According to an AP article by Rachel Zoll, published on February 6th, the USCCB is again taking on President Obama, this time about immigration and gays.
“The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops,” writes Zoll, “are in a difficult position as the debate over immigration reform gets underway: The immigrant-built American church, known for advocating a broad welcome for migrants and refugees, could end up opposing reform because it would recognize same-sex partners. . . .
“. . . Catholic bishops, with the support of evangelicals and other theological conservatives, have sent a letter to Obama protesting his proposal. In a sign of the sensitivity of the issue, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops would not provide a copy of the statement, saying the signatories agreed not to make the letter public. Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the bishops, would say only that recognition of gay couples in the president’s reform proposals ‘jeopardizes passage of the bill.’ ”
So much for transparency and an open discussion of issues.
But then fighting gay marriage is a divine gift of grace. San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, newly installed and flexing his episcopal muscles, said in an interview with the British Catholic Herald that the struggle against gay marriage is a gift from God “and by overcoming it we may achieve spiritual greatness.” And of course Pope Benedict reminded the world in his Christmas message that gay marriage destroys the “essence of the human creature.”
Archbishop Cordileone’s position on gay marriage is dead wrong, says Daniel Maguire, a theologian and Marquette University professor who has written on church teaching and sexuality. Maguire said the interpretation of church teaching held by Cordileone, Cardinal Dolan and other bishops isn’t representative of the position held by many lay Catholics and theologians.
I call it papal biology: looking at people and their human relationships as functions of their genitalia. The issue came up again last week when a papal theologian explained that women cannot become priests because they lack the genital equipment that Jesus had. For me the issue came up nearly five decades ago when I told my bishop I was leaving the seminary because I wanted to get married. The bishop was furious and sent one of his key advisors to talk me out of leaving. Father X told me it was stupid for me to leave just to get marred because as a priest I could easily get sex any time I needed it “from a woman or a guy if you swing that way.” I told him marriage for me was first of all about affection, love, union, and commitment rather than just a legitimate way to get sex.
Hmmmmmm……. In the Scriptures I hear Jesus saying: “where two or three are gathered, there I am.” He didn’t specify any particular genitalia requirement.
Incidentally, 59% of Catholics in the United States (according to a poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute) support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
An old Catholic tradition says: “Vox Populi Vox Dei” — an affirmation of the infallibility of the People of God.
When it comes to sex however I guess Rome and the Roman-minded speak for God.
Sometimes I think we should change the name of our national episcopal conference……from USCCB to USCRB : United States Conference of Romanized Bishops.