Gay rights money funds archbishop’s critics
Faithful America part of national progressive advocacy network
September 10th, 2014
By Valerie Schmalz
"Many Catholics in the San Francisco Bay Area were surprised by the strong negative reaction to Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone’s decision to give a talk about traditional marriage at a June 19 Washington, D.C., rally organized to support marriage.
A national online petition from Faithful America and a nationally publicized June 10 letter from 78 politicians and others urged the archbishop to withdraw from the March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. The letter and petition citing “hate” speech by the National Organization for Marriage and the labeling participant Family Research Council as a “hate group” created a media storm and disturbed many local Catholics and pastors.
Most are used to attacks on the archbishop for his strong advocacy of the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and family, but the reaction seemed disproportionate to the event – which was a talk at a rally by a Catholic Church leader who has given many talks in support of marriage and family across the country and in the media.
The cause for surprise among Catholics may be they assumed the powerful reaction was spontaneous. Now there is abundant evidence the reaction was both well planned and financed by Faithful America, an organization that is supported directly and indirectly by politically powerful and wealthy men and by grant-making foundations who have devoted millions of dollars to promoting acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) behavior...."
Flowchart showing funding behind the "Open Letter" to Archbishop Cordileone.
Courtesy Catholic San Francisco.
Courtesy Catholic San Francisco.
The article is part one of a three-part special report. It is very heartening to see this in an Archdiocesan newspaper. Not only that, the Archdiocese has a number of its ministries involved in the special report. Ms. Schmalz's article quotes Jesuit Father John Piderit, the Archdiocese's new moderator of the curia and vicar for administration. Fr. Piderit says:
Fr. Piderit adds:“The message is part of a larger strategy, and the appearance of open letters and demonstrators is planned, not spontaneous.”
In addition to Ms. Schmalz's expose, the paper also contains two related pieces by Mr. Ed Hopfner, the director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Archdiocese. His first piece articulates the Church's teaching on marriage--what it is and what it isn't:
"The marriage vows reflect the love of God shown us in the person of Jesus Christ – freely given, faithfully and completely given, and fruitful (life-giving). Furthermore, through his life, death and resurrection, Christ has elevated marriage to a sacrament, which gives us the grace to overcome our lust – our disordered desire, our tendency to use others, even our spouse, instead of love them – and love our spouse in the way they deserve.
No other kind of 'love relationship' (parent-child, sibling, friendship, same-sex couple, polygamous ... ) has these features – thus no other kind can be a marriage in our understanding. While many states have legalized same-sex marriage, the church cannot recognize them as such. Pope Francis, while reminding us that we cannot judge the heart, only actions, with his famous 'Who am I to judge?' quote, has reiterated the church’s teaching on the unique character of ‘traditional’ marriage, calling same-sex legal marriage a 'destructive attack on God’s plan,' since it omits a key element of marriage, openness to new life."
Mr. Hopfner's second contribution articulates the Church's teaching on conscience:
"The Catholic Church does teach the primacy of individual conscience. It’s like a compass God has given us, to make moral decisions. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that we must always obey our consciences.
However it also tells us we have an obligation of proper formation of conscience, since we are all 'tempted by sin to prefer … (our) own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.' Just like a compass can point in the wrong direction if a magnet is nearby, so our conscience can be pulled in the wrong direction, and make errors in judgment. The catechism tells us this is particularly true when we are subject to 'bad example by others ... (by) a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, (or) rejection of the church’s authority and her teaching.'”