Catholic Priests Concerned about Consequences of the Ban

Today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel features a front page story about Father Bryan Massingale, a priest with the Milwaukee Archdiocese who has expressed concerns about the second sentence of the amendment and its impact on families.

An excerpt from the story:
Father Bryan Massingale, an associate professor of moral theology at Marquette University, wrote a lengthy essay in which he struggled with the idea that "the amendment, read in its entirety, poses a dilemma for many faithful people."

"The amendment upholds certain beliefs about the uniqueness of marriage," he wrote in the Sept. 21 issue. "But it does so at a cost, namely, potentially damaging impacts upon the welfare of individuals and their children."

He also dealt with the issue of homosexuality.

"Too often, discussions of this issue treat 'those' people - specifically, gays and lesbians - as if they were an alien species," he wrote. "They are not. They are our sons and daughters; our sisters and brothers; our aunts, uncles, and cousins; our friends, neighbors, students and co-workers; our priests, ministers and parishioners. 'They' are us!"

Massingale concluded that "voting 'no' on the marriage amendment, in my judgment, is the best way to respect all of our Catholic beliefs and values."

The article also mentions a statement from the Milwaukee Priest Alliance, representing 140 priests, that concurred with Father Massingale's understanding of the amendment:
"We share his well-founded fear that the amendment may be construed to deny rights and services, including health care, not only to those in civil unions but many other citizens of Wisconsin as well, irrespective of their marital status," the statement read.
It means a lot to me personally to see Catholic leaders publicly express their concerns about the ban.

I was raised Catholic. My family attended Mass every Sunday. I was confirmed and attended CCD all the way through high school. Both sets of my grandparents are/were also Catholic. My deceased grandmother worked for their parish, and sometimes I would tag along with her when she went to clean the church. My grandfather still attends Mass almost every day. He believes it's only right to allow gay couples to have civil unions.

When I came out, my family accepted me and today fully supports me and my partner. They don't have much extra money, and they don't even live in Wisconsin, but they've given money to help Fair Wisconsin. I believe it's precisely because of their Catholic values that they fully accept me, oppose these kinds of amendments, and want to see my family have basic protections.


At 2:19 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

This article was first given to me by a co-worker who clipped it out of the Catholic Herald (she is a practicing Catholic). I came out to her about 8 years ago and we've never spoken about it since, so I assumed she didn't "accept" homosexuality. But she handed me that article about a month ago and said it made a lot of sense to her and cleared up her conflict over the issue--she'll be voting "no".
On the other hand, one of my closest friends of over 5 years who's shown nothing but love and respect for my partner and I, refused to stand up in our wedding because the Bible says being gay is a sin. It just goes to show, you can't judge a book by its cover.

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous keith said...

Father Massingale's comments are actually pretty mainstream Catholic, and square very well with the Catechism of the Church and with other official teachings through many decades.

Catholicism has always had within our theology the idea of "Heirarchy of Truth." Sometimes truths can be in conflict with one another, and the Church tries to help us weigh the conflict.

High up on the list of truths are LIFE and LOVE. Hence the Church's long history of strong activism in working against abortion and capital punishment.

Rather low down on the list are the SINS OF THE BODY. Hence the Church getting in trouble over mistakes made by certain priests.

But the amendment provides a classic example of weighing these very Truths.

One the one hand, the vision of the first sentence might just have the effect of keeping some folks more faithful in marriage and more inclined to be celibate. A YES means reverence for certain Truth about sins of the body.

On the other hand, the practical implications of the second sentence systematically go about destroying life and compromising love. A NO vote is a vote in favor of empowering people to live their daily works of mercy.

In weighing the two, it is obvious to a sincere Catholic, faithful to Church teaching. VOTE NO. It is a small sacrifice to vote NO on the beautiful ideal of the first sentence, to prevent the great and present evil of the second sentence.

It is unfortunate that Archbishop Dolan and the other four ordinaries of Wisconsin did not do their homework.

I am thankful that we live in a Church where theologians like father Massingale can feel comfortable reminding their bishops to be more faithful to the Gospel.

I only wish that we had been able to have the discussions with the Wisconsin Catholic Conference a year ago. They were ready to work with us, and we blew it. The bishops issued a lovely statement that addressed the first sentence and ignored the second sentence.

Hopefully, thanks to the work of Massingale and others like him, the 30% of the electorate who are weekly church-going Catholics will take the message to heart and vote NO.

At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...beautiful ideal of the first sentence." how can it be ideal to deny people the ability to marry the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with??

At 10:45 PM, Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...

Are you really willing to "debate" the issue?


At 11:50 AM, Anonymous keith said...

Gee, Anonymous, do your homework. The first sentence of the amendment does not deny anyone anything! It merely states that marriage is a man and a woman, and that, to a Roman Catholic, is quite a beautiful thing.

It is the second sentence that should get all moral people hot and bothered.

The second sentence takes the first and turns it on its head.

The "beauty" of the first sentence is the ideal that it presents: security, love, commitment, support. These are things that should be available to all men and women. The Catholic bishops actually did a great job of laying out these ideas.

But then, enter the second sentence, which says, "Oh by the way, if you cannot conform to every jot and tittle of this ideal, then screw you! No security. No benefits or obligations of commitment. No love." The bishops chose to ignore the second sentence completely. It took Father Massingale to remind them of it.


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