Saturday, September 30, 2006

"Catholic" Group Resurrects Bernardin Lie

That's the title of Dad29's post on the "Catholic in Alliance for the Common Good" (CACG) voters guide. He says,
Fortunately, the Wisconsin Bishops have already made perfectly clear their support of The Amendment (which would ban homosex-marriage in Wisconsin.)

referring to A Letter to Catholics in Wisconsin on Defining Marriage in Our State Constitution by the Wisconsin Bishops in June 2006.

Despite that letter, the September 21, 2006 print edition of the Catholic Herald ran a full-page op-ed by Fr. Bryan Massingale asserting that the possibility that the amendment might adversely effect health insurance coverage for unmarried couples raised issues under Church teaching justifying a "no" vote. The op-ed refers parenthetically, and not very specifically, to the bishops letter, and calls it their "position".

Fr. Massingale says

One wonders why our legislators crafted an amendment which seems to go beyond the purpose of keeping a unique status for heterosexual unions.

This is rhetorical wondering, since the bishops addressed this very point.
2. Although Wisconsin law already defines marriage in a way consistent with our Catholic tradition, we believe that an amendment to our state constitution is the prudent thing to do in light of judicial and legislative actions in other states.

That is, the second sentence of the proposed amendment is to prevent the judiciary compelling the creation of a legal status equivalent to marriage in everything but name.

It's interesting both sides in the amendment debate use arguments expressed in terms of lack of confidence the judiciary's interpretation of the constitution. But this lack of confidence is reflected in what we are being told about Church teaching. Archbishop Dolan says one thing with his fellow bishops, and publishes the diocesan newspaper giving a forum for one of his priests to tell us the opposite.

Massingale cites as direct support for his views only a statement by then-Archbishop of San Francisco William Levada. This is the same way Dr. Daniel Maguire approaches the issue, see "The Marriage Option and Solidly Probable Opinion" in his The Moral Revolution (1986) pp. 98-102. Why is Archbishop Dolan condemning Maguire when he's got Massingale on the payroll doing the same damage in the Archdiocesan newspaper?


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