We are obliged to RESIST! “Clear and emphatic opposition is a duty”

Everyone should review something that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s document from 2003 called:

Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons


1. In recent years, various questions relating to homosexuality have been addressed with some frequency by Pope John Paul II and by the relevant Dicasteries of the Holy See.(1) Homosexuality is a troubling moral and social phenomenon, even in those countries where it does not present significant legal issues. It gives rise to greater concern in those countries that have granted or intend to grant – legal recognition to homosexual unions, which may include the possibility of adopting children. The present Considerations do not contain new doctrinal elements; they seek rather to reiterate the essential points on this question and provide arguments drawn from reason which could be used by Bishops in preparing more specific interventions, appropriate to the different situations throughout the world, aimed at protecting and promoting the dignity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and the stability of society, of which this institution is a constitutive element. The present Considerations are also intended to give direction to Catholic politicians by indicating the approaches to proposed legislation in this area which would be consistent with Christian conscience.(2) Since this question relates to the natural moral law, the arguments that follow are addressed not only to those who believe in Christ, but to all persons committed to promoting and defending the common good of society.


2. The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose.(3) No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.

3. The natural truth about marriage was confirmed by the Revelation contained in the biblical accounts of creation, an expression also of the original human wisdom, in which the voice of nature itself is heard. There are three fundamental elements of the Creator’s plan for marriage, as narrated in the Book of Genesis.

In the first place, man, the image of God, was created “male and female” (Gen 1:27). Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level – the personal level – where nature and spirit are united.

Marriage is instituted by the Creator as a form of life in which a communion of persons is realized involving the use of the sexual faculty. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).

Third, God has willed to give the union of man and woman a special participation in his work of creation. Thus, he blessed the man and the woman with the words “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28). Therefore, in the Creator’s plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness belong to the very nature of marriage.

Furthermore, the marital union of man and woman has been elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament. The Church teaches that Christian marriage is an efficacious sign of the covenant between Christ and the Church (cf. Eph 5:32). This Christian meaning of marriage, far from diminishing the profoundly human value of the marital union between man and woman, confirms and strengthens it (cf. Mt 19:3-12; Mk 10:6-9).

4. There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”.(4)

Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity… (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”.(5) This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries(6) and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.

Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”.(7) They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity.(8) The homosexual inclination is however “objectively disordered”(9) and homosexual practices are “sins gravely contrary to chastity”.(10)


5. Faced with the fact of homosexual unions, civil authorities adopt different positions. At times they simply tolerate the phenomenon; at other times they advocate legal recognition of such unions, under the pretext of avoiding, with regard to certain rights, discrimination against persons who live with someone of the same sex. In other cases, they favour giving homosexual unions legal equivalence to marriage properly so-called, along with the legal possibility of adopting children.

Where the government’s policy is de facto tolerance and there is no explicit legal recognition of homosexual unions, it is necessary to distinguish carefully the various aspects of the problem. Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.

[NB] In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.


6. To understand why it is necessary to oppose legal recognition of homosexual unions, ethical considerations of different orders need to be taken into consideration.

From the order of right reason

The scope of the civil law is certainly more limited than that of the moral law,(11) but civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience.(12) Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person.(13) Laws in favour of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.

It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behaviour, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon and the same behaviour as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man’s life in society, for good or for ill. They “play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behaviour”.(14) [NB] Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation’s perception and evaluation of forms of behaviour. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.

From the biological and anthropological order

7. Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family which would be the basis, on the level of reason, for granting them legal recognition. Such unions are not able to contribute in a proper way to the procreation and survival of the human race. The possibility of using recently discovered methods of artificial reproduction, beyond involving a grave lack of respect for human dignity,(15) does nothing to alter this inadequacy.

Homosexual unions are also totally lacking in the conjugal dimension, which represents the human and ordered form of sexuality. Sexual relations are human when and insofar as they express and promote the mutual assistance of the sexes in marriage and are open to the transmission of new life.

As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.

From the social order

8. Society owes its continued survival to the family, founded on marriage. The inevitable consequence of legal recognition of homosexual unions would be the redefinition of marriage, which would become, in its legal status, an institution devoid of essential reference to factors linked to heterosexuality; for example, procreation and raising children. If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties.

The principles of respect and non-discrimination cannot be invoked to support legal recognition of homosexual unions. Differentiating between persons or refusing social recognition or benefits is unacceptable only when it is contrary to justice.(16) The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it.

Nor can the principle of the proper autonomy of the individual be reasonably invoked. It is one thing to maintain that individual citizens may freely engage in those activities that interest them and that this falls within the common civil right to freedom; it is something quite different to hold that activities which do not represent a significant or positive contribution to the development of the human person in society can receive specific and categorical legal recognition by the State. Not even in a remote analogous sense do homosexual unions fulfil the purpose for which marriage and family deserve specific categorical recognition. On the contrary, there are good reasons for holding that such unions are harmful to the proper development of human society, especially if their impact on society were to increase.

From the legal order

9. Because married couples ensure the succession of generations and are therefore eminently within the public interest, civil law grants them institutional recognition. Homosexual unions, on the other hand, do not need specific attention from the legal standpoint since they do not exercise this function for the common good.

[NB] Nor is the argument valid according to which legal recognition of homosexual unions is necessary to avoid situations in which cohabiting homosexual persons, simply because they live together, might be deprived of real recognition of their rights as persons and citizens. In reality, they can always make use of the provisions of law – like all citizens from the standpoint of their private autonomy – to protect their rights in matters of common interest. It would be gravely unjust to sacrifice the common good and just laws on the family in order to protect personal goods that can and must be guaranteed in ways that do not harm the body of society.(17)


10. If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral. [gravely immoral]

When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided.(18) This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.


11. The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience of March 28, 2003, approved the present Considerations, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered their publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 3, 2003, Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and his Companions, Martyrs.

Joseph Card. Ratzinger

Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila


(1) Cf. John Paul II, Angelus Messages of February 20, 1994, and of June 19, 1994; Address to the Plenary Meeting of the Pontifical Council for the Family (March 24, 1999); Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 2357-2359, 2396; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Persona humana (December 29, 1975), 8; Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986); Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons (July 24, 1992); Pontifical Council for the Family, Letter to the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe on the resolution of the European Parliament regarding homosexual couples (March 25, 1994); Family, marriage and “de facto” unions (July 26, 2000), 23.

(2) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life (November 24, 2002), 4.

(3) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 48.

(4) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2357.

(5) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Persona humana (December 29, 1975), 8.

(6) Cf., for example, St. Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians, V, 3; St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, 27, 1-4; Athenagoras, Supplication for the Christians, 34.

(7) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358; cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986), 10.

(8) Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2359; cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter on the pastoral care of homosexual persons (October 1, 1986), 12.

(9) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358.

(10) Ibid., No. 2396.

(11) Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae (March 25, 1995), 71.

(12) Cf. ibid., 72.

(13) Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 95, a. 2.

(14) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae (March 25, 1995), 90.

(15) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae (February 22, 1987), II. A. 1-3.

(16) Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, q. 63, a.1, c.

(17) It should not be forgotten that there is always “a danger that legislation which would make homosexuality a basis for entitlements could actually encourage a person with a homosexual orientation to declare his homosexuality or even to seek a partner in order to exploit the provisions of the law” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons [July 24, 1992], 14).

(18) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae (March 25, 1995), 73.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    The position of the Church could not be clearer. I see that supporting SSM is gravely sinful. What a message for all those priests in Ireland who told their flocks that they supported it!!!

  2. jacobi says:

    Agreed, Father,

    Everyone, including our clergy and bishops. “clear and emphatic opposition”.

    Now my own little comment. the term homosexual marriage or marriage when referring to homosexual unions is meaningless and self-contradictory and should never be used by Catholics. Some other expression, same-sex-marriage, or marriage with inverted commas, “marriage”. Perhaps people have better ideas. But the unqualified term marriage, never.

  3. SimonR says:

    Could you imagine the uproar now if such a document were published?

    I think it is an excellent document filled with clarity and depth. I would have expected nothing less from Joseph Ratzinger. I look back on it now with nostalgia – we do not relieve such weighty documents now. Like Evangelium Vitae, this document was ahead of its time.

    From the UK, the statements from the U.S. Bishops about the Suprmee Court decision are impressive compare to the weak responses of the English and Irish Bishops to the legalisation of gay marriage in the UK and Ireland.

  4. Mike says:

    Our prayers should ascend at Holy Mass this morning that God will grant our priests the fortitude to proclaim the CDF’s clear, reasonable, and charitable teaching — from which at least one canonist associated with the popular (and whilom faithful) Christophers apostolate would make bold to dissent.

  5. Knittingfoole says:

    In his homily yesterday (I was obligated to attend the vigil, long story) Fr. said something puzzling. Of course he spoke about the SCOTUS decision. He said he didn’t know if it was right or wrong, speaking in the civil sense. (That made me go, hmmmmm…..) Then he said he didn’t know if the Church would, at some point, “expand” her decision at some point (I almost walked out). My fiance queried him about it after Mass (politely). Fr. was very diplomatic. He said God’s law hasn’t changed, but he did imply that we might have to reinterpret God’s law. I guess? He was, as I said, diplomatic. Synod on the family and secret meetings aside, I thought this was an infallible teaching. My Goodness, it’s not enough that they want to change the civil definition. The battle is on! Vivo Cristo Rey!

  6. greenlight says:

    “The position of the Church could not be clearer”

    Alas, I think not. For every one of us who can point to these clear, unequivocal statements, there are a dozen “Catholics” (we all know some) who proudly proclaim the opposite, under cover provided by their own priests, bishops, cardinals, and sometimes (perhaps unintentionally) by the muddled messages of our own pontiff. I don’t have a good answer to all my friends and family who are firmly in the other camp of progressive morals and progressive liturgy. They seemingly have the imprimatur of so many and I have….who? Some dusty old thing that Pope Benedict wrote? Something Cardinal Burke said? They can’t stand him anyway ’cause he’s a big meanie and he wears lace!

    I’m no expert on Church history and I know we’ve weathered heresies before, but I can’t imagine a time when the whole Church was so divided about so many fundamental things, right up to the highest levels of the Church. Dark days.

  7. Backward Medievalist says:

    Reminds me of some magnificent remarks G.K. Chesterton has in his book, Heretics. He was talking about Jack the Giant Killer. Jack didn’t care about being progressive, or on the right side of history, or if the giant was especially large: only whether he was right or wrong.

    The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong… To be in the weakest camp is to be in the strongest school. Nor can I imagine anything that would do humanity more good than the advent of a race of Supermen, for them to fight like dragons. If the Superman is better than we, of course we need not fight him; but in that case, why not call him the Saint? But if he is merely stronger (whether physically, mentally, or morally stronger, I do not care a farthing), then he ought to have to reckon with us at least for all the strength we have. It we are weaker than he, that is no reason why we should be weaker than ourselves. If we are not tall enough to touch the giant’s knees, that is no reason why we should become shorter by falling on our own

    Heretics, Chapter 5.

  8. Backward Medievalist says:

    The second paragraph should be in quotes, sorry.

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  10. midwestmom says:

    I find it odd, but not unexpected, that my parish priest made absolutely no mention at Mass this morning of the SCOTUS ruling. So sick of the institutional apathy.

  11. Oneros says:

    Except a lot of people, including many bishops, are now convinced that there is something at least remotely analogous to certain aspects of domestic partnership between people of the same sex and that, while they’d prefer to treat the conjugal Union of man and woman as separate under the label Marriage, they are at least in favor of domestic partnerships and civil unions.

    For one, because Being is such that analogy is always possible between two things. There are *always* similarities we can draw between two things, so “no similarity whatsoever!!” just seems hysterical.

    Two, because it seems rather beyond the competence of the magisterium to tell the State that promoting the stability of de facto households is not a legitimate interest and cannot be formalized legally. We can argue about the precise means, but saying that one thing can’t be enacted merely because it might be compared erroneously to something else is like saying the State can’t ever fund educational television because then children might stop reading. Indeed, many people do see a need for the law to be officially aware of the composition of de facto households.

    Three, because this document seems obsessed with the question of gay sex acts as if a same-sex civil union is somehow inherently or essentially defined or subsumed by sex acts. When in reality the laws proposed generally include no “sexual activity test,” and civil unions generally cover two straight friends who need to combine practicalities as much as a gay romantic couple. Same sex unions as a legal construct, in themselves, are not in any way inherently sexually immoral. They’re like a type of business partnership or contract. They concern “the living room, not the bedroom” and a relationship is not defined by sin even when it contains sin, as if gay couples see the fact that they may be sexual partners sometimes as the defining essential feature of their whole life together (ie, analogizing it to formalizing the pimp-prostitute relationship is just innaccurate and insulting).

  12. gracie says:


    Our lector made the intercessory prayer, “That our religious liberty may be protected”.

    What a laugh. Our priests, bishops, cardinals, the pope, say nothing about yesterday’s ruling – I guess they think a prayer at Mass takes care of everything. [Hold on there. Quite a few bishops have released statements. And I, being “your priest”, certainly have. I also did so from the pulpit today. It was recorded.]

    Meanwhile, New York’s “catholic” Gov. Cuomo just officiated at a homosexual “wedding” today in Manhattan. Cardinal Dolan’s response? Nothing. No rebuke, no remark even, on the sinfulness of presiding at such a blasphemy. Chances of a Catholic politician being excommunicated for publicly ministering at such an event? Zero. The document from the CDF, along with the U.S. Constitution, is not worth the paper it’s written on anymore.

  13. Supertradmum says:

    gracie, do not be so facile–“The document from the CDF, along with the U.S. Constitution, is not worth the paper it’s written on anymore.” Of course these are worthwhile, as truth is universal. And, more than ever, adult Catholics must be able to teach the younger ones the truth.

    We must evangelize through reason inspired by grace, while we can.

  14. Legisperitus says:

    “One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.”

    Yes, in theory, but what happens when some local officeholder charged with the duty to issue marriage licenses and record marriage certificates tries to exercise the right to conscientious objection? The person won’t last long in that situation. This court ruling will potentially exclude Catholics (serious Catholics, anyway) from holding many government positions.

    Could you say the same about divorce and remarriage? Not really. When a man and a woman walk in and apply for a marriage license, it’s not blatantly obvious if one or both of them is divorced.

  15. Mike says:

    gracie, to augment (not to say clarify) Supertradmum’s point:

    True, a high percentage of priests — and a distressingly higher percentage of prelates — clearly want to act as if the issue will go away if they squint hard enough. It is up to us laity to correspond with the grace not to let that happen.

    We must call out squishiness, expose doublespeak and nicespeak, and demand faithful liturgy, catechesis and preaching. We must be willing to be excoriated by the leaders of our Church. And most of all, we laity must speak the truth, resist pressure to comply, and be ready to lose our jobs and rot in jail for our conscientious objection, unheeded by position-hungry and dollar-hungry clergy and hierarchs who would give greater credence to a politician’s promise than to the desperate plea of an individual or family struggling to affirm the truth in a triumphally hostile environment.

    With regard to such toxic shepherds, we can never in charity say “to Hell with them” (much as we may be tempted to do so in anger, against which today’s Gospel warns us), but we must tell them to shake off the AGW hand-wringing and similar nonsense and get down to the business of saving souls, or to Hell they will surely go. And if they remain intransigent, then we must consign them to Christ’s mercy and seek and encourage shepherds who will preach the truth in season and out.

    Whether we should have to do any of this would be the wrong question. Even as He unites Himself to us through the saving graces of the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lord in His infinite love invites us — all of us — to unite all humanity with Him in the continual building of His Church. To the degree to which we allow this genuine love to infuse us with virtue that we may express in charity and in truth, our exercise of duty will become one of joy.

  16. Supertradmum says:


    Some of us have already lost jobs, even in Catholic schools, for teaching Church doctrine. This country will resemble the old Soviet Union, when Catholics did not get promoted, were fired on Monday for going to Mass on Sunday, and who chose poverty over compromise.

    Yes, this will happen. Already, in some states, a Catholic cannot be a pharmacist in good conscience. In some states, one cannot work for insurance companies which cover abortion. In some places, real Catholics do not get positions of authority in chancery offices run by liberal heretics (oxymoron). And so on.

    Chaplains in the army and navy are being silenced about homosexual sin and so on.

    It will get worse. We need to prepare ourselves , with God’s grace, for sainthood. There is no middle ground and has not been for a very long time.

  17. RichR says:

    Proud to be a Texan. My Catholic PP gave a forceful homily against SSM and my Catholic governor is one of the first to lead the charge against this hogwash by demanding all state agencies protect Texans’ religious liberties even in opposition to the SCOTUS ruling.

  18. JohnServorum says:

    I read this document when it was first promulgated in 2003 and it is as relevant now as it was then, perhaps even more so.
    We can only hope that we will begin to hear this truth preached in homilies across the country, but unfortunately most of us have given up on waiting for that kind of courage from our priests and bishops.
    Their homilies most often reflect nothing of the societal chaos that swirls in our society outside the walls of our churches.
    God help us all.

  19. Matthew Gaul says:

    I prefict that once the Church is no longer tax exempt, spines will miraculously grow in many formerly cowardly quarters.

  20. Matthew Gaul says:

    I mean “predict.” :-)

  21. gracie says:

    Fr. Z,

    Certainly there are notable exceptions: Cardinals Burke, Pell, Brandmuller, Sarah; Archbishop Cordileone; Bishops Egan, Davies, Schneider, Morlino; Fathers Zuhlsdorf, Rutler, Blake, Hunwicke, and a number of other clerics. But – with all due respect – I’m so sick and tired of all of us having to stick in the obligatory phrase, “with notable exceptions” into every comment we make on the state of the clergy. Is there a reason we always have to list the exceptions when speaking of the rule that the majority of clergy are either actively or passively heretics? It’s become a way of soothing ourselves into thinking that everything really is better than it seems. All of the above clergy mentioned deserve gold stars next to their names and surely they all have their crowns waiting for them when they come into their eternal life. Each of them – and yes, there are others – is fighting the good fight, doing what he can to combat evil. I know that. I get it. But they are the exceptions. Can we please, at least some of the time, talk of the rule that rules us? The rule that has ruined and is ruining my children’s and grandchildren’s generations? The rule that is leading us off of the cliff?

    Mike – “We must be willing to be excoriated by the leaders of our Church.” I would re-phrase that slightly: “We must be willing to excoriate the leaders of our Church.” I couldn’t care less what they think of me. I do care terribly about the damage they’re doing to my family.

    Supertradmum – “do not be so facile”. There’s nothing facile about it. Assuming that the movers and shakers in the Church – from the Vatican to the Bishops in their dioceses – are aware of the CDF Document, the fact that the majority of them are ignoring its contents underscores its irrelevance to them. Everyone’s praying that God have mercy on these people. Sure, we have to pray that they repent and turn back towards God. But I’m not going to obsess over them. Instead, I’ll pray that God have mercy on us and deliver us from their evil.

  22. sparks1093 says:

    The SCOTUS decision was inevitable, the adversary does not fight fair. Society has the right to define marriage and ours unfortunately has chosen to define it as outlined in the decision, which we all know is contrary to God’s law. Render unto Caeser what is Caeser’s and render unto God what is God’s. SSM is now the law of the land whether anyone likes it or not. We must gird ourselves for the next fight, which will be the Church’s right to deny officiating at a SSM. This will be held by the courts to be discriminatory and Christians will have to get married twice- once before an official of the State and once before a Minister of God (as happens China as I understand it). My personal prediction is that this will occur in ten years or less.

  23. Kerry says:

    For how long beforehand were the lights in place to illuminate the white house with the sodomy rainbow? I think those who describe their primary identity as ‘gay’, have been and are being badly used by entrenched political forces. Excepting the Apple CEO, (CEO,yes?), their names are unknown to me, but I suspect there are “millionaires and billionaires” funding this atrocity for their own purposes. How to otherwise explain the speed of the legislative betrayal but collusion? And that the anger is and will be directed at the Church, “Principalities and powers, rulers of this worlds darkness, spirits of iniquity in high places”.

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  25. Choirmaster says:

    Those were the days! And you knew where you were then.

    We need more publications like this from the Vatican now more than ever in living memory. I feel smarter and more lucid for having read such a straightforward and succinct summary and synthesis of morality, doctrine, philosophy, anthropology, biology, and civics.

    Everybody pulled his weight. Those were the days!

  26. MarWes says:

    And the Pope is saying what?

  27. jacob_morgan says:

    It seems like divine providence that the truth was recorded on the books, so to speak, in the CCC and in the document, when it was.

    The priest at the parish I attended last Sunday did speak out against the Supreme Court ruling.

    I think that the Church needs to do several things:

    1. In CCD for teens, make the case for the Church’s stand. There must be plenty of 20 year olds out there who heard only one side of the issue.

    2. Protect people who do not wish to be punished by the state for not participating in a sacrament that is sacrilegious given their beliefs. Parishes could have mutually exclusive contracts for cakes and flowers for weddings with bakers and florists. Since those providers would not sell wedding items to the public, they could not be sued for not selling them to anyone in particular. Those items would only be sold to the parish, the parish would then be the gate keeper. This would also safeguard participating in weddings that have other impediments.

    3. The Church should not sign wedding licenses for the government. The Church could even introduce a contract to be entered into by those to be wed, that would effectively eliminate no-fault divorce, or at least give pause to people not taking marriage seriously.

    Am I the only one who thinks it beyond bizarre that setting up a Nativity scene on a government lawn is “establishing a religion”, but then forcing one to participate in a religious sacrament (i.e., marriage) against one’s will is just dandy? No one should be forced into participating in a ceremony, understood to be a religious ceremony for centuries, against their will.

  28. ChesterFrank says:

    I have to wonder, now that this gay marriage agenda has been declared law, will the gay agenda remain topic number one in the news, and on television, and in the game shows, and in politics, and in the movies, and talk shows; as it has been for the last twenty years? Hopefully the liberal activists will put that campaign to rest, though I do fear what their next social crusade will be. Personally I have had enough.

  29. marcpuckett says:

    Tangential to the post, but in the spirit of the laity doing what they can to further the Church’s teaching, can the Church that is in the nine states that continue to recognize common law marriages permit clerics to witness the Sacrament of Matrimony undertaken by two Catholics, even though they have no intention of obtaining any license from the state? I don’t immediately see why not: a couple have the sacrament in that case and only waive the civil benefits, albeit temporarily… but a small voice is whispering that there is something in the Code that upsets that scenario.

  30. BLB Oregon says:

    –Could you imagine the uproar now if such a document were published?–SimonR

    This is what the USCCB says, via its president, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz , who calls the decision “profoundly immoral and unjust”:

    “Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.

    “The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.

    “Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.

    “I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.

    “Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.”

  31. BLB Oregon says:

    — Society has the right to define marriage and ours unfortunately has chosen to define it as outlined in the decision–

    No, that is one of the worst parts of this decision. The majority opinion was that society has no authority to define marriage. People who want to marry define marriage, and society has no say in it. I think that if this is not overturned by amendment or a later decision, it will finish off civil marriage.

  32. lmgilbert says:

    For “clear and emphatic” what about this strategy, which I have sent off to several Catholic organizations this morning . . . . Admittedly, this is “going to extremes,” but that is what the situation requires.

    Dear Catholic Activist,

    Re: Using pictures to roll back the homosexual juggernaut.

    After the Friday SCOTUS ruling I see the same pattern emerging as it did post Jan 20, 1973. My fear is that we will write horrified essays to one another about how shocked, shocked, shocked we are, complain about the media not covering our protests, form multiple organizations working at cross purposes, and suffocate the truth in terminal philosophical politeness and religious jargon that will not reverse anything.

    So then, what to do? It is most important for all of us who are still sane 1) to get on the same page; 2) to act massively and immediately. That much is obvious. We have very little time left to exercise free speech, so we need to say “No!” at the top of our lungs and together.

    Practically, I think the following three steps would do it:

    1. Throw out our televisions. This has to do with conserving our sanity, for has it not driven us mad as a nation? Televised sports, for example, is a shot of heroin between the ears. We simply cannot afford any more escapism. The technology may be neutral, but at the moment it is a satanic instrument. In this culture war, it is Axis Sally in our family rooms. For this we need some leadership.

    2. Remember we are obviously dealing with a body politic with the attention span of a fruitfly (too much TV) and who have had no philosophical or moral formation whatever. An argument with pictures would be the polemical equivalent of showing aborted babies in the pro-life cause. The question then becomes, what pictures? Vox Cantoris had a paragraph the other day that was very suggestive. He wrote:

    “Anal cancer (with caution, you can google the pictures and see what sodomy can cause) is 50% higher than the normal. Parasites such as amoebiasis and giardiasis, gonorrhea and anal warts abound in the population. Anorectal sepsis, Epstein-Barr Syndrome, Burkitt’s
    Lymphoma, Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma, Karposi’s Sarcoma, Hepatitis, AIDS, Prostrate Cancer, colitis, enterities, proctitus, proctocolitus and diseases of the mouth which would cause horror to view.”

    So why not cause some horror among the general population and the young in particular by passing out pamphlets with such pictures out at high school and college campuses? Here we are no longer defending anything, but taking the war to the enemy by attacking homosexuality itself. Yes, it has a huge “yuck” factor, which is the very reason for doing it.

    In other words take the gloves off immediately and stop talking in latinate phrases and framing our arguments in philosophical and theological jargon. Leave phrases like “traditonal understanding of marriage” etc., etc. out of it, and go for the throat by attacking homosexuality directly and incessantly with pictures of its consequences.

    Of course, we have to present the teachings of Christ in the public square, but showing what a horror homosexuality is at the physical level would be a motive of credibility to listen to the Church in the rest of her teaching .

    3. Frame the leftist advances as “The war on children.” In other words, up the rhetorical ante enormously and raise the decibel level to painful levels . . . in unison and immediately.

    Were we to do all this together, incessantly, implacably, we’d have a good chance of turning the situation around, would we not?

  33. johnson2380 says:

    In the words of Hillary Rodham Clinton, https://youtu.be/4CzteDucRHo

    Somehow that sentiment did not last or see its way into the majority opinion. Is that irony or hypocrisy? Or is it ironic hypocrisy?

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