Bishop calls out Catholic governor in Illinois for approving civil unions
By Benjamin Mann, Staff Writer
Springfield, Ill., Dec 2, 2010 / 08:13 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Illinois legislature passed a bill on Dec. 1 that will establish same-sex civil unions in state law. While the state’s Catholic governor Pat Quinn said his faith prompted him to support the bill, [?!?] his bishop has warned that the governor’s actions clearly contradict Church teaching.
“If the Governor wishes to pursue a secular agenda for political purposes, that is his prerogative, for which he is accountable to the voters,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., after the contentious vote.
[Here it comes…] “But if he wishes to speak as a Catholic, then he is accountable to Catholic authority,” he continued, “and the Catholic Church does not support civil unions or other measures that are contrary to the natural moral law.” [Clear enough?] In the governor’s case, the local “Catholic authority” is Bishop Paprocki himself. [OORAH!]
The Springfield Journal-Register quoted the governor as saying, “My religious faith animates me to support this bill.”
“He did not say what religious faith that would be,” Bishop Paprocki noted. “But it certainly is not the Catholic faith.” [I would like to remind the readers at this point that Bp. Paprocki was, while an official in the chancery of Chicago and then an auxiliary bishop, a supporter of the older, traditional form of Holy Mass and was not rarely at St. John Cantius. I not absolutely saying that there is a connection between this bishop’ clarity and his liturgical foundation. But… ]
Governor Quinn has promised to sign the civil union measure into law, following its passage in the state’s House and Senate. Local reports indicated that the Democratic governor received a standing ovation from members of his own party, following the 61-52 vote in the Senate. [Say he does. What will Bp. Paprocki do, actually do?]
The governor joined Democratic Representative Greg Harris, the self-described “highest ranking openly gay elected official in the State of Illinois,” in supporting the initiative.
The bill drew opposition from Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George, as well as the Catholic Conference of Illinois, due to its potential impact on the Church’s work in adoption and foster care. [What will Card. George do?]
Cardinal George and the conference also expressed concerns that the bill would diminish the status of marriage in public life, by granting most of its benefits to any two consenting adults. They warned that the bill could substantially alter the law’s definition of what constitutes a “family,” and said its supposed provisions for religious liberty were vague and subject to restrictive readings.
Robert Gilligan, Executive Director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, spoke to CNA Dec. 1 about the new law. He predicted that future generations might have to learn some harsh lessons about the unintended consequences of using the law for what he called “social engineering.”
Civil unions, he said, indicate America’s trajectory toward a European model of living, in which adult romantic relationships have little or nothing to do with family or a lifetime commitment.
He noted that although individuals might enjoy this lifestyle or even deem it a “right,” a culture cannot sustain itself by functionally equating such arrangements with marriage. In time, he said, societies that choose to diminish marriage in this way will face the effects of shrinking populations and family breakdown.
If the Catholic governor of Illinois does this, after this warming, what will the bishops of Illinois do?
“most of its benefits to any two consenting adults”
Hmm, but isn’t that just the thing: civil unions don’t imply a romantic or sexual relationship. The state doesn’t care what their relationship is. If two spinster sisters living together also want the convenience of common property, automatic inheritance, hospital visitation, legal decision-making, etc…a merely civil partnership is just sort of a business arrangement. I have a hard time believing Catholics are bound in conscience to oppose specific structures of tax-benefits or purely legal concessions.
I continue to be tickled pink by Bp Paprocki’s appointment in Springfield. I think, providing the good Bishop does follow through on his word, we will see the makings of a fine Ordinary with a background in Canon Law, appointed by B16, formed in the episcopacy by Cdl George. Who btw was preceded by George Lucas, of course.
The only thing that could increase the hype would be if Cdl Burke was involved.
Put on some popcorn and pray for some episcopal fortitude.
Perhaps my state is doing a good thing. I haven’t heard any talk of same-sex no fault divorce. But let’s be serious. The state has been far from the Christian ideal in its laws; I really have trouble seeing this as another non-negotiable issue for Catholic social teaching.
I have a hard time believing Catholics are bound in conscience to oppose specific structures of tax-benefits or purely legal concessions.
Then those laws need to be fixed. There’s nothing wrong with marriage laws as they have stood for centuries — except that the State got involved in the first place.
Oneros said: Hmm, but isn’t that just the thing: civil unions don’t imply a romantic or sexual relationship. The state doesn’t care what their relationship is . . . . a merely civil partnership is just sort of a business arrangement.
That’s gravely inaccurate if not disingenuous. The Illinois civil unions bill says that the two persons who enter into a civil union are to receive all the rights and privileges that the State of Illinois affords to married couples, and are to be treated exactly as a marriage, meaning civil unions are subject to the same regulations and obligations as married couples. Anywhere the civil and criminal code mentions marriage or spouses or husband or wives, it will apply to a couple in civil union. That means that the state’s polygamy and incest laws apply to civil unions too: it can’t be anything besides two adults, and two brothers, or two sisters, or a brother and sister, or a parent and child, or first cousins, or an uncle and niece, or an aunt and nephew, will NOT be permitted to enter into a civil union — and the same age of consent that applies to marriage will apply to civil unions. The state DOES care what their relationship is, and presumes that they will be having sex with each other (otherwise the bill wouldn’t have be written to have the age of consent law apply) — and since prostitution is illegal in Illinois, that means it’s not even remotely like a business arrangement.
All this civil unions law does is bring in same-sex marriage under another name. Argue that Catholics can approve of homosexual unions if you wish, but don’t pretend that the state doesn’t care what kind of relationship civil unions are, or that these unions aren’t de facto marriages. This bill is an assault on the natural moral law, and is thus something that no one, especially no Catholic, can possibly support. The whole point of this bill is to enable the courts to mandate same-sex marriage by judicial fiat.
A few thoughts, from one who actually lives in Springfield, works for the state, and attends Bp. Paprocki’s cathedral parish.
As usual the Bishop is spot on. Public officials have a legal right to advocate anything they like, and get it voted on; what they DON’T have the right to do is claim that their faith endorses it when it doesn’t. For Quinn to claim that his religious faith (however he interprets it) motivated him to endorse what is same-sex marriage in all but name makes about as much sense as for a Quaker to claim that his faith moved him to endorse a declaration of war, or for a Baptist to claim his faith moved him to vote to make a “dry” community go “wet”. My suspicion is that this had less to do with faith and more to do with paying back gay and lesbian groups who poured money into his reelection campaign… but I digress.
I dunno, however, whether Bp. Paprocki really is the “local Catholic authority” for Gov. Quinn and others like him. It’s true that all statewide officials are required by the state constitution to “maintain a residence at the seat of government”; however, “maintain a residence” doesn’t mean you have to LIVE there full time, and most don’t. The governor has a home in Chicago which is is legal residence/domicile for voting purposes, and the same is true of other statewide officials (lt. gov, comptroller, secretary of state, etc.) Members of the legislature, meanwhile, are typically in town for about 3-4 days a week about 5-6 months out of the year; very rarely are they around on weekends.
While Quinn does spend more time at the governor’s mansion than his predecessor (Blagojevich) did, most of his public appearances on weekends, and especially on Sundays, tend to be in Chicago. I suspect that he is attending his Sunday Masses in Chicago.
The cathedral is about two blocks from the governor’s mansion, but I have yet to spot him or ANY well known statewide public official at a weekend Mass there, and I don’t know of anyone else who has. If any readers of this blog HAVE experienced a sighting of Gov. Quinn at a weekend Mass in Springfield, feel free to correct me. Maybe I’m going to the wrong Masses :-)
I take it some of you are hoping Bp. Paprocki will invoke Canon 915 and announce that Gov. Quinn and all other Catholic legislators who voted for this bill are hereby barred from recieving Communion. Well, even if he does (and that’s a big if) they could easily get around that. Most of the chief offenders in this regard — not just those who voted for civil unions but those who have been publicly pro-abort — are from the Chicago area and spend most of their Sundays and holydays there. For any such action to be effective, Cardinal George and all the bishops in Illinois would have to be on board with it.
“Civil unions, he said, indicate America’s trajectory toward a European model of living, in which adult romantic relationships have little or nothing to do with family or a lifetime commitment.”
A “European model of living”? This was quite unnecessary. America, with its scandalous divorce culture, has not been a model of family life for decades.
Same-sex “marriage” is a symptom, not a cause. I think the current approach taken by our orthodox leadership risks making it seem like Catholics oppose same-sex “marriage” out of animus towards gays rather than actual concern for the family. We have heard from our shepherds too little about the divorce culture in this country; perhaps they are not in a position to speak as they preside over their scandalous annulment mills which make a mockery of Catholic teaching on marriage.
“America, with its scandalous divorce culture, has not been a model of family life for decades.”
One of the lawmakers who voted against civil unions was State Sen. James Meeks, an African-American Baptist minister. He is not only pro-life but very strongly pushes a pro-marriage and family message among the members of his congregation. Recently his church put together wedding ceremonies for a number of couples who had been living together and some of whom had one or more children; the church paid for their marriage licenses and provided flowers, wedding gowns, a simple reception, etc. That eliminated the excuse that these couple’s “couldn’t afford” to get married.
Rev. Meeks is running for mayor of Chicago against Rahm Emanuel and a cast of dozens and conventional wisdom holds that his vote against civil unions will doom his campaign because he’ll lose the gay vote. However, that didn’t stop him from saying what he believed — that marriage is between a man and a woman and “this is a marriage bill” — and casting his vote accordingly.
Kind of amazing that a Baptist minister is more Catholic than a lot of Catholic politicians!
Oneros made a good point.
What are Catholic legislators doing to make civil divorce very difficult and civil remarriage after it impossible?
Remember, that Christ said such unions are adulterous.
Be it as it may, that does not mean that the state has a duty (or even the right) to use the power of secular law against anything that’s sinful. Apart from the many ways in which such a concept can – and in time, will – go horribly wrong, the state has quite different notions of forgiveness and its availability than the Church. That alone is more than enough to have a big difference between what is morally wrong and sinful on the one hand, and what is outlawed by the state on the other.
And for some more general points:
Oneros is right in the sense that this is more like a business arrangement. One that may facilitate sinful activities, but so marginally that I would not make that the key point of objection. Two other aspects, however, are making this action far less than savory:
1. If it is a business arrangement, why limit it to two people etc.? Why would the government create special business arrangements in the first place, favoring couples over singles or whatever construction? At the end of the line, the prime societal benefit, and the only reason for the government to be involved in the first place, is that there is a need for the protection of the kids involved, as they presumably have no means to fend for themselves yet. Now is this construction, where are the kids, and hence the overriding reason for the government to be involved in the first place? Asking the question is answering it. If the state is going to provide discriminatroy benefits, it has to be upfront about the reasons – it’s high time that aspect would take the forefront again.
2. The governor used his Catholic faith explicitly to defend this bill. That’s a misrepresentation of the faith, and that alone would already warrant strong language form the bishop.
Just take a look at what has happened in Canada.
Catholic Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau makes abortion legal amongst other things to create his “Just Society”
Catholic Prime Minister Paul Martin 30 years or so later legalizes same sex “marriage”.
Now there is a case before the courts to determine if polygamy laws are unconstitiuional. (marriage is no longer one man and one women, so why not?)
We’re doomed here in Illinois, though Bishop Paprocki is certainly a breath of fresh air. We just impeached our governor and sent him — like a few of his predecessors — to jail, and then turned around and elected his lieutenant. Chicago Democrats completely dominate state politics at this point. Unless the entire rest of the state produces a voter turnout of something like 70% against them, there’s nothing the rest of us can do about it. That’ll probably happen after they’re finished bankrupting us and destroying as many of our traditional institutions as possible.
The bishop touches on an important point here: for too long, “Catholic” politicians have been allowed to use their Catholicism to get elected and push anti-Catholic measures. They’ve been allowed to have it both ways, reaping the benefits of the Catholic vote while ignoring the responsibilities of being one. They have to be made to choose: if you’re going to imply that your policies come from your Catholicism, then they need to be Catholic policies, or at least not diametrically opposed to Church teaching. The bishops have to start protecting the “brand” again, as it were.
Destruction of society does not happen overnight. It is incremental, a kind of brick by brick removal.
“If the Catholic governor of Illinois does this, after this warming, what will the bishops of Illinois do?”
Probably nothing. I hope that I am wrong. I wholeheartedly support Bishop Paprocki but it seems to me that even in the rare instances when a bishop speaks out against such a politician there is rarely any forceful follow-up. Politicians routinely distort Catholic teaching and participate in public scandal with little or no consequences. They know there will be no real consequences. The few bishops who finally get enough spine to speak out in defense of the Church, unfortunately, usually breathe a sigh of relief and never follow up. That’s part of the problem. Politicians know that most often NOTHING will be said or done; and even if something is said, they know that the flap will be very temporary. They know that they can weather the storm and then just go along their merry way with no real consequences. They know the game and play it very well.
Does Gov. Quinn live in the Diocese of Springfield? I know Blago refused to reside in Springfield.
After years of suffering at the hands of bishops for my traditional bent, I have become VERY cynical in my attitude towards them. It’s a conditioned response (kind of like Pavlov’s dogs) where I feel my hackles raise at the mere word of “bishop”. It’s not even a conscience choice, it’s like an involuntary reflex.
However, there are times where I must give credit where credit is due. Here we have a bishop with enough spine to confront a “Catholic” politician causing public scandal to the faithful. I’ll go a step beyond Fr. Z. and say I believe there is a connection between Bishop Paprocki’s response to the governor and his openness toward the TLM. Like Peco said above, I do hope he will follow up his warning with consequences if the governor doesn’t tow the line.
In any event, this is one of the few days I can say that a Catholic bishop has made me proud to be a Catholic. Thank you Bishop Paprocki! Ad multos annos!
“My religious faith animates me to support this bill.”
“the Catholic Church does not support civil unions”
Ergo, Quinn believes some other faith and is not a Catholic, by his own admission. What’s the question?
Oh, whether the bishops will do anything about this…
a merely civil partnership is just sort of a business arrangement. I have a hard time believing Catholics are bound in conscience to oppose specific structures of tax-benefits or purely legal concessions.
I used to think this way too. Then the California Supreme Court ruled that if California says that practicing homosexuals may enter into a civil union, and if California also says that the members of a civil union have every right under law that a married couple has, then California has no rational basis to prevent practicing homosexuals from marrying.
In other words, civil unions are sold as a way of giving active homosexuals what they want while keeping marriage as a heterosexual institution. But it doesn’t work like that. Just as the bishops warned, allowing active homosexuals to legalize their relationship breaks down marriage.
If our left-wing loon Governor signs this, anything less than excommunication would be a farce. Personally I can’t wait to retire and move out of Illinois. Apres moi, le deluge!
Ok guys. Yes, our Church as a whole and especially our leadership have dropped the ball regarding divorce, annulment mills, etc. And yes, they need to rebuild it.
HOWEVER. When a block of homes is going up in flames, you concentrate on putting out the fire. You don’t hang around the already burnt-out homes going, “well gee since we were irresponsible and left oily rags next to heating units, it’s our fault, therefore we should just let the rest of the homes go up in flames and get out of the home-owning business altogether.”
To wit: We may be late digging our heels in, but you gotta start somewhere. And the current onslaught to normalize homosexuality has the potential to result in many lost souls. It ain’t about rights, diversity or tolerance; it’s about wiping proper Christian morality off the face of the planet. We’ve already seem someone fired from their job when they wouldn’t affirm that his manager and her female “spouse” were actually married. We’ve already seen Catholic charities forced out their work for not bending the knee to the prevailing winds. These episodes are only going to get worse if we don’t fight back. Recall the Act of Succession and the Test Acts. I hope I’m wrong and it won’t come to that, but as the saying goes, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. So Catholics should bone up on what the Church teaches, calculate the cost, and figure out if they are going to be able to pay it.
Oneros and Father Basil,
I have looked in detail at the new law and been following this for days, as many of my seminarian friends are concerned about this. We have been sharing the fact that this law makes homosexual couples de jure married, except for the “I do ” ceremony. To state anything else is not only false, but purposefully deceitful. This law was not merely covering tax breaks, but inheritance, medical rights, child rights, in the case of homosexuals or lesbians adopting and gives the couple the same standing as a heterosexual couple.
It is only a matter of time before these same-sex couples sue the Church for denying their religious rights to be married in a Church. Do not keep your head in the sand.
Of course, we have the Federal DOM act, which denies tax breaks, etc. to same-sex couples, but that can be overturned, if states demand it. The precedent for these people is civil rights legislation. The LGT groups have changed our lives by making homosexuality, etc. into a civil rights issue. I would imagine that within days, couples will turn up at registry offices to test the limits of the bill.
They found just enough votes in Chicago to defeat the favored pro-life, married, pro-family Catholic candidate. And that candidate would have also promised greater fiscal discipline. In these desperate times, this is what the Dem party focuses on. Insane, not to mention immoral.
Quinn is, not only incompetent and a tool of unions, a divorced Catholic man.
I have not heard from our bishop in Belleville on this issue. I think most Southern IL legislators, even Dems, voted against this abomination.
Gays have the same rights as any unmarried persons to enter into contracts and specify powers of attorney, etc., on advanced directives and so forth. They didn’t need this law. They just want the tax and insurance survivor benefits of legally married couples.
The priests and bishops do a lot to stop the divorce culture. I have been involved in marriage prep in parishes, and it is rigorous. As to annulments, these are hard to get, contrary to popular opinion, and take at least two years with a tribunal and external judge. I know people who have been denied annulments. Do not blame the Church for bad marriages. Bad marriages come either from bad families, or from a society which does not support married couples when they have difficulties.
As to invoking Europe, having lived in both America and Europe, there is a huge difference. To date, and living in Alaska, California, Wisconsin, Iowa, Mississippi, Illinois, New York State, etc. I have never seen same-sex couples holding hands in public and kissing in public, as I had seen in Europe. [You haven’t spent much time in NYC lately. You see it all the time in certain areas. Blech.]
Also, the Bible Belt is strongly against these changes, and there is no Bible Belt on the European Continent. There is a difference in acceptance and in religion here in the USA.
We’re still getting to know our bishop here in Springfield. When he was chosen, all the secular and mainstream Catholic media could talk about were his hobbies, so we know how much he likes playing hockey and running in marathons. Information about his theology was harder to come by, but there were promising bits here and there, and it was good to see that he’s a Latinist. In his installation homily, he talked about his patron saints, Thomas More and St. John Fisher, both of whom were killed for refusing to back down from their faith in the face of tyrannical governments. I think he knows the score.
I think it would be a mistake, prudentially speaking, for a bishop in this situation to refuse Communion to the apostate politician as a first step. Not because he would be wrong, but because Catholics are too poorly catechized to understand it. Too many would see it as the bishops taking their ball and going home, out of a fit of pique or hatred for homosexuals. That’s the unfortunate result of too many years of bishops and priests refusing to speak out against sin, both within and without the Church.
The “something” he should do is continue to speak out clearly as he did here, making it plain that politicians who try to claim the Church’s imprimatur for their actions have to answer to that Church for it. Every time a politician claims his Catholic faith spurs him to support bills that encourage abortion, or socialism, or other policies that have been condemned by the Church, his bishop or someone in authority needs to step up and call him on it. Let them know their free ride on the Catholic vote is over. In the meantime, preach frequently on these topics so Catholics in the pews will know again what the Church teaches and be able to recognize for themselves when a politician is lying about it. He has to make sure his priests are preaching about it too, which in many parishes will be like trying to get the leader of the local Temperance movement to give a presentation on the heart-healthy benefits of wine.
After all that, he can bring down the hammer of Canon 915 without simply causing more confusion and cynicism among rank and file Catholics. Of course, at that point it probably wouldn’t be necessary, since politicians would stop claiming their positions were Catholic if more than 51% of Catholic voters knew better.
I suggest you and others who doubt the significance and reach of this bill look at these websites. The passing of this bill was planned and carried out by groups of LGT who want to be married, in order for their lifestyle to be accepted. This is not about money.http://gayrights.change.org/
There are many other such sites.
We must pray that DOMA stays put and gets some teeth.
Bookworm wrote: “If any readers of this blog HAVE experienced a sighting of Gov. Quinn at a weekend Mass in Springfield, feel free to correct me. Maybe I’m going to the wrong Masses :-) ”
He has been seen at my parish, Blessed Sacrament, once or twice, on the weekend. And yes, unless you’re attending Blessed Sacrament, you’re going to the wrong Masses. ;)
Just kidding! However, you should try to make it to our 7 a.m. EF Mass on Saturdays, which is quite well attended for being so early on a Saturday. Msgr. Kemme (diocesan chancellor, for those of you not from Springfield) even joined us in October, though not knowing the rite he remained “in choir.” We even try to do one Missa Cantata per month (I don’t think we have one scheduled for December, however, sad to say). St. Al’s on the north end also has a weekly EF Mass now, on Thursdays.
Peggy R: Deanna Demuzio, Vince Demuzio’s widow, a Southern Illinois Dem, voted in favor.
May God bless Bishop Paprocki for his courage. He seems to take special delight in doing the kinds of things that make the Left to bananas. Not that that is his primary objective. It’s just that holiness and lovingly defending Church teachings tends to make the Left go bananas. Springfield has come a long, long way since the dark era we suffered through two bishops ago, who I will not name here.
I’ll be praying for His Excellency and His Eminence, that they may receive the gifts of ordination to act for their sheep.
Of course, rates of divorce and pornography use are highest in the “Bible Belt”. America is not more pro-family than Europe, just more hypocritical.
As for annulments, more than 80% of them worldwide (more than 45,000 annually) are granted in the United States, whose Catholic population is 5% of the world total. that says a lot about either American Catholic diocesan tribunals or American Catholics, re: respect for marriage.
Of course, it’s much easier to blame gay marriage. But is a symptom, not a cause, and with changing attitudes among the younger generations, it is an inevitability across this country.
Kudos to the holy goalie.
I have the same statistics. My point is that when married couples here or anywhere, except certain areas of Africa, where I personally know the Catholic elders help the younger couples, no one cares if a family or couple are having difficulties. There is no real support among the laity, and we are to blame, not the clergy, for marriage break-ups. Where are the men talking to husbands who gamble, commit adultery, ignore their children, etc. Where are the women who help those with large families on a daily basis, help with chores during illness, etc.? The Catholic community does not support its own, because people do not care about the sacredness of marriage.
To blame the clergy is a red herring. As I have said, disordered sexuality is more open and accepted in Europe. And to whitewash the Bible Belt as hypocritical is, frankly, adolescent. Gay marriage is not to blame for these things, but the society which accepts divorce will accept any type of union, sadly. And it is our fault as being complicit and silent.
Believe me I fully agree that we share the blame. But our shepherds have been negligent as well. Terrible catechesis and terrible orthopraxis have taken their toll.
My father was previously married with children and left his wife for my mother, having four children with her. My parents didn’t even bother with getting a annulment (though others in my family did, with no problems) and had their wedding in a Methodist church. They had no problem becoming members of a Catholic parish and and receiving Communion and having us all baptized.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve met Protestants and Orthodox who see the vast annulment system in America as Catholic hypocrisy. Who knows, perhaps the Pope is right, as he suggests in his recent interview, that thousands upon thousands of Catholic couples are entering into invalid marriages every year. But what does that say about our pastoral leadership if that is the case?
Just north of the Illinois border in Wisconsin it is unconstitutional for anyone of the same sex to Marry or have any other institution that is similar to marriage. This was recently added to the Wisconsin constitution. Voted on TWICE by voters and passed. Here is the text:
“”Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.””
Despite this language Governor Doyle, a democrat, was successful in getting a domestic partnership ammendment added on to a budget bill in 2009. It essentially creates domestic partnerships where the people engaged in a such a legal contruct have limited rights over property owned by the other, hospital visitation rights, etc.
While not perfect, I am thnakful that family is safer in Wisconsin that Illinois. Any pro family oriented people from Illinois are welcome in Wisconsin. We have great Priests and also have SJCP, ICRSS, FSSP, SSPX and some other minor orders.
Of course, it’s much easier to blame gay marriage. But is a symptom, not a cause, and with changing attitudes among the younger generations, it is an inevitability across this country.
Again, we can assign the blame for the fire after we put it out. But same-sex legislation is where the fire is currently raging and it does need to be put out. I know what you are trying to say, but it could be construed as saying, “Well, we dropped the ball on traditional marriage, so now we have to sit on our hands and let anyone have any kind of marriage they want.”
Re: “business arrangement” —
There are already multiple forms of “business arrangement” available to people who want to club together, mostly forms of incorporation or limited partnership. Civil unions are about people who don’t want the disadvantages, regulations, and (most of all) responsibilities of incorporation. Incorporating is in many ways more binding than contemporary marriage, you see.
And re: annulments (though that’s a rabbit hole), it’s much more common for American Catholics to give up in despair and just live in sin, than to get these fabled “easy annulments”. I still don’t know where the heck people live, that annulments are so easy to get. Tons of people involved, tons of stress and trips to faraway cities, parishes and families who’ve lost records, and ex-spouses who don’t want to cooperate by providing documents, even the ones who’ve remarried somebody else.
I’ve never heard any story from anybody working through the process that involved anything being easy or fast. I’ve heard tons of ones about paperwork being lost and years going by with no action, or about action only occurring after much pulling of strings and pleading.
I’d say we need to use the same-sex ‘marriage’ debate as a chance to attack no-fault divorce laws, etc. as well. (This also would help undo the accusation of bigotry; we need to be seen as upholding the whole position, the sanctity of marriage, not just as attacking homosexuality by itself.)
I did not minimize the evil of this bill. I pointed out the financial advantage that they get from being called “married.” For some individuals, that’s what is the most important personal goal. For the movement, the goal is of course more evil and far-reaching. They want to destroy the culture as well. I thought that went without saying.
For example, a gay “partner” of a deceased MO state trooper has filed a lawsuit to get survivor benefits that a lawful spouse would receive. The gay partner seeks to overturn the state constitutional amendment which voters approved limiting marriage to one man and one woman. There is a financial component as well, though it is not the only goal of course.
As far as gay kissing is concerned, that happened on the sidewalk in front of our house in Alexandria, VA. We lived around the corner from an apt complex that seemed to have limited parking. I had small children. I opened my front door and screamed at them to not do that in front of my house. I called the police as well. They were polite and respectful, though they didn’t come out to my house.
Thanks Sean. I said “most”.
I would not expect Bishop Paprocki to act unilaterally. As others have pointed out, Quinn’s residence is Chicago. The bishops of Illinois form a metropolitan province. In this situation it would be perfectly appropriate that action come from the bishops as a whole. Leadership would have to0 come from His Eminence.
Having said that, I think it important to respect the episcopal office and not be secondguessing them whatever they do or don’t do. They, not I, have to answer for their choice about how to respond to this. I might think I know how they really MUST respond, but I won’t face God to answer for that choice. And I will face God to answer for countless other choices. We know from a column by Tom Roeser that Cardinal George lobbied very hard against this bill (one of Roeser’s contacts was in a state legislator’s office when the phone rang; the legislator told Roeser’s friend that this was the third time Cardinal George had called him–that the cardinal was very persistent ( http://blog.tomroeser.com/2010/12/cardinal-georges-lobbying-against-civil.html ).
Let us pray for our bishops rather than jump on them or even spend much time speculating about what they will do. Pray for them to discern the right thing to do, pray for ourselves not to presume to know what that is. Maybe if more of us (myself included) had spent as much time on the phone lobbying our representatives as Cardinal George (and probably Bishop Paprocki and the other bishops) did, it would not have passed by a single vote. Sadly, my representative is Deb Mell, an outspoke lesbian champion of the bill. I don’t suppose my lobbying her would have helped. But I guess I could have gone to the trouble to find out who the wavering votes were and to have lobbied them. Unless all of us in Illinois gave this our best effort, we have no business second-guessing our bishops’ response, now that it’s passed.
UPDATE: STL radio station KMOX reports that Quinn will delay signing the bill until after the New Year. I can’t find a story at the Chicago Trib yet, however.
Thanks for the update on the signing, Peggy. That’s very interesting, since as of yesterday Quinn acted as if he couldn’t sign the bill fast enough.
Yes, I know you said “most.” I provided that in case you were interested in any SI dems who did vote yes. There was one other whose name I forget. It’s another woman, also filling a seat vacated by her husband (he did not die; he was appointed to a state agency post).
“I used to think this way too. Then the California Supreme Court ruled that if California says that practicing homosexuals may enter into a civil union, and if California also says that the members of a civil union have every right under law that a married couple has, then California has no rational basis to prevent practicing homosexuals from marrying.”
But is that really just a semantic debate, then, over merely the WORD “marriage”??
Because, as far as I can tell…State “marriage” hasn’t corresponded to natural or sacramental marriage for a long time. The State giving two people the purely legal benefits of “civil marriage” can never make them actually naturally married if they cannot in fact be (and same-sex couples can’t ever be).
So what is the fight against legal “gay marriage” really about? It’s not about actually stopping gay marriage, which is simply an impossibility in the natural order. It sounds more like a purely symbolic culture-wars battle (for both sides) over a mere word. I’d rather, then, the state just get out of the marriage business entirely, make everything a “civil union” (with no restrictions on who can enter into one).
But even if not, words evolve. Maybe we should concede the word “marriage” for the civil arrangement and just invent a NEW word to describe our more precise concept of the natural male-female procreative union.
Again, I have a hard time believing that Catholics are bound in conscience to oppose a specific legal arrangement for people (that requires no proof of their sexual activity). We do more than oppose “gay marriage”…we simply believe such a thing is a contradiction in terms, impossible. But at that point…what are we exactly opposing in fighting purely civil “marriage” except as a sort of symbolic cultures-wars victory trying to keep up appearances where that ship has already sailed?
“This law was not merely covering tax breaks, but inheritance, medical rights, child rights, in the case of homosexuals or lesbians adopting and gives the couple the same standing as a heterosexual couple.”
It can’t make them naturally or sacramentally married. So at that point…so?
I’m fine giving whoever wants it purely legal medical rights, inheritance, etc. Yes, they could specify all that with separate contracts, but many people want all these things as a bundle, so it is convenient to offer them as a bundled one-step process rather than having people constantly arranging them separately.
Again, I have a hard time believing that the concession of any particular legal rights to people is de fide condemned absolutely. Where in the deposit of faith does it say that automatic inheritence should only apply to ones legal spouse?
This seems to be much more about fighting what that concession signifies/symbolizes in terms of the culture-wars. But I’d be much more concerned about fighting the underlying spiritual problems of society than with trying to win token victories over the symptoms.
I think the “protect the children!” argument is the best one, but it still has some inconsistencies that would need to be explained. Single people are already allowed to adopt, and many people are appointed the legal guardians of children. Sometimes even of the same-sex (I know someone whose mother died and custody was shared between biological father and step-father). Furthermore, homosexuals are already allowed to raise their OWN biological children. Unless you’re going to start suggesting confiscating the children of, say, a lesbian who uses a sperm donor…
I say, get the state out of the marriage business entirely, but civil partnerships for whoever wants them. Make child-custody laws a separate question.
Just posted in the Springfield paper:
CHICAGO — Gov. Pat Quinn says he will wait until next year to sign civil union legislation giving gay couples many of the same legal rights as heterosexual married people.
Quinn said Friday he expects to hold a bill-signing ceremony early in the new year. Illinois lawmakers passed the landmark legislation earlier this week during the fall veto session.
The governor has praised the new law calling it “historic.” The law goes into effect in June, after Quinn signs the bill.
Quinn says the bill will attract conventions and businesses to the state because Illinois is showing itself to be a “welcoming, accepting, hospitable place.”
Opponents have criticized the legislation because they say it’s a move toward same-sex marriage.
I wonder if money from conventioneers is part of that animated Quinn to support the bill?
Maybe Bishop Paprocki can hold a public excommunication for the GOv simultaneously with the Governor’s signing ceremony: Bell, Book, and Candle. I’d make the trip to Springfield just to see it.
Since civil unions are open to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, there was another group (besides gays/lesbians) that was in favor of this bill: senior citizens who want to remarry without losing Social Security, pension, or other benefits from a previous marriage:
The effect of this law is to grant civil union participants all the rights that the STATE grants to married couples (inheritance, insurance, etc.) without being recognized on a FEDERAL level. Which raises a whole new set of ethical and moral questions.
What will happen if, for instance, an elderly Catholic widow comes to her parish seeking to marry her gentleman friend in the Church, but doesn’t have a marriage license to present to the priest because they went with a civil union instead so she wouldn’t lose her first husband’s pension? What should the priest do in that case? Does the civil union impact the validity of their sacramental marriage? Are they cooperating in evil or commiting some kind of fraud?
Speaking of the “new civil rights movement,” it turns out that one of the legislators who voted for civil unions (don’t know if he’s Catholic), “borrowed” a good chunk of his floor speech in favor of the bill, almost word for word, from a well-known JFK civil rights address:
The agenda since at least the 1980s of the LGBT groups has been to first, change the language of the same-sex movement, and then to make the movement into a civil rights issue. How this has happened is documented in several movies listed on the wiki site and on pro-life sites. We have not been as vigilant at we should have been in politics. Catholics keep voting in these types of governors and this fact needs to be addressed firmly by the entire USCCB