Pray for Courageous Bishop Thomas Tobin, the Defender of Marriage and Family
violation of the moral law and, thus, seriously sinful. A civil union can never be accepted as a legitimate alternative to matrimony."
The Bishop was correct, courageous and prophetic. He was also pilloried by the media. Horrid efforts were made to ridicule and marginalize him. I covered the incident in a series of articles. He was simply being a faithful bishop. On June 3, 2003 the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger issued a directive entitled "Considerations regarding Proposals to Give Legal recognition To Unions Between Homosexual persons." It clearly rejected any effort to give equivalent legal status to homosexual unions. It restated the unbroken tradition of the Catholic Christian Church for two thousand years. It sought to help all Bishops to direct Catholics in Public Life:
"The present Considerations do not contain new doctrinal elements; they seek rather to reiterate the essential points on this question and provide arguments drawn from reason which could be used by Bishops in preparing more specific interventions, appropriate to the different situations throughout the world, aimed at protecting and promoting the dignity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and the stability of society, of which this institution is a constitutive element. The present considerations are also intended to give direction to Catholic politicians by indicating the approaches to proposed legislation in this area which would be consistent with Christian conscience"
The recent events leading to President Obama announcing his intention to undermine marriage and become the de facto head of the Homosexual Equivalency Movement, reveal the serious risk we face as a Nation. There is a cultural revolution underway led by those on the fringes of the homosexual activist community who will stop at nothing less than legal "equivalency" between homosexual unions and true marriage.
Having learned from the verbal engineering of the movement to make the taking of innocent life in the womb through abortion "a right", they are master manipulators of the language. They have reframed their anti-marriage movement as a movement for "marriage equality" much like the proponents of abortion succeeded in calling killing the unborn a "choice."
Catholics must be honest about some in our own house. Some Catholic Politicians undermine the Church, do violence to the truth, cause scandal, and put their own souls in jeopardy. They hide behind a self erected "public/private" dichotomy in rejecting their duty to defend the right to life and protect marriage and the family and society founded upon it. They engage in sophistry to explain away their flagrant error. They are not only being unfaithful to the truths proclaimed by their own Church, they are undermining the common good. The 2003 directive spoke forcefully to these folks:
"If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favor of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications."
"When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral."
The directive addressed the whole of civil society: "Since this question relates to the natural moral law, the arguments that follow are addressed not only to those who believe in Christ, but to all persons committed to promoting and defending the common good of society."
The document presents a lucid, solid, powerful defense of the truth about marriage and family. Yes, it presents this truth from within biblical revelation and the Christian Tradition. However, like all of the Church's Social Doctrine, it also does so from the order of right reason, the natural law, the biological and anthropological order, the social order and the legal order. That is because truth is truth. Every serious Catholic should read it and learn from it how to defend the truth about marriage.
The Prefect for the Congregation, who issued the directive, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, is now Pope Benedict XVI. He continues to insist that Catholics in political life defend marriage and family. Just as Catholic politicians must support the right to life for unborn persons they must also support true marriage.
On May 10, 2012, the day after the President of the United States announced his "evolution" to a position which undermines marriage and the family and society founded upon it, Bishop Tobin issued the following statement. It can be found on the Diocesan website here.
"The decision of President Barack Obama to endorse same-sex marriage is extremely disappointing, but not at all surprising. This is a very divisive and devious president who, from the beginning of his administration has actively pursued a liberal, secular agenda that discards fundamental moral values including respect for human life, and religious freedom. This is a sad day in American history. Even the President of the United States does not have the authority to redefine the sacred institution of marriage that has been given to us by God."
Once again we see the mettle of this good man and witness the heroic example of one more Bishop. I ask every reader of Catholic Online throughout the whole world, to pray for courageous Bishop Thomas Tobin, the Defender of Marriage and Family. We need to learn from him to be strong in the struggle ahead.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Bishop Thomas Tobin, orthodoxy, Diocese of Rhode Island, marriage, homosexual marriage, gay marriage, Obama, Deacon Keith Fournier
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