Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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Pro-family movement: with this strategy, get used to losing

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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December 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Advocates of the gay agenda hit a home run against pro-family forces on November 6, winning four out of four statewide referenda permitting homosexual ‘marriage’ or even establishing it.  Now pro-family activists must answer the question: “why?” What we’re hearing from them is not encouraging.

Although questions of tactics are always relevant to the postmortem analysis following an election loss, they ultimately cannot address the essence of the problem these defeats represent: a grave sexual perversion, one rightly denounced by virtually every society that has ever existed, is being converted in the mind of the public from a vice into a public institution, with associated privileges and rights, including access to infants and small children.

In short, the losses experienced in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington State could never have happened in a healthy society that upholds basic standards of sexual morality.  The very fact that they were on the ballot at all, that the subversion of the institution of marriage has become a topic of polite conversation, is an indication of a level of moral confusion and decadence that borders on the apocalyptic.

The question that should be on the minds of pro-family activists should not be “how did we fail in our tactics,” but rather, “how did we arrive at this late stage of social breakdown in the first place?”  The answer, sadly, will be staring us back in the mirror.

Although millions of dollars have been spent on massive campaigns to counteract the homosexual lobby’s well-financed propaganda machine, and numerous dedicated individuals have committed many hours of labor to the cause of defending marriage, pro-family activists have made the catastrophic mistake of accepting many of the false premises upon which homosexual activists base their claims in the hope of appearing moderate and reasonable, while fatally weakening their own position.

Ceding the moral high ground

A public letter written by three eminent Catholics in Washington State prior to to the vote and published as an op-ed in the Seattle Times is a useful if lamentable example of this doomed strategy of moral compromise. Entitled, “We are Catholics and we oppose Referendum 74 to legalize same-sex marriage,” the letter sought to appear gracious and reasonable by speaking positively about the immoral, unnatural relationships that constitute the “gay lifestyle.”

Instead of denouncing sodomy as a socially-harmful vice, the letter appears to treat it with respect, stating that “No one denies the close and intimate bond experienced by same-sex couples. However, it simply is not the same thing as marriage because by its very nature it cannot produce children.”

In reality, homosexual relationships do not represent an authentic intimacy, but rather involve mutual exploitation for the sake of satisfying an unnatural lust.  Such behavior harms bodies and minds, causing physical damage and spreading diseases, and leading often to depression, drug abuse, domestic violence, and even suicide. Numerous studies have documented the destructive consequences of the “gay lifestyle,” although they should be hardly necessary if one merely considers the physical and psychological incompatibility of same-sex relationships, which substitute the natural complementarity of an opposite-sex companion in favor of a narcissistic parody of the same.

Confining one’s objections to homosexual marriage to the fact that gay relationships cannot produce offspring undermines the case for traditional marriage with a reductionist, functionalistic understanding of a relationship that is also profoundly psychological and spiritual.  Many heterosexual couples suffer from sterility and cannot produce children, but this does not deprive their relationships of validity nor the title of marriage.  Moreover, homosexuals have already anticipated this objection by adopting children, or using technology to create their own. If the reproductive element in heterosexual unions is the only basis for rejecting homosexual “marriage,” then we have already lost the battle.

Faulty principles produce long-run defeat

As Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance points out in his incisive post-electoral analysis, such losing strategies characterized virtually the entire effort on the part of pro-family activists, led by groups such as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), in the four states.

“In sharp contrast to the homosexual lobby’s slick, sophisticated propaganda machine, the pro-family overall approach was largely the same moderate, inoffensive, often logically incoherent approach that they’ve coasted on until now,” writes Camenker, who notes that “most of the pro-family message was some variation of: Every child needs a father and a mother; the word ‘marriage’ is special; marriage is about procreation; marriage is a timeless institution; gays already have all the rights marriage brings; etc.”

However, Camenker adds, “At its root, ‘gay marriage’ is really about the forced acceptance of homosexuality as a normal part of society. But both NOM and the state pro-family groups went to great lengths not to criticize homosexual behavior. They were very fearful of being perceived as ‘anti-gay’ or ‘homophobic’ especially in the liberal press.”  Some smaller groups that did point out the objectionable nature of homosexual behavior were pilloried by the the larger groups, Camenker notes.

Two erroneous principles underlie the losing strategy of many marriage advocates.  The first, and worst, is a concession to a vague indfferentism regarding human sexuality, implying that sexual activity is a morally neutral question of personal preference, and that sexual morality is at most a matter of opinion. The second, which carries into effect the moral subjectivism of the first, is the notion that everyone has a right to control their own bodies, as long as their relationships are consensual. This transforms sodomy from a vice into a “right,” which ironically is the whole essence of the attack on marriage.

The latter principle is captured in the NOM’s number one talking point, given in italics on their own website: “Gays and Lesbians have a right to live as they choose, they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.”  Another way of wording this is the following: “We accept that homosexual sodomy is a right. We’re just don’t want to call it ‘marriage.’”

However, if homosexual sodomy is a right, that is, if it is a legitimate expression of human sexuality, it is difficult to understand why it should not be subsumed under the category of marriage. Marriage is, after all, a perpetual union between two people who share a sexual life, which in most but not all cases has the potential of bringing forth offspring.  NOM would (rightly) add that marriage is not just between two people who share a sexual life, but rather between a man and a woman who share a sexual life. However, they have no way to explain why the definition should be exclusive in this way, if homosexual sodomy is a legitimate form of sexual activity, and indeed a “right.”

Illustrating this point is a common argument made by defenders of marriage: that homosexuals can already receive all of the same rights and legal effects of marriage, but under the aegis of a “civil union” or other package of legal benefits. This attitude is also reflected on the NOM website, which concedes a wide range of benefits to homosexual couples that are customarily given to married couples. Homosexual adoption is never explicitly rejected, and NOM only occasionally opposes civil unions as stepping stones to homosexual “marriage.” In other words, the battle over marriage for NOM is almost entirely nominal; it is not about the essence of the institution, which protects a vital type of human relationship, but only the name we attach to it.

Rational arguments or incoherent slogans?

I must respectfully disagree with those pro-family activists who defended their organizations’ losing strategy following the elections.  If the only feasible approach is one that reinforces the foundation of the gay subculture by legitimizing homosexual relationships, and that isolates the defense of marriage from related issues, we have already lost the battle for marriage, both morally and politically. Sacrificing foundational principles may have given a superficial rhetorical advantage and helped to deliver short-run victories, but the ultimate fruits of this flawed approach are now becoming evident.  Poll numbers indicate that Americans are embracing homosexual “marriage” in ever-greater numbers.

The battle over marriage cannot be won by technocrats who think of human beings as Pavlov’s dog, responding to superficial slogans and emotionalistic advertising spots in proportion to the frequency of repetition and modeling votes as a function of dollars spent.  Although sloganeering has its role, in the long run, coherent and principled arguments win the day. Ultimately man is a rational animal, and ideas have consequences.

If we really wish to make the case for marriage, we must take a comprehensive natural-law approach to human sexuality that does not evade the more politically difficult aspects of the question, one that affirms the integral nature of sexual relationships and the corresponding duty of the state to defend sexual morality and repress vice. That is the approach laid out by then Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, in an instruction issued by the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during his leadership of the same.  While affirming the goodness of natural marriage, Ratzinger also noted that homosexual unions, without qualification, must always be explicitly opposed, and that governments should act to “contain the phenomenon” of homosexuality.

Although such an approach will entail short-run difficulties and will not yield immediate victories, it is the only long-run solution to America’s terrible moral decline, which is not isolated to the definition of marriage, but includes an almost total corruption of the nation’s understanding of human sexuality, reproduction, and the value of human life. It is also the only truly charitable approach towards homosexuals themselves, who are the greatest victims of the “gay lifestyle,” and are in desperate need of the truth. Until and unless pro-family activists adopt a comprehensive and coherent answer to the ideology of the culture of death, we will continue to suffer defeat after defeat, until the institution of marriage is completely destroyed.

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Are you praying for the upcoming Synod on the Family? You should be, and here’s why

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By John-Henry Westen

Catholics, and all Christians who value family values, should be praying earnestly for the Catholic Church as a struggle over critical family issues is coming to a head in the run-up to the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which takes place October 5-19. 

Augmenting the concerns is the fact that some of the cardinals closest to Pope Francis himself are increasingly in public disagreement over crucial matters related to faith and family. For some, the concerns reach right to the pope himself.

While Synod preparations have been going on for a year, Sunday’s weddings of 20 couples in St. Peter’s Basilica by Pope Francis presented a figurative, and perhaps foreboding launch.

In a press release prior to the ceremony, the Rome diocese inexplicably went out of its way to highlight the fact that some of couples the pope was going to marry were cohabiting. "Those who will get married Sunday are couples like many others,” it said. “There are those who are already cohabitating; who already have children.”

Unsurprisingly, the mainstream press took the bait and seized upon this statement to run headline after headline pushing the confusing notion that the event was a prelude to, or evidence of, a change in Church teaching on marriage.

Headlines like: 

All I can do is pray that the public fallout from these wedding ceremonies does not foreshadow the public outcome of the Synod. If so, we could be headed for a tragedy akin to the tragedy of the late sixties when, despite the proclamation of the truth of Humanae Vitae against contraception, the effect among ordinary Catholics was a near universal rejection of the teaching in practice.

What to expect at the Synod

The official list of those taking part in the Synod includes 114 presidents of Bishops’ Conferences, 13 heads of Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris, 25 heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, nine members of the Ordinary Council for the Secretariat, the Secretary General, the Undersecretary, three religious elected by the Union of Superiors General, 26 members appointed by the Pontiff, eight fraternal delegates, and 38 auditors, among whom are 13 married couples and 16 experts.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Cardinal Kasper’s intervention at the Consistory of Cardinals earlier this year, in which he laid out a contentious proposal to allow Catholics who have been divorced and then ‘remarried’ outside the Church to receive Communion. 

Since then a bevy of heavy-hitter cardinals have fought that proposal, including:

Today, however, Cardinal Kasper said the “attacks” from these cardinals were not so much directed at him but at Pope Francis, since, claims Kasper, he discussed his intervention with the pope and gained his approval.

The claim has some basis, since the day after Kasper made the proposal, before it was made public, Pope Francis praised it publicly.  According to Vatican Information Service, the Holy Father said:

I read and reread Cardinal Walter Kasper's document and I would like to thank him, as I found it to be a work of profound theology, and also a serene theological reflection. It is pleasant to read serene theology. And I also found what St. Ignacius described as the 'sensus Ecclesiae', love for the Mother Church. ... It did me good, and an idea came to mind – please excuse me, Eminence, if I embarrass you – but my idea was that this is what we call ‘doing theology on one's knees’. Thank you, thank you.

Of note, Vatican correspondent Sébastien Maillard, writing for France’s La Croix, reports today that Pope Francis is “irritated” by the release of a book containing criticisms of the Kasper proposal by five cardinals.

As LifeSiteNews.com reported yesterday, one of those authors, Cardinal Raymond Burke, is being demoted from his headship of the Apostolic Signatura. The only post planned for the 66-year-old cardinal thus far is patron of the Order of Malta. 

Cardinal Burke’s pre-Synod interventions go beyond the divorce and remarriage question and into the matter of homosexuality.  In a recent interview Cardinal Burke gave a clear refutation of the misuse of Pope Francis’ famed ‘Who am I to judge’ quote to justify homosexuality.

While the issue of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality is seldom raised in reference to the Synod, with most of the emphasis being placed on the question of divorce and remarriage, it is mentioned in the working document, or ‘Instrumentum Laboris’, of the Synod.

As with the matter of divorce, no doctrine regarding homosexuality can be changed, but much confusion can still be sown under the auspices of adjustments to “pastoral” practice. Without a clear teaching from the Synod, the effects could be similar to the shift in “pastoral” practice among dissenting clergy after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae, which led to the use of artificial contraception by most Catholics.

Already and for many years there has been de facto broad acceptance of homosexual sexual practices in many Catholic schools, universities and many other institutions, with many staff being active homosexuals in open defiance of Catholic moral teaching.

Regarding the Synod’s deliberations on homosexuality, it does not bode well that one of Pope Francis’ personal appointees to the Synod is retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels.  The selection is remarkable because of Danneels was caught on tape in 2010 urging a victim who had been sexually abused by a bishop-friend of Danneels, to be silent.  Then, only last year Danneels praised as a “positive development” that states were opening up civil marriage to homosexuals.

Then, just this week, as reported on the Rorate Caeli blog, one of the three Synod presidents gave an interview with the leading Brazilian newspaper in which he said that while stable unions between homosexual persons cannot be equated to marriage, the Church has always tried to show respect for such unions.

The statement matches that of another prominent Synod participant, Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who in 2010 spoke of giving more consideration to ‘the quality’ of homosexual relationships. “We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships. A stable relationship is certainly better than if someone chooses to be promiscuous,” Schönborn said.

In the end, while there is currently a public battle in the Vatican that is unprecedented in modern history, the faith will not and cannot change.  As faithful Catholics, and Christians, we must cling to the Truths of Christ regarding the family and live them out in our own lives first and foremost.  That is difficult, to be sure, especially in our sex-saturated culture, but with Christ (and only with Him) all things are possible. 

Plead with heaven for the pope and the bishops in the Synod.  LifeSiteNews will be there reporting from Rome, and, with your prayers and support, be of service to those defending truth.

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Poet: I ‘would’ve died’ for my aborted daughter’s ‘right to choose,’ just ‘like she died for mine’ (VIDEO)

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By Ben Johnson

What kind of mother asks her baby to die for her? And what kind of media outlet celebrates that?

To take the second question first, The Huffington Post is promoting a video featuring Scottish “poet” Leyla Josephine, celebrating her decision to abort her daughter. The video, “I Think She Was a She,” was uploaded to YouTube a month ago.

In the video Josephine, decked out in military camouflage, justifies herself in part by saying that she would have been willing to serve as a sacrifice to abortion just as she offered her daughter to the idol of “choice.”

“I would’ve supported her right to choose – to choose a life for herself, a path for herself. I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine,” she said.

In the next rhyming line, she addresses her unborn daughter: “I’m sorry, but you came at the wrong time.”

“I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed," she continues – a phrase she repeats a total of six times. She repeats the phrase "This is my body" three times. (She also takes the Lord's name in vain once.)

In the early part of the video, she describes her belief that her child was a girl and imagines a life where she had given birth to her daughter.

“I know she was a she,” she says. “I would have made sure that there was space on the walls to measure her height,” she adds. “I would have made sure I was a good mother.”

At one point she appears to describe the emotional aftermath of her choice as “a hollowness that feels full, a numbness that feels heavy.”

But she later calls the idea that her child was a girl or a boy “bull---t” and affirms, yet again, she is not ashamed.

This provokes a few observations:

1. If she knew her child's sex, she must have had a late-term abortion. Our gentle, healing restoration is needed in a world marred by so much aggression and anger in the name of political orthodoxy.

2. Fr. Frank Pavone has written, ”Did you ever realize that the same four words that were used by the Lord Jesus to save the world are also used by abortion advocates? 'This is My Body.'” To paraphrase him, he notes the difference. One, by surrendering His life on the Cross, gave life to the world. The abortion industry uses this phrase to impose its will on the bodies of separate, living human beings who have not harmed anyone.

3. The most chilling phrase in the video is her statement, “I would’ve supported her right to choose...I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine.”

First of all, her daughter did not die for the “right to choose.” Her daughter was not sacrificed for the inalienable “good” of keeping abortion-on-demand legal (and, in the UK, taxpayer-subsidized). Politicians are bribed to maintain it; no baby needs to die for it. Josephine's child died because HuffPo's hero of the moment chose not to carry the baby to term and place him/her in the hands of loving adoptive parents who would have cherished her baby – whether it was actually male, female, or intersex.

Josephine describes the emotions that actually led to the abortion only metaphorically – e.g., she compares the abortion to chopping down a cherry tree – but that angst is the root (so to speak) of the abortion, not the great and grand cause of assuring that other women have the right to go through the same soul-crushing grief.

That intimation that her daughter died for “choice” – that she offered her baby as a living sacrifice on the altar of abortion – confirms the darkest rhetoric of the pro-life movement: That for some in the movement, abortion is sometimes regarded as an idol.

And that raises one other, more universally held question: What kind of parent asks his son or daughter to die for the “right” to abortion? Parents are supposed to be the one who sacrificially care for their children, who forsake their own comfort, who do whatever is necessary – even die – to keep their children safe, healthy, and well. Josephine's blithe, “Sorry, but you came at the wrong time” sounds as hollow as a gangland assassin's apology to the family caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting. Abortion severs the love that God, or Mother Nature, or evolution, or whatever you choose to believe in placed within every pregnant woman to link the mother to her child.

The abortion lobby's rhetoric, which increasingly disregards the value of unborn life, is untethered by the bonds of human compassion, is fundamentally selfish and cold-blooded, and lacks a sense of humanity and brotherhood to the point of obliterating maternal love itself.

“Will a woman forget her child, so as not to have compassion upon the offspring of her womb?” God asks through the prophet Isaiah. “But if a woman should even forget these, yet I will not forget thee, saith the Lord.”

The pro-life movement exists precisely to set this upside-down order aright, to reinstate the natural love and compassion everyone should have for all of God's creation – most especially that between a mother and the innocent child she has helped create and fashion with her own DNA.

Cross-posted at TheRightsWriter.com.

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Cardinal Dolan greets worshipers and guests on the steps of Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan after Easter mass on April 8, 2012 in New York City. Lev Radin / Shutterstock.com
Lisa Bourne

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Catholic leaders criticize Cardinal Dolan’s defense of gay group at St. Patrick’s Parade

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By Lisa Bourne
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New York Cardinal John O'Connor on the cover of the New York Post on January 11, 1993. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended his decision to serve as grand marshal for the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Wednesday, in the wake of widespread criticism from Catholics after he praised the organizing committee for allowing a homosexual activist group to march.

“If the Parade Committee allowed a group to publicize its advocacy of any actions contrary to Church teaching, I’d object,” Dolan stated in his weekly column. On the contrary, he argued, “The committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture.”

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, was not impressed with the cardinal’s argument. This is precisely about publicizing advocacy contrary to Catholic teaching,” he said.

“As a Catholic father I find there is rapidly contracting space where this shameful agenda is not stuck in the faces of my children,” Ruse told LifeSiteNews. “The Church should be protecting our children rather than abetting those who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of innocent souls."

Pat Archbold, a popular blogger at the National Catholic Register and who runs the Creative Minority Report blog, lambasted Dolan for suggesting the embrace and promotion of “gay identity” can be separated from the sin of homosexuality.

“This identity is not a morally-neutral God-given attribute such as male or female, black or white,” he said. “The identity is with the immoral choice to engage in immoral behavior.”

“The best that can be said in this situation is that these people choose to proudly identify themselves with an intrinsic disorder.  But in reality, it is worse than that,” he continued. “The people find their identity and pride in sin.  Either the Cardinal knows this or he doesn't, either way Cardinal Dolan reveals himself unequal to his responsibility as a successor of the Apostles.”

The parade committee changed its longstanding policy on September 3 after decades of pressure from homosexual groups. Upon being announced as the parade’s grand marshal later the same day, Cardinal Dolan said he had no trouble with the decision at all, calling it “wise.”

The organizers had never prohibited any marchers, but did not ban issue-focused banners and signs, whether promoting homosexuality or the pro-life cause.

Cardinal Dolan stated in his column Wednesday that he did not oppose the previous policy.

“This was simply a reasonable policy about banners and public identification, not about the sexual inclinations of participants,” he explained.

“I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching,” he said as well, “but simply identifying themselves as ‘Gay people of Irish ancestry.’”

The homosexual activist group that will march is called OUT@NBCUniversal, which describes itself as the employee resource group for LGBT & Straight Ally employees at the media giant.

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The network held the broadcast contract for parade coverage. Reports indicated the contract was about to expire, and that NBC joined in pressuring on parade officials.

Cardinal Dolan conceded in his column there were many thoughtful reasons for criticizing the parade policy change, and noted that he shared some of them.

“While a handful have been less than charitable in their reactions, I must admit that many of you have rather thoughtful reasons for criticizing the committee’s decision,” he said. “You observe that the former policy was fair; you worry that this is but another example of a capitulation to an ‘aggressive Gay agenda,’ which still will not appease their demands; and you wonder if this could make people think the Church no longer has a clear teaching on the nature of human sexuality.” 

However, he said, the most important question he had to ask himself was whether the new policy violated Catholic faith or morals.

In stressing that homosexual actions are sinful while identity is not, Cardinal Dolan said, “Catholic teaching is clear: ‘being Gay’ is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals.”

Making opinion paramount, the cardinal offered that the parade committee “tried to be admirably sensitive to Church teaching,” and even though the original policy was not at all unfair, the committee was “realistic in worrying that the public perception was the opposite, no matter how often they tried to explain its coherence and fairness.”

“They worried that the former policy was being interpreted as bias, exclusion, and discrimination against a group in our city,” Cardinal Dolan wrote. “Which, if true, would also be contrary to Church teaching.”

When the decision was announced and Cardinal Dolan named the parade’s grand marshal, Philip Lawler, director of Catholic Culture and editor for Catholic World News, called it a significant advance for homosexual activists, and a significant retreat for the Catholic Church.

Pointing out in his column that the media will be correct to concentrate on that narrative at next March’s event, Lawler identified what he said is almost certain to be the result of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Next year there will be only one story-line of interest to the reporters who cover the annual parade in the world’s media capital: the triumph of the gay activists,” Lawler wrote.

“Photographers will be competing for the one ‘money’ shot: the picture of the contingent from OUT@NBCUniversal marching past the reviewing stand at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, under the benign smile of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.”

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