True Shepherds

The Bishops of the United States are concerned about recent rulings on marriage.

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, expressed grave concern regarding recent rulings by a federal judge in Massachusetts rejecting the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Archbishop Kurtz offered his remarks after two rulings on July 8 that held that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Section 3 provides that for purposes of federal statutes, regulations, and rulings, “marriage” means the legal union of one man and one woman.

“Marriage – the union of one man and one woman – is a unique, irreplaceable institution. The very fabric of our society depends upon it. Nothing compares to the exclusive and permanent union of husband and wife. The state has a duty to employ the civil law to reinforce – and, indeed, to privilege uniquely – this vital institution of civil society. The reasons to support marriage by law are countless, not least to protect the unique place of husbands and wives, the indispensible role of fathers and mothers, and the rights of children, who are often the most vulnerable among us. And yet, a judge has decided that a marriage-reinforcing law like DOMA fails to serve even a single, minimally rational government interest. On behalf of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, I express grave concern over these dangerous and disappointing rulings which ignore even the most apparent purposes of marriage and thus offend true justice,” he said.

Something tells me that the battle is just beginning to heat up. St. Michael, Pray for us.


About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
This entry was posted in Catholic, Catholic Moral Teaching, Culture Wars, Marriage and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to True Shepherds

  1. Jim CastroLang says:

    I understand that there are religious differences over this issue and I respect that. I understand that people in society have a diversity of perspectives on marriage and I respect that as well. It is fine for the bishops to have firm beliefs and to advocate for them in society. But, the United States of America is not a Catholic or some form of Christian nation. The arguments made for any particular position can not solely be religious. The arguments must deal with the freedom we have in this country for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The government could get completely out of the marriage game — with no governmental benefits to marriage. The churches could stick to religious marriage ceremonies and not do the state’s bidding by being an agent for the state in a wedding ceremony. The freedoms should be there unless it can be shown that the very integrity of the community is damaged. Oh, that is right — divorce and the results for children have done such damage. I am not sure that this can yet be shown in long term faithful same sex marriages.

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  2. Susan Kehoe says:

    Jim,
    I will post something on this post tomorrow, because I am working on a project for my pastor right now.

    But I don’t really see how we can have a productive discussion. In order to due so there would have to be some area of agreement.

    There really is none that I can think of . I believe that there is object truth, that Jesus Christ is reason and truth. Just because something makes one happy or eliminates suffering does not make it moral, or true, or right.

    I also believe that there is something called universal Natural Moral Law which predates Christianity.

    It also disturbs me greatly that same sex marriage has been deemed a civil right without ANY public discussion. It is the result of behind the scenes activism. No solid arguments are given to support this sudden and drastic change to the fabric of society.

    Suddenly the definition of marriage has changed, and those who disagree are bigots.

    Frankly, while I will continue to fight the good fight, I am getting weary of the circular and light weight arguments coming from the same sex marriage front.

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  3. LeAnn says:

    I think I can safely comment on this topic. For there to be a discussion, there does have to be a starting place, a spot of agreement. So let me try. Can we agree that God intended men and women to procreate? Yes, I think that is evident from biology, the male and female parts and the miracle of conception. Can we agree that children need a mother and a father to be healthy adults? I think we may disagree on this. Perhaps that is why we can’t agree that marriage is between a man and a woman. It has become acceptable to have children in single parent homes, where the shared responsibilities of mother and father are not the expected situation. Children without a mother and a father are damaged. Damaged beyond repair at times. My parents divorced and that affected my ability to be a marriage partner and a mother. I needed counseling. I needed another template to override what I knew as a child. My own adopted children were damaged by the loss of biological parents. I am not saying that children who are raised in a single parent home or a blended family cannot be good parents, but it is hard. So I think a critical point in the debate about marriage is what we expect for our children.

    As far as freedoms, throughout the centuries some men and women live without marriage. Men lived with men, women lived with women, but it was not called marriage. People of the opposite sex living together without marriage is against God’s law just as people of the same sex living together is against God’s law. This is also a cultural shift. It did not used to be acceptable. There was shame in the public square.

    So there is my position. I welcome the discussion.

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  4. Jim CastroLang says:

    LeAnn – thanks for the discussion. I welcome it. Any religious group has a right and obligation to weigh all these issues in terms of its beliefs. The question is, “when is it important that any religion push for its position for the whole of society?” Is same sex marriage reach that level of importance? When we look at the impact on children, is it not the problems in heterosexual relationships and marriage hurting children more than the potential of same sex marriage? Should the Catholic church work to outlaw divorce in society because of the damage it does to children?

    Think of it this way — I know some same sex couples who have been in marriage type relationships for more than 20 years. They have been faithful to each other, active in church, and an example of faithful and faith-filled love.One couple I am thinking of has a 13 year old boy and is wonderful and one of the most active people in our church. Then, I know many people in divorce situations where the children are going back and forth from house to house with one parent pitting the children against the other parent. Can we generalize and see that the same sex marriage relationship is always worse for children than every heterosexual marriage?

    There is no doubt that a heterosexual marriage where there is faithfulness and love is good for children…very good in fact. There is no doubt that a heterosexual marriage where there is unfaithfulness or lack of love is bad for children. There is no doubt that when a marriage is broken and ends in divorce that it creates an uphill climb for children but it can turn out ok when all parties put in a great effort and consider the children first. There is no doubt that when there is domestic violence or abuse that hurts children but it is better to be away from that than in it.

    Now, the question is — can it be good for children who are in a household of a same sex married couple filled with faithfulness and love and even faith-filledness? I say yes, I have seen it.

    I believe the test for any home that children are in — is there faithfulness? is there love? is there living into an active faith? Yes to all these questions is yes and good for children.

    This does not answer the overall question of God’s intentions for humanity. That is a question of morality or following the will of God. Societies laws and systems should protect children. If it is not bad for children and with freedom of this country — why should same sex relationships be outlawed? Why should these couples who have been together for a long time have no rights to visit each other in the hospital under the family only rule?

    The Catholic church opposes divorce (with a few exceptions and provisions for annulments which is different) yet it is not actively working to change the laws to outlaw divorce. It would not publicly act if in Congress a bill was introduced to outlaw divorce. I suggest the same approach with same sex marriage. Catholics can restrict themselves without imposing it on society.

    Your Thoughts!

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    • Susan Kehoe says:

      Jim,
      Oh please. The Church is not imposing. It is proposing. Catholics have a right to have their voices heard in the public square. The Church, no doubt, did speak up when divorce laws were first liberalized. She still speaks out against divorce. She speaks out strongly against all threats to marriage:contraception, divorce, living together etc. As Catholic Christians we have a moral obligation to take our faith out into the world. To bring Christ to the world.

      Also there is a very real concern that since same sex marriage is now being framed as a civil right that the Catholic Church could be marginalized at best and at worst have restrictions enforced by the state. As it is happening now in Canada. For now we are protected by the first amendment.
      Any way here is what the Bishops have to say:
      Why can’t the State do what it wants with marriage, as long as the Church is respected?

      Marriage is not only the concern of the Church. States and nations have had an interest in marriage for millennia. Why? Because marriage and family are central to human dignity and the common good, which the state serves. Marriage existed long before the state or the Church. Marriage is a human and natural (i.e., nature of the person) reality, not only a religious reality. A man and a woman matter. Their equality matters and their difference matters. Marriage matters for everybody, especially for children who are the most vulnerable among us. Therefore, marriage deserves to be protected and promoted by all governments, states, and nations. States have a compelling interest to protect marriage because it’s a matter of justice.”
      If you are serious about trying to understand go here:http://www.usccb.org/defenseofmarriage/faqs.shtml#mm8

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  5. LeAnn says:

    Jim, I’m just reading your comments this morning. I will have to consider your comments and have a whole lot of coffee!

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