Archbp. Cordileone on AG Eric Holder’s attack on definition of marriage

From the site of the USCCB:

General Holder Acts Contrary to Supreme Court Decision

By Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone

Last week Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government will recognize so-called “marriages” performed in Utah between persons of the same sex that even Utah itself does not recognize as marriage. Presently, Utah defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. On December 20, 2013, a federal district judge struck down that definition, but on January 6 of this year, the United States Supreme Court stayed that decision while the case is on appeal.

However, [NB] Attorney General Holder is ignoring Utah law and imposing a contrary federal definition of marriage in that state. In this, General Holder’s decision is actually contrary to the Supreme Court‘s decision last year in United States v. Windsor. Windsor unfortunately struck down a uniform federal definition of marriage, but it made clear that the federal government is to respect a state’s definition of marriage. In particular, the Court said that the federal government is to defer to “state sovereign choices about who may be married” and furthermore criticized federal actions – like General Holder’s – that “put a thumb on the scales and influence a state’s decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws.”

The Utah Attorney General, who (unlike General Holder) is responsible for enforcing Utah law, has declared that the validity of any same-sex “marriages” performed in Utah between December 20 and January 6 “will depend on the result of the appeal process.”

In other words, out of respect for the legal process, Utah will wait for the federal courts to decide. But not the Attorney General of the United States, who has already ruled that same-sex “marriages” performed between December 20 and January 6 are valid for purposes of federal law. If the federal government is legally obliged to defer to the marriage law of the state, as Windsor itself holds, then how can the federal government recognize as valid – even if only for federal purposes – marriages which a state has not deemed valid? This logically opens the door for the federal government to recognize any type of relationship (and with any number of partners) as valid marriages in contradiction to state law.

Events over these past several months (the most recent being the January 14 decision by a federal court in Oklahoma ruling that state’s marriage amendment unconstitutional) have made it clearer than ever that the marriage debate we are having in this country is not about access to the right of marriage, but the very meaning of marriage: what it is, and what it is for.

I encourage all those who know and believe the timeless truth about marriage, as well as all those who believe in following the established judicial procedures to address such issues, to not remain silent, but to exercise their constitutional rights as citizens of this great nation and to stand up for the truth.

Re-read that last paragraph and reach out to your elected officials.

And once again I’d like to thank all of you who voted for Pres. Obama.. who gave us AG Holder, Sec. Sebelius, IRS attacks, NSA invasions…. Thanks!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. pseudomodo says:

    So in 1847 the Feds tell Utah that they can only join the union if they change thier marriage practices….

    167 years later….

  2. The Masked Chicken says:

    You know, back before the Civil War, it was the states that wanted to secede from the Union. Now, it is the Union that want to secede from the states. Maybe, this time, we should let it.

    The Chicken

  3. wmeyer says:

    Apparently the AG fails utterly to comprehend the meaning of the 10th amendment.

  4. Priam1184 says:

    I understand why he’s doing it but it still troubles me to hear a sitting bishop appealing to the Supreme Court as the back stop of his argument. Who do we appeal to? To the one Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve apostles, or to the Nine in black robes?

  5. Robbie says:

    According to one Vatican source, Obama could meet with Pope Francis as soon as March. Apparently, Obama thinks Francis can be useful in his fight against income inequality. If the two do meet, it will be interesting if the Pope raises the issue of traditional marriage with Obama.

  6. Jim R says:

    This is actually a bit more complicated than it appears on its face. The Supreme Court stay is quite short and unclear how it affects those who got “married” during the interim. There seems to be no clear precedent on how to interpret what has been done – at least the Utah AG has been quoted as saying so. Admittedly, politics is politics, but Holder is in the odd position of giving guidance to federal agencies and the affected public on what to do vis-a-vis benefits, taxes, and a host of other things under this situation that was created by the courts.

    While I have no doubt of Holder’s position with respect to the underlying issue, it really was not created by him, and given the novelty of what has transpired his action is not as unreasonable from a legal POV as many here may like. The blame for this SNAFU really falls at the feet of the judiciary.

  7. Unwilling says:

    I guess the Federal government can NOT recognize marriages it objects to too — any established in the hearing of religious words or in the presence of religious symbols.

    To be married in Holder’s policy, why should people have to utter a form of words or sign anything to be recognized as married? Isn’t that “verbalism” and “vowism”? Why do they even have to want to be married? Isn’t that “voluntarism”? Why doesn’t Holder just marry everybody to everybody? Then it’s equal! I like that! I like equal! Who is against equal? Evil!

  8. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Whenever the President says he does not want politics to interfere with XYZ, he really means the Constitution. Whenever the AG says he has constitutinoal concerns about XYZ, he really means political.

  9. Former Altar Boy says:

    Where are all the other bishops telling their flocks NOT to stay silent on this? For that matter, why aren’t more speaking out themselves! It’s a fact very few priests are preaching on the subject.

  10. Ray says:

    Dr. Peter’s

    I would be much more inclined to follow your erudite explanations of how Canon Law impacts our every day lives, if you allowed comments to your posts. If and until then, you are persona non gratis for me. If you have great input to the lay Catholic debate, then, you need to open yourself up to comments. As a fellow St. Louis Catholic, I sometime feel that your Chaminade upscale education has left you feel immune to your fellow lay Catholic’s feedback. Until you open up to your Catholic peer’s thoughts , I for one will not view your ideations on Catholic law. Any person who was privileged enough to attend Chaminade High School in St. Louis, Mo. and is wanting to limit debate from your inferiors is not welcome in my daily readings. I don’t think the Brothers of Mary taught you to disallow debate to your theories.

  11. robtbrown says:

    Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Whenever the President says he does not want politics to interfere with XYZ, he really means the Constitution. Whenever the AG says he has constitutinoal concerns about XYZ, he really means political.

    Actually, Obama said: If like your Constitution, you can keep your Constitution. Period.

  12. pberginjr says:

    That’s a rather obnoxious thing to say to one of our best living canon lawyers. This place also seems to be the wrong place to be doing it. As a fellow St. Louis Catholic, I’d remind you that no one is forcing you to read anything on the internet and one less reader a day probably isn’t affecting Dr. Peters.

    BTW, even Fr. Z. turns off the combox from time to time.

  13. HyacinthClare says:

    Oh dear Ray, you cannot read minds. You really, truly can’t. And spreading your resentment of Dr. Peters here is not going to get you very much support. His blog is his place, and he can decline to be attacked in his own place.

  14. William Tighe says:

    Perhaps when Ray learns to both “mind his manners” and to write and spell in a less semi-literate manner his comments will be worth taking seriously — but not now.

  15. Giuseppe says:

    Ray, you managed to make me love Dr. Peters even more. Thanks!

    In the US, it is clear that the paperwork required to define marital status is something different from the sacrament of marriage. They often do coincide. I wish the US government would just be honest and stop using the word marriage to describe whatever legal unions it recognizes. It is way too confusing.

  16. Lin says:

    No self-respecting Catholic would have voted for this regime if they knew and understood our faith! With every passing year, I am convinced that many of the problems in society today are a direct result of lack of catechism. One cannot LOVE GOD/Church/faith if one does not KNOW GOD/Church/faith!

    Father………There has to be a way to get back on track! Mandatory Baltimore Catechism worked in the past. I’ve been told that it wouldn’t work now but I don’t think that’s entirely true either! The catechesis I’ve experienced in two dioceses in PA over the past 16 years has been very ineffective. Why not have an organized, standardized approach again? How could it get worse?!?!?

  17. joan ellen says:

    Our minds have lost supernatural law…especially in The Sacrament of Matrimony…and all that goes with it…. We may have to get natural law to return to our minds first. Such as paying attention to the reality of God’s other creation besides our selves or other human beings. Other creation…such as the reality/fact that the earth does not evolve, it revolves around the sun; or the fact that the earth is about production and reproduction. Or the fact that rocks do not evolve, they aggregate and disintegrate. Time does not evolve…it marches on. You get the drift.
    Perhaps if we returned to a good grasp and understanding of natural law, supernatural law would be more meaningful, and rightly understood. I pray for a period or time of balance to come about, when The Sacrament of Matrimony could once again be considered the Holy Institution for which its reality is meant to be.

  18. joan ellen says:

    Thank you, Lin. I agree, “Why not have an organized, standardized approach again? How could it get worse?!?!?”
    The Baltimore Catechism gives Catholics, catholics, and non-catholics a wonderful formation in the faith. Available at

  19. Unwilling says:

    Dr Peters, concerned with law, ought not to open his statements to comment.

  20. Facta Non Verba says:

    I think the President believes the ends justifies the means.

  21. Absit invidia says:

    So sick of these fascist judges.

  22. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Looking at American affairs from the outside, this presidential ‘coup’ seems even more seismic than even a dispute about the definition of marriage (though that is seismic enough, God knows).
    The White House appears determined to destroy the constitutional freedom of each of the states to set its own local laws.
    Historically, the whole point of America was its freedom from tyranny – the country was so big that each new wave of immigrants seeking freedom from oppression could choose their own large territory in which to follow their own religion and regulate their society as little or as much as they wished, according to their own set of values, allowing each person to have the same rights and freedoms as their neighbour.
    The understandable need to stand against British tyranny brought the US central Government into its new unifying role, but set it also on the primrose path to accruing and centralising power and becoming a mini-tyrant in itself. If the US federal government – through taxes and omnipotent federal law – is now allowed to ride roughshod over the needs of the people in individual states, and all out of a mistaken confusion about ‘equal rights’, then America loses the respect for personal freedom and the balance of ideals with tolerance that made it special. And as contributors here have pointed out, such a grab at federal control is expressly forbidden by the 10th Amendment.
    I expect you have constitutional lawyers in the US already pointing this out 24/7…It’s just that in the US media relayed here we only hear it argued in crude, polemic, party political terms that seem to downgrade the principle at stake. (Britain has never really understood the idea of federation in any case.)
    But we see the same sort of thing happening over here too: a brief law is quickly passed, and its gigantic destructive implications will shake society to the roots for ever after.

  23. Dear “Ray”

    If you have a problem with Professor Peters decision to cut off uninformed and vicious attacks on him for his learned commentary on canon law, at least learn how to spell his name:

    It is “Peters” not “Peter’s”

  24. RJHighland says:

    The problem is you will be hard pressed to find a modern Catholic parish that teaches the Baltimore Catechism. When we attended our local Novus Ordo Parish and my older children were in catechism classes they learned the diocesan catechisis at Church and we taught them from the Baltimore Catechism at home. When we moved to a TLM parish in town they instructed with the Baltimore Cathecism, with-out the bishops consent. When that priest got moved by the bishop we started attending an SSPX chapel where they use the Baltimore Catechism. But like I have said before if you don’t have an orthodox Cathlic priest and after talking with him there is no hope of him working with you on bringing traditional teaching to your parish I recommend finding an orthodox/traditional Catholic parish. It is not worth putting your kids through the confussion, depending on the priest/bishop it can be like two different religions. The religious teaching can often be tracked by voting record, the modernists vote one way at the neo-cons and traditionalists vote the other. Once again the confusion in society can be traced directly to the poor shepherds in the Church dare I say the Lavender Wolves. It would be interesting to see if all of the bishops in the Church were put in one photo and the orthodox bishops were in red and the hetrodox in lavender how would the split look. I am betting over 75% Lavender. You can see it in the John Newman Society percentages in Catholic Universities. The reassuring thing is orthodoxy wins in the end. Burke, Cordileone, Tobin, Olmstead, Chaput, Paprocki, thats about all that I know from the states that would be Red. But how many of them would even allow the Baltimore Catechism?

  25. Nicholas Shaler says:


    I just realised this, but the other Nine in black robes are the nine witches from The Lord of the Rings. I vote for following the apostles and getting to heaven. But if secularists want to follow their government then they may go somewhere else.


  26. Nicholas Shaler says:


    What is so special about the Baltimore, I mean, as opposed to the modern one.

    By the way, I do not mean this in any way as an attack, I just have no experience of the older one in my sixteen years of living.


  27. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Thanks folks. I have no idea who that anonymous troll is. Got me to thinking about Chaminade again, though. It’s quite expensive now. When I was there, though, the tuition was still under $ 1000 per year, which was good, because I (like some of my classmates) had to earn half that amount each summer, which I did by cutting lawns, caddying ($ 8 a day), buzz sawing cordfire wood even. And I’m forever grateful for the education I received there.

  28. midwestmom says:

    I like this guy. He fights it head on from within the belly of the beast.

  29. happyCatholic says:

    Wow! From the “silver lining” department (at least for me) — thanks to “Ray,” I learned something new tonight: my brothers are alumni from the same high school as Dr. Peters. Furthermore, I am an alumna from the all-girls high school down the street and from the same era as Dr. Peters. I had not previously known Dr. Peters’ educational background.
    Funny thing about St. Louis culture: it is customary to ask upon meeting someone new where he or she went to high school. From what I understand, this seems to be a rather unique quirk of the area. Ok, enough of my personal sharing; thanks for the forbearance.

  30. StWinefride says:

    That reminds me, where’s this “Ray”, Father Z?! There has been no news in a long time!

    [Ray is around, along with “Rayette”.]

  31. Gratias says:

    Bishop Heart-of-Lion will be attacked for this. The losers of Proposition 8 never forgive, it is as if they were inspired by the Devil Himself.

  32. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Nicholas Shaler,

    You wrote:

    “What is so special about the Baltimore, I mean, as opposed to the modern one.”

    Clarity, organization, conciseness. You can find a standard copy, here:

    There is a slightly different version, here:

    The Chicken

  33. St. Epaphras says:

    Nicholas Shaler, the New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism also has those unforgettable illustrations such as the one with the boy entering the confessional with 4 mortal sins on his soul, then he refuses to confess one of them and you see him exiting the confessional holding five mortal sins graphically shown, the fifth being sacrilege. (This is in the No. 2 Catechism.)

    Some of the illustrations are here:

  34. JonPatrick says:

    Is there even an orthodox new catechism? I have heard of parishes using texts such as Fr. McBrien’s Catholicism, a text so heterodox that even the USCCB gave it an unfavorable review.

  35. wmeyer says:

    “I wish the US government would just be honest…”

    I think a period at the end of that would be good. Also, I wish the US government would:
    – follow the Constitution.
    – subject its members to the same laws and programs under which the rest of us suffer.
    – repeal all laws which violate the Constitution
    – kill all programs which are unfunded
    – tax only individuals (the rest are hidden taxes on individuals, anyway)
    – finally declare that abortion is murder, and ban it

  36. Gail F says:

    Nichoals Shaler: The Baltimore Catechism was in question and answer form. Students were to memorize the answers. Just go into a room with older Catholics and say, “Why did God make you?” and they will rattle off the answer, ” God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.”

    One reason the B.C. fell out of favor was that changes in the way children are educated meant that this kind of “rote learning” was frowned on — children just learned formulas and didn’t understand them, the theory went. Some educational theorists are actually advocating this kind of learning now, saying that when children are young they can learn all kinds of things as “facts” to memorize and that their reasoning develops later. If they’ve memorized things like this, then later they can (although they might not!) develop a deeper understanding, but this way they already have the concept in their minds. Even as an adult years after school, what one of those little maxims mean can become clear — they don’t have to discover it.

    There are a lot of orthodox catechisms in print. Youcat and an adult catechism were taken directly from the CCC.

  37. pannw says:


    Just to expound on what the others have said, many love the Baltimore Catechism for its straightforward simplicity. It is in question/answer format and breaks down the Church’s teaching so that even children can learn/memorize it, and is so direct that it makes erroneous interpretation (unintentional and intentional) very hard indeed! For example:
    Q169c. How does a baptized person separate himself from full incorporation in the Mystical Body by heresy?

    A. A baptized person separates himself from full incorporation in the Mystical Body by heresy when he openly rejects or doubts some doctrine proposed by the Catholic Church as a truth of divine-Catholic faith, though still professing himself a Christian.

    Q. 1386. Since God loves the souls in Purgatory, why does He punish them?

    A. Though God loves the souls in Purgatory, He punishes them because His holiness requires that nothing defiled may enter heaven and His justice requires that everyone be punished or rewarded according to what he deserves.

    My daughter’s homeschool curriculum uses it for 9th grade religion and I have learned so much that I didn’t fully understand just from helping her study. We were talking to a senior seminarian who was assigned to our parish last summer and he was asking her about her studies. When religion came up, he asked what books she was using and when we told him the Baltimore Catechism, his eyes lit up and he smiled saying he had it and what a fantastic resource it is. He is a convert and so had already studied in RCIA and goes to a wonderful seminary, but said he still uses it. I highly recommend getting a copy or you can find it online, but I prefer having a hard copy, in case the grid goes down. ;)

  38. Nicholas Shaler says:

    Thank you all for the help.

  39. jhayes says:

    Vecchio de Londra: The first government of the United States was a true federal structure organized under the Articles of Confederation. That soon proved impractical and a convention was held to write what became the present Constitution, which which strikes a careful balance between the powers of the federal government and the powers of the individual states.

    The Constitution, federal statutes, and foreign treaties to which the U.S. Is a signatory take precedence over the laws of individual states. In case of dispute, only the Supreme Court can make the final decision.

  40. frjim4321 says:

    “And once again I’d like to thank all of you who voted for Pres. Obama.. who gave us AG Holder, Sec. Sebelius, IRS attacks, NSA invasions…. Thanks!” – Rev. and Dear Blogmaster

    I’d be inclined to say “You’re Welcome,” but I suspect that you may have meant that sarcastically.

    Anyway, we’ve seen conservative sheriffs refused to enforce gun laws and conservative state attorney’s general refuse to enforce consumer protection laws, etc. This is how the game is played and should not be a surprise to anyone. For this prelate to found his critique of same sex marriage on this basis is ineffectual.

    Unfortunately the apparent silence of the Church with respect to the civil rights of those who are in committed same sex relationships undermines its credibility in this regard, and also makes it difficult effectively to minister to gay persons in general and those in committed relationships in particular.

    For example persons in committed same sex relationships are penalized greatly and often suffer financial devistation when one of the parties dies due to the way tax and inheritance laws are written. Should we not be concerned about this injustice?

    It is not working at all to repeat over and over again that this is about semantics and definitions when it is very much about civil rights. When it comes to helping all married couples, and also serving homosexual persons, we’re driving uphill with the brakes on.

  41. happyCatholic says:

    As someone already stated so succinctly and perfectly on this blog just a little while back, nothing on this earth is worth losing Jesus Christ over — not a second “marriage,” not homosexual “unions,” much less tax and inheritance concerns. The injustice is to pretend that these things matter more than our immortal souls. A person in a “committed same sex relationship” has a much greater problem on his or her hands than temporal inheritance laws.
    I took a similar attitude with my children and some of the vaccinations for sexually transmitted diseases: if my children were engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage, quite frankly the least of my worries was their contracting a sexually transmitted disease. My paramount concern was the loss of their immortal souls to mortal sin.

  42. jhayes says:

    happyCatholic wrote if my children were engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage, quite frankly the least of my worries was their contracting a sexually transmitted disease. My paramount concern was the loss of their immortal souls to mortal sin.

    Do you mean that you refused to allow them to be vaccinated? If they were raped and contracted a disease from the rapist, would that still seem like the right decision?

  43. acardnal says:

    frjim, the so called “civil rights” of homosexual couples do not usurp God’s law.

    jhayes, treaties must not only be signed by an authorized member of the Executive Branch, but they must also be ratified by the Senate before they are placed into service legally. The U.S. is a signatory to a number of treaties but until they have been ratified they are ineffectual.

  44. Cordelio says:

    Father Jim,

    You are either disingenuous or naive. In charity, let’s assume the latter.

    Gay “marriage” rights is all about seeking government sanction of sexual sin – not protecting the civil rights of people in committed same sex relationships.

    Why was nobody ever worried about the civil rights of platonic single friends who share a home, or of spinster sisters that lived together? Did the apparent silence of the Church with respect to the fact that these people were not entitled to the same tax and inheritance treatment undermine the Church’s credibility for the past thousand years or so? Did it complicate the ability of priests to minister to these people? Since the people in these relationships didn’t play with each other’s privates, it was apparently no big deal that their relationships were not accorded the same special status that was only accorded to marriage.

    Unsurprisingly, the sodomy rights movement is laden with contradictions. Twenty years ago, when fighting to overturn anti-sodomy laws, the battle cry was that the government should “stay out of our bedrooms.” In the fight for gay “marriage,” the battle cry is for the government to officially recognize what goes on in our bedrooms.

    Assuming that you are naive, it may also come as a rude shock to you that love does not make a marriage. Love certainly helps make a good marriage, but given that the institution of marriage has more than a subjective reality, the feelings of the spouses are not the material thing.

    There is also no Easter Bunny.

  45. frjim4321 says:

    happyCatholic, I’m not sure I am hearing you correctly here. Are you saying that civil authorities, in addition to denying the civil effects enjoyed by heterosexual married couples, should also deny marriage to ANYONE who has been married previously? Are you saying that the state should not provide divorce? That’s how I read what you are saying. I think there could be some disagreement on that here.

    Gardasil also protects rape victims and HPV can lead to cervical cancer. Obviously parents are the decision makers when if comes to health concerns for their children, but I personally would be very hesitant to put a child at risk by denying ordinary and expected types of medical care. If a child were exposed to HPV due to rape and was not suitably protected it seems to me that the degree of abuse would be multiplied.

    acardinal, to what extent can we impose religiously-derived beliefs upon the entire population? We don’t allow Mormons to impose polygamy on everyone, nor do we allow batists to pass laws that outlaw drinking and dancing.

  46. Mr. Green says:

    “… with respect to the civil rights of those who are in committed same sex relationships …”

    I remember when the word “committed” was typically followed by “sin”.

    … so some things never change!

  47. Kathleen10 says:

    The injecting of children with Gardasil in order to “prevent” STD’s is now under attack as serious health complications are now surfacing. Apparently, this not very long tested drug is now implicated in some devastating reactions by children, who’s parents have been sold on the idea that they “need it” and it will help prevent disease from sexual activity that they are most certainly about to have, regardless of their age.

    And correct me if I’m wrong, but same-sex marriage does not qualify as a civil right because no one is denied the right to marry, what is limited is the sex of the partner chosen. One can marry, no restriction on that by anyone, go ahead, marry! But you cannot redefine marriage to suit your disorder, which affects the family, society, and poor children who are dragged into social experimentation by selfish individuals. Marriage has been defined since God was a boy as a covenant between one man and one woman. Due to political pressures escalating in the last five years or so now it seems incredible to so many that this would be good to uphold! Five years!

  48. pannw says:

    frjim4321, by your choice to post under your title of Father, and with your constant support of the homosexual ‘marriage’ issue, knowing full well that The Church teaches quite clearly the opposite, you bring scandal to the faithful who may read these forums, and if you are this open in your parish, you are scandalizing the youth there. There is nothing just or kind about encouraging sinners in their sin. There is no ‘Civil Right’ to SIN. Do you or do you not believe that our rights come from God? You are promoting heresy and doing so in a most insidious way, by using the law of man to try to bludgeon the Faithful into denying the law of God. And you are a priest of Christ but you are acting and speaking more like an anti-Christ, that would force us to chose between the laws of God and our ability to live and work in this seemingly God forsaken society, when you claim that people who work in the public sphere must abide by evil man made laws. May God have mercy on your soul.

    “But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. ”

    Do you believe Jesus? Sometimes I want to ask if you even believe in Him.

    Forgive me, Father Z, if I am out of line, but I read this man’s posts over and over and the thought of him spreading this garbage to children in a parish just horrifies me. The sickeningly smug way he admits here to supporting the evil agenda of the Democrats platform was too much. I could not take it any more.

  49. Ann Roth says:

    “Q169c. How does a baptized person separate himself from full incorporation in the Mystical Body by heresy?

    A. A baptized person separates himself from full incorporation in the Mystical Body by heresy when he openly rejects or doubts some doctrine proposed by the Catholic Church as a truth of divine-Catholic faith, though still professing himself a Christian.”

    Is rejecting the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and advocating for same sex marriage a heresy?

  50. happyCatholic says:

    Sorry for the confusion; my reference about “second” marriages referred to those who have been in a sacramental marriage and were attempting a second marriage without an annulment. I was letting the quotation marks around the word “second” act as shorthand for that concept; I did not mean to be unclear. As far as the state not allowing divorce, that was not my intent in my comment, although now that you mention it, that is grounds for an interesting discussion. I think the case has been made that no-fault divorce laws have not been of great benefit to society in general.
    As far as the Gardasil comment — that is the vaccine I had in mind, although there are others, too (hepatitis comes to mind). I would not expect you to be up on the medical concerns about Gardasil; it was just published the other day that one of the developers of the vaccine says she can no longer sleep with herself knowing the dangers of the vaccine and its being completely unnecessary and even dangerous (eg, it only protects against 4 out of 40 viruses, the developers are not sure how long the protection even lasts, girls have been seriously harmed by its side effects, most HPV infections cure themselves with two years, etc.). However, even if it were not dangerous, I would still have concerns; I wanted my children to know that I believed they could live chastely, and providing an injection to “protect” against a sexually transmitted disease certainly would have belied my words by my actions. The vaccine, after all, is for a lifestyle disease, one that is sexually, not casually, transmitted, one hundred percent preventable with abstinence. (The case of rape is an example of the old adage that went something like “Hard cases make bad law.”) The consequences of not living chastely were far greater on their souls than disease would be on their bodies. Did I want my children healthy? Yes, of course! Did I want them to go to heaven by avoiding mortal sin? Yes, even more so….a thousand times more!

  51. happyCatholic says:

    I think Kathleen10 and I have posted about the dangers of the Gardasil vaccine in some responses. Remember, I stated I was speaking about vaccines that were supposedly to protect from sexually transmitted diseases, which are lifestyle diseases. You don’t contract them just be walking in a room or through casual contact like you do polio or pertussis. So, yes, vaccinating for lifestyle diseases such as IV drug use or sexual promiscuity seems to me to patently send the wrong message to a child: if I tell you that engaging in these behaviors is dangerous to your soul, but then provide a means to engage so “safely” on the physical plane, doesn’t that give the message that your soul is worth less than your body? It seems crystal clear to me.
    As to the rape issue, as I responded to frjim, “Hard cases make bad laws.” Would that I could protect my child from every evil! But in this fallen world, that is sadly not possible. Given that, I must do all in my power to inculcate the values in them that will first and foremost get them to heaven and not let my actions undercut my words.

  52. jhayes says:

    acardnal, yes – the President can only ratify a treaty with the advice and consent of the Senate.

    The text in the Constitution is:

    “He [the President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;”


    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

    As early as 1796, the Supreme Court decided that the Treaty of Paris superseded a Virginia law. (Ware v. Hylton)

  53. AnAmericanMother says:

    “But . . . rape!” is an argument that has been used for years to support abortion-on-demand, thus facilitating the vast majority of abortions performed for convenience. The chance of an actual forcible rape occurring to a given girl is considerably less than being struck by lightning (given that many reported “rape” cases are not forcible rape but morning-after remorse or “if my dad finds out, he’ll kill me.”)
    With that said, my daughter did receive the HPV vaccine after extended discussion with our pediatrician, who is a sensible, thoughtful man. She had no side effects at all, and she was chaste before marriage (married a nice young Catholic man in December).

  54. happyCatholic says:

    Congratulations on your daughter’s marriage, and it is wonderful she did not have any side effects.

  55. happyCatholic says:

    Just re-reading my post. Sorry…I am with a new grandbaby. The post inadvertently read like I was congratulating you on there being no side effects from the marriage! ;-) To be clear, it is wonderful she did not have any side effects from the vaccine. :-)

  56. Lin says:

    RJHighland……..I totally agree with you! How sad that there appears to be so few orthodox bishops! Catechism is so very critical to saving souls. I pray GOD has mercy on us poor wretched creatures!

  57. jhayes says:

    Kathleen10, here is the CDC’s current recommendation:

    “CDC and FDA have reviewed all of the safety information available to them for both HPV vaccines and have determined that they are both safe. Gardasil® is safe to use for preventing HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18, and Cervarix® is safe to use for preventing HPV types 16 and 18.

    CDC continues to recommend the vaccination of 11 and 12 year old girls with 3 doses of vaccine to prevent the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical cancer and genital warts. The vaccine is also recommended for girls and women ages 13 through 26 who did not get any or all of the doses when they were younger.

    Additionally, Gardasil® protects males against most genital warts. This vaccine is also recommended and available for boys and men, 9 through 26 years of age.”

  58. Michael Garner says:

    I would like to point out the pink elephant in the room that no one is addressing. All the worthwhile arguments that I see on here against gay marriage are religious in nature. Seeing that we live in a secular nation these arguments would seem to amount to nothing. It would be like a group of people saying our Lord the Flying Spaghetti Monster commands that all men wear blue jeans so therefore every man in the country must wear blue jeans. Why you may ask, because it is God’s law. As a society we are not bound to the laws of any gods or goddesses be it, Yaweh, Jesus, Allah, Zeus, Vishnu, et al. We are bound by the constitution which demands equality and equal protection under the law. My question to those people that say to just let the states work it out is do you have that same opinion in regards to women’s suffrage or African American rights?

  59. Unwilling says:

    Michael Garner,
    I get the impression most of the visitors to this blog are religious believers, Christians, even Catholics. It is not a “pink elephant”, it is incense that fills this room.

    If they were commenting on a NYT page or even a NCR page, appeal to God’s teachings as a persuasive argument might be questioned. But here, it makes sense that opinions expressed to fellow Catholics or catholics be underlined by the authority of Revelation and Tradition.

    That said, much is contained in Revelation that can be known without Revelation. I am pretty sure you would agree that murder is wrong. But God put that into the Ten Commandments. So, the fact something is Revealed does not mean it is accessible only to those who believe with big-F Faith. Much less would such an omission amount to a permission.

    I guess most who visit here would hold that, even if God had not included in his Revelation a statement of the fact that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, only a man and a woman, nevertheless this fact is not difficult to know, by attention to bounteous natural evidence regarding human physiology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and ethics.

    There is no purely logical need to invoke God’s authority to establish that very evident fact. But it is fitting and appropriate that speakers mention that seal on the truth to those who might well be expected to find the observation relevant.

    Not being from the USA, I pass on your invitation to opine concerning States’ Rights vis a vis legal concepts and statutes. But every government, of whatever level, should not include falsehoods or measures harmful to human beings in their legislation.

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