Blogs Mon Jul 4, 2011 - 11:39 am EST
Has the slumbering giant of the Episcopacy been awakened by the gay ‘marriage’ issue?
The following is a statement by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of the Brooklyn Diocese, regarding the passage of the gay marriage bill in New York. The Diocese of Brooklyn is one of the largest in the United States in terms of population, and Bishop DiMarzio’s is therefore a very influential voice. First Bishop DiMarzio’s statement, and then a few comments:
Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have deconstructed the single most important institution in human history. Republicans and Democrats alike succumbed to powerful political elites and have passed legislation that will undermine our families and as a consequence, our society.
With this vote, Governor Cuomo has opened a new front in the culture wars that are tearing at the fabric of our nation. At a time when so many New Yorkers are struggling to stay in their homes and find jobs, we should be working together to solve these problems. However, the politicians have curried favor with wealthy donors who are proponents of a divisive agenda in order to advance their own careers and futures.
What is needed in our state is leadership and not political gamesmanship.
In light of these disturbing developments and in protest for this decision, I have asked all Catholic schools to refuse any distinction or honors bestowed upon them this year by the governor or any member of the legislature who voted to support this legislation. Furthermore, I have asked all pastors and principals to not invite any state legislator to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration.
The above request is intended as a protest of the corrupt political process in New York State. More than half of all New Yorkers oppose this legislation. Yet, the governor and the state legislature have demonized people of faith, whether they be Muslims, Jews, or Christians, and identified them as bigots and prejudiced, and voted in favor of same-sex “marriage.” It is mystifying that this bill would be passed on the last day of an extended session under the cover of darkness.
This issue has been framed as upholding marriage equality. This is not the case since one of the principal purposes of marriage is to bring new life into the world. This cannot happen in same-sex marriage. It is not a civil rights issue, but rather a human rights issue upholding the age-old understanding of marriage. Our political leaders do not believe their own rhetoric. If they did, how in good conscience could they carve out any exemption for institutions that would be proponents of bigotry and prejudice?
Republicans and Democrats equally share responsibility for this ruinous legislation and we as Catholics should hold all accountable for their actions.
Bishop DiMarzio’s statement is to be lauded as a good first step, but only as a first step. It isn’t enough to refuse honors from, or give honors to legislators. There are members of the Catholic Church who have been waging war against all that we stand for and then walk up on Sunday and receive Holy Communion.
The sins of the Ted Kennedys, Andrew Cuomos and Nancy Pelosis are so vast, so deeply rooted, and entirely the fabric of the Democrat Party, that any confession by these people needs to have a public recanting of their deeds and concrete evidence of an action plan to undo them as the penance. If the politician is unwilling to work within the political system to undo their grave injustices and work toward a restoration of justice under law, then they are not contrite.
We have run out the rope on the excuse by so many bishops that we don’t know the private state of their souls. That simply strains credulity. If the politicians remain the same week after week, month after month, year after year, then as we say in Brooklyn, that’s a clue.
It’s a clue to their impenitence, and it is a sin against charity to confirm them in their impenitence by allowing them to eat and drink condemnation upon themselves, as Saint Paul put it.
As I’ve said before on this blog, if the fight was “too political” for the bishops in the past, the threat is now existential going into the future. The faithful are enraged over this law, and the bishops have a once-in-a-generation opportunity here to publicly call upon Catholic pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage politicians to publicly repent or face severe sanctions, beginning with being barred from the Eucharist, and leading to excommunication. There is a small window of opportunity here to reclaim the leadership most have eschewed for far too long.
For great good, or great evil, this is an historical moment for the United States Bishops in general, and New York’s bishops in particular. This is the great moment where the bishops can define what it means to be a Catholic in terms of sacramentality, and how to be a Catholic in the public square. This is the time for a muscular response. The faithful will back them to the hilt.