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Liberal Catholics use election results to battle bishops
Archbishop Timothy Dolan sounded a nuanced tone on politics at a recent bishops meeting.
November 13th, 2012
03:02 PM ET

Liberal Catholics use election results to battle bishops

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Emboldened by the re-election of President Barack Obama, a cadre of liberal Catholic activists and groups is waging a campaign alleging that America's Catholic bishops are out of touch with Catholic laypeople.

The Catholic bishops, who are in Baltimore this week for a quarterly meeting, spoke out against the Obama administration during the election cycle over what they said were White House violations of religious freedom.

Some bishops also spoke out against legalized gay marriage and abortion rights, positions embraced by many Republicans.

A Sunday opinion piece in the National Catholic Reporter by Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest at Georgetown University, hammered the bishops for their public proclamations during the campaign, saying the church leaders' “political strategy … is not working.”

“A majority of Catholics voted for Obama, and gay activists won every referendum,” Reese wrote, referring to initiatives legalizing gay marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington.

Exit polls showed that Catholics narrowly voted for Obama, by 50% to 48%.

Reese also noted that Republican Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana who voiced very conservative lines on abortion were defeated.

Catholics United and Catholics for Choice, two liberal Catholic groups, released statements around the meeting decrying the bishops' “failures” during the 2012 campaign.

“The bishops had a miserable return on investment of Catholic people's money and we demand an accounting of how they spent it campaigning on measures that Catholics clearly did not support,” wrote Catholics for Choice President Jon O'Brien.

Catholics United is delivering a petition to the Catholic bishops that calls on them to "reconsider their alliance with the Republican Party and refocus their attention on caring for the poor and vulnerable.”

In remarks to the 250 bishops assembled in Baltimore, bishops conference President Timothy Dolan touched on politics, sounding a nuanced tone.

“The premier answer to the question ‘What's wrong with the world? What's wrong with the church?’ is not politics, the economy, secularism, sectarianism, globalization or global warming,” Dolan said.

"The answer to the question ‘What's wrong with the world?’ is just two words: ‘I am,' ” he continued, quoting author G.K. Chesterton.

Other archbishops at the meeting seemed to double down on the fight for religious liberty and same-sex marriage, according to the Catholic News Service.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, in a report to a committee on religious liberty, stated that “whatever setbacks or challenges in the efforts to defend religious liberty we may be experiencing, we're going to stay the course.”

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone addressed the spate of successful gay marriage initiatives, saying that “people don't understand what marriage is.”

“This is not a time to give up but rather a time to redouble our efforts,” he said.

The fight between liberal and conservative factions of the Catholic Church has been simmering for years, playing out in parishes, in college campuses and on the national political stage, with the vice presidential candidacy of two Catholics: Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

In their sole debate together, Biden and Ryan gave different reads on how their faith shaped their politics. Biden focused on Catholic social teaching about helping the poor while Ryan talked about his belief that life begins at conception.

Steve Schneck, a Catholic University scholar who was supportive of Obama's candidacy, disagreed with liberals who are criticizing the bishops, saying most bishops did not weigh in on the election.

"Only a handful of bishops were involved, and it is about the same number that was involved in 2008,” he said.

“Most Catholics, whether they are politically liberal or politically conservative, are not interested in seeing their priests become politically involved,” said Schneck, the Obama campaign’s national co-chairman for Catholics. "They want their parishes and archdioceses to become politics-free zones.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Catholic Church • Politics

soundoff (569 Responses)
  1. JOHN

    Biblical Christians of all denominations need to organize, even forming a political party, and take a stand for Christ and His convictions. Has anyone noticed what has happened in America since the 60s? Right about the time people began to "do their own thing", without including God/Christ in their doing. These fools (Romans 1) will not be happy until they are shaking the hand of the Antichrist. Of course many fools will laugh at that last statement. Yet scriptures state, "professing themselves to be wise they became fools".... The place is a mess...

    November 17, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • Leif

      Could you enlighten me as to what a non-Biblical Christian might, or might not be? By the way, the last thing any country needs is a religion-based party.

      November 17, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  2. spk

    Old fat white men
    who are really all about power
    their power
    and have very little to say about the way of Christ

    Jesus would be looking at them and calling them a "brood of vipers"

    November 16, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • End Religion

      If the Jesus you believe in were alive today he'd be an old fat white guy in line at McDonald's trying to get that last matching Monopoly piece.

      November 17, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Leif

      Jesus would not judge someone based on their age..."old"...their weight..."fat", or the color of their skin..."white".
      One thing is for sure...you are not Jesus, nor should you presume to speak for him.

      November 17, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • Leif

      Ohh! Ohh! I forgot gender..."men". Do you have any other divisive words you would like to toss out?

      November 17, 2012 at 3:13 am |
    • Leif

      I met Jesus last week in a BevMo parking lot. I gave him a buck.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:07 am |
  3. George Kastanza

    Don't call yourself Christian or Catholic if you are going to support views contrary to well-established doctrines. Start your own religion so you can do whatever in hell you want to do, but don't refer to yourself as Christian!

    November 16, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • TC

      Agreed but you are crazy if you think a Catholic can whole heartedly support either party.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • End Religion

      Agreed but you are crazy if you think a god impregnated a 12 year old to give birth to himself so he could grow up to sacrifice himself for himself, just so you'd somehow find the whole charade honorably miraculous enough to warrant eternal praising of his awesomeness. I am having trouble with the part where we're supposed to be in awe of a creature that gets a child pregnant and then abandons it for another man to raise.

      November 17, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Leif

      "Doctrine" is the definition of what is wrong with every religion.

      November 17, 2012 at 2:53 am |
    • sam stone

      Religion is the worst thing ever to happen to belief

      November 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  4. Charles Horn

    “A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.” G. K. Chesterton

    SUPPORT THE BISHOPS!!!

    November 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • TC

      Let's support each other by telling the truth that both these parties have high jacked the free democracy we call America. Vote but you better focus on praying more.

      November 16, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Observer

      . . . so do random events.

      November 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Leif

      That depends on how one defines "God". I do not believe in the Judaeo-Christian God. I do not believe that Jesus was the son of God, nor do I believe that he died for our sins. That makes me an atheist according to many Christians. I believe that the universe is more mysterious thant our ability to understand it. That is my definition of "God". And I believe it.

      November 17, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Sane Person

      Guess no one prayed for Romney huh?

      November 17, 2012 at 6:59 am |
  6. louis

    To Catholic guy: I was not referring, nor was Orwell, to the innocence or purity of children. I meant that to be a Catholic is to suspend your intelligence, to deny physics and science, to believe, as children do, pretty much anything told to them by adults, i.e., fairy tales.

    November 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      In other words you don't know anything about Catholics

      November 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • End Religion

      bill, don't blame louis for leaving out the ritualized cannibalism. Mmmmm.... tasty!

      November 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • TC

      @Bill – exacltly many posters here don't even know the first thing about Catholicism or Early Chrisitianity

      November 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Tadeja

      Catholics believe in faith and reason,i.e. logic and natural law. Physics only proves Creator.

      November 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  7. Joshua

    Some "Catholics" have no concept of what it means to be Catholic. "Catholics for Choice" is equivalent to "Jews for Ba'al", it is a clear logical error.

    If you think killing babies is OK, you are not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church and actual Catholics are highly offended that you would call yourself Catholics and support killing babies.

    If members of "Catholic for Choice" are counted as part of the Catholic vote than the numbers are not an accurate assessment of how Catholics voted in the election.

    November 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      Amen!

      November 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nobody thinks "killing babies" is "okay," you friggin' jackazz.

      November 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      Well, Hot Damn. Will wou look who's here? The clever cleaver, herself. Damn.

      November 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Charles Horn

      Indeed! SUPPORT THE BISHOPS!!!

      November 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • TC

      True – but want candidate ran on a pro-life platform? The dums and the repubes all support abortion.

      November 16, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • End Religion

      "The dums and the repubes all support abortion."

      Because the civilized world has finally shrugged off your archaic religious worldview. Just like many people think the Arab world remains mired in medieval thinking, so too does the religious world. We're moving on. Get on the train or go extinct.

      November 17, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  8. Nietodarwin

    Thank you to hawaiiguest for reminding me that I need to get myself excommunicated from the church I haven't attended in more than 30 years, but that still counts me. I googled it, it's not as easy as you think, but can be done without assaulting the pope (that's one sure way, but there are others that involve not breaking any REAL laws.)

    November 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Being excommunicated from the Catholic Church is widely misunderstood: It doesn't mean that you're banned from church and stripped of your Catholicism. Rather, excommunication is a strong, remedial penalty meted out with the hope that it'll wake you up and move you to true repentance — and back into full communion with the faithful. In short, it's reversible.

      Excommunication is the most severe form of ecclesiastical penalty and is used only as an absolute last resort. Excommunicants remain Catholic because of baptism and still obligated to attend Mass, but they are deprived of all sacraments (except for the Sacrament of Penance). For example, you can go to Mass but not receive the Holy Eucharist. The excommunicated are forbidden from employment or holding any position of authority in a diocese or parish. They are also deprived of a Catholic burial.

      November 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • A.T.Steelman

      ALL of you please remember in your choosing, that JESUS WILL be your JUDGE!

      November 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • End Religion

      excommunication is the sanctimonious wagging of a finger at people who "sinned" by people who "sin". It's expulsion of someone from the He-Man Woman Hater's Club, as if that was a bad thing.

      November 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  9. Meh

    This is my confession:
    I wish you robe wearing goons would stop touching children
    The people will get into the vatican one day and expose all your filth – it will happen. If any of these robot fools had any goodness in them, they would expose everything

    November 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You are confusing confession with accusation

      November 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • MeAgain

      My goodness...aren't you just emptying yourself. What's the matter, you psych cancel your session today? or did your medication just wear off a little early?

      November 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Tadeja

      The filth has been exposed and now being cleaned up. Please also look to the percentages of abuse in the public schools, teachers, etc and help clean up there as well.

      November 18, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  10. Cindy

    Not your worry about birth control. If there really is some almighty god I would think he/she would be able to handle stopping what they don't like all on their own. Don't you worry your pretty little head about it. "God" can take care of their own issues and don't need some peon like some of the people here, to do the work. If a god didn't want it then it wouldn't work. These people here scare me with their stupidity.

    November 16, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Thomas

      Well Cindy, when God created us, he gave us free will. this means that we have the ability to make choices in our lives whether they are good or bad. Just because there is sin in the world, like abortion and contraception, doesn't mean that God is fond of it or doesn't care.

      November 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thomas
      Man crreated God you ignorant fzuck. Now get off my swingset.

      November 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Just because there is sin in the world, like abortion and contraception, doesn't mean that God is fond of it or doesn't care."

      Speaking for god, are you? Nothing arrogant about that

      November 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  11. sick of christian phonies

    Face facts- as an ex-catholic (12 years of catholic school indoctrination couldn't keep me in the church), I saw that many "believers" just give the church and its teachings lip service. Go to mass once a year and you're fine. Otherwise, they overwhelmingly do as they see fit and ignore the men in funny hats. Over 90% of catholics use birth control, for instance. This is because MOST catholics are capable of INDEPENDENT THOUGHT and are fairly well EDUCATED- not something you can say about fundamentalists, evangelicals, most muslims, biblical literalists, animists, etc. My capacity to reason is what led me to renounce the faith of my fathers. It is what leads the people of the church to plot their own way, disregarding the haughty pronouncements of their "leaders".

    November 16, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      After 12 years of Catholic school, you know that you were taught and should have learned that once a year mass attendance is not the correct number. And you also know that being confirmed, you are still a Catholic no matter how long you've been away from the body. There is no such thing as an "ex-Catholic".

      November 16, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • midwest rail

      Whether or not someone is an "ex-Catholic" would seem to be entirely up to the individual. To suggest otherwise is the pinnacle of hubris.

      November 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      That's because you don't understand the sacrament of confirmation. If an individual takes that sacrament it is permanent.

      November 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Damn I forgot about that. I need to write to someone, see if I can just get myself ex-communicated from my old catholic church. I don't want to be used as a dishonest statistic to shore up their numbers.

      November 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Being a confirmed member of an organization based on fiction and nonsense is meaningless. It is funny many catholics differentiate between "true" catholics and catholics in name only....until a catholic says they are no longer a catholic...then they come out and say "nope...you can't quit".

      November 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      I too was raised in that and have abandoned the faith, (my lucky altar boy anus remained unmolested.) It is still a "cultural" imprint, having been raised catholic, but not having been to church in many decades, nor contributed one cent to their coffers, I have denied them expected income. There are many many like us, so hopefully between that and paying off all the lawsuits the church will eventually go broke.

      November 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • MeAgain

      Do you really believe that is a Catholic-only problem? Be honest with yourself. You know every denomination of every faith has folks that do that....just like atheist do. Stop being so anti-Catholic and realize human nature might be skewing the results.

      November 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Why there are not ex-Catholics.

      III. THE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION
      1304 Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the "character," which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.

      November 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chick-a-dee

      Here's a tip, no one who isn't in your criminal organization (AKA the RCC) doesn't give a flying backward fuck what the supposed effects of confirmation is.

      November 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yes Hawaii, we can tell by your well metered response that you are completely detached from the relevance of confirmation to your own journey. Why not go back to the mass before you decide on apostacy? You might have a different perspective by now assuming you keep an open mind.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill Deacon

      Why don't you shove your condescending bullshit back down your throat.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      HAHA good one! Man, nothing like a well reasoned argument is there?

      November 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Why should bother with anything more in depth than what you give me?

      November 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Man I can't stop cracking up! Who knew Hawaii and Nieto were confirmed Catholics? That is fabulous news. Lapsed certainly but all is not lost you guys. Get thee to a confessor!

      November 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      So all you can do is give more shallow, condescending idiocy. Good job Bill, you have "confirmed" (oh yes definitely the word I want to use here) exactly how moronic you are.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You pose as an atheist but what you are is a conflicted Catholic. You're a poe or you are at least guilty of non-disclosure. You have cheered on and participated in attacks on other Christians, your brothers and sisters in Christ who have loved you. You are exactly the type of person the Bible describes as foolish. When I first saw some of your postings I noted the intellect. But you became another hater and now to find out you're just bitter. Man talk about a lying hypocrite!

      Hey good news. Forgiveness is at hand! Turn to Jesus my brother!

      November 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Thank you for showing how worthless you can be. I'm done with you Bill, there's no point talking to a useless person like you.

      November 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • End Religion

      November 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  12. sick of christian phonies

    " the Church and its teachings have been around for 2,000 years". Sure has, and MANY beliefs and practices have changed in that time. You can no longer buy "indulgences" to lessen your time in "purgatory". "Limbo" is gone- what happens to all those unbaptized and heathen babies now? Galileo was forgiven for saying the earth revolves around the sun (just a few years ago!). There are altar GIRLS now, holy moley! Popes and the religious elite no longer murder their enemies (not positive about that- see Pope John Paul 1). Things evolve and change. That's life. One day- if the church can survive the unending loss of members to evangelical sects, atheism, etc- we'll probably even see the first married gay pope!

    November 16, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Indulgences: No, an indulgence cannot be bought or sold. You can, however, get an indulgence as a gift.
      Text of Pope John Paul II's General Audience on Indulgences, Wednesday, 29 September 1999

      http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/1999/doc.uments/hf_jp-ii_aud_29091999_en.html

      Recent Plenary Indulgence decree

      http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/tribunals/apost_penit/doc.uments/rc_trib_appen_doc_20120517_family_en.html
      ------------------------------------------------------–
      Limbo and unbaptised babies:

      From the Vatican: THE HOPE OF SALVATION FOR INFANTS WHO DIE WITHOUT BEING BAPTISED

      http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_doc.uments/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html
      ------------------------------------------------------–
      Galileo:

      31 October, 1992 : John Paul II receives in audience the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences. The Academy presents to the Holy Father the conclusions reached by the "Commission for the Study of the ptolemaic-copernican Controversy, which was inst.ituted by John Paul II on 3 June 1981 to "provide to the world of science and culture the long-awaited response in merit to the case of Galileo Galilei ".

      Explanation of the Galileo Affair located at:

      http://www.ewtn.com/library/homelibr/galileo.txt

      ------------------------------------------------------–
      Girls as alter servers:

      http://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/altbyhom.txt

      ------------------------------------------------------–

      Happy reading. Let us know if you need any additional help locating answers to your questions. It seems as if you are confused quite a bit of the Church's teachings and traditions.

      P.S. I have a pre-Vatican II prayer book with the Indulgenced Prayer. Would you like me to type it out for you so you can start working on your indulgence?

      November 16, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I love you Chick

      November 16, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • CMoses

      Ditto, Chick. When I have the time to hop on CNN's "Belief" (or lack there of) section, it's always good to see someone else helping to make informed arguments about the Catholic Church. God bless.

      November 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • MeAgain

      Sorry to correct you but that basic tenants of Catholic teaching do not change. Now...I bet you are going to reply with something that was not a doctrinal teaching and challenge me. Please double check your facts before looking silly.

      November 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Bill & CMoses, Well that put an extra smile in my day! Thanks :-D

      November 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • James Peters

      @Chick-a-dee @MeAgain @et. al.

      (SOCP – sick of christian phonies) may not have all of the facts straight, but you are so rabid to respond, that you didn't bother to read the post.
      SOCP said [my comments in-line]

      " the Church and its teachings have been around for 2,000 years"
      [ Right! ]
      Sure has, and MANY beliefs and practices have changed in that time.
      [ That's true. Beliefs and practices have changed. There are currently several rites of the church, and the terms Rite refers to: the ceremonial practices of a church or group of churches: Also, notice SOCP did not say "tenants", nor "tenets", which is what you probably were trying to spell ]

      You can no longer buy "indulgences" to lessen your time in "purgatory".
      [ notice SOCP said "can no longer" and you respond with "No, an indulgence cannot be bought or sold." Sounds like you either didn't read what SOCP said, or emphatically agree with SOCP ... hard to tell ]

      "Limbo" is gone – what happens to all those unbaptized and heathen babies now?
      [ you shoot right back with a link to the ITC. Did you bother to read the Hope of Salvation? While the concept of Limbo was specifically taught in Catholic Schools until the mid 20th-Century, it is no longer mentioned in the current Catholic Catechism. As a matter of fact, Hope and Salvation states in it's conclusion: "Though some medieval theologians maintained the possibility of an intermediate, natural, destiny, gained by the grace of Christ (gratia sanans), namely Limbo, we consider such a solution problematic and wish to indicate that other approaches are possible, based on hope for a redemptive grace given to unbaptised infants who die which opens for them the way to heaven. We believe that, in the development of doctrine, the solution in terms of Limbo can be surpassed in view of a greater theological hope." So again, SOCP was correct, since the point was mentioning change ex: the teachings of Limbo ]

      Galileo was forgiven for saying the earth revolves around the sun (just a few years ago!).
      [ and you provide a link ... very nice ]

      You get the idea ...

      So your parting sort was a smug "It seems as if you are confused quite a bit of the Church's teachings and traditions."

      Did you mean: "It seems as if you have confused quite a few of the Church's teachings and traditions." or "It seems as if you are confused quite a bit by the Church's teachings and traditions." In any case, it is clear you thought he was confused ...

      Which, in fact, SOCP was not. And SOCP's MAIN point was "Things evolve and change" which IS TRUE.
      Otherwise, it would have all been "known" since 33 AD and that would have made a lot of Jesuit scholarship useless, and the Sacred Magisterium pointless.

      The Church must be open, and IT IS, to change. It is just slow, and very content to take it's time.
      The only people who think that it shouldn't be, or isn't, are the close minded who think they know everything, and are more than happy to tell everyone else how to run their lives. To them, change is a threat, because it imposes upon them the need for independent thought.

      November 17, 2012 at 4:52 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Dear James: What would you like me to say? If I type what is really on my mind, the phrase dum.b$h.1t will be so liberally peppered throughout that it would undermine both any chance of actually teaching anything and my overwhelming, daily struggle to not use my words to slap you both around. I'll put my final thoughts in caps and intersperse because my sof.tware doesn't allow me to upload fonts to this interface, not because I'm shouting.
      (SOCP – s.ick of christian phonies) may not have all of the facts straight, but you are so rabid to respond, that you didn't bother to read the post.
      YOU ARE ONLY PARTIALLY CORRECT WITH THIS OPINION. I READ HIS POST AND HE DOESN'T HAVE **ANY** OF THE FACTS STRAIGHT. NOT ONLY IS IT INCORRECT, IT IS ALSO RUDE. YOUR RESPONSE IS PRETTY RUDE TOO. CONSIDER THE GLOVES OFF. I DON'T REALLY FEEL LIKE BENDING OVER BACKWARD TO AVOID BEING RUDE BACK. SOMETIMES IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO STATE THE OBVIOUS.

      SOCP said [my comments in-line]
      " the Church and its teachings have been around for 2,000 years"
      [ Right! ]
      ALMOST 2000... CLOSE ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT WORK.

      Sure has, and MANY beliefs and practices have changed in that time.
      [ That's true. Beliefs and practices have changed. There are currently several rites of the church, and the terms Rite refers to: the ceremonial practices of a church or group of churches: Also, notice SOCP did not say "tenants", nor "tenets", which is what you probably were trying to spell ]
      NO. THE BELIEFS OF THE CHURCH HAVE NOT CHANGED. SACRAMENTS CANNOT CHANGE THEY ARE GIVEN BY GOD. THERE ARE MAN-MADE PRACTICES THAT ARE ABLE TO BE CHANGED. THE ORIGINAL POSTER (AKA SOCP) OBVIOUSLY DOESN'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE, YET FEELS ENT.ITLED TO VOICE AN OPINION. FURTHER, HE FINISHES WITH HIS INSULTING PREDICTION. IF HE IS UNAWARE THAT HIS PREDICTION IS AN IMPOSSIBILITY, HE HAS NO BUSINESS STATING AN OPINION. IF HE IS AWARE, THEN IT IS INTENTIONALLY PROVOKING A REACTION WITH OFFENSIVENESS.

      You can no longer buy "indulgences" to lessen your time in "purgatory".
      [ notice SOCP said "can no longer" and you respond with "No, an indulgence cannot be bought or sold." Sounds like you either didn't read what SOCP said, or emphatically agree with SOCP ... hard to tell ]
      SOUNDS LIKE YOU THINK ANYONE wh.o DOESN'T AGREE WITH "SOCP" HASN'T READ HIS DRIVEL. I MADE THE STATEMENT "No, an indulgence cannot be bought or sold." BECAUSE IT IS A TRUE STATEMENT. IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN TO SELL AN INDULGENCE AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN. THIS PROHIBITION, HOWEVER, DIDN'T PHASE JOHANN TETZEL AND A FEW OTHER INFAMOUS INDIVIDUALS wh.o CREATED THIS MEDIEVAL SCANDAL. THE FACT THAT THEY WERE DOING THIS PROHIBITED ACTION IS *WHY* IT IS A SCANDAL. FURTHER, WANTED TO POINT OUT THAT "NO YOU CANT BUY ONE" AND UNDERSCORE "YES!" THEY ARE STILL AVAILABLE AS GIFTS. AT THIS POINT I GUESS I SHOULD POINT OUT THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS RESORT TO ACTUALLY WORKING FOR YOUR OWN INSTEAD OF JUST TRYING TO OBTAIN ONE. NEITHER OF YOU SEEM TO BE AWARE OF MUCH HAVING TO DO WITH INDULGENCES.

      "Limbo" is gone – what happens to all those unbaptized and heathen babies now?
      [ you shoot right back with a link to the ITC. Did you bother to read the Hope of Salvation? While the concept of Limbo was specifically taught in Catholic Schools until the mid 20th-Century, it is no longer mentioned in the current Catholic Catechism. As a matter of fact, Hope and Salvation states in it's conclusion: "Though some medieval theologians maintained the possibility of an intermediate, natural, destiny, gained by the grace of Christ (gratia sanans), namely Limbo, we consider such a solution problematic and wish to indicate that other approaches are possible, based on hope for a redemptive grace given to unbaptised infants wh.o die which opens for them the way to heaven. We believe that, in the development of doctrine, the solution in terms of Limbo can be surpa.ssed in view of a greater theological hope." So again, SOCP was correct, since the point was mentioning change ex: the teachings of Limbo ]

      THE DOC.UMENT "THE HOPE OF SALVATION FOR INFANTS wh.o DIE WITHOUT BEING BAPTISED" IS 39 TYPEWRITTEN PAGES, SO THE QUESTION IS REALLY "DID *YOU* BOTHER TO READ IT?". I SEE THE HYPERLINK DOESN'T WORK FROM THIS BLOG. TO READ IT GO TO THE VATICAN SITE AT http://www.vatican.va , CHOOSE YOUR LANGUAGE, GO TO THE SITEMAP, CL.ick THE SEARCH BUTTON, PLUG IN THE T.ITLE "THE HOPE OF SALVATION FOR INFANTS wh.o DIE WITHOUT BEING BAPTISED". THE SECOND PARAGRAPH READS "It is clear that the traditional teaching on this topic has concentrated on the theory of limbo, understood as a state which includes the souls of infants wh.o die subject to original sin and without baptism, and wh.o, therefore, neither merit the beatific vision, nor yet are subjected to any punishment, because they are not guilty of any personal sin. This theory, elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium, even if that same Magisterium did at times mention the theory in its ordinary teaching up until the Second Vatican Council. It remains therefore a possible theological hypothesis. However, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), the theory of limbo is not mentioned. Rather, the Catechism teaches that infants wh.o die without baptism are entrusted by the Church to the mercy of God, as is shown in the specific funeral rite for such children. The principle that God desires the salvation of all people gives rise to the hope that there is a path to salvation for infants wh.o die without baptism (cf. CCC, 1261), and therefore also to the theological desire to find a coherent and logical connection between the diverse affirmations of the Catholic faith: the universal salvific will of God; the unicity of the mediation of Christ; the necessity of baptism for salvation; the universal action of grace in relation to the sacraments; the link between original sin and the deprivation of the beatific vision; the creation of man “in Christ”. "
      GEE, HERE'S ANOTHER ONE FOR YOUR **WRONG** COLUMN. YOU SAID "As a matter of fact, Hope and Salvation states in it's conclusion..." WHILE YOUR QUOTE DOES APPEAR IN THE DOC.UMENT, IT IS NOT THE CONCLUSION AS YOU FALSELY a.ssERT. IT IS IN PARAGRAPH 95 WHICH READS "It is important to recognise a “double gratuity” which calls us into being and simultaneously calls us to eternal life. Though a purely natural order is conceivable, no human life is actually lived in such an order. The actual order is supernatural; channels of grace are open from the very beginning of each human life. All are born with that humanity which was a.ssumed by Christ himself and all live in some kind of relation to him, with different degrees of explicitness (cf. LG 16) and acceptance, at every moment. There are two possible ends for a human being in such an order: either the vision of God or hell (cf. GS 22). Though some medieval theologians maintained the possibility of an intermediate, natural, destiny, gained by the grace of Christ (gratia sanans), namely Limbo,[128] we consider such a solution problematic and wish to indicate that other approaches are possible, based on hope for a redemptive grace given to unbaptised infants wh.o die which opens for them the way to heaven. We believe that, in the development of doctrine, the solution in terms of Limbo can be surpa.ssed in view of a greater theological hope." THIS STILL MEANS THAT LIMBO ALWAYS WAS AND STILL IS A THEORY AND IT NEVER WAS DOGMA. ACTUALLY THIS PARAGRAPH INDICATES THAT DOGMA FOR THIS ANSWER HAS STILL NOT BEEN DEVELOPED.
      FOR THE CONCLUSION I'LL BORROW YOUR PHRASING. AS A MATTER OF FACT HOPE AND SALVATION STATES IN ITS CONCLUSION "What has been revealed to us is that the ordinary way of salvation is by the sacrament of Baptism. None of the above considerations should be taken as qualifying the necessity of Baptism or justifying delay in administering the sacrament.[135] Rather, as we want to reaffirm in conclusion, they provide strong grounds for hope that God will save infants when we have not been able to do for them what we would have wished to do, namely, to baptize them into the faith and life of the Church." WHICH REALLY DOESN'T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT LIMBO.
      SO WHAT IS THE POINT YOU ARE TRYING TO MAKE HERE? POSSIBLY THAT SOCP IS FULL OF THE STUFF THAT COMES OUT OF THE BACK END OF A HORSE AND YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT EITHER?
      LIMBO WAS POSED AS A THEOLOGICAL THEORY IN THE MIDDLE AGES. EVEN WHILE I WAS IN CATHOLIC SCHOOL IN THE '70S AND '80S IT WAS TAUGHT AS A THEORY. OUR RELIGION TEACHER, A JESUIT PRIEST, TOLD US IT WAS A THEORY NOT A DOGMA AND THAT THE THEORY IS THERE BECAUSE WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE ANSWER IS. LIMBO IS ONE POSSIBLE ANSWER. THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS A COMPILATION OF THE CHURCH'S BELIEFS. OF COURSE IT WOULDN'T CONTAIN LIMBO. DUH! LIMBO IS A THEORY NOT A DOGMA. MAYBE YOU AND SOCP GOT THE MESSAGE WRONG BACK IN THE 20TH CENTURY BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE THAT ISN'T THE ONLY MESSAGE FOR WHICH YOU TWO NEED REMEDIAL EDUCATION.

      Galileo was forgiven for saying the earth revolves around the sun (just a few years ago!).
      [ and you provide a link ... very nice ]
      GLAD YOU LIKED THE LINK. DID YOU READ THE DOCU.MENT AT THE HYPERLINK DESTINATION? THIS ONE IS ONLY 11 PAGES. THE FIRST TWO SENTENCES ARE "No ep.isode in the history of the Catholic Church is so misunderstood as the condemnation of Galileo. It is, in Newman's phrase, the one stock argument used to show that science and Catholic dogma are antagonistic." THE REST OF THE REPORT BLOWS YOUR MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE GALILEO INCIDENT TO SMITHEREENS. IS THIS THE REASON THAT YOU DIDN'T READ IT? GO BACK AND DO SO NOW. PAY ATTENTION TO Pa.ssAGES LIKE "Contrary to reports in The New York Times and other conduits of misinformation about the Church, the Holy See was not on this occasion finally throwing in the towel and admitting that the earth revolves around the sun. That particular debate, so far as the Church was concerned, had been closed since at least 1741 when Benedict XIV bid the Holy Office grant an imprimatur to the first edition of the Complete Works of Galileo." AND "the Holy Father pointed out that "the Galileo case has been a sort of 'myth,' in which the image fabricated out of the events was quite far removed from the reality." AND "Galileo's run-in with the Church, according to the Pope, involved a "tragic mutual incomprehension" in which both sides were at fault." AND "In April 1615, he wrote a letter which amounted to an unofficial statement of the Church's position. He pointed out that: 1. it was perfectly acceptable to maintain Copernicanism as a working hypothesis; and 2. if there were "real proof" that the earth circles around the sun, "then we should have to proceed with great cirC.UMspection in explaining pa.ssages of Scripture which appear to teach the contrary......"

      Bellarmine, in effect, challenged Galileo to prove his theory or stop pestering the Church. Galileo's response was to produce his theory of the tides, which purported to show that the tides are caused by the rotation of the earth. Even some of Galileo's supporters could see that this was patent nonsense. Determined to have a showdown, however, Galileo came to Rome to confront Pope Paul V. The Pope, exasperated by all this fuss about the planets, referred the matter to the Holy Office."
      I WON'T SPOIL THE STORY FOR YOU BY TELLING YOU THE ENDING. YOU'LL STILL HAVE TO READ IT TO UNDERSTAND HOW WE GET TO THE CONCLUSION:
      "The Catholic Church really has little to apologize for in its relations with science. Indeed, Stanley Jaki and others have argued that it was the metaphysical framework of medieval Catholicism which made modern science possible in the first place. In Jaki's vivid phrase, science was "still-born" in every major culture–Greek, Hindu, Chinese–except the Christian
      West. It was the insistence on the rationality of God and His creation by St. Thomas Aquinas and other Catholic thinkers that paved the way for Galileo and Newton.

      So far as the teaching authority of the Church is concerned, it is striking how modern physics is playing ca.tch-up with Catholic dogma. In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council taught that the universe had a beginning in time–an idea which would have scandalized both an ancient Greek and a 19th century positivist, but which is now a commonplace of modern cosmology. Indeed, the more we learn about the universe, the closer we come to the ontological mysteries of
      Christian faith."

      You get the idea ...
      THE IDEA I GET IS EQUALLY UNFLATTERING TO "SOCP" AND YOU.

      So your parting sort was a smug "It seems as if you are confused quite a bit of the Church's teachings and traditions."
      "smug
      1. contentedly confident of one's ability, superiority, or correctness; complacent."
      YEP, THAT ABOUT SIZES IT UP CONSIDERING HOW RIDICULOUS AND UNINFORMED "SOCP" AND YOU ARE.

      Did you mean: "It seems as if you have confused quite a few of the Church's teachings and traditions." or "It seems as if you are confused quite a bit by the Church's teachings and traditions." In any case, it is clear you thought he was confused ...
      I MEANT "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. YOU SHOULD SHUT UP UNTIL YOU EDUCATE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO HAVE AN OPINION WORTH STATING."

      Which, in fact, SOCP was not.
      WE'RE SORRY. THAT'S NOT CORRECT BUT WE HAVE SOME LOVELY PARTING GIFTS FOR YOU.

      And SOCP's MAIN point was "Things evolve and change" which IS TRUE.
      YES, SOME THINGS CHANGE – JUST NOT THE ONES THAT SOCP CHOSE TO WRITE ABOUT.

      Otherwise, it would have all been "known" since 33 AD and that would have made a lot of Jesuit scholarship useless, and the Sacred Magisterium pointless.
      CONSIDERING THAT JESUS GAVE AUTHORITY TO HIS APOLSTLES AND THAT AUTHORITY IS IN THE HANDS OF THE MAGISTERIUM THROUGH APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION IT IS HARDLY POINTLESS.

      The Church must be open, and IT IS, to change. It is just slow, and very content to take it's time.
      The only people wh.o think that it shouldn't be, or isn't, are the close minded wh.o think they know everything, and are more than happy to tell everyone else how to run their lives. To them, change is a threat, because it imposes upon them the need for independent thought.
      HERE'S A SAFETY TIP. DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH WAITING FOR "the first married g.a. y pope!" BECAUSE THIS ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN.

      SERIOUSLY, I DO HOPE THAT YOU OPEN YOUR MIND ENOUGH TO ASK QUESTIONS AND LEARN WHAT THE CHURCH ACTUALLY TEACHES – AND WHY. AND I HOPE THAT WHATEVER YOUR AGENDA IS CAN BE OVERCOME BY INTERACTING WITH SOME REALLY NICE PEOPLE WITHIN THE CHURCH. THAT'S PROBABLY NOT ME BECAUSE I'M THE FIRST TO ADMIT I'M A IMPATIENT, CRANKY AND GENERALLY UNWILLING TO TOLERATE FOOLS.

      November 18, 2012 at 6:48 am |
  13. Jessica

    “whatever setbacks or challenges in the efforts to defend religious liberty we may be experiencing, we're going to stay the course.”

    You've had the religious liberty to refuse to do LGBT marriages in your Catholic church's every time marriage equality is passed.

    Why then do you continue to LIE and say that you will be forced to marry LGBT people when the laws specifically says that you can not be forced to do so?

    Why do you continue to spread lies that you know are factually and totally incorrect?

    You are supposed to be men of truth yet you and your agents continue to lie.

    Why do you continue to break one of the Ten Commandments?

    November 16, 2012 at 4:19 am |
    • Here's what the Bishops actually said

      Bishops’ Defense Of Marriage Chair Calls For Prayer, Renewed Culture Of Marriage

      Marriage protection efforts in state referenda not successful
      "Marriage needs to be strengthened … not redefined," Archbishop Cordileone says
      All people called "to build a renewed culture of marriage and the family"
      WASHINGTON—In response to the November 6 statewide referenda results in Washington State, Minnesota, Maryland, and Maine regarding marriage, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, called for renewed efforts to strengthen and protect marriage and family life and expressed grat.itude to marriage protection supporters.
      "Yesterday, November 6, was a disappointing day for marriage, as the effort to preserve the unique meaning of marriage in the law lost by only a narrow margin in four states, even though vastly outspent by those who promote the redefinition of marriage," Archbishop Cordileone said.
      "The meaning of marriage, though, cannot be redefined because it lies within our very nature. No matter what policy, law or judicial decision is put into place, marriage is the only inst.itution that unites a man and a woman to each other and to any children born of their union. It is either this, or it is nothing at all. In view of the fact that every child has a mother and a father, our society either respects the basic right of every child to be raised by his or her mother and father together and so supports the true and unique meaning of marriage for the good of children, or it does not. In a society marked by increasing poverty and family fragmentation, marriage needs to be strengthened, promoted, and defended, not redefined. I hope and pray that political leaders, judges, and all people will seek to honor this foundational and common sense truth of marriage," the archbishop said.
      Earlier this year, the Washington State and Maryland legislatures voted in favor of bills to redefine marriage and the governors of these states signed the respective bills into law; however, before these laws could take effect, enough voters in each state signed a pet.ition to put these laws before the voters in yesterday's referenda. In Minnesota, the state legislature in 2011 voted to adopt a marriage protection amendment to the state const.itution, which went before the voters yesterday.
      In Maine, earlier this year, supporters of marriage redefinition submitted a pet.ition with enough signatures to have a referendum on marriage redefinition in an attempt to counter the 2009 vote of the people that protected the meaning of marriage. In Maryland and Maine, voters yesterday voted in favor of redefining marriage (votes are still being confirmed in Washington State, though it is projected that voters did the same there as well). In Minnesota, voters rejected the proposed state const.itutional amendment, though Minnesota still protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman through state statute.
      "I extend heartfelt grat.itude to all those who dedicated and sacrificed time, energy and resources to protect marriage," Archbishop Cordileone said. "I especially call on all people to pray and to build a renewed culture of marriage and the family. This is a fundamental task on which the future good and stability of our society, and particularly that of our children, rest."

      http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-186.cfm

      November 16, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • Here's what the Bishops actually said

      Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers About Marriage and Same-s.ex Unions

      A growing movement today favors making those relationships commonly called same-s.ex unions the legal equivalent of marriage. This situation challenges Catholics—and all who seek the truth—to think deeply about the meaning of marriage, its purposes, and its value to individuals, families, and society. This kind of reflection, using reason and faith, is an appropriate starting point and framework for the current debate.
      We, the Catholic bishops of the United States, offer here some basic truths to assist people in understanding Catholic teaching about marriage and to enable them to promote marriage and its sacredness.
      1. What is marriage?
      Marriage,as inst.ituted by God, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of life and love. They commit themselves completely to each other and to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children intothe world and caring for them. The call to marriage is woven deeply into the human spirit. Man and woman are equal. However, as created, they are different from but made for each other. This complementarity, including s.exual difference, draws them together in a mutually loving union that should be always open to the procreation of children (see Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], nos. 1602-1605). These truths about marriageare present in the order ofnature and can be perceived by the light of human reason. They have been confirmed by divine Revelation in Sacred Scripture.
      2. What does our faith tell us about marriage?
      Marriage comes from the loving hand of God, who fashioned both male and female in the divine image (see Gn 1:27).  A man "leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body" (Gn 2:24). The man recognizes the woman as "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (Gn 2:23). God blesses the man and woman and commands them to "be fertile and multiply" (Gn 1:28). Jesus reiterates these teachings from Genesis, saying, "But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two shall become one flesh'" (Mk 10:6-8).
      These biblical passages help us to appreciate God's plan for marriage. It is an intimate union in which the spouses give themselves, as equal persons, completely and lovingly to one another. By their mutual gift of self, they cooperate with God in bringing children to life and in caring for them.
      Marriage is both a natural inst.itution and a sacred union because it is rooted in the divine plan for creation. In addition, the Church teaches that the valid marriage of baptized Christians is a sacrament—a saving reality. Jesus Christ made marriage a symbol of his love for his Church (see Eph 5:25-33). This means that a sacramental marriage lets the world see, in human terms, something of the faithful, creative, abundant, and self-emptying love of Christ. A true marriage in the Lord with his grace will bring the spouses to holiness. Their love, manifested in fidelity, passion, fertility, generosity, sacrifice, forgiveness, and healing, makes known God's love in their family, communities, and society. This Christian meaning confirms and strengthens the human value of a marital union (see CCC, nos. 1612-1617; 1641-1642).
      3. Why can marriage exist only between a man and a woman?
      The natural structure of human s.exuality makes man and woman complementary partners for the transmission of human life. Only a union of male and female can express the s.exual complementarity willed by God for marriage. The permanent and exclusive commitment of marriage is the necessary context for the expression of s.exual love intended by God both to serve the transmission of human life and to build up the bond between husband and wife (see CCC, nos. 1639-1640).
      In marriage, husband and wife give themselves totally to each other in their masculinity and femininity (see CCC, no. 1643). They are equal as human beings but different as man and woman, fulfilling each other through this natural difference. This unique complementarity makes possible the conjugal bond that is the core of marriage.
      4. Why is a same-s.ex union not equivalent to a marriage?
      For several reasons a same-s.ex union contradicts the nature of marriage: It is notbased on the natural complementarity of male and female;it cannot cooperate with Godto create new life; and the natural purpose of s.exual union cannot be achieved by asame-s.ex union. Persons in same-s.ex unions cannot enter into a true conjugal union. Therefore, it is wrong to equate their relationship to a marriage.
      5. Why is it so important to society that marriage be preserved as the exclusive union of a man and a woman?
      Across times, cultures, and very different religious beliefs, marriage is the foundation of the family. The family, in turn, is the basic unit of society. Thus, marriage is a personal relationship with public significance. Marriage is the fundamental pattern for male-female relationships. It contributes to society because it models the way in which women and men live interdependently and commit, for the whole of life, to seek the good of each other.
      The marital union also provides the best conditions for raising children: namely, the stable, loving relationship of a mother and father present only in marriage. The state rightly recognizes this relationship as a public inst.itution in its laws because the relationship makes a unique and essential contribution to the common good.
      Laws play an educational role insofar as they shape patterns of thought and behavior, particularly about what is socially permissible and acceptable. In effect, giving same-s.ex unions the legal status of marriage would grant official public approval to ho.mos.exual activity and would treat it as if it were morally neutral.
      When marriage is redefined so as to make other relationships equivalent to it, the inst.itution ofmarriage is devalued and further weakened. The weakening of this basic inst.itution at all levels and by various forces has already exacted too high a social cost.
      6. Does denying marriage to ho.mos.exual persons demonstrate unjust discrimination and a lack of respect for them as persons?
      It is not unjust to deny legal status to same-s.ex unions because marriage and same-s.ex unions are essentially different realities. In fact, justice requires society to do so. To uphold God's intent for marriage, in which s.exual relations have their proper and exclusive place, is not to offend the dignity of ho.mos.exual persons. Christians must give witness to the whole moral truth and oppose as immoral both ho.mos.exual acts and unjust discrimination against ho.mos.exual persons. The Catechism of the Catholic Church urges that ho.mos.exual persons "be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity" (no. 2358). It also encourages chaste friendships. "Chast.ity is expressed notably in friendship with one's neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite s.ex, friendship represents a great good for all" (no. 2347).
      7. Should persons who live in same-s.ex relationships be ent.itled to some of the same social and economic benefits given to married couples?
      The state has an obligation to promote the family, which is rooted in marriage. Therefore, it can justly give married couples rights and benefits it does not extend to others. Ultimately, the stability and flourishing of society is dependent on the stability and flourishing of healthy family life. The legal recognition of marriage, including the benefits associated with it, is not only about personal commitment, but also about the social commitment that husband and wife make to the well-being of society. It would be wrong to redefine marriage for the sake of providing benefits to those who cannot rightfully enter into marriage. Some benefits currently sought by persons in ho.mos.exual unions 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.
      8. In light of the Church's teaching about the truth and beauty of marriage, what should Catholics do?
      There is to be no separation between one's faith and life in either public or private realms. All Catholics should act on their beliefs with a well-formed conscience based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition. They should be a community of conscience within society. By their voice and their vote, they should contribute to society's welfare and test its public life by the standards of right reason and Gospel truth. Responsible citizenship is a virtue. Participation in the political process is a moral obligation. This is particularly urgent in light of the need to defend marriage and to oppose the legalization of same-s.ex unions as marriages. Married couples themselves, by the witness of their faithful, life-giving love, are the best advocates for marriage. By their example, they are the first teachers of the next generation about the dignity of marriage and the need to uphold it. As leaders of their family—which the Second Vatican Council called a "domestic church" (
      Lumen Gentium, no. 11)—couples should bring their gifts as well as their needs to the larger Church. There, with the help of other couples and their pastors and collaborators, they can strengthen their commitment and sustain their sacrament over a lifetime.
      Conclusion
      Marriage is a basic human and social inst.itution. Though it is regulated by civil laws and church laws, it did not originate from either the church or state, but from God. Therefore, neither church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage. Marriage, whose nature and purposes are established by God, can only be the union of a man and a woman and must remain such in law. In a manner unlike any other relationship, marriage makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the common good of society, especially through the procreation and education of children. The union of husband and wife becomes, over a lifetime, a great good for themselves, their family, communities, and society. Marriage is a gift to be cherished and protected.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:54 am |
    • Cindy

      Worry about your own marriages. If over 60% of the people have been divorced (perhaps higher) that shows me that instead of worrying about whether gays should marry that you should be more worried about your own marriage and what you make of it.

      November 16, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ Cindy: It's not a question of whether or not two people of the same gender "should" be able to marry, because the reality is that they simply cannot marry. They can do all sorts of things but marry is not one of them because marriage is a sacrament. That means it is not defined by the Church or by the law. Human beings cannot redefine a sacrament.

      We are taught:

      What is marriage?
      Marriage,as inst.ituted by God, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of life and love. They commit themselves completely to each other and to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children intothe world and caring for them. The call to marriage is woven deeply into the human spirit. Man and woman are equal. However, as created, they are different from but made for each other. This complementarity, including s.exual difference, draws them together in a mutually loving union that should be always open to the procreation of children (see Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], nos. 1602-1605). These truths about marriageare present in the order ofnature and can be perceived by the light of human reason. They have been confirmed by divine Revelation in Sacred Scripture.

      How a marriage is lived may be different from that definition and that accounts for the divorce rate.

      I met my husband in 1978 when I was 15 and he was 16. We married quite a bit later and are still together. We made a commitment to love God first and each other second. Part of loving God is doing our best to live the way He wants us to live.

      Perhaps there are legal remedies for what it seems you'd like do, but redefining marriage isn't one of them.

      November 16, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Here's what the Bishops actually said – The drivel you have written is irrelevant. Marriage is a CIVIL CONTRACT. It is a CIVIL RIGHT. If you get "married" in your church, but don't have a state issued marriage license, you are not married.

      Don't worry, you ignorant fundiot homôphobic bigots will always be free to discriminate on the inside of your church. You just can't discriminate on the outside of your church.

      November 16, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Everyman

      @Chick-ah-dee...sorry that is one religions take on marriage and you shouldn't expect all to believe

      November 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • CMoses

      @Here's what the Bishops actually said, I can't believe you were actually able to post that. Feels like half of my posts "disappear." Thanks for posting that!

      November 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • WheelerDealer

      ChickFilA, You don't get to define marriage; that is decided by the state

      November 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ Everyman & WheelerDealer:

      Marriage came along way before civilization or laws. Marriage is defined by God. It is what it is. 1 Man + 1 Woman united as one for companionship and procreation. Period.

      Then there was a long period of prehistory that recognized marriage as such under natural law. Then mosaic (Hebrew) law codified marriage as such. Then Roman (pagan) law codified marriage as such. Then Jesus elevated marriage to a sacrament and founded the Church. This remained the definition of marriage and the Catholic church was the sole recognizing organization in western civilization from the year 1 until Henry the VIII wanted a divorce and thumbed his nose at the Church. He and his protestant followers refused to recognize the authority of the Church and set up a civil authority to recognize what they wanted to call marriage, still using the same formula. Marriages have not always been civilly recognized. For example during the English occupation of Scotland priests often married couples in secret so the English could not inflict brutish punishments on the bride. The couple was MARRIED regardless of whether the English knew about it or not. If the civil authorities wanted to say a couple was married it may content itself with a label of its own making but that label has no bearing on whether any particular union is in reality a marriage or not. English law was brought to the colonies and now we have a legacy of this Protestant reformation mishmosh intertwined with our tax code. That's where the erroneous idea that marriage is civil and defined by man came from...but it does not effect the true nature and definition of marriage. Period. Further tinkering with the civil code STILL does not effect the true nature of marriage.

      If you are born a human being with two arm and two legs but know in your hear that you are a bird...just lacking a beak and wings. You are wrong. You might be able to get a law passed that says you may call yourself a bird but it will not change the true nature of your species. You may be able to persuade others into agreeing that you are a bird and treating you as if you were a bird, but it does not effect your true nature. You are still a human being and if you glue feathers all over yourself and jump off a cliff you will fall, you will not fly, you will simply be wrong.

      Likewise, a marriage is 1 man + 1 woman for companionship & procreation. A couple that sterilizes one or both partners does not have a sacramental marriage. A couple of men cannot procreate so they can't make a marriage. A couple of gals cannot procreate so they can't make a marriage. They might say they are married but they are incorrect. They could get laws passed that say 2 guys, 2 gals, 2 guys & a gal, 2 gals & a guy, 3 people of any gender & a sheep or any other combination is a legal marriage, but none of those things are marriage. If you apply the same tax codes and property rights to these arrangements you've created something, but it is something new and different and NOT a marriage...and if you call it a marriage you are wrong. America you have the legal right to be as bullheaded, stupid and wrong as you want to be but not one iota of reality will be changed because the nature and definition of marriage cannot be modified by humans.

      Whew! I need a break. This sort of elementary explanation is dull and draining and exactly why I don't teach kindergarten. And don't you dare come back and say "Why?" or you'll stand in the corner.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • midwest rail

      " Bishops Defense of Marriage Chair...." Hilarious. Defense of marriage, my kiester. If the good bishops were genuinely interested in defending marriage in the same fashion as they oppose S.S.M., they would be leading a charge demanding that divorce and adultery be made illegal. Absent that, they are on par with Dan Cathy, another morally inconsistent hypocrite. Cowards all.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      the Catechism states that divorce is immoral because “it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.”[3]

      Not the law of the land but then, after all, we are not a theocracy.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • midwest rail

      " We are not a theocracy. " Setting aside the disingenuous reply, why should that matter now ? The church has never been shy about interfering in the affairs of other sovereign nations – why stop now ?

      November 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Here's what the Bishops actually said

      @ Primewonk

      Marriage is only a civil contract because civil authorities in protestant Europe had to figure out a way to get around having to acknowledge that the sacramental authority resides with Rome.

      No one has a civil right to marriage.

      "If you get "married" in your church, but don't have a state issued marriage license, you are not married."
      Darling you've got that one a$$ backward. The fact that I'm married in the church is what makes it real. The fact that I have a marriage license from my state means that I can file my taxes and take the different deductions using married as my status. The license has no bearing on whether or not my marriage is real.

      Look at it this way. If I get in my car and drive from New York to California, I get to my destination. If I don't have a license from any state allowing me to drive it makes no difference. I'm still in California because the trip is real whether there is a license or not.

      On the other hand, I can have a license, but without having a car and knowing how to drive it just thinking I went from New York to California doesn't get me to Disneyland.

      Finally, stamping my feet and demanding that it is my civil right to be granted a license isn't going to change the fact that my butt is still on Washington Square.

      November 18, 2012 at 7:06 am |
  14. Liberal Catholic

    Bishops, CUA, Catholic Coalition On Climate Change Sponsor Joint Symposium

    Catholic scholars, U.S. bishops and Catholic leaders from around the Washington region will discuss the moral and religious implications of global climate change and environmental justice at a November 8-10 symposium at The Catholic University of America (CUA). "A Catholic Consultation on Environmental Justice and Climate Change: Assessing Pope Benedict XVI's Ecological Vision for the Catholic Church in the United States" is sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), CUA's Inst.itute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, and the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change.

    "We have seen the destructive impact of climate change and environmental degradation both around the world and at home," said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. "These impacts often multiply the hardship experienced by the most vulnerable people in the world.Pope Benedict has consistently drawn attention to these issues and urges all to take moral responsibility to reduce our environmental impact and our carbon footprint. This symposium is an important step in guiding our Catholic response to these challenges."

    Bishop Bernard Unabali from Papau New Guinea will deliver the symposium's opening address on Thursday evening. Bishop Unabali assisted with the relocation of many residents of the Carteret Islands to his diocese. These residents, among the world's first "climate refugees," were forced to abandon their islands due to the impacts of climate change.

    Other bishops in attendance will include Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California; Bishop Donald Kettler of Fairbanks, Alaska; Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida; Bishop John Ricard, retired bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida; and Bishop William Skylstad, retired bishop of Spokane, Washington.

    Scholars presenting on the moral and theological dimensions of ecology and climate change will come from the following colleges and universities: CUA, Fordham, St. Louis, Graduate Theological Union, Notre Dame, Duke, Marquette, Xavier, Duquesne, Santa Clara, Mount St. Mary's and Georgetown.

    The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change is a consortium of national Catholic organizations including the USCCB, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, the National Catholic Education Association, the Franciscan Action Network, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, among others.

    http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-188.cfm

    November 16, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  15. Liberal Catholic

    Both Palestinians and Israelis have undermined the possibility of a two-state solution in recent actions and policies, said the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops'(USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
    These actions include rocket attacks from Gaza into Southern Israel that "spread fear among Israeli families and damage the Palestinian cause by undercutting the trust necessary for negotiations," said Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, November 8. He also decried the Israeli plan to re-route the separation barrier between Israel and Palestine through the Cremisan Valley.
    That plan, said Bishop Pates, would "harm 58 Christian families whose livelihoods and living conditions depend on these lands" and "cut families off from agriculture and recreational lands, other family members, water sources, and schools – including depriving Christian Palestinian youth of fellowship with their peers."
    He added, "Moving the wall and disassociating Palestinian families from their lands and livelihoods will incite more resentment against the State of Israel among residents of the West Bank, not less, increasing the frustrations that can lead to violence."
    Bishop Pates To Secretary Clinton: Moves By Israelis, Palestinians Undermine Peace, Human Dignity

    Bishop Pates affirmed USCCB's support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinians conflict, the end of the rocket attacks and the reversal of policies like the Cremisan Valley proposal that undermine peace.
    "Our Conference reiterates its call for strong U.S. leadership that holds both parties accountable for building a just and lasting peace," Bishop Pates said. "Leaders on both sides must give Israelis and Palestinians hope for a different future free of fear and full of promise."

    http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-187.cfm

    November 16, 2012 at 4:10 am |
  16. Liberal Catholic

    Bishop Blaire, Bishop Pates Urge Congress To Protect The Poor, Future Generations As Sequestration Looms

    Congress should avoid measures that harm at-risk students, low-income families and people currently benefiting from poverty-focused international assistance, according to a letter from the bishops who oversee the justice and peace efforts of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
    "As you work to avoid sequestration and enact responsible deficit reduction that protects poor persons from cuts and future generations from unsustainable debts, we hope longstanding moral principles and values will inform your decisions," wrote Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, and Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, in a November 13 letter to the House and Senate. Bishop Blaire and Bishop Pates chair the USCCB Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development and International Justice and Peace, respectively.
    The bishops said Pope Benedict XVI warns against "downsizing of social security systems" and emphasizes "solidarity with poor countries" and asked Congress to weigh the "human and moral consequences" of numerous policy choices, including:
    ·Section 8 housing vouchers, the Women, Infant and Children's (WIC) program and community health centers, which "help to keep children and families with a roof over their heads, with food on the table, and in good health."
    ·Ti.tle I-A, which supports struggling low-income students, Ti.tle II-A, which supports the professional development of teachers, and IDEA, which supports students with disabilities.
    ·Poverty focused international assistance, which comprise less than one percent of the federal budget and "save lives, treat and prevent disease, make farmers more productive, help orphans, feed victims of disaster, and protect refugees."
    ·The Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and Pell Grants, which assist "people living in or near poverty."
    "We have great concerns that sequestration would negatively affect many important domestic programs that meet the basic needs of people and communities in poverty," the bishops wrote and urged Congress to "act in a bipartisan manner to address the impact of long-term deficits on the health of the economy and on future generations, and to use limited resources efficiently and effectively. However, this important goal must not be achieved at the expense of the dignity of poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad."

    http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-198.cfm

    November 16, 2012 at 4:06 am |
  17. Catholic guy

    The Catholic faith is not popularity contest. Just read scripture, many teachings of the faith have been unpopular from the start. Christ told us that we would have to carry our cross to follow him.
    These so called liberal Catholics didn't slap the bishops, the Church and its teachings have been around for 2,000 years before these johnny come lately liberals came to town and love it or hate it, the Catholic Church will be around long after the liberals are gone.

    November 16, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • Liberal Catholic

      I'm tired of getting beat up my fellow Catholics because of politics. Read the news releases from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. There are far more issues on which the Church takes a liberal stance than a conservative one. Forty years is too long to give to a party that has not and will not effectively change abortion laws. If you want to have fewer abortions, come to the left side of the aisle and work toward making our society welcoming to the unborn, the newly born, children, parents and grandparents.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:14 am |
    • sick of christian phonies

      "The answer to the question ‘What's wrong with the world?’ is just two words: ‘I am,' ” (Dolan) continued, quoting author G.K. Chesterton.
      Yeah, right, blame it on poor old G.K. Chesterton, who's been dead for 70 years!
      That was a joke- dense people please don't respond and correct me.

      November 16, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • MeAgain

      Hey Liberal Catholic...
      My hope is that the Catholic Bishops take Catholic stances....not conservative or liberal....but instead stances that are founded on truth and the gospels. After all....that is there job.....

      Hope this clears it up for you.

      November 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Liberal Catholic

      @ MeAgain : The bishops are very clear about their stances. Some of them fall into the blue camp and some into the red camp and we are supposed to discern with a correctly formed conscience to make a choice in the electorate. It's not the bishops that I feel are beating me up....it's the other Catholics who want to decide whether or not my discernment is valid because it differs with theirs. This election cycle has really brought out some very ugly accusations from the republican Catholics and I feel black & blue.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Leif

      And after 2000 years, the Catholic Church still can't figure out that it should not protect child molestors from the law.

      November 17, 2012 at 3:16 am |
  18. Liberal Catholic

    Statement of Archbishop José H. Gomez
    Archbishop of Los Angeles
    Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's Committee on Migration
    On
    Comprehensive Immigration Reform
    November 13, 2012

    In light of the unprecedented bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform expressed during the last week, I call upon President Obama and congressional leadership to work together to enact bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform in 2013.

    I am heartened by the recent public statements of the leaders of both political parties supporting the consideration of comprehensive immigration reform in the new Congress. I urge the President and Congress to seize the moment and begin the challenging process of fashioning a bipartisan agreement.

    For decades, the U.S. Catholic bishops have advocated for a just and humane reform of our nation's immigration system. We have witnessed the family separation, exploitation, and the loss of life caused by the current system. Millions of persons remain in the shadows, without legal protection and marginalized from society. As a moral matter, this suffering must end.

    I invite our fellow Catholics and others of good will to make their voices heard in support of this important issue. I encourage our elected officials to work toward the creation of a system which upholds the rule of law, preserves family unity, and protects the human rights and dignity of the person.

    November 16, 2012 at 3:57 am |
  19. Liberal Catholic

    "Pope Benedict XVI has said, 'The new evangelization ... begins in the confessional!'"

    In the Gospel of John after Jesus arose and told the Apostles: "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose si.ns you forgive are forgiven them."

    "In the sacrament of penance and reconciliation, we meet the Lord, who wants to grant forgiveness and the grace to live a renewed life in him. In this sacrament, he prepares us to receive him with a lively faith, earnest hope, and sacrificial love in the Eucharist. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we repent, let go of any pattern of si.n, grow in the life of virtue and witness to a joyful conversion."
    USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis

    November 16, 2012 at 3:51 am |
  20. Liberal Catholic

    Bishop links respect for environment to church's sacramental life

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1204726.htm

    November 16, 2012 at 3:50 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.