Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Los Angeles Bishops' Statement

The Catholic Bishops of the United States have affirmed repeatedly that persons with a homosexual orientation "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity." Accordingly the Bishops condemn all forms of violence, scorn, and hatred -- whether subtle or overt -- against men and women who are homosexual.

All people, regardless of sexual inclination, are called to holiness; and "should be encouraged to take an active role in the faith community" and to live according to its teachings. Nonetheless, the Church cannot approve of redefining marriage, which has a unique place in God's creation, joining a man and a woman in a committed relationship in order to nurture and support the new life for which marriage is intended.

The meaning of marriage is deeply rooted in history and culture, and has been shaped considerably by Christian tradition. Its meaning is given, not constructed. "When marriage is redefined so as to make other relationships equivalent to it, the institution of marriage is devalued and further weakened." The state has a primary and fundamental obligation to protect and promote the family, which is rooted in marriage and sustained by it.

Some benefits currently sought by same sex partners can already be obtained without regard to marital status. For example, individuals can agree to own property jointly with another, and they can generally designate anyone they choose to be a beneficiary of their will or to make health care decisions in case they become incompetent. Other desired benefits such as sharing in a partner's health insurance could be made available without the drastic step of a cultural or legal redefinition of marriage.

Let us strengthen our resolve to respect the dignity of each human being and to protect the sanctity of marriage, asking God's guidance in our efforts to promote the common good central to a free and democratic society.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

While the Archdiocese is right that we cannot discriminate unjustly against people who have same-sex attractions, there is a fine line between non-discrimination and permissiveness. Should a Catholic landlord be forced to rent an apartment to a homosexual couple? On the one hand, one could argue that the Church's non-discrimination stance requires it; on the other hand, isn't the landlord forced into implicitly tolerating immorality?
Regardless, the Archdiocese is flat out wrong in recommending extensive partnership rights for gay couples. If you read the California Supreme Court decision (which few on either side of the issue have done), you will see that California state law's extensive partnership rights were a major part of the Court's reasoning in extending marriage to gays. Gays have been given nearly every right to which married couples are entitled, the Court argued, so refusing to give their unions the name marriage is merely unjust bias. Domestic partnership rights were not, to the activists, a compromise to accept, but the catalyst to bring about marriage rights. They are not stupid, and their plan was obviously a great success. That the Archdiocese cannot see this is a concern.

Gibbons J. Cooney said...

I agree with the comment above. I find the L.A. bishops' statement to be quite weak.

I hope that when it comes time to really support the marriage amendment the L.A. Bishops are a little more energetic--both vocally and financially. But I think it is up to us, the laity, to make up for any lack of fortitude on the bishops part. I'm thinking about directing my donations between now and November to the amendment instead of the collection.