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RI Gov. Carcieri Defends Bishop Tobin and Marriage. Prays for Patrick Kennedy
By Deacon Keith Fournier
December 8th, 2009
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
'Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way' (Vatican)PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Catholic Online) - Governor Donald Carcieri is the Governor of Rhode Island and a Catholic Christian. He spoke to Rhode Island Radio Station WPRO and local reporters last week. He is facing the wrath of the militant Homosexual Equivalency Movement in Rhode Island. I use this term to refer to homosexuals who insist that their relationships be treated as the legal equivalent of marriage. They do not like the Governor. Why? Because they do not like the content of his message - so much for free speech.
The Governor spoke the truth, defended a Catholic Bishop and offered to pray for Congressman Patrick Kennedy. Referring to Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s choice to have a public dispute with the Catholic Church he told the Press that the Congressman had made “outrageous statements about the Catholic church” and that Bishop Tobin had “no choice except to come back and defend the Church.”
He was right. Patrick Kennedy accused his own Church of fanning “the flames of dissent and discord” because it defended the fundamental Human Right, the Right to Life. The Bishop reiterated the pledge of the US Bishops to oppose any proposed National Health Care Reform which would allow federal dollars to be used to kill children in the womb through procured abortion. The Catholic Church defends the dignity of every human person at every age and stage. Congressman Patrick Kennedy knows this is the teaching of the Church.
The media tried to goad the Governor into a further entanglement in this now global news story. They asked whether he believed that a Catholic in elective office owes allegiance first to the Church or to the State. That is where all of this is headed, the questioning of whether faithful Catholics can be good Americans. It hearkens back to the Catholic bashing of the “Know Nothing” movement when Catholics were pilloried in the media and accused of being Un-American. The twist is that some of the people who are feeding this new hostility are people like Patrick Kennedy, unfaithful Catholics in public life who knowingly misstate the teachings of their own Church, publicly dissent, and confuse the public. I have referred to them in the past as “Anti-Catholic Catholics.”
The “Know-Nothing Party” was rooted in the anti-Catholic bigotry which flourished in America between 1852 and 1856. America was the home of a nativist movement that opposed the immigrations of that era, especially from Ireland and Germany. Some simply did not want us here. This movement was known as the “know-nothings” because its members answered “I know nothing” when asked about their true anti-Catholic aims. They hid their bigotry behind a wink and a nod. The “Know Nothings” did not like the way Catholics believed, lived or practiced their faith. They hated the way Catholics refused to separate their faith from their public life. It angered them that Catholics infused their faith within the cultural framework in which they lived their daily lives. I assert that in our own age there is a new “Know Nothing” movement which feels the same way as it relates to serious Catholics who refuse to compromise on truth. Ironically, some of its leaders are Catholics themselves, like Patrick Kennedy.
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.” The document presented nothing new concerning Marriage. 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 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”
There is a cultural revolutionary movement underway in the United States and beyond. It is led by those on the fringes of the homosexual activist community who want to force legal recognition of homosexual unions and then enforce an equivalency with true marriage by using the Police Power of the State. They will stop at nothing less than this 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 this 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. Purporting to speak for the Church or to promote some “new way”, certain Catholic Politicians undermine the teaching of our Church, do violence to the truth, cause scandal, injure the common good and put their own souls in jeopardy. Congressman Kennedy is one recent example. 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 error. They are not only being unfaithful to the truths proclaimed by their own Church, they are undermining the common good. The 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 not only addressed Christians, it addressed its reasoning to 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 systematically presented a lucid, solid, powerful defense of the truth about marriage and family. Yes, it presented this truth from within biblical revelation and the Christian Tradition. However, like all of the Church’s Social Doctrine, it also did 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.
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 support marriage: “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”.
Just as Catholics in the nineteenth century opposed the original “Know Nothings” we must oppose the new “Know Nothing” movement. The Catholic Church is defending marriage as strongly as she defends the Right to Life from conception to natural death. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith concluded its directive with these words: “The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.”
Governor Donald Carcieri defended Bishop Tobin. His failure to be intimidated is infuriating some within the Homosexual Equivalency Movement. The Governor was recently a speaker at a fundraising banquet for the Massachusetts Family Institute. The group is one of a growing number of marriage advocacy organizations experiencing growth as a direct result of the attacks on the institution of marriage by Homosexual Equivalency Advocates. The Governors’ appearance was protested by several groups such as “Queer Action Rhode Island” who wanted the appearance cancelled. He stood up and defended marriage, the family and the society founded upon it. Bravo! Governor Donald Carcieri needs our prayers. He has shown courage and should be commended.
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