Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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French Catholic bishops endorsing homosexual unions, undermining pro-family cause, warn activists

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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PARIS, January 16, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Conference of the Bishops of France (CEF) is making a mistake in endorsing an improved "Pact of Civil Solidarity" for homosexuals as an alternative to instituting homosexual 'marriage', in contradiction to Catholic teaching, warns the French pro-family association Avenir de la Future (Future of the Culture).

The organization of faithful Catholics are reacting to a document published recently by the Bishops' Conference's Family and Society Committee, which implies homosexual relationships could be given a strengthened legal recognition, while not going so far as to equate such unions with marriage.

While the Vatican teaches that "all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions," the French Bishops' document states that "the Catholic Church calls the faithful to live a [homosexual] relationship in chastity, but it recognizes, beyond its sexual aspect, the value of solidarity, of attention and of concern for the other that can arise in a durable affective relationship.  The Church intends to be welcoming regarding homosexual persons and will continue to make its contribution to the struggle against every form of homophobia and discrimination."

The document, entitled, "Extend marriage to people of the same sex?  Open the debate!,"  also states that "the request to extend marriage to people of the same sex challenges society to seek new ways to live out our differences within a state of equality," and "an evolution of family law is always possible."

The Catholic Church repudiated by its own bishops?

According to Avenir de la Culture, the document seems to reflect the sentiments of Gerard Daucourt, bishop of Nanterre, and numerous other bishops who have made even more explicit statements insinuating the endorsement of homosexual unions, including an "improved" Pact of Civil Solidarity (PACS).

Prior to the Family and Society statement, Daucourt had told the news agency France Iter: "I, for my part, want to take heed of homosexual unions, I want to recognize them, accompany  them.  I have known a certain number of homosexual couples," adding: "I don't want it to be called marriage, that's all."

"So then, there is the PACS.  I think that they could improve it.  Look, I would be rather disposed to that (...) I myself have no desire for a direct opposition, but rather to dialogue, to explain," said Daucourt.

The Pact of Civil Solidarity (PACS) to which Bishop Daucourt refers is a contract, considered far less than a civil union, that can be granted both to homosexuals and heterosexuals, which can be dissolved at will by either party, and gives tax advantages to the couple as if they were married.

Daucourt also denounced the Catholic Church itself for what he regarded as "discrimination" against homosexuals.

"This has grave consequences, because we know that the people most directly concerned are homosexual persons, who have suffered so much and who have been condemned for centuries by the Church and by a certain number of people in the Church," the bishop said.  "I think that this is terrible for people who still suffer discrimination of which they have been the object on the part of the Church and by many others, and which they still suffer today."

Avenir de la Culture documents that numerous other French bishops have spoken similarly, expressing sympathy for homosexual unions and advocating legal protections for them, and denouncing what they regard as "persecution" of homosexuals historically, including Bishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont-Ferrand (vice-president of the Episcopal Conference), Bishop Bernard Ginoux of Montauban, Bishop Michel Pansard of Chartres, Bishop Bruno Grua of Saint-Flour, Bishop Francois Fonlupt of Rodez, Bishop Philippe Gueneley of Langres, Bishop Jacques Blaquart of Orleans, Archbishop Armand Maillard of Bourges, Bishop Vincent Jordy of Saint-Claude, Bishop Jean-Charles Descubes of Rouen, Bishop Bernard Housset of La Rochelle.

The organization also notes that while Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, has ringingly denounced homosexual "marriage" as potentially leading to the approval of incest, other bishops failed to support him when he was condemned in the press for the comments and some even rejected his words publicly.

In response to the bishops' statements, Avenir de la Culture asks: "Should one conclude that, for a homosexual person, it is preferable to live in cohabitation, a permanent occasion of sin?" The organization notes that the bishops' Family and Society Committee has produced "six pages of unclear commentary to arrive at the same conclusion expressed in a more frank way by Bishop Daucourt: in place of marriage, we could agree to provide homosexuals with an 'improved PACS.'"

The organization also notes that "in 85 episcopal declarations regarding the 'marriage for everyone' bill, except for a few references (...) there is NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING religious in the argumentation of the French bishops!  Rather to the contrary, the majority have the obvious desire to emphasize that they are expressing themselves in strictly human terms."

The bishops contradict Pope Benedict XVI ... and even themselves

Avenir de la Culture observes that the bishops' approach is contrary to Pope Benedict XVI's clear rejection of all homosexual unions, made while he was the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 2003, and also seems to contradict the French bishops' own statements denouncing PACS in the late 1990s, when they were first proposed.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, writing at that time with the authority of the Papal magisterium, declared in 2003 that "There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law.

Quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ratzinger noted that homosexual acts constitute "serious depravity" and "close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."

He added that "all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions."

In 1998, the bishops of France themselves warned that PACS would be "worthless and dangerous" and would create "a new status of relationship that risks the further destruction of the meaning of the couple and of the family."

 

Contact information:

Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
00193 Roma,
Piazza Pio XII, 10
Phone: (011) 39-06-6988-4217
Fax: (011) 39-06-6988-5303

Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
phone: (011) 39-06-6988-3357
phone: (011) 39-06-6988-3413
Fax: (011) 39-06-6988-3409
E-mail: cdf@cfaith.va

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Louisiana judge orders state to recognize gay ‘marriage’

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By Kirsten Anderson

A Louisiana judge on Monday ordered state officials to recognize the out-of-state “marriage” of a lesbian couple and allow one of the women to legally adopt her partner’s child.

Angie Costanza and Christy Brewer were “married” in 2008 in California, but Louisiana’s marriage protection amendment, passed by 78 percent of voters in 2004, prevented the state from recognizing the couple’s union.  The pair sued in 2013 to overturn the law, in part because Costanza wanted to be listed as a parent on Brewer’s son’s birth certificate. 

Initially, Judge Edward Broussard dismissed the case without a hearing, but the couple appealed.  On Monday, Judge Edward Rubin took their side, ruling that Louisiana’s marriage protection law is unconstitutional in three ways:  According to Rubin, the ban on same-sex “marriage” violates the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution, as well as the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment.

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Rubin’s decision comes just weeks after U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman declared Louisiana’s marriage protection law constitutional – the first federal judge to decide in favor of a same-sex “marriage” ban since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year. “There is simply no fundamental right, historically or traditionally, to same-sex marriage,” Feldman wrote in his decision. 

However, because this case is being tried in the state courts, Rubin’s decision will take precedence over Feldman’s, pending appeal.

The state plans to appeal Rubin’s ruling to the state Supreme Court.  Meanwhile, the federal case is also moving forward.  Ultimately, it is expected that the question of whether statewide bans on same-sex “marriage” are constitutional will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court sometime in 2015. 

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New archbishops in Chicago and Madrid: Ratzingerians out, ‘inclusiveness’ in

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Chicago's Archbishop-elect, Blase Cupich

Pope Francis announced Saturday that he is appointing as archbishop of Chicago a prelate best known in pro-life circles as the man who ordered his priests in 2011 not to participate in local 40 Days for Life prayer vigils. The media and Church watchers describe him as “progressive,” “inclusive,” and “left-of-center.”

The appointment of Bishop Blase Cupich, current head of the Spokane diocese in Washington, to America’s third most prominent see – an appointment which Vatican watchers predicted would signal the pope’s priorities for the direction of the U.S. Church – has been widely praised by liberal Catholics and opponents of Church teaching but met with concern by many Catholic activists.

The archbishop-elect gave a sense of his approach to the U.S. “culture war” in an interview Sunday with Chicago’s CBS affiliate, in which he suggested he would be open to giving Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians and a person wearing a button in favour of same-sex “marriage.”

“As long as they’re in church, are willing to hear the word of God, be open to Christ’s call of conversion for each one of us, then I think that that’s sufficient for me,” he said. “We cannot politicize the Communion rail and I just don’t think that that works in the long run.”

Cupich will replace the ailing Cardinal Francis George, known in the US as a “Ratzingerian” for his strong defense of Catholic orthodoxy, particularly on issues of sexual morality, but who is suffering from cancer and is overdue for retirement at age 77. The archbishop of Chicago is also normally granted the “red hat” and made a cardinal, which would make Cupich eligible to vote in upcoming papal conclaves. Cupich is scheduled to be installed in Chicago November 18.

The Chicago appointment mirrors that of another outside the US in recent weeks. Rome announced August 28 that Carlos Osoro Sierra, 69, will be installed as the new archbishop of Madrid, Spain’s capital city and largest archdiocese. But the story in Madrid has less to do with the new appointee and more to do with the would-be appointee who was demoted.

Until just before the appointment, most Vatican watchers expected the prominent post to be given to 68-year-old Vatican Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, dubbed the “little Ratzinger” for his orthodoxy in line with Pope Benedict XVI.  When LifeSiteNews interviewed Cardinal Cañizares in 2009 at the time of his appointment as prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, he noted that denying communion to pro-abortion politicians was a charitable act.

Leaving his Vatican post, he was considered a natural for the Madrid spot. But instead it went to the archbishop of Valencia, and Cañizares is to fill that vacancy instead.

The former archbishop of Valencia is known for his strong “liberal” leanings and he will be replacing Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, 78, who, like Cañizares, is also known for following the lead of the retired Pope Benedict XVI.

El Pais wrote of the new appointee that Catholics of the Madrid archdiocese, accustomed to the “hieratic” Varela, will be seeing “an entirely different model.”

“Shortly after the announcement of his appointment, the most repeated words to define his figure were ‘dialogue’ and ‘moderation.’”

“During the 12 years he has been the head of the Catholic Church [in Madrid], Rouco Varela has too often mixed faith and politics, with an overdose of intransigence. Defending the (exclusively traditional) family and attacking laws that recognize the right of women to abortion are the main workhorses.”

Catholic News Agency’s Vatican-watcher, Andrea Gagliarducci, wrote that the appointment marks a “new course for Spain’s bishops.” He is described in the Spanish press as “affable,” “friendly,” and “extremely gregarious.” 

As for Cupich, David Gibson of Religion News Service described him as “a prelate closely identified with the Catholic Church’s progressive wing.”

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Vatican watcher Rocco Palmo, author of the “Whispers in the Loggia” blog, wrote that the appointment is “the most shocking major move the American hierarchy has seen in the last decade and a half.” Another Vatican veteran, John Allen Jr., wrote for the US Catholic online magazine Crux that Cupich so closely mirrors Pope Francis’ theology and style that he could be called the “American Pope Francis in Chicago.”

On his blog, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, known for his icy relations with the pro-life movement, shared his excitement over the “new breeze” brought by Cupich’s appointment. The bishop noted that Cupich “admires deeply the ecclesiology and vision” of leftist prelates such as former San Francisco Archbishop John Quinn and former Galveston-Houston Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza.

The news of Cupich’s appointment was met with praise in the mainstream press. According to The New York Times Francis has “set the tone” for US appointments by “replacing a combative conservative with a prelate whose pastoral approach to upholding church doctrine is more in keeping with the pope’s inclusive tone.”

It has also been praised by dissident Catholic groups such as the homosexual activist group New Ways Ministries. Last year, the group issued a roundup of evaluations of the various leading members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops who were set to elect a new president. New Ways praised Cupich for his intervention in the 2012 debate leading up to a referendum on “gay marriage” in Washington State. Cupich’s only intervention was a pastoral letter in which he asked voters to uphold traditional marriage, but also called for a “more civil and honest conversation about Catholic positions on equality.”

“I also want to be very clear that in stating our position, the Catholic Church has no tolerance for the misuse of this moment to incite hostility toward homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity,” Cupich wrote.

Cupich stood out from his fellow US bishops in his response to the abortion-funding Obamacare. Though he joined his other bishops in condemning the Obama administration’s mandate that Catholic employers cover abortifacients and contraceptives, he encouraged Catholic Charities in his diocese to act as an Obamacare navigator and help people sign up for coverage that could fund the destruction of unborn life.

He also condemned the line of other US bishops when they threatened to shut down Catholic social services. “These kind of scare tactics and worse-case scenario predictions are uncalled for,” Cupich wrote in a letter to diocesan employees. “I am confident we can find a way to move forward.”

Today the anti-Catholic organization Call to Action issued a press release saying they are “relieved” at the appointment. “At a time when numerous U.S. Bishops are choosing to fight ideological battles, Pope Francis’ selection of Cupich demonstrates a desire for a humbler, more pastoral church.”  

Call to Action, like New Ways Ministries, works to overturn Catholic doctrine, particularly on sexual matters, from within the Church, and has received the censure of the US bishops for their activities. They wrote, “The choice of Cupich shows promise for a church which can be closer to the people. Catholics in Chicago and beyond yearn for a faith rooted in the Gospel call of love and justice over rigid orthodoxy.”

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Rick Perry: Joan Rivers’ death shows Texas is right to require abortionists to have admitting privileges

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By Kirsten Anderson

In the wake of the high-profile death of comedienne Joan Rivers due to complications from throat surgery at an outpatient clinic in New York City, Texas Gov. Rick Perry pointed to the tragedy as an example showing the necessity for his state’s one-year-old law requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers.

"It was interesting that when Joan Rivers -- and the procedure that she had done, where she died -- that was a clinic,” Perry said at a Texas Tribune event on Sunday. “It's a curious thought that if they had had that type of regulations in place, whether or not that individual would be still alive.”

Many observers have criticized the governor’s remarks, noting that Rivers’ surgery was performed in a fully licensed ambulatory surgical center by a doctor with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, as is the current standard for abortion facilities in Texas, but died anyway.  However, the painstaking investigation into what may have gone wrong at the New York City clinic reveals that while all surgery carries risks, ambulatory surgical centers are required to take every precaution to ensure the safety of their patients, in contrast to more loosely regulated abortion clinics, where injuries and deaths are rampant, and often covered up.

While 32 separate medical associations have signed a joint agreement stating that anyone “performing office-based surgery must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a transfer agreement with another physician who has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, or maintain an emergency transfer agreement with a nearby hospital,” abortion businesses have fought such regulations tooth and nail, arguing that requiring abortionists to maintain admitting privileges is too burdensome and will cause clinics to close their doors.  

Abortionists have also opposed tougher safety restrictions forcing them to adhere to the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers, arguing that upgrading their substandard facilities to meet hospital-grade requirements is costly and unnecessary.  But proponents of such regulations point out that the tiny parking lots, narrow hallways, and lack of elevators common to most abortion facilities are serious impediments to getting lifesaving help to women in case of emergencies, delaying paramedics who can’t park their ambulances or maneuver gurneys through such buildings.  In addition, licensed ambulatory surgical centers must have and properly maintain state-of-the-art resuscitation equipment, and train employees in their use – something abortion clinics have repeatedly been cited for failing to do.

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