According to the Washington Post on Nov. 12, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is threatening to end all social service contracts with the government of the District of Columbia if the City Council passes legislation that would legalize same sex marriage in DC. That legislation is expected to pass next month.
Reports today indicate that members of the City Council are not intimidated by this. The sponsor of the bill, David Catania, a big supporter of Catholic Charities, said he is “baffled.” Others said they will not legislate based on threats, and one other Council member called the move by the Archdiocese “somewhat childish.”
Assuming this bill passes (and it is likely to pass), this move by the Archdiocese could do real harm to people in desperate need. And all this is being threatened to preserve the “right” to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Whatever the hierarchy thinks about same sex marriage, it is solid Catholic teaching NOT to discriminate against gays and lesbians. What are they thinking?
tAs a rule of thumb, I don’t respond when people go on-line to offer either criticism or praise of something I’ve written, or something I've said on TV or radio. I’ve already had my say, and anyway, the focus ought to be on the story rather than the story-teller.
tRecently, however, I tossed a throw-away line about blogs into the middle of a column on an unrelated topic. That line made the rounds, and some people either still wonder what I meant (in which case they’ve asked for clarification) or they’re pretty sure they know what I meant (and some in that crowd want an apology.)
tSince this subject indirectly connects to some of the themes in The Future Church, I thought I’d take it up briefly here.
Writing at the On Faith blog at the Washington Post, Tim Craig and Michelle Boorstein report:
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.
Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.
Today is the feast of St. Josaphat Kuncewicz, "an Eastern Rite bishop . . . held up as a martyr to church unity because he died trying to bring part of the Orthodox church into union with Rome."
"His favourite pious exercise was to make a poklony (i.e. a reverence) in which the head touches the ground)" while saying the Jesus Prayer: Panie Jezu Chryste, Synu Boga, zmi?uj si? nade mn?, grzesznikiem.
"On 12 November 1623, an axe-stroke and a bullet brought Josaphat his martyr's crown.
"His bloody body was dragged to the river and thrown in, along with the body of a dog who had tried to protect him. . . . in 1867 Josaphat became the first saint of the Eastern church to be formally canonized by Rome."
An image of St. Josaphat.
More about the saint from the web site of St. Josaphat Parish in Cheektowaga, New York.
British Lefebvrite Bishop Richard Williamson who was fined $16,822 in Germany for denying the Holocaust is appealing the fine, The Associated Press has reported.
The AP quotes Williamsno's lawyer, Matthias Lossmann, as saying that Williamson "objected to the fine, which means there will be a trial."
Williamson is one of four traditionalist Society of St. Pius X bishops rehabitliated by Pope Benedict XVI in January.
The Vatican is in the midst of twice-a-month meetings with the Society of St. Pius X folks. Vatican officials have called the talks "cordial, respectful and constructive."
Readers will have detected, I hope, a certain attentiveness to the ambiguities of life, including the life of faith, in my sense of the world. The “all or nothing” disposition of some is rarely accurate and almost never helpful. There is often a lot of pride in a good deed and misplaced hope in some bad ones. Life is messy, filled with conundrums, and navigating the moral choices we face and formulating the moral conclusions as human beings is the price we pay for being human.
But, the news that Lou Dobbs has been pushed out of his high profile perch at CNN is the exception to the rule. It is good news, pure and simple, no ambiguities involved nor qualifications needed. He had become the most visible bigot in America, casting aspersions against Latinos, documented and undocumented, in his crusade against immigration reform. He indulged crackpot theories when he coddled the “birthers” who questioned whether or not President Obama had been born in the U.S. His understanding of economics was laughable in an eighteenth century kind of way. And, for someone who seemed positively fetishistic about the English language, he often mangled it horribly.
A worshipper takes holy water from an automatic dispenser at a church near Milan, Italy, Nov. 10. (Click "read more" to see the photo.)
Last month, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization released a study that said the number of hungry people in the world had reached 1.02 billion. Yesterday, UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, released a report that said nearly 200 million children in poor countries have stunted growth because of insufficient nutrition.
The reports come ahead of a U.N. sponsored world summit on food security in Rome Nov. 16-18. The Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI would attend the opening session.