Years ago, when I was young and struggling to determine what I believed in, I toyed with the idea of joining the Catholic Church. Boy, am I glad I didn't (nor do I believe in any organized religion). After what I've been hearing about how the church is actively harming advances in marriage equality, I'm relieved that there's no record of any connection between me and the hypocrites leading the church. News broke recently that the Catholic Church in Maine has decided to close three parishes due to declining funds as less people attend church, all this under the watchful eye of Bishop Richard Malone. Yet, it's also been made public that this same Bishop donated $100,000 to anti-marriage equality campaign, Stand for Marriage Maine.
Maine's Portland Press Herald writes, "Good Shepherd Parish had a $48,000 deficit in the past fiscal year and projected a $170,000 deficit this year if no changes were made, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland."
Gee, imagine what that $100,000 could do. But nope, the Catholic Church has decided to stick to its priorities - stripping gays and lesbians of their right to marry, because if they do marry, it will somehow, though they don't know exactly how, but it WILL, destroy "traditional marriage," whatever that is.
It gets better. Reports have come in that the Church will somehow scrounge up $2 million to kill marriage equality nationwide. If I were a member and my Maine parish and its services were closing because of $170,000 deficit but heard about this, they would witness old-fashioned Biblical wrath.
It boggles my mind.
The Press also reported that weddings at the parishes were down, and these ceremonies where a good source of revenue for the church. I wonder if the parishes see the irony.
Now on to New Jersey. Yesterday, I reported that the Catholic Church has prepared sermons in advance of this Sunday's services for clergy across the Garden State to preach against marriage equality from the pulpit.
Why? Because this fall, it is expected that a marriage equality bill will hit the legislature floor for a vote after November's elections. Support is high and current Governor Corzine is an outspoken advocate.
But noooo, we can't have that! They must yet again stir the embers amongst the membership, telling them not to worry about how the economy is affecting their jobs and homes and families, and instead, place in the offering plate the little hard earned cash that they have in possession to go towards "God's work" of destroying any recognition of committed, monogamous same-sex relationships.
Now onto reports about the Catholic Church in Ireland. Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, has decided to focus his attention on a civil law recognizing civil, same-sex unions instead of the massive amounts of child abuse in Catholic children's homes and institution revealed in a government report earlier this year.
Speaking to the Catholic News Agency, the good Cardinal said, "The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, spoke out last Sunday against recognizing civil unions for homosexuals during a homily at the Cathedral of St. John in Limerick. He said that natural law cannot be violated by legislative norms, and that natural law forms the basis for integral human development. The cardinal recalled that nature must be used wisely, as Pope Benedict XVI explains in his encyclical 'Caritas in Veritate.' . . . Cardinal Brady urged the faithful to oppose a measure being debated in the Irish Parliament that would grant legal recognition to same-sex unions."
Fellow blogger Michael-in-Norfolk response: "I would suggest that if the alleged 'natural law' is so important, then it must certainly dictate against celibacy which refutes the role of procreation just as much as same sex relationships."
I might add that taking advantage of children would also be against "natural law."
These developments within the Catholic Church makes me sad for the hundreds of thousands of good-willed members of the church. Polls have shown that they're more ambivalent about marriage equality than evangelicals. Many don't support their leaders' decision. However, for many members, Catholicism is tradition - it offers community, a sense of belonging and a constant through what can be at times tumultuous life. It will now be these people who suffer most from malevolence that the Church has for gays and lesbians as their parishes, which have been a staple in their community for generations, will suddenly close shop, sacrificing their services to strip a minority's rights away.
Instead of taking heed to the Episcopal and Lutheran Churches, the Catholic Church has lost sight of its priorities and is taking huge steps backwards, repeating the history of the Dark Ages and the Inquisition by persecuting those from whom they want abject supplication.
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"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression."
- Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and one of the most influential Founding Fathers.