BREAKING NEWS: The Vatican newspaper, just out with tomorrow’s date, has a front page editorial on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions yesterday entitled, “The De-legitimization of those who don’t agree.” I will try to do some translation for later today or tomorrow.
CARDINAL DOLAN: “A TRAGIC DAY FOR MARRIAGE AND FOR AMERICA”
FROM USSCB WEB SITE: The U.S. Supreme Court decisions June 26 striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and refusing to rule on the merits of a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 mark a “tragic day for marriage and our nation,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The statement follows:
“Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage. It is also unfortunate that the Court did not take the opportunity to uphold California’s Proposition 8 but instead decided not to rule on the matter. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. These decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.
“Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and a woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with the secure foundation of a mother and a father. “Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters. While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.
“When Jesus taught about the meaning of marriage – the lifelong, exclusive union of husband and wife – he pointed back to “the beginning” of God’s creation of the human person as male and female (see Matthew 19). In the face of the customs and laws of his time, Jesus taught an unpopular truth that everyone could understand. The truth of marriage endures, and we will continue to boldly proclaim it with confidence and charity.
“Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decisions, with renewed purpose we call upon all of our leaders and the people of this good nation to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. We also ask for prayers as the Court’s decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified.
12 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SCOTUS DECISIONS
Jimmy Akin, in an article for the National Catholic Register, explains in the most understandable language possible, “The 12 things you need to know about the Court’s homosexual ‘marriage’ decisions.” This is not an analysis but a basic explanation of what happened yesterday in Washington at the Supreme Court (Scotus: Supreme Court of the United States) This will possibly help you understand some of the comments and reaction to the court’s decisions that I offer today.
Click here to read Akin’s review:
I CRY FOR YOU, AMERICA
To somewhat paraphrase the song, “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from the celebrated musical “Evita,” I say: “I cry for you, America!”
I join the millions of Catholics and other citizens throughout our country who today are still reeling from the decisions handed down yesterday by the Supreme Court, one of which strikes down part of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, and the other which refused to rule on the merits of a challenge to California’s Proposition 8. Proposition 8 was a California ballot proposition and a state constitutional amendment that passed in the November 2008 state elections. It added a new provision, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution, which provided that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
As a loyal American citizen, I am stunned and saddened that California citizens who legally and lawfully voted FOR Prop 8, in the long run had those votes annulled, wiped out. A majority voted for Prop 8. A majority said at the polls they wanted marriage to be forever defined as between a man and a woman. A minority was unhappy with that election outcome. They protested and, as now seems to be the rule of law in our country, the minority won.
Millions of California voters were disenfranchised by five people on the Supreme Court. In fact, 2008 was the second time Californians voted in favor of defining marriage as between a man and a woman!
What I want to know on the Prop 8 ruling is this: Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion: “We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to, We decline to do so for the first time here.” I ask: Why were the Californians who elected to take their battle to the Supreme Court NOT told by someone – by SCOTUS, by other lawyers – that a private party has “no standing” to defend the constitutionaltiy of a state statute? Why was someone not present for the arguments who HAD the standing to defend Prop 8? Do we now need a rationale to go to the polls to vote for a candidate or for (or against) a proposition or referendum? As we cast that vote, will we wonder if it will be annulled? If our vote becomes part of a majority decision, will we wonder if that decision will be negated by someone who doesn’t like the outcome?
And we wonder why the percentage of eligible Americans who vote in elections is among the lowest in the world!
Are we a nation of laws – or of visceral reactions to events that lead (almost always) to lawsuits?
If Frenchman Alexis de Toqueville, who visited America in the 1830s and heaped lavish praise on its people, values and institutions, was to write again today about America, would he title his book, “From Sioux to Sue”?
Are there times when a minority – an ethnic or religious minority, for example – has been harmed by unjust laws? Of course. Banning slavery, giving the vote to women, establishing racial equality and on and on – unjust laws and situations overturned. But those who wish to reverse DOMA, claiming a minority is harmed, have no real basis in civil law for that claim.
As the US bishops said: “The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage.”
As Matt Staver of Liberty Counsel wrote: “Marriage predates government and civil authorities. No civil authority, including the Supreme Court, has the authority to redefine marriage. Marriage was not created by religion or government and is ontologically a union of one man and one woman. For any Court or civil authority to think it has the authority to redefine marriage is the height of hubris. Deconstructing marriage will hurt children and society. While today’s decision on DOMA did not redefine marriage, it has provided the foundation on which to do so.” (From the Liberty Counsel website: Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.)
As Judge Antonin Scalia said in a scathing dissent from yesterday’s court decision on DOMA and critique of Judge Kennedy who wrote the majority decision: “But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homo- sexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence— indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.” (Click here to read the rest of his dissent).
By the way, when Judge Scalia writes of “an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence— indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history,” he is, of course, referring that the fact that marriage is and always has been between a man and a woman.
Could two men or two women live together in a “union.” Yes. In a marriage? No. And no court can change the definition of marriage, as Matt Stave wrote, because “Marriage predates government and civil authorities. No civil authority, including the Supreme Court, has the authority to redefine marriage.”
Some friends from the U.S. who were recently in Rome told me they know of cases where a state will pay for IV fertilization for a homosexual couple because, of course, they cannot conceive children as a couple, but that same state will not pay for a heterosexual couple who is having trouble conceiving naturally.
Will religious organizations, especially the Catholic Church, – very much threatened now in our society – be forced to perform same sex unions or be defined “enemies of the human race” as Kennedy wrote?
And then there’s this: Do you remember when President Obama, in a press conference at the White House on April 2 answered a question about the prospect that the Supreme Court might strike down some or all of the new federal health care law? Here is his answer: “I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint, that an un-elected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.”
SCOTUS did save Obamacare for the president at that time but it also, yesterday, somehow overturned a duly constituted and passed law, namely DOMA!
I share many of the sentiments set forth by Doug Patton, a conservative columnist and former speech writer, who wrote the following after yesterday’s landmark SCOTUS decisions. Entitled “America Has Ceased to be Great or Good,” he writes:
“As I listened to the convoluted legal gobbledygook passing for erudite Constitutional expertise from the United States Supreme Court as they attempted to justify same sex marriage, my mind was flooded with the haunting words of some of the great men of history.
“I thought of Aristotle, who said, ‘Political society exists for the sake of noble living’, a sentiment chiseled into the edifice of many a public building, including the south face of the state capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“I remembered the words of John Adams, our second president, who famously observed, ‘Our Constitution was designed for a moral and a religious people; it is wholly inadequate for the governing of any other’.
“From somewhere deep in my memory, I recalled the plea of Abraham Lincoln, who declared, ‘Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty was we understand it’.
“There were the eloquent but simple words of a wise Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville, who visited the United States in the 1830s and marveled at the genius of our system and the decency of our people. ‘America is great because America is good,’ Tocqueville opined, ‘but if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great’.
“Author G.K. Chesterton wrote, ‘Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions’.
“And the French author Voltaire said, ‘All sects are different, because they come from men; morality is everywhere the same, because it comes from God’.
“But mostly, I thought of Thomas Jefferson’s lament, ‘I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever’.”
He goes on to say, “We now live a lawless land ruled by lawless people,” and gives examples.
Patton concludes: “de Tocqueville would be saddened to know that America is no longer great, and we certainly are no longer good, “ noting that we elected our “lawless officials” and “we have allowed them to institutionalize deviancy while denying the fallen nature of man. We have refused to see that, regardless of what we believe, God is unchanging and He will not be mocked.”
I do believe there are many, many good people in America. In fact, I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans are truly good and honest people who embrace a sound values-oriented life and lifestyle. Of course, the secular media just does not want to acknowledge that must less write about the good in and of our nation. As the saying goes about news stories: If it bleeds, it leads.
I also believe that our greatness may be behind us, unless we take our country back to its origins. Can we get back to “noble living”?