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Responding to a distinctly catholic view of the NOM rally with the local bishop

Michael Sean Winters writes Friday in Distinctly Catholic on the NCR web page about the coverage of a rally attended by Archbishop Cordileone sponsored by the National Organization of Marriage - the local Congresswoman, former Speaker Pelosi had said the Archbishop should not attend. MSW agreed and commented a bit on what was said - the Archbishop was a bit concilatory but you could tell whose side he was on. He is trying to "Francis it up" a bit but I suspect his heart was not in it (he was worried about other parts of his body - my interpretation more than MSW's, although Michael feels he soft pedaled what he would say given what just happened to Cardinal Burke - probably good advice). You can read MSW's rather even handed column at

Here is what I have to say. As you can see, I am willing to acknowledge error in the teachings of the Church (yes, Virginians, it is possible). Here are my comments:

His introduction is touching - however no one becomes gay because of life circumstances. They simply are - regardless of whethr it happened in the womb or is in the genetics - or both. As far as self pity, the Church is entitled to none. There would be no marriage movement had Catholic hospitals not denied prime next of kin privileges to long time companions rather than to families of origin who rejected the dying patient in the first place. That is not just abetting bad behaviour, it is instigating it. The Church is not to be the object of pity but must come as the penitent to this discusssion. As far as the Archbishop attending the rally, I suspect he paid for it. Time for some penitence on this issue as well - not just to gays being attacked by some of the speakers but to the parishoners who donated to the Lenten Appeal with no desire that it be used for this purpose.

As for marriage itself, I am also not shy in saying that patriarchical marriage should be killed in the way the Church understands it (and is loathe to admit). A marriage among equals cannot of an automatic superior - and if that is the image they fear then the Church should stop using marriage as a model of Christ and his people (of course, Christ might be in favor of a fraternal rather than a partriarchical relationship - but he bishops will have none of it). As for comparing gay and straight sacrmental marriage - both are made by the couples themselves. It would be good if the priest could witness both - but it is not essential for the sacrament. I also suspect many retired or released priests are doing this function anyway - showing that the people are still out in front of the hierarchy. As to the requirement of marriage - it is not fecudity, it is functionality. Just because some priests have a hang-up about the functionality - which is none of their business- does not mean it does not satisfy both canon law and civil law definitions of the purpose of marriage. It is not the marriage equality folks who are working against the true meaning of marriage, it is folks like NOM.

As for NOM, they are a C Street affiliated organization. This kind of ecumenical dialogue is not what most of us have in mind. The bishops, even the right wing ones, should step away. I exect that NOMs next goal is to keep building a grass roots network to call a constitutional convention to overturn gay marriage once it is universal - and then include the rest of the social agenda that they and Cardinal Dolan, et al, wish to see enacted.

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