Monday, September 26, 2011

Bishops Warn President Obama

Last Tuesday, New York Archbishop and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops President Timothy Dolan issued a letter to President Obama, laying out in no uncertain terms what is at stake if the Administration continues its assault against the Defense of Marriage Act.  Speaking on behalf of the USCCB, Archbishop Dolan cautioned the Administration against continuing to pursue its agenda of actions "that both escalate the threat to marriage and imperil the religious freedom of those who promote and defend marriage," while firmly reiterating the Church's recognition of "the immeasurable personal dignity and equal worth of all individuals, including those with same-sex attraction, and [rejection of] all hatred and unjust treatment against any person."  His to-the-point letter concluded with an analysis of the multi-fronted attacks against marriage that have taken place in the past six months, closing with the sternest warning of all:
Archbishop of New York
Timothy Dolan
"Thus, the comprehensive efforts of the federal government—using its formidable moral, economic, and coercive power—to enforce its new legal definition of “marriage” against a resistant Church would, if not reversed, precipitate a systemic national conflict between Church and State, harming both institutions, as well as our Nation as a whole."
His letter addresses marriage specifically on behalf of the bishops and the Catholic Church in America, as the Manhattan Declaration he signed nearly two years ago, along with 54 other Catholic bishops and nearly 100 Evangelical and Orthodox leaders, did for all Christian churches in America.

Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, penned a separate letter only a few days later, forcefully supporting Archbishop Dolan and specifically addressing the wave of judicial activism that has sought to subvert the will of the people, who time and time again have voted in favor of marriage.
“Archbishop Dolan has effectively given voice to a concern deeply felt not only by members of the Catholic Church, but also by men and women of good will who in twenty-nine states have affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Anywhere that the people have been allowed to decide, marriage has been reaffirmed as that union made clear by nature itself. Furthermore forty-one states have statutory or constitutional ‘Defense of Marriage Acts.’
“Fundamentally the current position of the Justice Department seeks to subvert the clear will of the majority, whose unquestionable sovereignty has the last word in the system of government enshrined in the Federal Constitution. It cannot be forgotten that the federal DOMA, passed only fifteen years ago, was due to the efforts of a substantial, bi-partisan majority in Congress and to then-President Clinton. As a Nation we walk down a dangerous path when appointed officials are allowed to arrogate to themselves the right to call bigotry whatever does not correspond to their agenda.
Archbishop for the
Military Services USA
Timothy Broglio
“The women and men I am privileged to serve place their lives on the line every day to defend the Country whose government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. Let us pray that the millions who have died to ensure those liberties did not die in vain.” 
Having met Archbishop Broglio a couple of years ago when he was the guest speaker at a National Day of Prayer Breakfast, I can tell you that he "gets it."  He spends what seems like all of his time with the troops, traveling from duty station to duty station on an unbelievably busy schedule, listening to and address the spiritual concerns of military personnel, both of Catholics and other other faiths.

We have two leading bishops finally stepping out in vocal opposition to the agenda that would seek to snatch  the definition of marriage from the hands of the One who created it.  I hope that this second shot across the bow will help to quiet the elements of dissent within the Church, and maybe--just maybe--get the Administration's attention.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it was written to accomplish both, but at the very least should get the attention of we, the Catholics in the pew, that it was not even addressed to, because whether or not we realize it, the very future of our culture--and of the civilization founded on the bedrock of marriage--is at stake.  If you read nothing else this week, read these letters, and continue to pray for the strength, courage, and holiness of our bishops and priests.

Arcbishop Dolan's Letter:

Archbishop Broglio's Letter:



  1. I read your guest post on The Bubble and came over to read more. I enjoy your style and topics. Thanks for sharing these letters, which I otherwise might not have seen.

    It's been mentioned that you have (generally speaking) libertarian views. My 17yr old considers himself libertarian, and has tried to convince me that "we cannot legislate morality"--even though he would not personally endorse same-sex marriage. I'm horribly poor at forming logical arguments or being able to clearly articulate why this issue is so important from more than a moral or religious perspective. Your post on natural law was a good one to share with him. Anything else you might point me to that would speak to his "libertarian sensibilities"? Thanks for any ideas! I appreciate the work you are doing here.

  2. Robbie,

    Thanks for your feedback. I would say that my wife and I have come, over the years, to a mutual perspective of being "socially conservative libertarians," more along the lines of the form of Libertarianism that our founders subscribed to. Of course, we disagree with the common libertarian position that "gay marriage" ought to be legalized because, according to the natural law, it is self-evident physically that two people of the same sex are not capable of consummating marriage. It's physically impossible. Two people can form any kind of association they want, and are free to engage in quasi-sexual behavior, but to try to co-opt the institution of marriage, the basic building block of the family and society, is an attempt at legal positivism that flies in the face of the natural law.

    I hope that's a start. I'm going to chew on your question some more, and am drafting a post on what is so wrong with positivism.

  3. Thanks for the response; I know you're a busy guy. I'll look forward to more on the subject of posivitism.