity, and all the social apparatus that accompanies it (like “same-sex” anything, contraception, pornography, divorce, etc) will remain forbidden in their entirety. While the homosexual lobby is currently among the most vocal, nearly ALL Catholic teaching on human sexuality is countercultural and bound to be attacked in the coming years. It’s a ridiculous self-delusion to pretend that the Church will soon change her teaching on this or that choice of sexual activity. It may make large groups of people angry, but the Church teaches what she teaches because, we believe, the Holy Spirit guides her. It is by the grace of the Holy Spirit that Cardinal George can so eloquently proclaim the Church’s truth. And in the United States today, the Church is speaking truth to power. Hating what the Church teaches (as, apparently, many below do) will go nowhere toward overturning the magesterium’s authority to teach on faith and morals. Americans are free to ignore the Church. It is foolish, though, to somehow imagine that the Church will change its doctrine because it is difficult to live. Why any commenter on a website for “Faithful Catholic Laity” would attempt to do so eludes me.

      • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

        Well thanks to the beauty of smartphone apps that gather all types of news on one subject or another I was brought to this web site that I wouldn’t otherwise read, though I was raised Catholic. It is because I was raised Catholic and believe so many of the teachings of the Church that I can’t just abandon the Church over certain teachings that I don’t believe make sense in modern times.

        It is my understanding as a Catholic that individual thought and reflection on various teachings can lead individual followers to inner truth even if that happens to be contrary to the teachings of the Church. If every believing Catholic who disagreed with the Church on birth control, abortion, gay marriage, and other major issues of the time stopped going to church entirely because they refuse to follow the teachings of the Church without question we would have even fewer Catholics today than we already do.

        • Deacon Ed Peitler

          The affirmation of Church teaching at baptism and reception into to the Catholic Church for those who convert from the ecclesial communities is this: “I believe ALL that the Catholic Church teaches…” There is no qualification. If you say it and don’t believe it, you are lying. It would make no sense to enter the Church under false pretenses. If you are Catholic, do not ‘believe ALL that the Catholic Church teaches,” and act accordingly you have fallen out of full communion with the Catholic Church. Nothing terribly complicated about this. Square pegs do not fit into round holes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/centipede.galaga Centipede Galaga

      Great work Cardinal George. As usual, he is outspoken on a subject that most are squeamish about addressing. An example of why people are reticent to promote the truth that the Church teaches is shown in these comments- the aggressive, well-funded, and relentless homosexual lobby.
      Bl. John Paul the Great, pray for us.

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      I can foresee the day when the Catholic Church does not recognize any “marriages” sanctioned by either the State or any protestant Church.
      Since the Catholic Church defines marriages as the permanent (until death) union of one male and one female for the good of the couple and the procreation of children it means that ANY OTHER DEFINITION of marriage contrary to the Catholic Church’s understanding refers to something wholly different. Since the State and the protestant ecclesial communties do NOT define marriage as necessarily permanent (they both permit divorce) and sanction unions between two men, two women (and other variations yet to come), they and the Catholic Church are describing two very distinct institutions. Just because you use the same term to define two very different realities, does not at all make them equivalent.
      Now the Catholic Church needs to move on its withdrawal of any recongition whatsoever to these so-called “marriages.” Once we do all argument ends since we have all then come to the realization that we are talking about something essentially quite different. THE END!

      • Ray Olson

        Dear Deacon Ed–That would be a solution of sorts. I think the reality is that the Catholic, Protestant, and other definitions are going to have to coexist under the same laws in a secular state like the U.S. and each of its 50 constituent polities.

        It warms my heart to see your sentence, “Just because you use the same term to define two very different realities, does not at all make them equivalent.” That’s exactly what I’ve been saying all along.

        • Deacon Ed Peitler

          I tend to think that eventually the Church will insist on a non-recognition of these State and protestant bedding arrangements. Just as Catholics could not receive ‘communion” in any of the protestant eccesial communities because they do not have valid “Orders” and do not have our theology of the Eucharist, so, too, Catholics, will one day not recognize “marriages” performed in these contexts. I suggest we just refer to them from now on as “bedding arrangements.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            But, surely the question is not how the state or a Protestant ecclesial community defines marriage, but what the parties consent to. Marriage is a consensual contract, a meeting of minds.

            Thus, in his famous letter written to the Bulgarian prince Boris I in 866, Pope Nicholas I takes the same view, “according to the laws (leges), the consent of those whose union is arranged should be sufficient. If that alone is absent, all the other solemnities, even including coition, are in vain, as the great teacher John Chrysostom attests, who says: Not intercourse but will makes marriage” (Homilies on Matthew 32) [PL 119, no. 97, pp. 978–1016 at 980 ]

            By the same token, many de facto marriages in the Catholic Church are annulled for defective consent.

            • Ford Oxaal

              But the state will not enforce a Catholic marriage contract, and the Catholic Church no longer has the temporal power to do so.

              • mally el

                Actually, the State does not create a marriage. It is the commitment made by two people from the two genders in our nature that make a marriage happen. Staes record it and ensure that its citizens are protected. Religions bless the marriages of their members. So we see that marriage is not created by states and relns but is designed by human nature.

                • Ford Oxaal

                  Right — family (by family, I mean the “natural” family) precedes society. Society exists to augment the well-being of families. Society has as its first duty the augmentation of the well-being of families. Society did not need million dollar sociological studies to understand that the family is the best place to raise children unto its own augmentation. Marriage is the institution surrounding these fundamental truths of what might be termed the “natural” law. The state interest in marriage is not only obligatory, but its very raison d’etre. Society weakens marriage to its own demise. If it tries to redefine marriage as an equality issue, it necessarily waters down the institution. In fact, it trades the primacy of its obligations regarding marriage for the primacy of itself, in the moment. Society has already weakened marriage to its own peril through no-fault divorce. The further watering down and disfigurement of marriage are simply the decay of this earlier societal rebellion.

                • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

                  That is what the Church Teaches; however, the State believes differently. Marriage is viewed as a legal situation not a religious one by the state
                  Joe Murray
                  Exeuctive Director
                  Rainbow Sash Movement

                  • mally el

                    However, states have not created marriage; human nature has. If political leaders are allowed to believe that that they have the right to interfere with nature and change the definition of marriage to suit their agandas then this process of change will continue with each succeeding government. In this chaos, society will suffer. Thankfully, all the Asian and African countries – except Marxist xontrolled South Africa – will keep humanity stable and sustained.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

                      Obviously we have two spheres of influence one the Church and the other State one could argue from a natural law perspective that neither is justified by natural law.

                      Massachusetts passed gay marriage so many years ago. Over 15,000 Gay couples in that state have tied the knot. All the outlandishing statements of the Church’s Bishops have not happened. The sky did not fall. On the contrary the state is expierencing a economiic benefit from Gay Marriage.

                      Illinois will have gay marriage like Massachusetts and all the Bishops crystal ball gazing will be recognized for what it is bigotry.

                      Joe Murray
                      Executive Director
                      Rainbow Sash Movement

                      • mally el

                        We have another sphere of influence, namely human nature. And it is our narure that has designed two genders. This is for a specific reason to provide society with stability and continuity. No other realtionship is designed to offer this to us. Marriage is thus unique qne important for our very existence. And if we leave the definion of marriage to politicians then, depending upon the color of the polloies the definition will keep changing. This will cause the chaos I apoke about previously.

                      • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

                        Here you go again. Who says you or even Cardinal George can speak for human nature. Quite clearly the sciences are being ignored in this religious debate about a Civil issue. Marriage has evolved over the centuries, and still you ignore that fact in favore of a position to support a bigotted position.

                        Do your really think that Chastity is supported by natural law?

                        Joe Murray
                        Executive Director
                        Rainbow Sash Movement

                      • mally el

                        Marriagemained the same throughout the centuries. Man and woman ubion. Even racists believed it was onlya man and a woman. Marriage may have civil and religious implications but it is fundamentally a phenomenon desgined in our nature for our wellbeing and preservation. No other relationship is like it.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

                      There is shockingly little reasonablness in your statement. What chaos are you talking about? How long has Massachuetts had Gay Marriage? I don’t see any chaos there. How long has DC had Gay Marriage I don’t see chaos there? I could go on but will not.

                      In my opinion, I think this is a prime example of why the Pope and the Bishops are losing this debate world wide it is no grounded in facts. You paint pictures with glorious ancient Church concepts that are based in a feudal mentality, and when challenged all you can do is say” it is this way or that way because I say so.” That is not being reasonable.

                      Joe Murray
                      Executive Director

                      Rainbow Sash Movement

          • Ray Olson

            Dear Deacon Ed–The Catholic Church may do as you envision, but wouldn’t that make Catholic-sanctioned marriages mere “bedding arrangements” in the eyes of secular authority? Probably not, I speculate, but it may require something like the French system, in which all marriages must be sanctioned by the state, irrespective of religious ceremonies, to have any legal status.

          • thebentangle

            Deacon, calling gay marriage a “bedding arrangement” is reductive and insulting. Could you please remember that Pope Benedict enjoined you to be respectful towards homosexuals. Disparaging their relationships and reducing them to sex and body parts is not respectful by any stretch of the imagination. With a name like “Deacon,” you have a special obligation to set a good example for others.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joe.murray.16940599 Joe Murray

            Decon Ed,

            The Church will eventually have to get out of the Civil Marriage business, and focus on its sacramental aspect.

            Will the Church change its position on the issue of Gay Marriage? Many in our society and that includes many Catholics, if we can believe the polls on Gay Marriage, could care less.

            Clearly the Pope and the Bishops are being dismissed as being out of touch. How will this effect the proclamation of the Gospel, what reasonable person is willing to believe hypocrites. Even your attempted objectivity is laced with wanting to have it both ways.

            Joe Murray
            Executive Director
            Rainbow Sash Movement

    • mally el

      Homorage is not the same as marriage. Homorage is the result of feelings; marriage is a human phenomenon designed for the humanity’s benefit.

      • thebentangle

        Mally, your comment is extremely offensive and disrespectful. I would ask you to remember Pope Benedict’s words about respect toward homosexuals.

        • mally el

          Just looking for a term to describe an homosexual relationship because it is definitely not a marriage. I am glad you appreciate the Pope’s views on the topic.

        • mally el

          Since homosexual relationships are not marriages I was looking for an appropriate term to describe them. I am glad you appreciate what the Pope has to say about homosexuality.

    • a rose by another name….

      Marriage(between a man and woman) is a time-honored foundation of any civilized society. Advocates of same-sex unions can call them what they want. It is not marriage. Marriage is being mocked. That is the goal of the entire agenda.

    • mally el

      If politicians are to be empoered to change what is designed in our human nature then it could lead to confusion and an unstable socio-spiritual environment. Todays good guys could be turned into bad guys.
      However, with a change in the leadership at the next election there is the possibility that marriage would be once again re-defined in accordance with the new leader’s views.This will lead to further confusion.and instability.
      The Western world would become the laughing stock.

    • James_Locke

      The fact is this. The US population is not governed by reason any more but rather by the pursuit of hedonistic pleasure and emotional stimulation. Thus, all that was wrong i snow right and there are no limits to the self pleasure movement. Their famous quip, as long as it hurts no-one, despite its being false, resonates well with the average American who is, like a junkie, just looking or the next quick fix of pleasure. Thus the fads, the reality show and the ever increasing rates of drug use and the memes are quickly sought after and once their intense pleasure has passed, they are discarded.