Saturday, March 03, 2007


Arrogant American Leftists who think that they can overturn centuries of basic church teachings

- The Vatican's second highest juridical authority has rejected the appeal of an American leftist group, Call to Action (CTA), to overturn a decree of excommunication by the bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, who called the group an "anti-Catholic sect".

A letter from the Apostolic Signatura, the Catholic Church's supreme tribunal and the highest judicial authority after the Pope himself, dismissed the group's attempt at appeal with a terse message that it had "no competence" to overturn the decree. The Signatura's letter reiterates a December letter from the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops, Giovanni Cardinal Battista Re, upholding the 1996 decree. In his letter, Re said CTA and the other groups were "causing damage to the Church of Christ" and that the bishop's action "was properly taken within your competence as pastor of that diocese."

Re agreed with Bruskewitz's description of the groups named in the decree as "totally incompatible with the Catholic faith". They also included the abortion lobby groups Catholics for a Free Choice and Planned Parenthood and the euthanasia advocacy group the Hemlock Society.

Call to Action is the US' leading anti-Catholic organization, founded in the 1960's to agitate within the Catholic Church to overturn Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life, marriage and the meaning of the priesthood. At the time, CTA responded to the decree by holding a press conference in Washington DC and boasted that the decree had caused a "bonanza" of publicity for their cause and a wave of new memberships.

A formal decree of excommunication has always been extremely rare throughout the history of the Catholic Church and has typically been used as a last resort. It can be overturned by the bishop or the Pope when the individual concerned pledges to return to the normal practices and beliefs of Catholicism.

Rachel Pokora, president of Call to Action-Nebraska responded that the group would continue to attempt to overturn the decree saying they would be consulting canon lawyers. She told local media that she objected to the term "sect" because it implies Call to Action is "somehow heretical".



By Jeff Jacoby

Is marriage intrinsically connected to bearing and raising children? Advocates of same-sex marriage often argue peremptorily that it is not . "In today's society," Yale law professor William Eskridge asserts in The Case for Same-Sex Marriage, "the importance of marriage is relational and not procreational." The privileged status of marriage in modern society, in other words, has to do with the love and commitment of the spouses, not with the needs of any children those spouses may produce. In its 2003 Goodridge decision mandating same-sex marriage, the Massachusestts Supreme Judicial Court was even more emphatic. To the argument that the state's interest in marriage is connected to procreation, the SJC replied categorically: "This is incorrect."

As evidence that marriage and childrearing are not fundamentally related, same-sex marriage proponents frequently point out that married couples aren't required to have children. No law prevents infertile couples from marrying or orders childless marriages dissolved. If procreation is so important to marriage, they say, why should elderly couples, or couples determined not to have children, be permitted to wed?

Now a group of same-sex marriage supporters in Washington state has taken that argument to what even they describe as an "absurd" length. Archly calling themselves the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance, the activists are promoting Initiative 957, a ballot measure that would restrict marriage rights to men and women capable of bearing children.

Couples would be required to have a child within three years of getting married, or their marriage would be annulled. Non procreating couples could stay together if they wished, but their union would be classified as "unrecognized," and they would be legally ineligible for marital benefits.

To be sure, the activists behind this proposal don't expect it to become law. Even if voters were to approve something so outlandish, the Washington Supreme Court would strike it down. Alliance organizer Gregory Gadow says the initiative is offered "in the spirit of political street theater." On the group's website, however, his tone takes on a harder edge. "At the very least, it should be good fun to see the social conservatives who have long screamed that marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation be forced to choke on their own rhetoric."

But Gadow and his fellow activists are assaulting a straw man. No mainstream opponent of same-sex marriage claims that having children is the sole purpose of wedlock. Marriages can serve any number of purposes, as diverse as the people entering into them -- cementing the bond between devoted partners, guaranteeing financial security, having a legitimate sexual outlet, ensuring companionship, and so on. People get married for various reasons; the desire to raise a family is only one of them.

What makes marriage a *public* institution, however -- the reason it is regulated by law and given an elevated legal status -- is that it provides something no healthy society can do without: a stable environment in which men and women can create and bring up the next generation, and in which children can enter the world with mothers and fathers committed to their well-being.

Because sex between men and women makes children, and because children tend to do best when raised by their mothers and fathers, society has a vested interest in encouraging long-term, monogamous, heterosexual marriage. True, not all married couples reproduce. But every opposite-sex marriage has the ability to give a father and a mother to any child the couple creates or adopts. That is something no same-sex couple can provide, which is one reason homosexual marriage has never become a social institution.

Of course procreation is not the only reason to marry, but to insist that marriage is not closely related to having children is like arguing, to use an analogy offered by marriage scholar David Blankenhorn, that cars are not intrinsically connected to driving. "When you acquire ownership of a car," Blankenhorn writes in his forthcoming book, The Future of Marriage, "society does not impose upon you a binding obligation to drive it. If you buy a car but fail to drive it, the state does not for that reason revoke your driver's license. . . . Cars can be about many things, including pleasure, aesthetics, economic gain, and social status." But whether any particular car is driven or not, cars and driving are intrinsically linked.

Similarly, whatever the circumstances of any married couple, marriage and procreation are intrinsically connected. Men and women make babies; babies need mothers and fathers. That is why there has always been a public stake in the marriage of husbands and wives. And why no such stake exists in the union of same-sex couples.


Years ago, radical advocates told America that Super Bowl Sunday resulted in very high rates of domestic violence. Last year, the world was convinced that 40,000 female sex slaves would be smuggled to Germany for the World Cup Finals. Radical women's studies departments and students annually celebrate "V-day", a dark substitute for Valentine's Day, to stop rape and sexual abuse of campus women purported to be endemic. Hysteria arose over claims that "date rape" is commonplace. And the Violence Against Women Act is built on the notion that if women are ever violent, it is solely in self-defense.

History proves all the above claims are substantively false. It is time for legislators and the media to expect more than theory or unsupported statistics before playing the fool for radical women's advocates. Here is the truth on the above issues:

Domestic violence rates for Super Bowl Sunday are only marginally higher than normal (See here). German police reported finding only five cases of sex slavery associated with the world cup (See here). V-Day has been proven to be little more than a self-aggrandizing event to promote feminist values and irrational fear of men. More recently, the "date rape" myth has been exposed for what it is: a way for binge-drinking women to conveniently and profitably pass the blame (See here). No major study has ever demonstrated that domestic violence is caused by gender of the offender: men and women are equal initiators of serious domestic violence (See here).

Politicians and journalists who disregard science do great damage to society, families, and children (See here). Witch hunts have never helped anyone. Journalists can make front-page headlines and do a great service publishing the truth rather than serving as megaphones for the rumor mill so accustomed to leveraging ill-begotten federal entitlements by crying wolf.


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