Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fr. Fessio says marriage decisions show a "Stunning Intellectual Decline"

Here are Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ,'s observations about the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions, given to

"They are profoundly wrong and wrong-headed decisions. And it is deeply depressing that in each decision a Catholic justice was the swing vote. There is a twofold problem that underlies both decisions:

1) That issues of such fundamental significance for society should be decided by a single, unelected person. That’s what happens when there is a 5-4 decision.

2) That the judges of the Supreme Court who ought to be exemplary for their wisdom as well as their technical knowledge of the law can be completely blind to the obvious: this is not an issue of equality at all. Same sex unions are not in any way equivalent to marital unions.

"Justice Kennedy wrote: "The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity." This is only slightly less outrageously self-contradictory than his famous “mystery” utterance: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” If you can define your own concept of meaning, well, I suppose you can play Alice in Wonderland with any concept you want, including marriage. So at least Justice Kennedy is consistent in his self-contradiction, and this decision is simply a consequence of the earlier principle. However, he even goes farther here and apparently can read hearts, since he claims that the “purpose” is to “disparage and to injure”. So one man sets himself against the wisdom of all recorded history which recognizes the obvious: a marital union can do what no other union can; further it is not only a benefit to the state, but the state cannot exist without it. Giving it special status and protection does not disparage or injure anyone; it simply recognizes an empirical fact that only the willfully blind can fail to see.

"Chief Justice Roberts wrote: “"We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to. We decline to do so for the first time here," Chief Justice Roberts said, alluding to the state of California's decision not to defend Proposition 8 in court.” By that principle the Supreme Court should have never made any decisions, since each new decision was a “first time”.

"So we have the sad parody of one Catholic judge being so liberal that even the meaning of meaning isn’t fixed. And another Catholic judge so conservative that he can’t recognize the need for an unprecedented decision when there is an unprecedented set of facts.

"People, myself included, lament the moral decline of America. Without this stunning intellectual decline—where one can claim that an unborn baby is not a human person and that man-to-man copulation is equivalent to marital union—we could not have sunk so low. With this decision we are about to sink even lower. God help us.

"I’m not a prophet. But it is certainly going to make it far more difficult for those who defend marriage.

"[The Church] will call forth saints and scholars who will “shine like the stars in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation”. They will also be humiliated and very likely, in time, persecuted. Welcome to the Brave New World."

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