The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


“The archbishop certainly restarted the discussion, didn’t he?”

posted by jmcgee

Hundreds of thousands of Catholics found a DVD from their archbishop in the mail last week — and the reaction has been decidedly mixed:

When the archbishop’s controversial DVD arrived in the mail last week, Renee Miller’s first instinct was to hide it from her non-Catholic husband.

“When I opened the letter and saw what the DVD was about — the archbishop talking about how marriage should be between one man and one woman — I thought it would mean we’d have to have the same old discussion about the church inserting itself in politics,” Miller said.

“There are so many wonderful things the Catholic Church does, so many beautiful things that make me proud and happy to call myself a Catholic,” said the West St. Paul mom, whose children attend Catholic school. “And then, when something political comes up like this, I think, ‘Darn.’ ”

Though she decided not to hide Archbishop John Nienstedt’s message, it would have been difficult to do so anyway: The mass mailing of 400,000 DVDs has the local Catholic community buzzing.

“Someone brought it up at our monthly wine club meeting the next day,” Miller said.

Although the group discussed the DVD, no one had actually watched it — including Miller.

“The letter summed it up, anyway. The church’s position on this issue is not new to me,” she said. “But the archbishop certainly restarted the discussion, didn’t he?”

The materials, sent to Catholic households throughout Minnesota, include an introductory letter from each local bishop and the DVD, which features Nienstedt reviewing the Catholic teaching on marriage and his concerns about potential legislation that would alter the institution.

“Reactions, as you might guess, are across the board,” said Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “Some are extremely supportive, and some are not extremely supportive.”

Continue at the link to read some of the reaction.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 10:13 am


At some point, we all have to take responsibility for our actions. If not in this life, then before God.
Let’s take a look at one of Jesus’ priorities – at least, one he talked about constantly, taking care of children.
An excerpt from 2008. The entire survey is under the link I have (at least hope I have!) posted. The current data are far worse – but this particular survey has been challenged and found accurate both in court and by neutral review:
Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless
Home » Facts & Figures » Homelessness in Minnesota
Homelessness in Minnesota
Updated September 17th, 2008
(abridged down to here by Panthera)
Children and unaccompanied youth regularly account for nearly half of those sheltered and turned away.
Shelter numbers do not completely represent the homeless population.
Homeless Children and Youth in Minnesota
* Children, youth, and young adults age 21 and younger made up 45 percent of all people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota the night of the survey. A total of 2,726 children age 17 and younger experienced homelessness with their parents on the night of the survey.
* 69 percent of homeless women had children under age 18, and 55 percent had at least one child with them; for men, the percentages were 35 percent and 6 percent respectively.
* On any given night in Minnesota , between 550 and 650 unaccompanied youth in Minnesota (persons 17 or younger) are without permanent shelter; over the course of one year, an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 Minnesota unaccompanied youth experience at least one episode of homelessness.
* 89 percent of homeless youth are enrolled in school.
* 51 percent of the youth experiencing homelessness have been physically or sexually mistreated.
endquote
Speaking as a Christian, I think the list of my failures – both of omission and commission – which God will go through with me is going to be long enough without His adding: “And you set your own political priorities ahead of the needs of my starving, homeless children.”
Speaking as a same-sex married, liberal, yellow-dog Democrat living in Dixie, I’d love nothing more than to take the money I tithe 10%, pre-tax, (through a Catholic Order) and invest it in this sort of political action. Why don’t I? Because I am a Christian, first.
Christ didn’t say one word about gay marriage. He surely flew into a rage on the subject of mistreating children and gold-changing in the Temple, now didn’t He….



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nnmns

posted October 10, 2010 at 10:59 am


It sounds like the archbishop is up to the usual Catholic bishop’s approach of talking like he supports the poor but acting politically in just the opposite way, supporting the party that oppresses the poor and the middle class in order to make life more comfortable for their wealthy friends.
It was a discussion that didn’t need restarting. And it’s one his side is losing anyway.
How wonderful to be in a church that has money for things like that. If I were a Catholic I’d think twice about adding more to the coffers.



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kenneth

posted October 10, 2010 at 11:59 am


Bishops have every right to talk about their church’s teachings, but this is one of countless examples of where they are actually breaking the law in regards to tax codes. Once you start advocating for specific legislation and candidates, that’s called lobbying, and you’re not allowed to do that as a tax-exempt organization. They should lose their tax exemption, or at a bare minimum, pay fines and taxes on every dime that was spent in this campaign.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 12:51 pm


Kenneth,
Actually, they are within the tax codes. Sadly.
Now, were the Archdiocese to write to all Catholics and make the following true statements, then it would be a violation of tax code and the Republicans would let the IRS know about it before you could say “Misra Cordia” three times fast:
“Michele Bachmann has opposed all instances of legislation which would advance Church teaching in health care of children. Therefore, a Catholic must not vote for her.”
“Michele Bachmann has opposed all increases in housing aid to homeless elderly widows. This is analogue to a direct request made by Christ and thus, a Catholic must not vote for her.”
Those statements, while absolutely true, would be in violation of tax code.
Just, however, gently reminding Catholics that the Church opposes full extension of civil rights for gays in the US is not.
Whether this position is Christian or not, ah, not that is another discussion.



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RomCath

posted October 10, 2010 at 1:11 pm


Bishops have every right to instruct their people on what the Church teaches and how it should shape their decisions. That’s their job as Bishops.
People are free to listen or not but one does not cease being a Catholic simply becuase they enter a voting booth.
To draw the conclusion that gay marriage must be morally correct because Jesus said nothing about it is absolutely absurd. It is as absurd as three non-Catholics telling Catholic bishops what they should or should not be doing.



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romancrusader

posted October 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm


If people think the Church’s teachings on same-sex unions will change, it ain’t gonna happen. Period.
“It sounds like the archbishop is up to the usual Catholic bishop’s approach of talking like he supports the poor but acting politically in just the opposite way, supporting the party that oppresses the poor and the middle class in order to make life more comfortable for their wealthy friends.”
And you believe this?



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romancrusader

posted October 10, 2010 at 1:21 pm


Romcath,
These people are a-historical bigots and are blind to themselves.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm


RomCath said:
To draw the conclusion that gay marriage must be morally correct because Jesus said nothing about it is absolutely absurd. It is as absurd as three non-Catholics telling Catholic bishops what they should or should not be doing.
endquote
Well, that certainly ends the discussion, now doesn’t it?!
First, RomCath, nobody here has said that something is necessarily morally correct because Jesus didn’t mention it. Well, I did make the assumption that when He told us to help the widowed and children, He meant it in terms of health care and ending homelessness – but, mayhap, He really didn’t care about that and you are quite right. OK, I’ll grant you that one – Jesus never specifically said I am to worry about whether an old woman with too little money and all by herself in this world freezes to death in a gutter in a Minneapolis winter or not. I’ve been studying up on American slang since my accidental reference to carpetbaggers (a fair connection, really), so to show my new-found knowledge: Two-points for you! Yee-haw, Christ didn’t forbid us to let children go hungry and old women die in the streets.
As for your second contention, I would say it is no more inappropriate than for a Catholic bishop to determine law in a secular, constitutional republic such as the US.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 1:29 pm


RomanCrusader said:
If people think the Church’s teachings on same-sex unions will change, it ain’t gonna happen. Period.
Let me fix that for you:
“If people think the Church’s teachings on geo-centric orbits will change, it ain’t gonna happen. Period.”
There, all fixed.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm


RomanCrusader,
I find it enormously offensive to be characterized as a bigot because I place following Christ’s commandments on aiding the elderly and children higher on my to-do list than my politics.
Please withdraw the insult!



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romancrusader

posted October 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm


“Let me fix that for you:
If people think the Church’s teachings on geo-centric orbits will change, it ain’t gonna happen. Period.
There, all fixed.”
Panthera,
What part of thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor don’t you understand? Are you really that prejudiced towards the Catholic Church?! HONESTLY, YOU ARE NO EXPERT ON CHURCH HISTORY SO DON’T PRETEND TO BE. OK? You got that? You are confused about Church teachings and doctrine.
I’m not going to call you an a-historical bigot. Nope, I’m not stooping that low. Rather, I will pray for you. God bless you.



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romancrusader

posted October 10, 2010 at 1:38 pm


“Please withdraw the insult!”
How about withdrawing the insults?



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 1:42 pm


Deacon Kandra!
Please!
This is absurd!
It is impossible to have any discussion here when RomanCrusader is permitted to heap insults (calling people bigots because they follow Christ’s teachings is an insult) on us liberal Christians while, at the same time, calling upon the absolute letter of the law to attack the views of everyone who disagrees with him.
Please make him stop calling us bigots!
Thank you.



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nnmns

posted October 10, 2010 at 3:10 pm


Panthera, you are making good points. His lies are a sign of his discomfort. Ignore them and keep it up.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm


nnmns,
Thank You! You make even better points (except the last post, that would be self-congratulatory).
We have six dead kids, two unbelievably savage cases of indescribably brutal attack in NYC and every single survey – even by Mormons – shows a decided uptick in bullying and violence against gay, lesbian and transgender in schools.
We can’t divorce the words of those Christian churches which say the things which are said against gays and the transgender from the increasing violence, beatings, bullyings and deaths.
This is going to get much, much worse before it gets better. How many more kids must die before those Christian churches which consider civil rights for gays to be a bad thing reflect on how their focus on this one, single disagreement among us Christians has led to the violence?
No, one need not necessarily hate gays to oppose our civil rights. The parallels between the money invested in opposing and stripping those rights and the increase in violence are inescapable. It’s a one way street – there are no incidents of physical violence, rape, bullyings, torture and murder against non-liberal Christians.
How many more must die?



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Rick

posted October 10, 2010 at 3:35 pm


The Minnesota Bishops’ letter makes it very clear that discrimination against gays is immoral and that the rights of all men and women must be protected. The letter does clearly state that gay marriage is not, from the Catholic perspective, a civil or human right.
The Catholic Church has a long history of working for the welfare of children, families and the impoverished. Panthera, I must be misunderstanding you. It sounds like you’re saying that the Catholic Church has abandoned children and the poor to fight gay marriage. The facts don’t back up that claim, but like I said, I’ve probably misunderstood you.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 3:57 pm


Rick,
Yes, you have misunderstood me.
Obviously, the Catholic church does some good or I, a non-Catholic Christian, would not chose to tithe through a small Order.
That said, there comes a point in every religious conflict where we, as fellow Christians need to sit down and talk to each other.
We have not done so here.
There is no doubt as to the final outcome – with each passing year, more and more highly-Catholic countries and nearly as many non-Catholic countries in the Western culture grant us full human and civil rights.
And, with each passing year, as those countries – without exception – continue to pull ahead of the US in terms of lowered divorce rates, fewer abortions, fewer violent crimes, no decrease in heterosexual marriage and substantially better conditions for those who do raise children – it becomes harder and harder to pretend that SSM is somehow going to destroy the world as we know it.
The same with medical and scientific findings. The lie that gays live much shorter lives turned out to be predicated on comparing victims of Aids with people who were HIV -. The same, in analogue, follows for all the arguments. All of them.
Yes, the Catholic church teaches, theoretically, that we are to be respected and not discriminated against for our sexual orientation. That this teaching is barely mentioned and absolutely not funded, whereas the teaching that gay marriage is a sin is given enormous funding – in some cases more that any other Catholic activity – shows just exactly where the priorities lie. Yup, you don’t get to be nasty to me for an immutable characteristic. Says so right there in the Catechism. Just, how many millions has the Church spent on that teaching these last three years? Hmm, thousands? Hmm, well, anyway.
But I diverge from the topic. I apologize. We will soon (less than 10 years not more than 30) see the full human and civil rights of gays and transgender in the US. The question is, what are we Christians going to do during the battle until then…and then, afterwards?
It’s a bit difficult to take your arguments about what a threat we are seriously when we have barely started the school year and already six children are dead. It’s enormously hard to focus, when just this last week two men were brutally attacked in NYC.
So, no, Rick – if I thought the Catholic church was beyond hope, I wouldn’t tithe through one of her Orders.
Why through this Order? For one, their books are open. I know the money goes exactly and explicitly where Christ said it must go. For another, it makes my Catholic father happy. RomCath, if you dare attack my father here again, I shall really be angry. Also, my husband, who is, as is my father, a devout Catholic is treated well by these Sisters – and that is something we surely can not say has been the case in quite a few Christian churches in the South, including several Catholic parishes.
That said, you and I clearly have different priorities. I feel obliged to focus on aiding the elderly, the widowed, the orphaned. Jesus didn’t say “if you have anything left over after stripping gays of their rights, give it to the poor”.
I guess it’s just a matter of Christian priorities – mine are following the commands Jesus actually gave me. Your’s aren’t.



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Gerard Nadal

posted October 10, 2010 at 4:09 pm


Panthera,
In the sum total of your postings over the past two yeas that I have been reading BN, you have accused the Church of homophobia and bigotry for teaching what is in scripture and tradition. If that’s how you see it, I don’t have a problem with you articulating it. However, they are profoundly serious charges and fighting words to those who truly understand the faith and submit to the authority of the Magisterium.
From the perspective of the faithful, it comes off as a bullying tactic: Submit to my demands or be ridiculed as unjust.
Bishops are charged with handing on that which was handed on to them. Inasmuch as positive law is informed by the prevailing mores of the society, it is the right of religious people to act upon their morals, regardless of source. To suggest otherwise is a bigoted position in itself.
The bigotry sword is two-edged and razor sharp, which is a good reason to keep it sheathed and proceed on other fronts in advancing one’s argument.
Peace.



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Rick

posted October 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm


If the marriage is extended to gays in the United States I assume that I will have the same response that I have toward easy divorce, easy contraception, living together and easy abortion: I think it is sinful and immoral and I will work for change . . .but I never have a right to hurt someone.
By the way, I don’t think that gay marriage is the worst challenge to marriage. Contraception, easy divorce, serial marriage, abortion and living together are greater challenges. It is the behavior of straights that concerns me more.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 4:18 pm


Gerard,
You always make good points.
Frankly, the deaths of these children, coupled with the enormous rise in physical violence against gays and transgender in the last few weeks have left many of us gay Christians with even less understanding for the position of non-liberal Christians than usual.
It shows through in my writing, I know it does.
Yes, bigotry is very much a weapon which hurt everyone, you are so right. What, I think, is not clear to your side in this disaster for the Christian body is how severe the damage really is.
Fighting against civil rights, fighting against human rights always has consequences.
I have a lot to learn and certainly you and Deacon Kandra, together with Klaire have shown me that my enemies can also be Christian. It’s a major thing to have learned. A good thing.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 4:27 pm


Rick,
I quite agree with you – I can not understand how somebody can fight against my civil and human rights with such passion “because the Church says so” and then turn around and embrace McCain or Gingerich, despite their violating Christ’s direct words.
This is an irresolvable conflict for me. I do what Christ commanded me to do. Divorce is forbidden, period. Unless, of course, it happens to fit the bill for a conservative politician. Then, all is forgiven.
That’s hypocrisy and shows me, clearly, just how much those Christians fighting against my rights really do so because they are following what they truly believe to be God’s will. You can’t have it both ways – if my 27 year committed, loyal, faithful, true, monogamous partnership is a ‘sin’, but serving your wife divorce papers when she is on her death bed of cancer is fine and dandy, then that’s a cafeteria Christianity of the lowest level.
So why, if heterosexual marriage is so important, do you invest nearly so many hundreds of millions in fighting my rights? It’s an observed fact in every single country which recognizes our rights that heterosexual marriage continues exactly as before (actually, all those states and countries have lower divorce rates than the US in toto). Since we are agreed that sexual orientation is immutable, why on earth waste money which could be better spent on strengthening the marriages which ‘count’, like Brittany Speers?



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Gerard Nadal

posted October 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm


Panthera,
The Magisterium cannot possibly be your enemy, as it has condemned violence and hatred against homosexuals. The Magisterium has likewise instructed the bishops in the pastoral care of homosexual persons.
If individual Christians choose to hate, their hatred is in no way a function of the Magisterial teaching, but actually in contravention to that teaching. Those who hate act in their own name, their protestations notwithstanding. You simply cannot hang this millstone around Rome’s neck.
You and I understand one another well, and have a mutual respect for one another, our differences notwithstanding. That is the authenticity with which the Church would have her sons and daughters act.
The events of the past weeks, the tragedy of this boy committing suicide has nothing to do with Rome. I dare say that many heterosexual students similarly humiliated would also take their own lives, so we do well to not try and portray homosexuals as a subspecies of human with unique responses to humiliations felt as such by all people. To do so is to engage in the thing that you and I mutually detest.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 5:21 pm


Gerard,
I do respect you – I’ve had the opportunity to read some of your work.
I also don’t regard you or Klaire of the Deacon as my enemies – reading my comment, again, it seems that might be a conclusion one could reach.
I don’t expect the Church to change her position on gay chastity soon, though the discussions and considerations underway very high up in the Church give me hope.
What I do wish, is that the Church would take a much fiercer stance against these attacks and against the rhetoric which leads to them than we have seen until now.
Lumping gay marriage in with murder, rape, abortion is part of the problem. I’d believe the theological basis applied to this argument more if I saw the Church investing even one-quarter or one-eight or one-sixteenth the energy and money in the problem of heterosexual divorce. What laws? What propositions? In which states? What sums of $87 million dollars were spent helping straight people avoid divorce?
Yes, the Church does a lot on a low level. But there is no comparison. When was the last time this Archdiocese sent out DVDs encouraging voters to vote against divorce? How many DVDs went out attacking homelessness? How much money was spent on advocating the non-abortion related aspects of health care – which, outside of the US, is a principle concern of the Catholic church?
Gerard, your priorities are not in line with Christ’s teachings. There is no way to tell me that my marriage is the number #1 problem facing the US when we have one out of seven children living in poverty. That means going hungry.
I’m probably going to be gone for the next few days, depending on flights. It is nice to be back home in a sane country, where I am fully human and enjoy full civil rights. It is also an enormous amount of time wasted, sitting in boring meetings listening to the stupidity my father used to deal with. Not that I ever complained when he handed round the dividend checks. I’m not the businessman he was, I hope I’m making the decisions for our family businesses he would have made.



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Kiro

posted October 10, 2010 at 5:35 pm


The real threat to marriage has nothing to do with homosexuality per se, but rather the argument that being homosexual somehow justifies bending or changing rules.
If the institution of marriage recognizes that anyone can be presumed the father of someone elses’ child – based not on actual biological relationship, but on “choice” – then children become things that people have a “right to” – in other words, they become commodified. The existing law, that says children have the right to a relationship with their real parents unless it is in a child’s best interest to sever that tie, will be replaced with a system where the child’s best interest is secondary to the rights of parents who wish to have a parenting experience – and children will be severed from their kinship bonds for reasons having nothing to do with the child’s best interest.
The other alternative is to recognize the argument gays themselves make: that marriage is “not linked to procreation”. If this is the case, there is no reason and no justification for the various benefits of marriage which act to support procreation – including the generous and expensive financial benefits granted to “breadwinners” in order to protect “primary caregivers”. If marriage is not about family, there is no need for breadwinner or caregiver status; no reason for “head of household” – no reason and thus no justification.



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Kiro

posted October 10, 2010 at 5:41 pm


Panthera, according to numerous agencies – including the UN and World Bank – the #1 risk factor for poverty among children is to be abandoned by a parent.
It is precisely because poverty is bad that we must stop perpetrating the myth that marriage is “not linked to procreation”.
For hundreds of years before the “romantic revolution” introduced the novel idea that spouses should share an idealized romantic love, marriage served the function it has always served:
– protecting women from being used, discarded, exploited by providing them a “contract” specifying what they are entitled to both financially and socially, from the legitimate father of their child
– protecting men from entrapment, trickery, and “Billie Jeans”, by allowing them a means to signal their intentions (thus indirectly signaling unwanted children, which also serves the protective function of signaling to the family that a given child might have a conflict of loyalties with the patriarchal unit)
– protecting the child from abandonment and, thus, poverty. Children born out of wedlock are more likely to be abandoned by their father, more likely to be given away to strangers to raise – and while it is true that it is less harmful to give a child to strangers than to force the child to stay with a mother who does not want him, this does not mean that being severed from one’s roots, one’s kin, one’s identity, and one’s real parents, is a harmless act.
If you don’t like poverty, maybe it’s time to rethink the “sexual revolution” – promiscuity kills children.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 5:42 pm


Kiro,
You do know that false witness is forbidden to us as Christians, don’t you?
Both of your main arguments are not only false, they have also been shown to be so in several countries around the world.
A child most certainly is not property. At least we agree on something.
The only thing which changes, which has changed in all countries which treat us as human, is that we may assume all the rights and responsibilities of marriage. Should I die tomorrow – and the way people drive in Italy, goodness! – my husband would inherit all my worldly goods.
Please, oppose my civil and human rights if you must. But stop lying. It is neither Christian nor, ultimately useful.



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Panthera

posted October 10, 2010 at 5:49 pm


Kiro,
Sense the basis of gay marriage is identical to that of all modern marriage – a lifelong, monogamous commitment to care for and support each other, through illness and bad times as well as in the good, you should rather support gay marriage than pretend it somehow has anything to do with those heterosexuals who abandon their children.
Or with those despicable men who get women pregnant and then leave them and their child.
You are conflating two entirely separate issues.
As a matter of fact, roughly 25 to 30 percent of all gay and lesbian couples are raising children. Long term studies show we do it just as well as do straight couples (actually, the studies show gay men do just as well, lesbians do it a bit better than straight couples).
We are agreed that children are victims of horrible abuse and neglect. Denying my human civil rights isn’t changing that. Indeed, the opposition to laws which would punish those who drove those six children to death these last weeks – an opposition led exclusively by Christians like you does tangible harm to children.



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Kiro

posted October 10, 2010 at 6:09 pm


Panthera, you accuse me of false witness, I hope you’re prepared to back that up.
No child has two mommies or two daddies. All children are born to one man, one woman. This is the child’s family.
If you love that child, you have an obligation to choose your child’s other parent wisely and well: the person you choose, and the person you yourself become and choose to be – these are your gifts to this child.
You simply don’t have the right to take his chance to have a relationship with his father from him. Or his mother, if you’re a guy. That relationship is valuable. It is his right.



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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted October 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm


Those who attack Church leaders for speaking out on moral-political issues are saying Church leaders should be stripped of their political rights as Americans. They do it by selling the shell game that says certain issues (the ones they select) are solely political. Therefore, they belligerently then
claim, religious leaders are being somehow “unAmerican” for doing what they can to promote the traditional, orthodox Christian point of view and have it part of our laws if they can get a majority on their side. In the meanwhile there is no questioning of the right of groups who attack traditional Christian morality to participate in the debate as they see fit. Of course, this is a political strategy of the corruptist sort. This should be a debate on whether there should be gay “marriage” under law; whether it is a good idea or bad idea, whether it is a moral idea or evil idea, whether it is good for society or bad for society. Instead, one side trolls for support from as much anti-religious or anti-Catholic bigotry it can garner for its side while claiming that just to oppose their moral-political point of view is bigotry or hatred. Sadly, this strategy works on some unwary people.
I guess Martin Luther King Junior ahould have shut up and quietly slunk away.
I guess Frederick Douglas and all his Quaker supporters should have made their peace with slavery.
I guess Sam Adams (a Church deacon) should have found excuses to roll over for the British.



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Kiro

posted October 10, 2010 at 6:12 pm


There is no right to lie, to make misleading or fraudulent claims.
Which is what it would be, if we granted a gay person the right to be presumed the parent of a child that he knows perfectly well is not his child, but is in fact someone elses child – someone else who might have been used, might have been lied to, might have been paid (that ought to be illegal, as trafficking), who knows what makes someone deliberately create and abandon a child?
The right to appropriate someone elses child – and collect benefits meant to be shared between that child’s real parents – is not a basic civil right.



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pagansister

posted October 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm


Nothing has changed in the churches position, so onto the next topic.



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RomCath

posted October 10, 2010 at 6:31 pm


“I don’t expect the Church to change her position on gay chastity soon, though the discussions and considerations underway very high up in the Church give me hope.”
Of all the bizarre things you have written Panthera, this has to be one of the classics. SOON? Are you kidding me? How about, when hell freezes over?
I think the delusion is getting really scary now.



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 10, 2010 at 6:38 pm


I have to wade in here a moment and agree with RomCath: the odds of the church changing or radically altering her stand on “gay chastity” — like changing her stand on heterosexual chastity, or pre-marital sex, or abortion — are zero. To think otherwise is either naive or just plain ignorant.
Pan, it’s time to stop fighting a battle here that you’re never going to win. You’ve made your point on this issue — with tiresome frequency. Please move on to another issue (if that is even possible) and stop beating a horse that long ago lost its heartbeat. Thank you.
Dcn. G.



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nnmns

posted October 10, 2010 at 7:03 pm


Y’all are having a fine pity party I see, bemoaning the fact some people are willing to talk about the choices of scripture (and in some cases lack of scripture) church leaders choose to turn into political action. By showing they are serious about abortion and homosexuality while paying a little lip service to health care and living wages and such they give a lot of real political support to the Republicans who will do nothing to help the poor or the middle class and who are likely to start yet another stupid, needless and probably illegal war.
Your leaders are well to do or better and are cultivated by wealthy, greedy men and thus spend time with those the Republicans serve and are comfortable with them and would be uncomfortable making them unhappy. This bishop’s actions are just one more piece of evidence.



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Mike L

posted October 10, 2010 at 7:32 pm


In some ways I agree with the Deacon, Pan, at least to the point that you are never going to change certain peoples minds, they are set in cement. And most likely RomCath et al are also right, the Church will most likely not change her stance on these subjects.
But just because the Church has a moral stance does not mean that a pluralistic society has to follow along by passing civil laws that follow that stance. We certainly do not follow Church teaching in terms of war or their social teachings.
On the other hand, some teachings have changed. The Church says no divorce, but I now understand that many tribunals work on the principle that if the marriage has broken up, there was probably no marriage there in the first place. Pretty close to fault free divorce.
Also in the area of contraception the Church has changed its teachings. When I was married 50 years ago the teaching was that all forms of contraception were wrong. They did allow what is now called NFP in cases of medical emergence, and possibly financial with the consent of the bishop, but for no more than two years. Although I haven’t taken one of the NPF courses, it would appear that contraception using a time barrier is now acceptable.
In yet another matter, the Church once accepted torture as the proper way of collecting evidence. While the teaching has changed, many of the old time Catholics seem to select to continue to believe in such methods.
So maybe there will be some strange changes, perhaps for both good and bad. And while I agree that the bishops have the right to speak on political issues, I think it takes away from their spiritual life and their authority. My experience seems to be that they are so busy fighting civil same-sex marriages that they are failing to support sacramental marriage except by stating the same old, same old. The programs for marriage improvement pushed in our diocese seem to be the ones for which they can get federal or state funding.



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Patrick

posted October 10, 2010 at 7:59 pm


I appreciate the fact the Catholic hierarchy doesn’t change with every popular wind,if it had since the early days,we wouldn’t even have the unity of the Nicene creed.
In fact,it’s likely there would simply have been the destruction of the faith. If it’s going to change every 20 years to tack with the zeitgeist,what worth would it ever have been? None.
Because it would have dropped it’s reverence for Christ to impress “the world” by now. The pressure to do so by the early gnostics,Arians,etc was strong.
Ole Athanasius said NO to that. Good on him,good on today’s leaders who say no to the nonsense of the world. Even in ancient,pagan Greece they did not marry gay couples. No need for Christians to agree to such nonsense.



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Kiro

posted October 10, 2010 at 8:01 pm


Mike L, you seem to misunderstand what sacramental marriage is.
On one side of my family, I have relatives who believe that kinship matters. This can be tedious, as roles define obligations, but since our family is (like most families) no stranger to conflict, there are ‘rules’ for how to handle situations when you can’t stand the person you’re obligated to. Overall, however, there is respect for the family as an institution, and respect for our family in particular, and respect for the idea that some things are sacred and must be honored.
On the other side of my family, there is this belief – the same belief put forth by “gay marriage” advocates, and at the very center of the redefinition of marriage – that kinship is irrelevant, and family “is a choice”. The problem of course is that choice is not stable, and it makes for a lot of drama, because it is never possible for everyone to “choose” the same way at the same time. So when one man marries someone someone else hates, there’s a power struggle to determine whether the new wife really qualifies as kin. When two people start dating, the children are encouraged to view themselves as “family” – until the breakup, at which point it is brought home to them with astonishing cruelty that not only are they not family any more, but they never were. Altogether, the whole thing is a recipe for drama – because who is and is not “family” on any given day is not grounded in reality, or in biological kinship, but on the powerful family members dominating the weaker ones (just as gay marriage will allow affluent gays to dominate both the people they use to make babies, and the babies who are thus created).
Change can be good, but it is not automatically good just because it is change. Whether changes to the basic structure of family are good or bad remains to be seen. So far, all I have “seen” is a remarkable indifference to the actual welfare of the people affected, by those who want the power to “choose”.



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Mike L

posted October 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm


Kiro, as a matter of fact I do have an understanding of sacramental marriage, a marriage based on spirituality and grace, and loving your spouse enough to do what is best for them. I have a hard time understanding what you are saying since nowhere do you mention grace. I have also seen Christians behave as described in both of your descriptions as well as people that do not seem to consider themselves as having a sacramental marriage. As far as I can see, same sex couples could have as much a sense of kinship as a male-female marriage.
Having said that, note that I distinguished between civil partnerships, which I consider most couples to have, and sacramental marriages entered into through the Church. I think many civil marriages meet your first standard, and many Church weddings fall into the second class.
I agree that change is not good just because it is change. I will point out, however, until something new is tried, we don’t know if it is good or bad. There have been many changes to the basic structure of the family, and perhaps we would be better off with arranged marriages and a patriachial structure where the oldest male is the leader. Hey, that would be me! No thanks, my children can find far better solutions to their problems than I can.
I also agree that there is a remarkable indifference, if not outright hostility to the welfare of the people effected, as was just seen in Belgrade.



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Mark from PA

posted October 10, 2010 at 11:34 pm


I think Panthera made a lot of good points. I am outraged that all those hundreds of thousands of DVD’s were mailed out in Minnesota. Why couldn’t that money have been spent on struggling parishes, cash strapped Catholic schools or the poor? I have read about Archbishop Nienstedt for a while and it seems that he has a strong dislike of gay people. What kind of effect will this have on gay Catholic teens who may already feel marginalized? How painful is it for them to witness this. Now I read that this Archbishop denied communion to gay students at a college. I suppose if someone is considered a disordered and intrinsically evil being then denying them communion might make sense. But I doubt that the good archbishop would ever deny communion to wealthy right wing conservatives. Where is the shame?



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Panthera

posted October 11, 2010 at 2:02 am


Deacon Kandra,
I certainly did put my finger in that hornet’s nest and I apologize for stirring things up. I grew up surrounded by ‘history’ and when I spoke of ‘soon’, I was thinking in terms of a century or so.
I will let that go.
It is worth noting this morning, and in a horrible way, that another young man has taken his life, this time in Oklahoma, apparently after a town hall meeting at which some very hateful things were said. That makes seven this school year. Of which we know. This disagreement among us Christians is not without consequences.



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Michael

posted October 11, 2010 at 7:48 am


This is not about a union of same sex. Let gays do that in a civil proceeding.
This is about the Church approving sin. When the Catholic Church bows to modern PC pressure and lets gays move openly in the Church,,marriage, ordination, etc,,,I’m leaving the Church. Period. Simple.
The Church does not hate gays, Jesus does not hate gays. However, gay is a CHOICE (as more and more doctors say now) and it is a choice to sin.



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Kiro

posted October 11, 2010 at 8:17 am


Mike L, marriage is about more than just loving your spouse. It is also about loving your child.
How is it “loving” to “give” your child to someone outside the child’s real family?
If and when gay marriage becomes law, the real debate will start. Will marriage come to mean only what gay advocates say it means – an institution promoting the emotional fulfillment of adults, with no relationship to procreation? Because, if so, it will lose its justification for providing those expensive benefits gays covet so much.
Or will we decide that marriage is about family, and family can just be anything the dominant family members want it to mean? Will weaker, more vulnerable members of the family be forced into a kafkaesque pseudo-reality, where they are told what to pretend is real on a given day, so that the more powerful members of the family can use them to indulge their fantasies and pursue their pleasure?
At stake will be the question of whether all children have the rights that some children have already been guaranteed:
– The first right is the right to know, have a relationship with, and be supported by, both parents (parents currently meaning, you know, REAL parents, not “I have a dream therefore you have to pretend you’re my kid” parents)….the only time this relationship is currently supposed to be severable is when a judge rules it in a child’s best interest to sever this; gay marriage would transfer that power to parents, who would have the right to sever their child’s relationship with the other parent through deceit, fraud, and power struggle.
– the second right children would be losing is the right to have their interests represented (and as primary, as “most important” or first in importance) in custody decisions. Gay marriage relies on the arguments that the rights of gays overrides the rights of the child – what is best for the child is less important than the gay person’s right to experience parenting in the way they choose.
– the third right is a right to be free from parentification, emotional abuse, not to mention the outright manipulations, bullying, and blurring of boundaries that occurs when a parent tries to manipulate the child into playing along with a fantasy that is not in fact grounded in reality. Forcing a child to call a stepparent his “real parent” – denying him the opportunity to grieve for the loss of his absent real parent, making him pretend he does not have any grief, refusing to let him talk about the experience of being fatherless or motherless, or the experience of being abandoned by his real parent – all of this has already been classed as child abuse when heteros try to do it.
The eventual outcome is that we will be forced to reconcile the two standards being applied: either ALL children will be granted the rights currently granted to some kids, or ALL parents will be granted the right to abuse, manipulate, swap, trade, buy, or sell their kids.
Some things are sacred. If you believe in God, then you believe that God gave you a child. Like the Earth, the animals, the environment, and every other living gift, that is not a gift you can simply use and mistreat any way you want. It requires stewardship and care. The reality is, your child’s needs don’t change just because you’ve got sexual desires. You have to separate your own needs from your child’s, stop PROJECTING, stop pretending that your child wants whatever you want – and stop forcing your child to pretend that his needs follow yours. They don’t.
Sacramental marriage, in other words, is about understanding that some things are sacred. What God has given you, you have to treat right. You have to honor this woman (man) you use to make a baby. You have to care for this baby, and understand that YES, he wants a relationship with his mother (or father). Those are OBLIGATIONS. I believe them to be sacred.



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Mike L

posted October 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm


Kiro,
You have gravely insulted my mother! My father was killed in a war less than six months after I was born, as many fathers are today because of the support for an unjust war. Then you accuse her of “giving” me to someone who was not part of my family when she married 7 years later. So loving you pretend to be. And you also gravely insult every unwed mother that gives her child up for adoption rather than abort. So whether you realize it or not, you are supporting abortion.
You accusations do not separate gay from hetero marriages, just those marriages that see marriage as a lifelong commitment and those that see it as temporary. You confuse family with faith and commitment.
To answer your point:
You are wrong on the first right of a child. The first right is to be raised by loving parents to know and love God. Your obsession with family is greatly misplaced as shown by the fact that most sexual abuse of children come from family members. Yet you say this is better for a child than to be adopted?
For your second point, who do you think decides custodian ship for hetero marriages that break up? It would seem that you would give it to the parents, or maybe some other member of the family. Do you really think that the person who is abandoning their commitment to the marriage should be the one that decides the child’s fate.
As for the third point are you really saying that parents should not be allowed to make their children go to church. Perhaps you think that parents should avoid “parentification” and allow them to bully gay children that they meet? This does not seem like a Christian attitude to me, yet obviously many hetero marriages seem to permit this.
Oh, my wife just comment that you also insulted her mother, who was not married but cared enough to give her up for adoption. I hate to think of her having been aborted rather than given to someone that was not her family. I hate to tell you this, but you don’t seem to know much about reality. And you are very insulting.
As a matter of fact, I was not required to call my step-father “dad” but I did. He was one of the most loving, caring men I have ever met, and so perhaps you have also insulted both of us. Nor was my wife required to call her adoptive parents “mom” and “dad”, but she did for the same reasons.
We have good friends that are fostering children that have been abandoned or abused by their REAL parents. In one case a child was returned by the court to their REAL parents and within the year he hung himself in a closet. I know several gay couples that would have raised him in love. In another case six months after returning the child to her real parents she had to be hospitalized and restrained because she was slicing herself with any sharp instrument she could find or hitting her head against cement walls. And yes, the foster parents had predicted this when the child was returned to her REAL parents. My own daughter fostered an infant who did not go back to his REAL parents, and he is doing well with a loving set of adoptive parents. As for gay parents, what studies have been done have shown that children in those families do as well or even better than children in hetero families. Will yours do that well?
Both my wife and I find that your emphasis on tribal kinship rather than on God is at least somewhat confusing when speaking of sacramental marriage. I think you have set up a form of “straw man” or really a “straw group” and put those that don’t agree with you in that group and then condemned on the basis of what you think rather than on the characteristics of individuals. I believe that your thinking is very faulty.



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Gerard Nadal

posted October 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm


Panthera,
Your gruesome body count misses the point entirely. I follow the Church’s lead on gay equality, i.e. that we are all equally sons and daughters of God.
Ever read Romeo and Juliet? Those were straight kids, persecuted for their forbidden love, and while a work of fiction, it echos thousands and thousands of such straight kids’ tragic ending through the years.
I’ve had family and friends commit suicide through the years, and even a parish priest five years ago. The suffering, the loneliness, alienation, isolation that drove them to their ends is in no way more or less noble, more or less tragic than that of gays.
Would you like to know the terrible things said about me for being a pro-life scientist, the professional ridicule and scorn that has been heaped upon me by peers? I haven’t thrown up the rope.
I abhor hatred hurled at gays. But even more than that I abhor the dangerous game being played by the gay community in simultaneously demanding equal treatment and objectifying themselves as a subspecies of human in need of special added protections under law. It matters not why violence is done to a human, and we have sufficient laws to redress such wrongs.
There comes a time when this brand of militancy blows up in one’s face, when otherwise neutral or even supportive people become disgusted and turn on those who militance contains within itself the implicit vilification of an entire group (gay v. straight). I can’t rule out that some of the violence seen now is a product of people being tired of getting poked in the eye in a relentless manner. It’s enough already.
This macabre body count, victimhood ledger, needs to stop. Gays are not the only ones who suffer. Christians are being persecuted around the world by the millions. You’re hardly alone. But you can unwittingly arouse in others the very resentments and ire you seek to eradicate. Coming here and constantly accusing my Church, the central organizing principle of hundreds of millions of Catholics’ lives, of so much unmerited recrimination does just that for people.
It’s time to switch tactics Panthera. For thirty years in Biology we have ceased the focus on what differentiates species and focused instead on what they have in common. This has accelerated the pace of fruitful research in medicine and agriculture. I posit the same may be done between homosexuals and heterosexuals



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nnmns

posted October 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm


Your “central organizing principle” decided, perhaps because long ago a “church father” had a dyspeptic day, that homosexuality is bad and so some of you are dragged along with it. Unwillingly I hope but in many cases, I’m afraid, happily. So then you need some reason in addition to “God makes me do it”. Happily for y’all, apparently someone has come up with some nonsense about homosexual marriage meaning the stronger dominates the weaker or something such. Well let me tell you about a lot of heterosexual marriages: the stronger dominates the weaker.
Your church may not change its tune for decades or even change its emphasis to, e.g., concern for the poor and weak. But y’all can overcome your dependance on the Church’s dictums and the world will be a better place when you do.



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Kiro

posted October 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm


Gerard, I agree with what you are saying, but I would argue one small but not unimportant detail.
I don’t believe the polarization being set up is truly “gay vs. straight”.
I believe it’s “secular humanism vs. the religious”.



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pagansister

posted October 11, 2010 at 7:10 pm


Families are a group of people who love each other, and most times are related by blood. Families can be the “traditional” one male/one female with offspring, or one male/one female with an adopted child/children—-no blood relation at all, or 2 males,child/children or 2 females, child/children. Same gender families many times adopt or through the use of surrogates, have a child which is biologically related to one of the parents, or in the case of a female couple, sperm donor (know of a family who has 2 children thru the use of the same sperm donor). The important key to all this is LOVE for the children and each other, not the combination of the couple. Many single men and women raise either their own child alone (divorce/death of spouse). My mother was adopted, and was loved beyond belief. No one should be able to tell other folks just what constitutes a couple.
For those that think civil unions are the same as marriage (no matter who performs the ceremony), the rights given to married couples are much more than those in a civil union.



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Mareczku

posted October 11, 2010 at 8:39 pm


Michael, I person’s sexual orientation is not a choice. You need to talk to some gay people. Also, homosexuality is not a sin (at least in the Catholic Church). It is not a sin to be gay. Mike L. you made excellent points about family. As an adoptive parent my hat is off to you. Thanks.



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Kiro

posted October 11, 2010 at 9:11 pm


Mareczku, I wonder, as an adoptive parent, if you ever had the experience of your adoptive child asking for information about where he came from, why his real mother didn’t want him, etc.
I ask because I have heard so many adopted kids talk about how their real mother “must have loved me, because she chose to have me” (as opposed to an abortion), and “gave me up because she wanted me to have a good home”, and it seems pretty obvious to me that adopted kids get a lot of reassurance out of that idea, that their mother must have cared for them at least a little.
I just wonder how nice it feels to know that your dad was paid to look at dirty magazines, or that your mother was a woman who was selling eggs plus another woman who was hired to be a “breeding machine”.
It doesn’t seem the same to me at all.
What does it do to a kid’s sense of identity? Does anyone even *care*?
Every adopted kid has the reassurance of knowing every decision made, was made with his best interests in view.
Adopted kids know that the reason their parent gave them up had nothing to do with selling them for cash.
They know their adoptive parent was not the least bit responsible for the loss that caused them to lose their parents in the first place.
It seems ironic to me that just at the time when we as a culture are starting to recognize that adopted kids do suffer a loss – and do need to grieve, and have special identity issues – that at this same moment in time we are talking about legislation that would make it legal to make it easier to transfer custody of kids in a way that de-links the idea of adoption from the idea that custody transfers should be ruled by the child’s best interest.



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Mike L

posted October 12, 2010 at 11:33 am


Kiro,
My wife and I have had a fair number of conversations over her adoption, and she tells me she does not believe she ever had an identity problem. She says that she knew she was adopted for as long as she can remember, and that her parents always told her that they felt very luck to have gotten her. Yes, she would like to more about her mother, just I would like to know more about my natal father.
While this discussion seemed to have started out over gay marriages, I do not believe the abuses that you mention are limited to, or even mostly occur among gays. And even if they do, the child can also say “my mother loved me enough to go through that to get me.” Using donated sperm from a sperm bank does not appeal to me, but the biological drive to have children, given by God, is strong, and I refuse to condemn those people.
It also seems to me that closing the doors to same-sex couple adoption may well lead to more abortions and more “donor fathers”, which I certainly agree is not a good thing.
I does seem to me that you have a serious issue yourself. These problems do not belong to any one group, but to individuals that span all of society, not just those that are gay. As I mentioned earlier, most child abuse occurs from family members, and is most often not report or nothing done about it. A believe statistics show that child abuse is highest among women living with a man not the child’s father. This certainly agrees with your belief except it is in a heterosexual environment. I would certainly like to see a study comparing child abuse among heterosexual couples and gay couples. I suspect, since studies show that children of gay couples do as well or better then children of hetero families, that they may be less abuse in gay families.
You most certainly have touched on a serious subject here, and one that needs attention. I do think that you have misplaced the blame for that problem and do not see how universal it is.
Hugs,
Mike L



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Kiro

posted October 12, 2010 at 1:58 pm


The available evidence suggests that many if not most (maybe even all) adopted kids do have identity and grief issues.
The problem, of course, is that adopted kids have compelling reasons for denial.
Personally, I believe that it is not the experience of being adopted nearly so much as the cognitive dissonance the child is forced to incorporate. I say this partly based on personal experience and partly based on what I’ve read.
There are numerous books full of real-world evidence regarding the grief and identity issues I speak of.
I like “Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search For Self” because you can’t accuse it of being biased against adoption; the authors present evidence that strongly suggests problems that need to be corrected – then bend over backwards to interpret that evidence in ways that does not disrupt the “status quo” (to the point where it’s almost comical – but this is not an unimportant consideration, given how some books on the taboos of adoption are very angry and emotional, which can be so disturbing to read that it almost *justifies* denial).



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Kiro

posted October 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm


Just FYI, I also believe that heteros who are “single by choice” or otherwise fail to observe the child’s best interest, are also wrong.
But the point is that “gay marriage” would INSTITUTIONALIZE the practice. It would grant the state’s blessing on the behavior.
It would grant – as a positive right – the right for a gay man or lesbian to be presumed the parent of a child that he or she knows perfectly well is not his child.
There is a difference between failing to prosecute an action vs. actively enabling or supporting it.



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pagansister

posted October 13, 2010 at 9:33 pm


Kiro, gay marriage would give all American citizens equal rights, and accord those couples the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. It has nothing to do with religion, or “INSTITUTIONALIZE-ing the practice”. Marriages are not necessarily done in a religious environment, as I’m sure you know.
“It would grant-as a positive right-the right for a gay man or lesbian to be presumed the parent of a child that he or she knows perfectly well is not his child.” WHAT? That is different than an adopted child, who is not a blood relation to one of it’s parents?



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Mike M

posted November 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm


Mike L,
I noticed you say “I refuse to condemn those people.” With all of these issues, I think it’s important to distinguish between condemning people and saying that we should refrain from providing a legal framework to encourage what they do.
These are not the same thing.



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Chris Chin

posted November 8, 2010 at 11:36 am


Shouldn’t ‘we’ be providing a legal framework that allows ALL citizens to practise their right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Especially when other people’s relationships do not harm your own and/or are none of your business to begin with?



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Chris Chin

posted November 8, 2010 at 11:38 am


I wonder how many mouths could have been fed with the cost of producing and mailing 400,000 DVDs?
The Church has lost not only its way but its humanity.



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RomCath

posted November 8, 2010 at 1:26 pm


“Especially when other people’s relationships do not harm your own and/or are none of your business to begin with?”
What do we all live in isolation now? What others do has no affect on us or society or family life. Get real.



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Chris Chin

posted November 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm


If you could explain how my marriage has – in ANY way – affected yours, I might believe you. You can’t and I don’t.
Heck, you can’t even explain why you beleive 50% of the world’s population would share a trait if it were “normal”.
Left-handers unite!!! ;{O)
U 2 funnee.
Like I said, liberty and justice for ALL, and the right to the pursuit of happiness will always supercede your sanctimonious, self-righteous condemnation any day.



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