Bishop-Speak: Same-Sex Marriage and Sexual Exploitation


The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on February 7th that a 2008 California referendum banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The appeals court, upholding an earlier district court decision, ruled that the voter-approved ban, known as Proposition 8, violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. For now, same-sex couples who desire to marry in California may still not be able to do so, since the decision is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, joins the bishops of California in denouncing the February 7th decision: “Today’s court ruling is a grave injustice, ignoring the reality that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” Dolan said.

Meanwhile, the new Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Washington, D.C., has endorsed the legislative campaign now underway to legalize same sex marriage in Maryland. Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, wrote on the Washington Post website that gay marriage opponents should not be so certain the Bible is on their side. According to her the Bible is silent on the subject of same-gender monogamous relationships; but clearly condemns exploitative sexual activity that is the antithesis of loving, committed relationships.

I would like to hear ALL bishops speaking out about “exploitative sexual activity that is the antithesis of loving, committed relationships.”

The President of the USCCB has every right to express his position about same-sex marriage. Increasingly, however, American Catholics don’t agree with him.

According to the latest report from the Pew Research Center, American Catholic supporters for same-sex marriage now outnumber opponents (52% vs. 37%). In 2010, U.S. Catholics were more evenly divided on the issue, with 46% favoring same-sex marriage and 42% expressing opposition. A majority of white Catholics (57%) now express support for same-sex marriage, while Hispanic Catholics continue to be closely divided (42% favor same-sex marriage, 42% are opposed).

AND thinking about “exploitative sexual activity that is the antithesis of loving, committed relationships,” Soon-to-be Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s predecessor in New York, retired Cardinal Edward Egan has taken back his earlier apology for clerical sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of New York.

In March 2002, Cardinal Egan, then Archbishop of New York, issued a pastoral letter to be read at all week end liturgies. In it, he offered an apology about the church’s handling of sex-abuse cases in New York and in Bridgeport, Conn., where he was previously bishop.

Back then…..Egan wrote: “It is clear that today we have a much better understanding of this problem….If in hindsight we also discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry.”

Now, 10 years later and in retirement, Cardinal Egan has taken back his apology.

In the February 2012 issue of Connecticut Magazine, Egan says: “I never should have said that….I don’t think we did anything wrong.”

Wouldn’t it be fun to put Cardinal Edward, Bishop Mariann, and Cardinal DesignateTimothy in a locked room for a week: a special episcopal retreat.

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