Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Leading Catholic academic shows why Catholics may not support civil partnerships

Professor Roberto de Mattei
Professor Roberto de Mattei, a leading Italian Catholic academic, has written an excellent article entitled: "Can a Catholic support civil unions to prevent gay ‘marriage’?", answering the question with a strongly-argued 'no' - see below for key extracts. Professor de Mattei's article is a powerful antidote to those "personalities from the Catholic world" such as David Quinn and Dr Austen Ivereigh of "Catholic Voices" who have supported civil partnerships. The article's thesis is entirely at one with Pope Benedict's words of 2 December 2010 that:
"The church cannot approve legislative initiatives that imply a valuation of alternative models of the life of the couple and the family".
Key extracts from "Can a Catholic support civil unions to prevent gay ‘marriage’?" by Professor Roberto de Mattei:
  • "A dangerous belief is gaining ground, even among Catholics, that a juridical recognition of homosexual cohabitation is the only way to avoid "gay marriage." "No to gay marriage, yes to the rights of de facto couples and homosexuals" is the watchword of those who want to organise a line of resistance based on the disastrous policy of "giving in so as not to lose." This is not only a colossal strategic error but also - and above all - a grave moral one."
  • "If the principle is accepted that the lesser evil can be committed in order to obtain a larger good, then Catholics would be able to promote therapeutic abortion in order to avoid selective abortion; they could promote homologous artificial insemination in order to avoid heterologous artificial insemination; they could support civil unions in order to avoid homosexual marriage. But, doing this, the whole edifice of morality would collapse because, from lesser evil to lesser evil, every single moral choice could be speciously justified."
  • "[E]ven some personalities from the Catholic world are saying that the recognition of homosexual unions is de facto a "lesser evil" which might be undertaken in order to avoid the "greater evil" of "gay marriage." But from the moral point of view, the legal recognition of homosexual unions is just as grave as putting them on the same level as marriage. This is why the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its document entitled Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons (3 June 2003) and approved by John Paul II, sets down that "respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.""
  • "Voting in favour of a law such as this is to make oneself complicit in an evil which is in no way destroyed by the supposed "damage limitation." If there were two laws in Parliament, one which legalised homosexual marriage and the other which recognised the rights of homosexual couples but did not equate their union with marriage, Catholics could not vote in favour of the latter on the basis that it was "less bad" than the first. If the worse law were to pass, then the responsibility for it would fall on those who had signed it."
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Irish Catholic hospital not allowed to opt out of abortion

Irish Catholic hospital not allowed to opt out of abortion requirement: government [LifeSiteNews.com, 12 August]

Pope Francis issues pro-life/pro-family mission statements for all Catholics
Pope Francis issued two strong pro-life/pro-family messages last week. In a message to Brazilian families, he said: "In a particular way, faced with the culture of waste, that relativizes the value of human life, parents are called to pass on to their children the understanding that this must always be defended, already in the mother's womb". And in a message to a Catholic men's fraternity, he called upon them to "bear witness to the authentic nature of marriage and the family, the sanctity and inviolable dignity of human life, and the beauty and truth of human sexuality." John Smeaton, SPUC director, commented: "It is clear, from both the details and the contexts, that these are mission statements, not just for parents or for the Knights of Columbus, but for all the faithful." [John Smeaton, 12 August]

Concern about maternity unit closures and midwives shortages
The group "Save St Helier" is concerned that the proposed closure of the maternity unit at St Helier hospital, Sutton, will jeopardise the safety of expectant mothers and their unborn children, by forcing them to travel all the way to the maternity unit at St George's hospital, Tooting. They argue that St George's is already under increasing strain, and that many such journeys would have to be undertaken during rush-hours on already traffic-jammed roads. SPUC is encouraging its members to read more about these issues and make their concerns known to their local MP and GPs. [John Smeaton, 9 August]

Other stories:

Embryology
Sexual ethics
General
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Monday, 12 August 2013

Pope Francis issues pro-life/pro-family mission statements for all Catholics

Evangelium Vitae Day, Rome, 17/6/13
In a letter dated 6 August from Pope Francis to Brazilian families marking National Families Week, the Holy Father says:
"In a particular way, faced with the culture of waste, that relativizes the value of human life, parents are called to pass on to their children the understanding that this must always be defended, already in the mother's womb, recognizing in it a gift from God and an assurance of mankind's future, but also in the care shown to the elderly, particularly to grandparents, who are the living memory of a people and the transmitters of life's wisdom."
And last week the text of a pro-life/pro-family message from Pope Francis to the Knights of Columbus was published. The message, sent via a letter from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was sent to greet the Knights during their annual Convention. The Knights of Columbus are a Catholic charitable fraternity. I am a knight of the equivalent fraternity in England, the Knights of St Columba (KSC), which has given decades of wonderful support to SPUC and the pro-life movement generally.

The letter from Cardinal Bertone says (my emphases in bold):
"His Holiness was pleased to learn that this year’s Supreme Convention has drawn its theme — "Be Protectors of God’s Gifts" — from his homily at the Mass inaugurating his papal ministry, which by a happy coincidence fell on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. As protector of the Holy Family, the humble carpenter of Nazareth is a model of the manly virtues of quiet strength, integrity and fidelity which the Knights of Columbus have sought to preserve, cultivate and pass on to new generations of Catholic men. It was in fact as a protective association that your Order was founded in the late nineteenth century, in response to the need to promote the material and spiritual welfare of working men and their families, the dignity of labor and the demands of social justice, and the advancement of the Church’s mission. In fidelity to this founding vision, the Knights continue to play an outstanding role in helping Catholic men to respond to their vocation to be “protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment” (Homily, 19 March 2013).

Among the first acts of his pontificate, the Holy Father wished to add the name of Saint Joseph to each of the Eucharistic Prayers of the Mass. It is his hope that the Knights, in venerating the memory of this great Saint, will beg his intercession for the protection of the many blessings which the Lord has poured out upon them and their families, and work with ever greater commitment for the spread of the Gospel, the conversion of hearts and the renewal of the temporal order in Christ (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, 7). Conscious of the specific responsibility which the lay faithful have for the Church’s mission, he invites each Knight, and every Council, to bear witness to the authentic nature of marriage and the family, the sanctity and inviolable dignity of human life, and the beauty and truth of human sexuality. In this time of rapid social and cultural changes, the protection of God’s gifts cannot fail to include the affirmation and defense of the great patrimony of moral truths taught by the Gospel and confirmed by right reason, which serve as the bedrock of a just and well-ordered society.

For this reason His Holiness once more expresses his appreciation of the clear public witness offered by the Knights of Columbus in protecting the right and duty of believers to participate responsibly, on the basis of their deepest convictions, in the life of society. In his Encyclical Lumen Fidei, he pointed out that faith, precisely because it embraces God’s truth, sheds light on the authentic meaning and purpose of life, strengthens the bonds uniting individuals and communities, and thus serves as a trustworthy foundation for building a just and humane society (cf. 50-51)."
It is clear, from both the details and the contexts, that these are mission statements, not just for parents or for the Knights of Columbus, but for all the faithful.

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