By Peter J. Smith
BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – At least fifty-nine US Catholic bishops gave financial support – either personally or through their dioceses and diocesan offices – to the battle to defeat the legalization of same-sex “marriage” and for that the Catholic bishop of Maine is grateful. Portland Bishop Richard J. Malone thanked them for their solidarity with pro-family advocates in Maine by not only defending natural marriage and the family, but suffering for it as well.
Malone spoke on Wednesday to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops at the Fall 2009 General Assembly after a presentation on four different video outreaches designed to teach people about the goodness and nature of natural marriage. The videos are part of a greater catechetical effort to explain why same-sex “marriage” is not a matter of civil rights, but harms the institution of marriage, the family, and religious liberty.
The Portland bishop thanked the USCCB for the just-approved document on marriage and defending the nature of true marriage. Malone said that the pastoral letter was “just what we need to be doing right now” in catechizing Catholics on marriage, saying that most have a shallow sense of what marriage actually is all about.
Malone said that he was grateful for his fellow Catholic bishops “prayer, encouragement, and financial support” and sharing the suffering that now comes with the territory of doing battle with same-sex “marriage” advocates.
“I am sorry to my brother bishops; because of your financial support you have been targeted for criticism,” he said.
Malone explained to the Assembly that Maine law requires that “any contribution to this kind of referendum fight over fifty dollars has to be reported to the state, and once it is, of course it is in the public domain.”
“People get it, and I know that some of you have got some pretty nasty criticism,” continued Malone. “We are in solidarity with that too, and I am very grateful to you for it.”
Maine's public disclosure page indicates that eleven bishops sent in contributions in their own name, while forty-eight other bishops supported financially through their dioceses or diocesan offices by sending in sizable contributions to the “Yes on Question 1” effort, the successful people's veto of Maine's same-sex “marriage” law.
Same-sex “marriage” advocates have used state public disclosure laws to find out who supported or contributed to pro-family efforts. Such efforts have lead to the publication of personal information – including names and addresses – of individuals whose names end up in the public domain by signing petitions or making financial contributions to pro-marriage initiatives for the purpose of intimidation, harassment, and even ostracism.
“The solidarity that I felt with all of you during this campaign was one of two great blessings,” he continued. “The other blessing for me was the grace that is ours by God's graciousness through Holy Orders, the grace of Orders, the grace of [Episcopal] Office, which we all believe in.”
“I came to a new profound experience of that grace during this whole struggle, because I know that God gave me a kind of courage and perseverance and often even a serenity during this thing that I would not have had otherwise,” concluded Malone. “So there are blessings in the midst of struggles.”
Public-disclosure laws have proved a hazard to individuals and organizations that contribute or put their names to pro-family petitions. Mike Duke, CEO of Wal-Mart, and his wife Susan, were exposed by the homosexual group KnowThyNeighbor.org as signatories to a petition for a 2008 ballot initiative approved by Arkansas voters that restricted adoption and foster-parenting to married couples, excluding homosexual couples and other unmarried unions.
Petition-signers in California received threats of violence and intimidation from homosexual activists who used the state's public disclosure database to identify backers of Proposition 8. One egregious example reported by the Los Angeles Times, involved the LAPD deploying in riot gear when the El Coyote restaurant in California came under siege by hundreds of pro-homosexual “marriage” protesters, because one website exposed the private $100 “Yes on 8” contribution of the proprietor's daughter.
The bishops applauded Malone after he concluded his gracious remarks.
The General Assembly then continued to hear input from several other bishops, including Bishop Galeone and Archbishop Wuerl, regarding the videos developed to catechize the young about the truth of marriage. Both bishops complemented the effectiveness of the videos' catechetical message, with Archbishop Wuerl emphasizing that the word he gets from the Washington Archdiocese's campus ministers is that the youth are badly informed about the true nature of marriage, and need catechizing first, before they can be receptive to political outreach.
To contact Bishop Richard Malone:
Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
510 Ocean Avenue
Portland, Me 04104
To send an on line message
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