SCOTUS v Marriage

Dreadful news from the Supreme Court:

Supreme Court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act provision

The Supreme Court has struck down a federal provision denying benefits to legally married gay couples.
The 5-4 decision found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.


“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”

Justice Kennedy delivered the court’s opinion, and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito all filed dissenting opinions.

We will be under serious attack soon.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, Religious Liberty and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. acardnal says:

    First abortion, now sodomy. The USA is falling just like the Roman empire did because of grave sin.

  2. As government threats of monetary penalties against the Church increase for expressing our Faith, perhaps it is time for the Catholic Church in America to stop handing ourselves over as hostages and let go of the purse strings.

    The Catholic Church is the only organization in history that continuously and unerringly stands against evil. Why fetter her with our own fears and self-interest? Man up. It is time.

    Our help is in the Name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

  3. DumSpiroSpero says:

    This is just the beginning–soon there will be a push for multi-spouse marriages, incest marriages, etc–How long can this nation continue to spit in the face of Christ before there is a reckoning? A chastisement will soon come upon us.

  4. mamajen says:

    Well, I’m surprised Roberts dissented. I thought for sure he would cave due to his lesbian cousin.

  5. StJude says:

    “We will be under serious attack soon.”

    I agree father Z.

  6. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:


    Could you post (in response to the news) an Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart ? What do you think of the idea of public acts of reparation?

    God bless,


  7. Priam1184 says:

    Is anyone surprised by this? It seems to be the hour (in our society at least) of the enemy of mankind, so bear up everyone and don’t lose the Faith.

  8. Robbie says:

    Just as disturbing is the majority opinion in DOMA was written by a supposed devout Catholic, Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy was one of three Reagan appointees to the Supreme Court and was a compromise choice between Reagan and Joe Biden after Robert Bork and Doug Ginsberg failed.

    Sadly, this should not come as a surprise though. Kennedy was in the majority in 2003 that legalized sodomy in the Lawrence v Texas case. Even worse, Kennedy abandoned a majority opinion that would have overturned abortion in the Casey v Planned Parenthood case of 1992. Originally, Kennedy voted to overturn Roe v Wade and then, just days before the Court issued its ruling, he flipped sides and joined the liberals.

    Among law clerks from the 1990’s, Kennedy earned the nickname “the flipper”. I can think of a few others right now as well.

  9. Ann Roth says:

    I don’t know why but I am stunned at this. If I am honest, maybe it is really fear; fear of what’s next. “Keep calm and carry on”. Time for prayer and fasting.

  10. onosurf says:

    The seeds for this day were planted on Independence Day, when George Washington failed to align a newborn United States of America with the Catholic Church, and Christ the King as its head. This is a part of its logical progression when you rebel from the mystical body of Christ and leave fallen man to act as the head of a country.

    The blood of matyrs is the seed of the church.

  11. iPadre says:

    acardinal: not only the USA, most of the world. It will take an act of God to reverse this cesspool of sin.

  12. mariadolan says:

    The Supreme Court has no authority to overturn what God has created. They can “declare” all they want, but the truth is still the truth. Marriage was created by God and MUST be between one man and one woman. God said it and I believe it!
    We answer to a Higher Court.

  13. cwillia1 says:

    Civil marriage has been abolished. There remains natural marriage and sacramental marriage. The state may regulate marriage in certain ways but this presupposes that the state defines marriage in accord with nature. Civil marriage and civil divorce are now nothing but legal options that are relevant for tax purposes, inheritance and the like.

  14. robtbrown says:

    onosurf says:

    The seeds for this day were planted on Independence Day, when George Washington failed to align a newborn United States of America with the Catholic Church, and Christ the King as its head.

    Independence Day was in 1776. Geo Washington didn’t become President until 1789.

  15. TraditionalCatholicGirl says:

    Father is right; we who are true to the teachings of our faith will be under attack. Lets take up our cross as we have always done, and pray for this country.

  16. Will the left push for polygamy next? So depressing…

    [No. The next move in their agenda is to lower the age of consent so that they can have sex with children legally.]

  17. robtbrown says:

    JRatzinger was right: The detente with secular culture has been a failure.

  18. anilwang says:

    acardnal says: “First abortion, now sodomy. ”

    The decline started long before that and includes far more steps.

    More accurately:
    * first divorce (it’s just a contract approved by the state that can be broken if the state approves)
    * then contraception (sex for pleasure is okay)
    * then abortion (backup contraception is a must)
    * then no fault divorce (marriage is just a personal living arrangement)
    * then porn is a constitutionally guaranteed right (pleasure cannot be restricted and who cares for children, we kill them in the womb anyway)
    * then sex education is mandated (abstinance from pleasure is “unnatural” and impossible)
    * then cohabitation is generally accepted (sex is for pleasure and it’s just a persoal living arrangement, and besides people can’t abstain)
    * then aborted babies and embryonic stem cells can be used for research (sex justifies murder and disposal of the bodies in the trash, might as well “recycle”)
    * then mandatory contraception and abortion availability (sex for pleasure is a human right, regardless of who else gets hurt)
    * then same-sex marriage is mandated (sex is for pleasure and people can’t control their perversions)

    Following the general trend, it’s easy to see that infanticide, euthanasia, prostitution as part of health care plans, human cloning for body parts, and other declines are next….unless something drastic happens.
    Society is fundamentally broken now, and too many CINO’s are undermining the Catholic message of hope (without ecclesiastical consequences) to give the Church any credibility.

    At minimum we need to protect our children so they have a proper understanding of marriage and sex, since when society falls completely apart, they’ll have to pick up the pieces.

  19. acardnal says:

    To quote the enemy, “Catholics are intolerant, bigoted, homophobic, hateful people. Ostracize them. Punish them. Crush them. Don’t they know that the Emperor is God.”

  20. ocalatrad says:

    What was clear in 1973 is clearer still now: the Regime of the United States is the sworn enemy of Christ, His Church and reason itself. We owe it no allegiance.

  21. tjg says:

    Elena Kagan, YOU ARE NOT A CATHOLIC. Where is the public reprimand and witness by leadership of the Catholic Church?!? Jesus have Mercy on us.

  22. chantgirl says:

    As I sit here pregnant with my seventh child (plus two more with God), I wonder if I am crazy to bring more children into this world to face the Leviathan. Perhaps faith impels us to do things which seem crazy, even to ourselves.

  23. Priam1184 says:

    I am thinking of Psalm 81 v. 13 where the Psalmist sings about how the Lord God “gave them over to hardness of heart; the followed their own designs.” Then of course defeat by their enemies inevitably follows. I know that geopolitics is not a subject that you tend to cover on this blog Father but there are some things worth noting: has anyone noticed that since its morality began to sink into the earth after WWII the United States has lost the ability to decisively win wars? Sure the US can destroy enemy armies and remove governments but its armed forces never can seem to pull off a complete victory that works to our advantage. Korea is still a stalemate after sixty years. Vietnam was Vietnam. Then the Soviet Union’s communist empire collapsed of its own accord and we all thought everything was alright. 9/11 happened and our armies are now almost in their thirteenth year fighting a ragtag militia that just won’t go away. Iraq proved a complete disaster that did nothing but enable the enemies of the United States. All the time the morality of this country continued to sink further and further into the depths, and at the present moment neither the Chinese leadership and Vladimir Putin seem to have any fear of this nation or the fate of those who oppose it anymore. If one takes what I think is the traditional Catholic view that history is the consequence on moral choices, then we should be less concerned about a coming persecution from our own government (though some form of that seems to be on its way) than on how to pick up the pieces and keep from falling into the hell of darkness and slavery once this society and government is shattered by defeat coming from its outside enemies.

  24. AngelGuarded says:

    “…those persons as living in marriages less respected than others…”
    You would think that persons as learned as Justice Anthony Kennedy and his colleagues would recognize faulty logic when they encounter it. The faulty logic in the above statement is truly begging the question (constantly misused to mean “raises the question,” but that’s another post). The premise that same sex partnerships are “marriage” is faulty and that’s what the decision is based on. They are not marriages, they are playing house. There is so much wrong with this. I know our children are not taught to think, to reason, to use their God-given intelligence to think critically, but I did not think it infected supreme court justices – silly me. In my opinion, this is the final bit of bad news to confirm in my mind that the USA is over. We are doomed. Penance, prayer, reparations, staying tue to God and our One True Faith, and reliance on Jesus and Our Blessed Mother have never been more important in my lifetime. Thank you Fr Z for the island of sanity you provide here. God bless you and your work and may He keep you safe.

  25. onosurf says:

    @robtbrown — oops, thanks and good catch.

    Sentiment still applies.

  26. Darren says:

    Most terrible news? Yes
    A surprise? Sadly… not at all

    Oh Holy Martyrs pray for faithful Catholics, for our priests, our bishops, our Holy Father…

    Pray that I and all faithful be prepared to suffer purification as martyrs, rather than defilement from the evils of our times.

    July 4, 1776 – June 26, 2013
    The last of many nails hammered into the coffin. Is there any way out now?

  27. robtbrown says:

    Elena Kagan is a Jew, not a Catholic. Sottomayor is supposedly Catholic.

  28. Ann Roth says:

    Excerpts from Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion:


    The language in the majority opinion leaves no question that “serious attacks” are coming soon.

  29. Facta Non Verba says:

    Justice Scalia read his dissent from the bench. There was no case or controversy before the Court because President Obama’s justice department refused to defend the constitutionaliy of the Defense of Marriage Act — therefore, no jurisdiction for the Court to render a decision. Makes sense to me.

    According to Justice Scalia, the Court’s opinion both in explaining its jurisdiction and its decision “both spring from the same diseased root: an exalted notion of the role of this court in American democratic society.” Well stated.

  30. Peggy R says:

    I see some one else corrected re: Kagan. She is Jewish. Never married. No kids. East Coaster. Sodamaya briefly married and allegedly Catholic, same M.O. otherwise.

    This “marriage” at issue in the DOMA case was contracted in Canada under Canadian law. This ruling has broad implications. There was no reason for this “marriage” to be recognized under any US or state law.

  31. acardnal says:

    On paper anyway,

    Kagan, Breyer, Ginsburg are Jewish.

    Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Sotomayor, Kennedy are Catholic.

  32. govmatt says:

    Let’s try to plot a course between “the sky is falling” and “the sun will come out tomorrow”…

    The decision was widely expected to come down like this and shouldn’t be terribly surprising (that’s not weighing in on [im]morality, it’s just the legal situation)

    There was really no “good” outcome that the Court could have handed down with the cases that were before it. The “punt” on Prop 8 was probably to prevent a decisive (and negative) total redefinition of marriage. The DOMA decision came out of a case that would have required the Court to do significant gymnastics to uphold.

    The only result in the realm of possibility that the Court could have held, as Justice Scalia urged in his dissent from the DOMA opinion, was to refuse to take on the merits of the case (like Prop 8) and dismiss it. As we know, that didn’t happen.

    Now, what will be the effect of the DOMA decision? Without sugarcoating: 1) It requires the Federal Government to assent to whatever an individual State decides marriage to be… and 2) It gives homosexuals renewed vigor in pushing for gay marriage in all fifty states. The ground may have shifted a small bit on the debate, but it’s certainly not the tidal shift advocates on both sides would claim.

    What’s the proper response: 1) sincerely thank God that the Court decided to be narrow and not put us in another “Roe v. Wade” national mandate situation (if you consider this as a very real alternative today, you should be cautiously relieved), 2) pray, 3) contact your State legislators and ask them how they are defending the sanctity of marriage, 4) don’t be discouraged (because that would be the real defeat)

  33. StWinefride says:

    anilwang: “At minimum we need to protect our children so they have a proper understanding of marriage and sex, since when society falls completely apart, they’ll have to pick up the pieces.

    I heard Silent Running on the radio the other day, a song I haven’t heard in a long long time.

    Take the children and yourself
    And hide out in the cellar
    By now the fighting will be close at hand
    Don’t believe the church and state
    And everything they tell you
    Believe in me, I’m with the high command…

    Can you hear me, can you hear me running?

    There’s a gun and ammunition
    Just inside the doorway
    Use it only in emergency
    Better you should pray to God
    The Father and the Spirit
    Will guide you and protect from up here…

    Can you hear me, can you hear me running?

    Swear allegiance to the flag
    Whatever flag they offer
    Never hint at what you really feel
    Teach the children quietly
    For some day sons and daughters
    Will rise up and fight while we stood still…

  34. AvantiBev says:

    AngelGuarded wrote: “The premise that same sex partnerships are “marriage” is faulty and that’s what the decision is based on. They are not marriages, they are playing house. ”

    I suppose as a spinster I am not entitled to an opinion but I have one anyway. :-)
    My fellow heterosexuals were playing house long before any talk of “gay marriage”. [As commenter Anilwang pointed out in his/her chronology.]
    In fact as homosexual actors I knew were proud of their many and often anonymous sexual relations; so too male and female hetero pals would brag about their hook-ups. I am so old I remember men serenading us with the Mac Davis song “Baby, Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me” and telling us “Come on girl, we don’t need any piece of paper!”

    We heteros opened the door the Supremes and their faulty logic crawled through.

  35. I would respectfully dispute that we WILL be under serious attack being spoken of in future tense.

    That’s been going on for decades now. Centuries, really. It’s just that the Prince of Darkness and his useful idiots in positions of power (both in the secular as well as clerical world), diseased mainstream media, entertainment (or whatever it is), and majority of low-information/intelligence voters despite the ubiquitous access to information have been allowed to run free by appealing to the ‘whatever feels good’ mentality born of the rending of society that started in the 60s.

    I wrote the thesis for my MRE that attempted to define the collapse of society in the 60s et seq. (and those who deeply drank of that milieu are the ones in power now…consider that…) as being linked to the parallel and simultaneous deconstruction of the Church post V-II by people who, whether they were obvious or not, were just as much conspirators to secular humanism as those who painted flowers on their faces and drank electric kool-aid on Max Yasgur’s farm. (The Jesuit who graded the paper, while not disagreeing with the premise, challenged me to prove the negative in his critical precis, since he maintained the two had nothing to do with each other….). Once something that is seen as a bulwark of consistency and reliable reference to a standard, as the Church was, could be seen, rightly or wrongly as bending like a reed based on the winds of popular sentiment…there was NO anchor against the forces of chaos which ensued.

    Face it, being a Catholic has never been a guarantee of smooth sailing. It’s just one more manifestation that the world is truly the realm of Satan…

  36. phlogiston says:

    Seems especially applicable today:

  37. Di says:

    For they loved the glory of men, more than the glory of God.
    ~Luke 12:43

    Let GOD arise,
    Let His enemies be scattered;
    Let all who hate Him flee before His Holy Face.
    ~Psalm 67
    “Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good.”
    ~ Pope Leo XIII (Sapientae Christianae, No. 14, encyclical, 1890)

    May GOD have mercy on us all. We are now The United States of Sodom and Gomorrah we all know what happened there. Pray and Pray then Pray more this is the beginning of the end.
    FYI 2 of the Justices should have recused themselves that being Sotomayor and Kagan(Judicial disqualification).

  38. The Sicilian Woman says:

    “Soon”?, Father. No. “Now.”

    I was talking to a good friend last night, knowing where this was going. (Anyone who didn’t know was in denial.)

    This is going to sound terrible, and think of me what you will, but I told her that I will no longer celebrate the 4th of July. Our country is gone. The country that was created on that July 4, 1776, is finished. The First and most important Amendment is destroyed. The others will follow suit, particularly for those whose faith opposes the Establishment. We are no longer am safe in my own country. External terrorists don’t pose nearly as much a threat as do the internal ones. The only two national holidays of importance now are Memorial Day and Veterans Day. I’ve said it before – I feel gutted for all veterans and their loved ones who have sacrificed so much, only for us to have come to the point where we are today, and worse, the rock bottom to which we are speeding.

    In all things, nature bats last, though the ramifications between now and when she comes up to home plate in the final inning are those things for which only our God can help us bear.

  39. The Sicilian Woman says:

    *We are no longer safe in our own country.

  40. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: “no loyalty owed”, etc.

    Um… folks… the voice of Mother Church getting drowned out here….. There are circumstances when we don’t owe loyalty to our country anymore. We haven’t reached ’em yet.

    The flippin’ pagan, persecutin’ Roman Empire was still owed loyalty by Christians, according to all the ancient Fathers and according to Jesus “Render unto Caesar” Christ. They had a deformed legal system about marriage, too, such that marriage between slave and slave or slave and free didn’t count, and such that Legionaries couldn’t marry until they got out.

    Did that stop the Church from both praying for the Emperor’s soul and continuing to marry Christians married in the eyes of God? No! Did that stop St. Paul from proudly declaring himself to be a Roman citizen? No!

    Please pay attention in class next time. You will probably also want to consult St. Justin Martyr’s two Apologias, and the bits of St. Irenaeus’ Against Heresies that talk about the relationship between a Christian and a crazy Emperor like Nero.

  41. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Chapter 17 of Justin Martyr’s First Apologia


    And everywhere we, more readily than all men, endeavour to pay to those appointed by you the taxes both ordinary and extraordinary, as we have been taught by Him; for at that time some came to Him and asked Him, if one ought to pay tribute to Caesar; and He answered, “Tell Me, whose image does the coin bear?” And they said, “Caesar’s.” And again He answered them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
    Whence to God alone we render worship, but in other things we gladly serve you, acknowledging you as kings and rulers of men, and praying that with your kingly power you be found to possess also sound judgment.

  42. robtbrown says:

    acardnal says:
    On paper anyway,

    Kagan, Breyer, Ginsburg are Jewish.

    Secular Jews.

    Romans 9:1

    . . . For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.

  43. KingofCharity says:

    The State just placed sodomy, tribbing, and frottage on par with conjugal, unitive, procreative intercourse between one male and one female in a heterosexual, monogamous marriage dedicated to building a stable, safe, loving nuclear family.

  44. JKnott says:

    It’s probably true that America as we knew it is over forever. But our blessed Catholic Faith isn’t and our prayers are critical for salvation and for hope.

    Two quotes from Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich

    “Now, for all who are not in living union with Jesus Christ by faith and grace, nature is full of Satan’s influence.”

    “All over the world I saw numberless infusions of the Spirit; sometimes, like a lightning-stroke, falling on a congregation in church, and I could tell who among them had received the grace; or again, I beheld individuals praying in their homes, suddenly endowed with light and strength. The sight awoke in me great joy and confidence that the Church, amid her ever-increasing tribulations, will not succumb; for in all parts of the world I saw defenders raised up to her by the Holy Ghost. Yes, I felt that the oppression of the powers of this world serves but to increase her strength.”

  45. Andrew says:


    So what is the effect of these rulings? Does it mean that state laws must be revised everywhere? Does it restrict the freedom of legislative bodies in any way? Does it entail some enforcement against dissenters including the judges who dissented? Doesn’t this amount to the court basically saying that there is some kind of a “right” for a couple of guys to “marry” each other? And if it does, how can any state remain free?

  46. govmatt says:

    The effect of the rulings themselves are quite narrow (though the media and the advocates for redefining marriage would have you believe otherwise). In basic terms: the DOMA case (that is Windsor) allows for “legally” married homosexual couples to get federal marriage benefits. For example, I’m in Maryland. Maryland has, in it’s wisdom, legalized gay marriage. Therefore: Marylanders who are gay-married can get federal tax breaks (etc) like any married couple. If, like across the Potomac, in Virginia, the State has banned gay marriage, there’s no marriage to recognize, so no federal benefits for gay couples.

    Does it mean state laws must be revised everywhere? No. This is the blessing we have not explored today (and we really should). This is NOT Roe v. Wade for gay marriage. States are free to adopt OR TO BAN gay marriage. The Court (specifically in Roberts’ dissent in Windsor) made this abundantly clear.

    Does it restrict the freedom of legislative bodies? Not at the state level. If anything, it should impel marriage defenders to stick to their guns. However, it does prevent Congress from passing a definition of marriage (unless by Constitutional amendment [2/3 of the Congress + 3/4 of the States read: very unlikely])

    Does it entail some enforcement against dissenters? Not really. There wasn’t much binding precedent here. Even in Windsor that did substantively address gay marriage, the Court didn’t define (as Justice Scalia points out) a level of review for future cases. It appears that the Court wanted to go towards a higher level of scrutiny (read: finding gay marriage to be fundamental like traditional marriage) but the closest Justice Kennedy got to this was an amorphous “probably higher” level of review. THIS will be the major issue for a future Supreme Court to address.

    A subset of that point: the fact that Justice Kennedy approached the issue under the “Equal Protection Clause” shouldn’t send shivers up your spine, it was a “different people being treated differently” analysis. If a law prevented dog owners from living in a neighborhood, it, too, would be an Equal Protection question. (As I wrote above, the “level of scrutiny” is the important issue here)

    Does this amount to the Court saying that there is a “right” to marry? No. The Court, quite explicitly did NOT reach this conclusion. Chief Justice Roberts even clarified the point in saying that the Court was not weighing in on States defining marriage.

    How can any State remain free? I suppose that’s up to you, me, and whoever else wants to to pray fervently and organize to change the debate and get your State to defend the sanctity of marriage.

    Hope this helps, sorry if it was a tad long-winded

  47. Gulielmus says:

    anilwang is spot on in pointing out that marriage, in the secular world, was already redefined long ago by the legalization of divorce, and irrevocably altered with the advent of no-fault divorce. I suppose we as Catholics can take a grim satisfaction in not having gone along, but in the attitude of most Americans, this was a foregone conclusion. Divorced and remarried couples are “playing house” just as much as homosexual couples are, albeit in not as gravely sinful a way. The only question is what next? How does the Church continue the fight? I don’t buy the “this country is finished” argument any more than I do when I hear sedevacantists say it about the Church. The fight goes on even if it goes underground.

  48. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Whence to God alone we render worship, but in other things we gladly serve you, acknowledging you as kings and rulers of men, and praying that with your kingly power you be found to possess also sound judgment.”

    This goes back to the Old Testament conflict between David and Saul. Saul was acting improperly, but David did not abandon him.

    On the other hand, at some point, insanity is a just cause for removal from office. Clearly, the level of insanity is rising.

    The Chicken

  49. sw85 says:

    A few thoughts:

    (A) As has been said, not “soon” but “now.” We have been under serious attack for some time now but have refused to recognize it because it looks less like Stalin and more like Brezhnev. This is why Bp. Finn was put through the ringer despite having done, like, nothing recognizably illegal.

    (B) Relatedly, this decision will become one more weapon in the left’s arsenal of blunt objects with which to bludgeon the Church into groveling submission before its cult of the free and equal new man, but it should hardly surprise us. Had it not been today it would’ve been later. The real, publicly-accepted, sacramental understanding of marriage as a permanent, exclusive, complementary union of male and female died decades ago with the liberalization of no-fault divorce to the deafening silence of the institutional Church and Catholics generally. Gay “marriage” is nothing by comparison. It’s an epiphenomenon, a mop-up operation by the ascendent left in the aftermath of the battle it has already decisively won. This is all simply the playing-out of a grand tragedy, a story in which the hero(es) are brought low by virtue of their own faults.

    (C) The Church is not taxed because it has no profits to tax. Its nontax status is not a concession given to it by the state in return for its silence on critical matters. The bishops have certainly been failures about speaking out effectively against grave moral evils but it’s not because they’re in bed with the state, it’s because they are out of their league, because they are men largely unsuited to the challenges of the present age — either rah-rah Americanists or just pygmies. Which brings me to point D…

    (D) Some have been critical of the “religious freedom” arguments against the state’s recent intrusiveness into the affairs of the Catholic Church, rather than opposing this-or-that innovation (publicy-funded contraception, gay “marriage,” etc.) because they are grave moral evils. This line of argument is going to be very hard to continue now that our arrogant bureaucratic master-class has resolved to simply invent whatever “rights” to perversion it wishes to exist and read them into the Constitution that no one noticed contained those rights for 200+ years until just now.. They are either going to have to persist in this line of argument stubbornly despite its bankruptcy or else opportunistically repudiate it now that it’s no longer effective. The irony is that if you accept the Constitution’s legitimacy in principle (i.e., believing the Supreme Court really does do what it claims to do), then you cannot possibly believe the Constitution has any objective meaning, so appeals to it are uniformly ineffective. Mark my words: this will prove to be a major embarrassment for them.

    (E) In a similar vein, it is getting very difficult to listen to bishops when they insist on speaking out about every little prudential matter. Specifically it is getting very difficult for the average Catholic to separate their actual moral pronouncements (on contraception, gay marriage, etc.) from their personal, prudential evaluations of social conditions that are not binding exercises of the Magisterium and which reasonable Catholics can, in good faith, disagree (immigration, the death penalty, gun control, etc.). This is doubly the case because of the standard postconciliar modus operandi of foregoing dogmatic language, which often makes it very difficult to tell what the hell they’re saying, anyway. Was it John Henry Newman who said that, whenever the Church is not obligated to speak it is obligated not to speak? Sound advice, and now we know why.

    (F) Vatican II’s essential policy was to tear down the walls or throw open the windows or whatever, to remove barriers between the Church and the world. (Note that this is a question of strategy, of tactics, not doctrine or dogma — hence it is not moral, it is prudential; hence it is not infallible). Do we see now that this was a terrible policy? That its consequences have been absolutely disastrous for the Church in the West? When, God, will we repent of these foolish and gratuitous errors?

  50. NBW says:

    There are so many real problems in the USA and the supreme court (they don’t deserve the honor of capital letters) is busy tinkering around with gay rights nonsense. I hope God fixes this mess soon.
    Pray for the repentance of sinners and for the supreme court justices.

  51. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Welcome to Massachusetts, fellow Catholics.

    Had the cardinals and bishops here acted as good shepherds in decades past, the Bay State might not have become the starting point of the sex abuse scandal and gay marriage. They didn’t. They got in bed with the Democratic party. It’s painful to think of the whole country turning into this godforsaken state.

  52. jhayes says:

    Andrew, as I understand the decision, the Court has decided that if a state has issued a marriage license and recorded the marriage of two people, the federal government must recognize those two people as married, regardless of their sex.

    It leaves it to states to decide which people they will allow to marry. In the US, marriage has always been controlled by the individual states (although they can’t exclude inter-racial marriages).

    The part of DOMA that says that a state doesn’t need to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state wasn’t involved in today’s decision and is still in effect.

  53. Supertradmum says:

    It will start with fines, then imprisonment. Just read the history of England in the 15th century.

    Get ready to be saintly now and do not compromise.

    Father, praying for you and all priests.

  54. Christine says:

    It’s getting harder and harder for me to not lose all hope. :-(

  55. Gail F says:

    sw85 wrote: “In a similar vein, it is getting very difficult to listen to bishops when they insist on speaking out about every little prudential matter. Specifically it is getting very difficult for the average Catholic to separate their actual moral pronouncements (on contraception, gay marriage, etc.) from their personal, prudential evaluations of social conditions that are not binding exercises of the Magisterium and which reasonable Catholics can, in good faith, disagree (immigration, the death penalty, gun control, etc.).”

    Amen! PLEASE bishops, pick a couple of vital topics and STICK TO THEM.

  56. DetJohn says:

    Did anyone expect otherwise?

  57. Marine Mom says:

    Brothers and Sisters, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of his power. Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high. Therefore take up the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and stand in all things perfect. Stand, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of justice, and having your feet shod with readiness of the gospel of peace, in all things taking up the shield of faith, with which you may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, that is the word of God. Ep 3: 10-17 Serviam
    St. Michael, assist us with your angles, help us and pray us

  58. Giuseppe says:

    @govmatt: not long-winded at all.
    Great summary of the rulings some thoughts behind them in language I can understand.
    Thank you!

    (FWIW – like many, I predicted the very rulings and authors here a few days ago, but I thought Perry would be 6-3, not 5-4.)

  59. Geoffrey says:

    “This is our goal, our great ideal: let us advance towards a Catholic civilisation to be born from the ruins of the modern world, just as medieval civilisation was born from the ruins of the Roman world” (Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, 1908-1995).

  60. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Chicken, @ocalatrad, @Suburbanshee, and all,

    there is that neat distinction the Bl. Clemens of Münster drew between obedience and community-of-ethos (Gesinnungsgemeinschaft) (sermon of July 20, 1941). Though the situation he found the Church in was, in all fairness, worse by large.

    Obedience to actual orders of the State, provided they bind in conscience, is undoubtedly a given for any forseeable time. Yet whether or not the situation is already as dire that the Church, or an individual Catholic, should think it fit to revoke community-of-conscience… that is an interesting question.

    Also, an official declaration of that kind (with perhaps some attachment of a list of laws that can and should be ignored in morality) would still be rather forceful, today. I do not say these weapons should be used in this situation (or any other to come). I do say that the Church should start to remind herself that she is not unarmed.

    Dear @govmatt, thanks for the analysis. Well – remove the same-sex “marriage” laws it is, then. Not much of the change, here, and at least one chance less to compromise. (Yes, I’m deliberately searching for silver linings.)

  61. happyCatholic says:

    Well, my plan is go to Confession tonight and stay a bit longer to pray, both in reparation to Jesus.

    I wish there were more leadership for us. There are good Catholic groups and good Catholics (like here) but I feel we still don’t have a comprehensive action plan, maybe like the rosary crusades of old for Lepanto. At the same time, I do think faithful Catholics are doing things like the rosary crusade and doing what they can, but the feeling to me is that we are the passengers on the Titanic who have seen the seawater gushing in while the rest of even our fellow Catholics are blissfully unaware of the impending doom.

    Our bishops are the logical leaders, but even the Fortnight of Freedom is not getting the attention it should. I heard a great homily while out of town this week in Chicago (but in the Joliet diocese) on the gospel and taking up our crosses, yet no mention of the Fortnight. At the parish level, it seems we are completely unprepared and uninformed by and large.

    Then again, as I think about it, we do not need large numbers…David battled Goliath, Moses interceded for his whole nation, Job interceded for his friends, Abraham interceded for Sodom and Lot was spared. Still, I feel a frustration of there not being a focus for what I as an individual can do. I will certainly pray and pray hard to live a sacramental life and for perseverance. I hate feeling the evil is prevailing, though, and taking so many misguided souls with it. I am pretty sure everyone here is concerned for loved ones who have fallen for the lies in whatever form Satan has deceived them. Any suggestions on putting the “militant” back in the forefront of “Church militant?”

  62. Robbie says:

    I suspect many will disagree with me, but I believe the mess we are living through today had its roots in the upheaval of the 1960’s and early 1970’s. At least in America, the sons and daughters of the “greatest generations” revolted against anything and everything that had to do with traditional American life. We saw this in the rise of the use of drugs, the anti-war movement, and belief abortion was a personal health choice and not a concern about a life. Unfortunately, these people are now our most prominent elected officials.

    I suppose social upheaval from time to time is not uncommon, but the other event that took place during this time may have had an even bigger part to play. Until VCII, the Catholic Church was a major bulwark against the rise of the modernist movement. Catholics, by in large, were devoted to the teachings of the Church. In fact, this was such a concern that many thought Kennedy couldn’t be president because he’s d be beholden to the Pope.

    That all seemed to change after VCII. The Church, in many ways, lost its moral authority when it caved to the modernist movement. Church attendance began to drop rapidly, priests left the vocation in droves, and many Catholics simply ignored what the Church said and instead substituted their own “enlightened” views in its place. What the Church had cultivated for 1900, in many ways, vanished in what amounted to an instant.

    From a Catholic perspective, you can’t help but notice that members of the faith who came of age in that era of turmoil are now the ones primarily responsible for the terrible decisions we see today. Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Justice Kennedy, and a slew of other Catholics have played prominent roles in these immoral changes. But would these same people have made these same choices if the upheaval in the Church and what it meant to be Catholic hadn’t occurred in the 1960’s and early 1970’s?

    Pope Paul VI was right when he said the smoke of Satan had entered the Church. Now, we’re seeing proof of that from our political leader who claim to be good Catholics.

  63. Sissy says:

    govmatt said: “Does it mean state laws must be revised everywhere? No. ”

    And what of the “full faith and credit” clause of the Constitution? Marriages lawfully contracted in one state must be recognized as such by all others. That’s the perverse result DOMA was intended to address regarding fake gay unions. That protection is now gone.

  64. John Pepino says:

    acardinal wrote:
    “First abortion, now sodomy. The USA is falling just like the Roman empire did because of grave sin.”

    I do not follow. The Roman Empire in the mid-fifth century was officially Catholic and its laws reflected this. Even the causes for divorce were narrowly circumscribed. Heresy was outlawed. A law dated 6 August 390 punished homosexuals to be burned at the stake (Codex Theodosianus IX.7.6)…

    Equal parts eggs and skim milk, slightly less than a part flour, some salt. Pour into roastbeef pan after bringing the temperature up to 400F. Leave in for about 3omins (no peeking).
    Serve with the roast and mushy peas. HP sauce recommended. And a nice Claret.

    -John Pepino

  65. govmatt says:


    DOMA section 2 (a State’s ability to recognize the gay marriages performed in other states) was unaffected by the ruling today. Section 3 (limiting the Federal definition) was struck down.

    The protections for States was not at issue and remains unchanged from the Windsor decision.

  66. AGA says:

    Justice Scalia mentioned in his dissent that opponents of gay marriage are now akin to “hostes humani generis.”

    Serious attack does indeed seem to be likely.

    Between Obamacare and now New-Marriage, faithful Catholics will be barred from the economic life of the nation.

  67. JPManning says:

    We’re all dismayed by the ruling in favour of gay marriage. Is anyone else terrified by the technicalities of the decision – The fifth amendment protects gay marriage? Seriously? The amendment was implemented in 1791 and no-one noticed for 222 years, until now, that it protects gay marriage? That clearly isn’t what the authors of the amendment intended. Anyone who can read English knows what the due process clause means; you cannot be executed or imprisoned or fined or have your property confiscated without being tried and found guilty.

    Even people who are in favour of gay marriage should be scared by this. Your constitution was supposed to protect you by establishing limits on the powers of government. Now the elite are wielding unlimited power through the supreme court; the constitution means absolutely anything they want it to, regardless of the words it actually contains.
    If there are any UK readers of this comment – this is why we must never let our politicians try and force a written constitution on the UK. Once the words are agreed the elite will take over the supreme court and use it to impose their tyranny over us.

  68. Supertradmum says:

    PS a seminarian told me today that being persecuted is part of the job description of a priest. I agree with him and he also told me the men in his seminary actually talk about persecution and are preparing for this….

  69. Sissy says:

    govmatt: Thanks for the reply; I haven’t had a chance to read the opinion yet. I admire your optimism,

    BUT, I think we all know that it’s only a matter of time. The gay agenda is on the march everywhere, and the next attack will likely be against Section 2. I would imagine that some “legally married” gay couple is already packing up to move to a state that has outlawed same-sex marriage precisely for the purpose of starting a test case. This is not the end of a campaign, but the beginning. And it will not end well. Supertradmum is right. We must all prepare for our own share of martyrdom, however great or small.

  70. happyCatholic says:

    Thanks for the link. That is my archdiocese! It is a great response; I posted it to my facebook, my own little mission field.
    Yet, how did you find it? It sort of proves my point that information is not filtering down to the parish level(although I realize this video was just posted), where we are going to need all hands on deck.

  71. anilwang says:

    Christine says: “It’s getting harder and harder for me to not lose all hope. :-(”

    Realistically we must hope for the best since Jesus assures us that tribulations will come, but he and his Church has and will overcome (John 16:33, Matthew 16:18). It may take 400 years, but the Church will prevail. One of the great things in studying the history of the Church is that nothing today really surprises or disheartens you. This story has been played out many times in history and it’ll likely be played out again and again in the future.

    But given that the foundations of society have been so weakened, it’s unrealistic to believe that it will not get worse in our lifetimes or even our children’s lifetime. We can and must fight to rebuild what was lost, if only for our children’s sakes. But more importantly, we need to pray and train ourselves, our children, and every Catholic we can to become saints. History shows again and again, its only the saints that will be able to resist the storms that drown society and rebuild society from the rubble.

  72. maryh says:

    Hmm. So the Supreme Court said every state has to recognize the marriages of every other state, and reiterates that the states are still in charge of marriage.

    So maybe it’s time to get rid of those no-fault divorce laws. Get married in a state that only allows serious cause for divorce, and then don’t move. These days, it might actually help the economy of the state who does this. Since every state is now an “easy divorce” state, might there not be some attraction to a state that isn’t?

    As Anilwang and others said, gay “marriage” is just another step along the path started long ago, with contraception and no-fault divorce.

  73. Archer.2013 says:

    Reading these comments one gets the impression that all of these “attacks” are coming from without the Church. This simply is not the case and I’ve read as much several times on this blog. Since the Council (Vat:2) , although not purely because of it, there has been a wholesale deconstruction of the catholicity of the Faith lead principally by those within the Church. The resulting heterodoxy arising out of this produced a patchwork of Catholics with varying degrees of catechesis (generally none) who were wholly unable to defend or sustain true Faith and praxis. Bishops, priests and people continues to “practice” the Faith, but a faith that was generally disconnected from its underlying theology. Fast forward to the present day one sees a fractured body trying to fight the good fight but with woefully inadequate weapons. Our universities aren’t really Catholic (though they still think they somehow are), our politicians claim to be Catholic but clearly are not, our faithful believe they are Catholic but often lack any sense of being engaged with an institution that is more than just a social network of reasonably like-minded Christians. This damage to Western culture arises out of the moral void created by a Catholic Church still in the grip of a crippling identity crisis. The first step to a real and radical recovery of a sense of focus and of purpose would be for the bishops to just cut away the rotting flesh and leave it to what’s left to start again. Otherwise this dead weight is going to leave us incapable of defending ourselves properly when the real attack on the Faith begins. It is coming, of that I am certain, but as we are, we cannot defend ourselves and our civilisation while we are seen in some quarters to be supporting and promoting the very things that the Faith tells us are sinful and corrosive. In a world that defends marriage as “a union between consenting adults…who can write their own rules”, there can be no place for a Church that believes marriage is “a union between a man and a woman for the raising up and educating of children…of which God Himself is the author”.

  74. Imrahil says:

    Dear @JPManning,

    the 5th amendment was not interpreted to favor same-sex marriages (in the sense of forcing states to allow them), but to forbid the federacy to disfavor marriages accepted by any state. The constitutional reasoning is generally done via a catch-all equality clause, apparently lacking to the U. S. Constitution (or it would have been cited). Now an equality principle is indeed, at least arguably, part of natural law (although we must be very, very careful with tries of intuitive application), and it appears to have been interpreted into the 5th amendment which mentions due process.

    And indeed, treating these marriage differently would be unequal – were it not for the little fact that they were never marriages in the first place. (Here’s where the Court should have said that the Federacy is entitled to its opinion!)

    But to base this on the 5th amendment is at least a bit more logical than to base abortion on a right to privacy.

    This is why we must never let our politicians try and force a written constitution on the UK. Once the words are agreed the elite will take over the supreme court and use it to impose their tyranny over us.

  75. Supertradmum says:

    JPManning, too late for the UK. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, passed in 2004, has already and will take more sovereignty away from the UK. Just wait a few months…

  76. inexcels says:

    Precisely the outcome I expected. The advantage of being a pessimist is that one is rarely disappointed.

    By the way, does anyone else think that a Supreme Court that’s constantly making 5-4 decisions has very little credibility?

  77. happyCatholic says:

    Well, here is my last bit of rant for the time being:

    Was anyone else enormously frustrated while the country seem to wait breathlessly for an oligarchy to dispense its wisdom from on high? SCOTUS is simply nine human beings who are being treated like the oracle at Delphi. I, for one, as a free American citizen am somewhat disgusted with how over and over we await a decision from these nine like it was given from God Himself; it is not. There are supposed to be three branches of government, but Congress has completely abdicated its role to an out of control executive and judiciary.

    But seriously, I am supposed to look at the complete lack of logic of Kennedy as was pointed out on this blog and think, ” These five….FIVE justices are the final arbiters of a natural and moral law transcending the millenia?” Such hubris! And, our current “emperors” truly have no clothes.

    As another poster said, we owe our war dead a huge apology. I can’t imagine most of them would lay down their lives for this.

  78. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Supertradmum,

    In the European Union, it is the member states that are sovereign. To execute the EU’s charters or whatever depends on their own decision, and once the British Parliament says “no” with enough of explicitness, then London trumps both Brussels and Strassburg as far as the Great Britain and Northern Ireland are concerned.

    ‘course there might be punishment payments, etc. But these money do not simply pay themselves; if they are withheld, then they are withheld.

  79. Imrahil says:

    I can’t imagine most of them would lay down their lives for this.

    Remember what they fought against.

  80. happyCatholic says:

    *seemed to wait once again breathlessly

    I should have previewed my comment :-/

  81. Supertradmum says:

    Imrahil, no, you are wrong about anyone saying NO to the EU. Already there was a meeting a few years ago of EU members, including British ones, to push the ssm agenda. If you think the Parliament will trump the EU in issues of morals, you are really mistaken.

    Sovereignty is a show, not a reality.

  82. Scott W. says:

    I suspect many will disagree with me, but I believe the mess we are living through today had its roots in the upheaval of the 1960?s and early 1970?s.

    I disagree, but only as to the date. The roots in the upheaval are in the 1770’s, not the 1970’s. The original upheaval was able to survive and even look respectable due to an enormous treasury of Christian tradition, manners and mores that they could draw from. The 1970’s was when the the first “NSF” notices started coming from the bank.

  83. Brad says:

    The Saints of the day, Paul and John, Roman brothers:

    ” … Julian had returned to the cult of idols and was attempting to re-establish it in the empire. The Christian brothers saw many wicked men prosper in their impiety, but were not dazzled by their example. They considered that worldly prosperity accompanied by impunity in sin is the most dreadful of all judgments, indicating reprobation. And history reveals how false and short-lived was the glittering prosperity of Julian …”

    We see wickedness around us seemingly prosper. And yet do we then share the brothers’ consideration of what they saw, the same old sin(s) which we, too, see? We must. Otherwise we are the people whom Malachi bawled out (2:17):

    “Ye have wearied Jehovah with your words, And ye have said: ‘In what have we wearied Him?’ In your saying: ‘Every evil-doer is good in the eyes of Jehovah, And in them He is delighting,’ Or, ‘Where is the God of judgment?'”

  84. Imrahil, nation-state sovereignty in the EU is a farce. The EU has its own flag, its own military, its own national anthem, its own coercive powers, its own currency (which is an unmitigated disaster) and is obviously positioning itself to be the successor of the Soviet Union. Wake up.

  85. Unwilling says:

    govmatt, very useful comments. Thank you. Your style of thinking is gubernatorial.

  86. The Drifter says:

    I remember the comment of a capucin friar, who used to say the Vetus Ordo: “When things look good for the Church, it means trouble is just round the corner”. I dare say the opposite is also true. Just one example of many: In 303 Diocletian launched a massive persecution, intended to completely wipe-out Christianity from the face of the then-known earth; ten years later, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, granting freedom of cult to all Christians.

    As for those Catholics who systematically go against the Church’s teachings, while we should pray for their convertion, we should also not forget the Venetian saying: “Vien sera per tutti” (Evening comes for everyone)

  87. Unwilling says:

    happyCatholic, few here look to SCOTUS for Truth. But what SCOTUS say is “final” with respect to the legal structures and systems of the US. SCOTUS’ decisions enable or disable sets of strategies for advocacy. It is no longer feasible for a champion of marriage to plan, tactically, to get support from SCOTUS by having them support DOMA. That fact, the loss of that opportunity, is strategically significant. But for Truth, we must look to reason and to the Magisterium.

  88. TomG says:

    @govmatt: extremely helpful commentary; thanks so much! Question: do you think DOMA section 2 will be challenged? Successfully?

  89. Unwilling says:

    As I read knowledgeable and wise govmatt, SCOTUS ruled on the administration of employment benefits by the federal government. They did not rule on whether the Constitution implies that a homosexual liaison is or is not a legal marriage, they left that to the states. It is a ruling on the administration of benefits, not on marriage. How about if it were not benefits but wages? Would you not think that homosexual persons ought to be paid their wages, same as anyone else? I hope you would. So, if that is right, did the Justices do wrong to forbid unequal treatment? Did Justice Kennedy do wrong? Should Justice Kennedy’s Bishop announce an excommunication? Maybe not. Maybe the time is not yet. Wait until marriage is on the table.

  90. MKR says:

    Those who are taking comfort in the naive belief that the DOMA decision doesn’t threaten those states that wish to enshrine the actual definition of “marriage” in their laws should read Scalia’s takedown thereof, beginning on p. 21 of his dissent. An excerpt:

    “It takes real cheek for today’s majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here—when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority’s moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress’s hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will ‘confine’ the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with.” (p. 22)

  91. PA mom says:

    It seemed obvious that this would happen. I cannot recall any of our priests ever addressing this issue and explaining Catholic teaching. Now might be a good time.
    I have been trying to explain it to others, but am only myself.

  92. govmatt says:

    I certainly hope not! But, that’s not much of an answer.

    Realistically, if Section 2 is going to be struck down, it will be more “organic” (read: corrosive?) than a Supreme Court decision. The “war” is now (as it should have been on abortion “but for” Roe) in State legislatures.

    Some perspective: Proposition 8 was originally passed in 2008 (though there was debate for about 8 years before) in California (and the first shots in the appellate legal battles happened after the 2010 injunction). It took about 5 years to get a Supreme Court ruling on the matter. Look at the changing “cultural landscape” in 5 years.

    So is the next step a full faith and credit attack? It’s possible.

    Why only “possible”? Because advocates of gay marriage want the Court to recognize their definition of marriage as a fundamental right (read one of my above posts “strict scrutiny”).

    An overturning of DOMA Section 2 would trigger a quite a problem (your State can’t refuse to honor out-of-State marriages [kinda- there’s a lot of legal jargon here]). Yep, that’s bad… but, consider: If the Court were to take up a case from a “gay marriage is banned” State and find that gays have the fundamental right to marry, that’s the game over scenario. The map changes to: all States banning gay marriage must stop. (Read: the Roe/Doe/Casey line of abortion cases– fundamental right to abortion)

    To make a long answer short: there will probably be a challenge to DOMA Section 2… but that type of a “corrosive” attack on marriage would be the least of our concerns if the Court decides the “fundamental right” question. The big push from the gay marriage folks will be to attack the 35 States that have protected the sanctity of marriage and if they can’t win at the ballot box, go after the “fundamental right” question.

  93. Sissy says:

    TomG said: “Question: do you think DOMA section 2 will be challenged? Successfully?”

    It’s already been challenged, though not successfully (yet). It’s just a matter of time. Here’s the game plan as of today:,0,4161087.story

  94. Facta Non Verba says:

    I agree with you, but more importantly, I believe Justice Scalia (and Thomas and Roberts who joined his dissent) agree with you. As I mentioned above, according to Justice Scalia, the Court’s opinion and its jurisdiction for deciding the case “both spring from the same diseased root: an exalted notion of the role of this court in American democratic society.”

  95. Charles E Flynn says:

    From Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, laments SCOTUS rulings: “we are about to sink even lower. God help us.”:

    Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, founder and editor of Ignatius Press, which is based in San Francisco, expressed obvious frustration this morning in commenting about the Supreme Court rulings striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and dismissing Proposition 8.

    “They are profoundly wrong and wrong-headed decisions,” he stated in e-mail correspondence this morning. “And it is deeply depressing that in each decision a Catholic justice was the swing vote.”

    “There is a twofold problem that underlies both decisions,” he wrote. “1) That issues of such fundamental significance for society should be decided by a single, unelected person. That’s what happens when there is a 5-4 decision. 2) That the judges of the Supreme Court who ought to be exemplary for their wisdom as well as their technical knowledge of the law can be completely blind to the obvious: this is not an issue of equality at all. Same sex unions are not in any way equivalent to marital unions.”

  96. The Sicilian Woman says:


    But what our veterans fought against were external threats to our lives and liberties. Our “low information” countrymen, whose guiding lights are the MSM and a social media that worship and promote the culture of, “It’s all about ME!” and our hostile, arrogant “leaders” – both among those whom our military are sworn to protect – are our greatest danger now. Our destruction is coming from within.

  97. Jim R says:

    The really interesting case is still to come: how does the Full Faith and Credit clause apply to gay marriage? The closest analogy I can think of from history is state laws banning inter-racial marriage. I’m confident those laws will not help the traditional marriage position. Those laws also never had a FF&C analysis applied. But, boy will you see them pulled out as an analogy when the case(s) come. It “ain’t” over yet.

    I predict states will be allowed to ban same-sex marriage, but must nonetheless recognize those performed outside the state – effectively leading to nationwide gay marriage. Odds anyone?

    Time will tell. I’m reminded of the proverbial Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

  98. Facta Non Verba says:

    And, not only do I agree with you (as does Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts), but there is also this nugget in footnote 7 of Justice Alito’s dissent:
    “Some professors of constitutional law have argued that we are bound to accept the trial judge’s findings—including those on major philosophical questions and predictions about the future—unless they are ‘clearly erroneous.’ Only an arrogant legal culture that has lost all appreciation of its own limitations could take such a suggestion seriously.”

  99. OrthodoxChick says:

    Can I just ask a stupid question? What does today’s Scotus ruling do to the actual legal definition of marriage in this country? Does it even do anything? If DOMA defines marriage as being a legal union between one man and one woman, then NOW how does the U.S. Federal government define marriage? Is it the union of any two people, of either the same or opposite gender? If so, doesn’t that make incest legal? A brother and sister, two sisters, and/or two brothers could technically marry? Does the government spell out in DOMA or any other legislation that two people who marry cannot be related as siblings or cousins within a specificed degree of kinship? Or is the legal definition left “up to the states”? And if so, how does that work? Couldn’t we then end up with potentially 54 different definitions of marriage if all 50 states, plus D.C. and other U.S. territories like Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands all develop their own different definition?

    It’s complete confusion and it makes the U.S. look pretty darned stupid. To think that we live in a world super power with (supposedly) learned leaders who can’t even figure out what a marriage is or should be. And all of this because these same learned leaders can’t figure out what to do with benefits and inheritance. What a bunch of amoral mental midgets.

  100. rachmaninov says:

    St Hildegard of Bingen was told by the Lord in the “Scivias” Revelations that political leaders would “plot to diverge from the holiness of God’s commands.” This would occur in the epoch immediately before the coming of the Antichrist. We can see how this prophecy has come to fruition in the past few decades. We should also remember Sr Lucia’s letter to Pope John Paul in May 1982 in which she stated the final fulfilment of the third secret was drawing near (words which resemble those of Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 in which he said the Passion of the Church is gradually unfolding). However we should be filled with hope because we know the final victory is being prepared.

  101. Montserrat says:

    govmatt :
    You are the voice of reason, and I thank you for that.

  102. torch621 says:

    It’s official. I think we would be much better off under a Catholic theocracy.

  103. frjim4321 says:

    Folks this is a matter of equal protection and SCOTUS confirmed this.

    All the hyperbole and Henny Penny thinking does not really help. How can we as Church best minister to our gay sisters and brothers? Let us move on to the opportunities that await us.

    On another subject, I see that Clarence Thomas is mute as ever. What a disappointment he must be for the right.

  104. Facta Non Verba says:

    Dear frjim4321:
    Re Justice Thomas: based on your comment, I assume you did not read yesterday’s opinion on the voting rights act. See Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion. Far from “mute.”

  105. Kerry says:

    I’m pretty certain one way NOT to minister is to call a stone a loaf of bread.

  106. frjim4321 says:

    FNV thanks. I will check that out. Best….

  107. Imrahil says:

    Hon. dear @Miss Anita Moore and dear @Supertradmum,

    I was not claiming that anyone was in the mood or would dare to say no, but that if, they’d have the objectively unquestionable right to do so – and yes, this is what sovereignty is about. Indeed the UK is better off than e. g. Germany; we are required by Constitution to be pro-European.

    Dear @Sicilian Woman, all the same I’m grateful that they fought down these external threats.
    Dear @

  108. Imrahil says:

    Cut that last paragraph, sorry. Writing from smartphone.

  109. acardnal says:

    frjim4321 wrote, “How can we as Church best minister to our gay sisters and brothers?”

    By advising them to live celibate and chaste lives in accordance with God’s will as expressed through His Church’s Magisterium and Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.

  110. Unwilling says:

    frjim4321, If a person is behaving chastely and modestly, how can you tell what their desires are? What is an “openly heterosexual” (sic) person? What must they do or display to be sure of getting the “right” ministry for their needs? Will you depend on gaydar? What (non-tautological) difference would distinguish the ministry of a person with or without specific concupiscent desires? In the Confessional, of course, some practical discussions arise related to different weaknesses. But do we then ask how we will minister to our (drug, gambling, porn, gluttonous, skeptical, angry, endlessly on) addicted brothers and sisters? acardnal’s answer to you is right, but it is sort of too obvious to bear stating.

  111. jhayes says:

    OrthodoxChick. Prior to DOMA, the federal government wasn’t in the business of deciding who was or wasn’t married. That was the job of the states. If a state said you were married, that settled it for the federal government.

    With that section of DOMA voided, we are back to here we were before DOMA – It’s a state that sets the rules and decides who is married.

    There is a complication to be resolved – if you are married in Massachusetts and move to Mississippi (which doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage) are you still married as far as the federal government is concerned? That may take a while to work out.

    Then there is the question of the six states that don’t allow same sex marriage but do allow “civil unions” (or some such name) that are legally defined as providing all the rights and obligations of marriage except for the name. It will have to be worked out whether the federal government will recognize those people as married for he purpose of receiving federal benefits and tax treatment.

  112. jhayes says:

    By advising them to live celibate and chaste lives in accordance with God’s will as expressed through His Church’s Magisterium and Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.

    The same advice you would give to adolescents and unmarried twenty-somethings. But it works better if you welcome them, involve them in the parish and provide support and fellowship rather than just exhortations.

  113. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Di (at 11 am) said, “2 of the Justices should have recused themselves that being Sotomayor and Kagan (Judicial disqualification).”Had that been/were that so, what would 3 vs. 3 be? – a non-‘ruling’ (or whatever)?

    Has/have the ruling(s) ‘invented’ (etymological wordplay intended) a sort of necessarily egalitarianly federalistically ‘agnostic’ Federal Government which only knows about ‘marriage’ anything any state tells it? Can this exclude the considerations Orthodox Chick (at 4: 09 pm) raises? – if so, how? Is this a sort of Court-mandated, open-ended analogue to the ‘Missouri Compromise’?

    But ( with an eye to MKR’s quotation at 2:26 pm of Justice Scalia) how enduring a ‘status quo’ can this be – how can there be ‘separate but equal’ sorts of ‘marriage’, once ‘marriage’ is so (Federally) regarded?

    Fr. Z commented, “The next move in their agenda is to lower the age of consent so that they can have sex with children legally.” Non solus, sed etiam? Is simultaneous ‘progress’ on multiple fronts unlikely?

    cwillia1 (at 10:05 am) said, “There remains natural marriage and sacramental marriage.” In what, if any, state(s) can ‘sacramental marriages’ without accompanying ‘state registration’ (or whatever) be conducted without criminal penalties? Will some such possibility of free, independent “sacramental marriage” be likely to be a sequel to today’s ruling(s), anywhere?

    Suburbanbanshee, what difference does the SPQR aspect of Roman citizenship (or its analogues) make? Many of the legal technicalities of Our Lord’s ‘rendering unto Caesar’ as an inhabitant of Galilee or Judea (etc.) would have been different from those of St. Paul as a Roman citizen, no? After the ‘renaissance of the 12th century’ with its greatly renewed interest in Roman law, the understanding of the ‘popular’ basis of ‘sovereignty’ was hotly disputed…

  114. acardnal says:

    The same advice you would give to adolescents and unmarried twenty-somethings. But it works better if you welcome them, involve them in the parish and provide support and fellowship rather than just exhortations.

    Concur with above statement.

    Unfortunately, that’s often insufficient to convince them of the Church’s teaching against homosexual activity. Too many priests give explicit or tacit approval to homosexual’s immoral and sinful behavior. (Perhaps because the priest is gay himself.) They accept and condone it instead of explaining the Church’s teaching to them privately and from the pulpit to the congregation. Some pastors employ openly gay people who are living publicly with a same-sex partner and whom the parishioners see in the public square behaving as a gay couple. Perceptions of this kind cannot be tolerated in the Church’s hiring practices, or using them as CCD teachers, or in any other capacity because it gives the impression that the Church accepts homosexual behavior. If the pastor knows of cohabiting gay couples in his parish, he needs to counsel them and tell them to live apart just as he does/should with unmarried heterosexual couples. . . especially those receiving the sacraments at his parish.

  115. Bev says:

    Where is Cardinal Wuerl? It is his duty to excommunicate Catholic justices of scotus who teach error concerning marriage.

  116. robtbrown says:

    Frjim4321 says:

    All the hyperbole and Henny Penny thinking does not really help. How can we as Church best minister to our gay sisters and brothers? Let us move on to the opportunities that await us.

    Well done.

    In a few short sentences you have summarized why Catholic life has all but collapsed in the past 45 years: Many bishops, priests, and religious have been so interested in those outside the Church or on the fringes that practicing Catholics have all but been ignored–except when money is solicited.

    All the hyperbole and Henny Penny thinking does not really help. How can we as Church best minister t

  117. acardnal says:

    The best way for a pastor to minister to his flock is to do his duty: Preach what the Church teaches so that his flock will avoid hell and reach heaven. How? By informing them that there is such a thing as mortal sin in which they lose sanctifying grace and go to hell. Homosexual acts may be legal – as is abortion – but they are objectively mortal sin. Best to preach and counsel your flock on this or the priest, too, will have to answer to God for what he has “done or failed to do.”

  118. govmatt says:

    @Unwilling (from 2:17pm)

    “Did Justice Kennedy do wrong?” (and then should he be excommunicated, etc.)
    I’m not a priest, Bishop, or canon lawyer… so I’ll leave the theological discourses to the more qualified)

    Morally, Justice Kennedy’s decision today has potentially put him a little too far from where a Catholic should be. Then again, comparing him to someone like Nancy Pelosi, Justice Kennedy is saintly. Even comparing him to Justice Sotomayor, a fellow Catholic on the Court, we see Kennedy hemming closer to a “moderate” approach.

    Legally, the decision was neither one that held “gay marriage is now the American custom,” nor did he establish a test that would make it more protect-able (a la Justice Blackmun in Roe).

    However, there’s a legal way of looking at things “under a totality of the circumstances.” Justice Kennedy’s opinion here (Windsor), his concurrence in the plurality of Casey v. Planned Parenthood (a really bad abortion case), and his majority in Romer v. Evans should give us considerable pause. (Also Lawrence v. Texas, but the Constitutional argument in the case is dubious so I’d not hold it against him)

    To answer the question originally posed: he’s probably veering into the wrong. However, it is easy for me to write this as an “Armchair Justice.” I certainly think he could use your prayers!

  119. Andrew says:


    I can’t shake the impression that even well intentioned lawyers are so caught up in the procedural aspects of this issue that they overlook the obvious, namely: there is a difference between a male and a female wherefore it is not discriminatory to differentiate. Further: it is impossible to legislate on the basis of personal taste. (The Vanilla Community has a right to a sweet cookie!)

  120. sciencemom says:

    @tjg – Kagan is Jewish, not Catholic.

    @chantgirl – Faith like yours is what is ultimately going to change the world. The Roman Empire fell because of sin (ultimately) but Christendom rose up out of its ashes. We’ve been attending a “New Evangelization” series — and we live in one of the most unchurched parts of the US. Father told us we need to give our nothingness to God so he can transform us and use us to transform the world. That has always been how God has worked in the world, and nothing the world can do can stop that, if only we are willing to be His instruments. In a word, we need saints. We need to allow God to make us into saints.

  121. Ben Kenobi says:

    Hello Father Z, I just wanted to thank you all the folks since this is my first post here. :) Thanks for being a light during very dark times. An oasis of sanity in the desert of dissolution.

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