MN Catholic Conference: Catholic leaders will not be silenced (STrib editorial)

I was alerted to this on the site of the Minneapolis STrib.  This is from the Minnesota Catholic Conference and it is worth your attention:

Catholic leaders will not be silenced
Article by: JASON ADKINS Updated: October 4, 2011 – 8:35 PM

It is not surprising to see the Star Tribune continue to beat the drum in opposition to the marriage protection amendment that will appear on the November 2012 ballot (“On gay marriage, state is out of step,” Oct. 1).

What is troubling is the paper’s attack on the Catholic Church’s participation in the public debate — an attack that should concern all Minnesotans as out of step with this country’s most cherished traditions of free speech and religious liberty.

The Star Tribune sees in the church the specter of a looming theocracy, but this could not be further from reality. The church only proposes; she imposes nothing.

Legislators and the public are free to accept or reject her witness, and Catholics who participate in the public square are fully conscious that they must make arguments that are persuasive to people of faith and those outside religious communities.

So why are some eager to silence the church’s voice?

The church’s public witness in helping to shape a public order that is just, protects authentic rights, serves the common good and promotes human flourishing is not in any way different from what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. did when he, a Baptist minister and theologian, fought for just laws.

His civil rights advocacy was grounded in biblical conviction, the natural law, and the Declaration of Independence, much like Catholic advocacy today. In his words, “a just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.”

Would the Star Tribune criticize Dr. King for imposing his religious views on others?

To be clear: There is such a thing as a healthy secularism that guides the respective roles of church and state.

But what animates the Star Tribune and other purveyors of a false secularism is a politically correct rewriting of the First Amendment, in which the newfangled concept of “freedom of worship” is substituted in place of “religious freedom” — a move that seeks to “protect the public” by enclosing religious people and their evangelical witness within their own walls.

Our state and our nation cannot afford this naked public square. Do we really want a society where Catholic schools, Catholic hospitals, and Catholic charities serve only Catholics?

Do we really want to marginalize the church’s voice of conscience, a voice that has historically served as the most powerful voice for human rights in our community and around the world?

Do we understand that the secularist attack on the church will have consequences for all religious communities, not just Catholics?

The diktat of the ruling mindset will always seek to silence those such as Dr. King who offer a public moral witness in defense of truth.

The church, however, will not and cannot remain silent in the public square, and especially not now as the bedrock social institution of marriage is under attack in law and in the culture.

Over the next 13 months — and indeed, well into the future — the church and her friends, religious and secular, will seek to share with Catholics and all Minnesotans why marriage between a man and woman plays an indispensable role in the well-being of children and society.

We will discuss what marriage is, why it is important, and what the significant consequences will be, especially for religious freedom, if it is redefined.

We will also work diligently to correct the empty slogans, mistruths, and distortions purveyed by those who claim that preserving marriage denies people rights or constitutes discrimination.

Fallacies are still fallacies, even when they become fads.

This is not a debate the church has chosen, nor is it an intramural conversation about church doctrine. The church is not telling anyone who they can and cannot love. After all, we are commanded to love everybody.

But love must be ordered to truth, and thus we are compelled to lend our voice in defense of the truth that marriage between a man and a woman is a basic good and an ideal that should be upheld in law.

Again, people can agree or disagree with the church’s message, and they may do so vigorously.

But the public should be aware that those who seek to both redefine marriage and silence those who object are the ones imposing a truly intolerant new orthodoxy: an illiberal dictatorship of relativism that is contrary to our Constitution and venerated traditions of civil discourse.

* * *

Jason Adkins is executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Catholic church in Minnesota.

WDTPRS kudos to Jason Adkins.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AvantiBev says:

    Father Z: I am an actress whose day job has been in a law firm for the past 16 years. We do what is euphemistically referred to as “family law”; plenty of divorce, child custody fights, paternity suits. Over both my Baby Boomer lifetime and as a secretary here, I have had a ringside seat at the destruction of the family and marriage. Thus with all due respect to Mr. Adkins, when he states:
    “The church, however, will not and cannot remain silent in the public square, and especially not now as the bedrock social institution of marriage is under attack in law and in the culture…” I have to remark that there was plenty of silence and maybe not-so-little assent over the past 40 years while no-fault divorce, shack ups, hook ups, serial monogamy among us heteros wreaked their havoc.

    Welcome to the Culture War Mr. Adkins and Minnesota Catholics and God speed. I remember when Pat Buchanan was savaged for suggesting in a convention speech that there was actually such a Culture War at all.

    And after the silence of the past 40 years, I don’t blame the homosexuals for walking through the hole in the wall that the Hetero Sexual Revolution blasted open.

  2. dad29 says:

    Fallacies are still fallacies, even when they become fads.

    No attribution to GKChesterton?

    Nice use of the truth, however!!

  3. KAS says:

    This is well written and I pray that all Catholics will take the fight to heart and not back down nor apologize for backing the Truth.

    This culture war is only going to be won when the leadership is orthodox and willing to suffer and thus motivates the laity to LIVE the faith courageously. I pray daily for our Bishops.

  4. New Sister says:

    The enemy is right to fear [and seek to silence] the voice of Christ’s Holy Church. As Bishop Slaterly said at the Pontifical Mass in 2010, “one person whispering the Truth is far more powerful than ten million who lie.”

  5. Supertradmum says:

    Pay attention to the present administration’s use of terminology.

  6. Matariel says:

    “To be clear: There is such a thing as a healthy secularism that guides the respective roles of church and state.”

    This doesn’t square with Church teaching. The Syllabus of Errors condemns the idea that “The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church.”

    In Maximae Quidem, Pope Pius IX also states that it is an error to believe that “The sacred ministers of the Church and the Roman Pontiff are to be absolutely excluded from every charge and dominion over temporal affairs.”

    Like Pope St. Pius X also stated: “That the state must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error… Hence the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased, as circumstances required, to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of Church and state.”

    Vatican II did not change this teaching (or any other for that matter). For in Dignitatis Humanae it states that the Council “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”

  7. Me says:

    Jason Adkins should be lauded for his efforts. We should show our support for the work of the Minnesota Catholic Conference by donating money to their efforts.

  8. JonPatrick says:

    @Matariel, it should be noted that the quote from the Syllabus of Errors references Pius IX’s allocution Acerbissimum Vobiscum of 1852 which was written to address a specific situation in what is now Colombia in Latin America where the state was ruthlessly secularizing and denying legal rights to the church. It is this kind of separation that is being attacked, not laws like the 1st amendment we see in the US.

  9. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Matariel, the United States accepts the Syllabus’s teaching by sending an Ambassador to the Holy See in Rome. (Which was not always the case.) Leo XIII taught explicitly that Church and State are, if you want to use the word, separated. The Syllabus is against inimical separation, and against the State’s domination over the Church. It is not against a “healthy secularism”. Boniface VIII himself advocated a “healthy secularism”, in saying that the second sword is to be carried for the Church but not (with the particular exception of the Papal States which is, of course, possible) by the Church, though the Church, however, has a competencies-competency about whenever the State is right in using its power.

    Do we really want a society where Catholic schools, Catholic hospitals, and Catholic charities serve only Catholics?
    Happy the country in which this is the bad alternative to the present situation.

    So why are some eager to silence the church’s voice?
    Just for this reason, to silence the Church’s voice. One does not like contradiction.

  10. canis caeli says:

    Why is the paper trying to stifle the voice of the Church, to prevent its voice from public discussion? The line between morality and so-called rights has been deliberately blurred. Barry Goldwater said, “you cannot legilate morality.” Sorry, Barry. Today that is just what lawmakers are doing under pressure from dysfunctional groups (the squesky wheel gets the grease). The Church is shouted down in the Pulic Square because the Church, not individuals, both clerical and laity, is the only institution preching morality. The inverts cannot stand to have their dysfnction debated, so they try to shut the Church out. “What do we want? Buggery! When do we want it? Now!” They are clever, well organized and excel in trivializing and belittling morality. Their sensational propaganda gets the media attention, not the coneheads preaching morality (those who come to the Pubic Square with “clean hands”). The media trumpets the position that the Church has not adapted to the zeitgeist; it’s old fashioned. They hold up the examples of clerical abusers. They claimed Fr. Michael Judge, NYPD chaplain killed on 9/11 as one of them. Fact, he was chaplain to a homosexual group. He may have had homosexual tendencies but no one has proved him to be gay (a somodite). They even managed to pervert his name with the help of the NYTimes, Michael became Mychal. The liberal progressives can’t stand to be reminded that their sexual perversions are deviant.

  11. heway says:

    Multi kudos! Would that we would see this article in every newspaper’s op-ed from one side of our great nation to the other. We must be messengers of our faith. We must speak the words of our faith in the public square. What do your fellow workers know of your faith? Lots of misconceptions? Feel unprepared? Attend RCIA for a quick refresher. Enroll in online catechetical programs. Support those who do speak out. Be the SALT of the earth….

  12. Imrahil says:

    No, this is not about the line between morality and rights. That the Church preaches morality (what is that?) may have contributed to her unpopularity, though the world preaches puritanity (I mean that) in the meantime. The problem is precisely one of freedom of religion: “Why should I, being the majority and thoroughly” (though not really with much philosophy behind) “convinced of something, tolerate that someone else teaches something else?” This is the question.

    Amendment 1 (?) would be a good answer, but that means sticking to literal interpretation, which jurists, hony soit qui mal y pense, don’t quite like.

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