Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | December 7, 2008

The pastoral letter to homosexuals….with my comments

my comments in RED

Dear Brothers and Sisters (don’t you just LOVE inclusive language ;)) in Christ:
As Bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, we are addressing this message
first of all to the homosexual members of our Church. Given the controversy (controversy? haha, lol of course, all it really did was define Marriage as being between a man and a woman in the California Constitution) generated
by the passage of Proposition of 8, we want to reassure each of you that you are cherished
members of the Catholic Church (we’re all cherished members of the Church, each with our own and unique dignity), and that we value you as equal and active members of
the Body of Christ. At the same time, we would like to address this message to all the
members of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and to all men and
women in the wider community.
The passage of Proposition 8 in the State of California does not diminish in any
way the importance of you (that’s kind of obvious, this only dealt with the CIVIL actions in the most direct sense. The Church actions would have been as consequence to the passage of this law (what I mean is the Church being sued over hate speech, not marrying homosexuals), our homosexual brothers and sisters in the Church. Nor does
it lessen your personal dignity and value as full members of the Body of Christ (duh). The
Church’s support of Proposition 8 was our effort to resist a legal redefinition of marriage.
Our support for Proposition 8 was in defense of the longstanding institution of marriage
understood as the life-long relationship of a man and a woman ordered to the good of the
spouses and to the procreation and education of their children (Let me add it is a Sacrament instituted by Christ himself, sanctified, blessed. Also, while I’m at it, Marriage between a man a woman is necessary for the function of society).
We are disappointed that the ballot information about Proposition 8 stated that the
purpose of the initiative was “to ban gay marriage. (That was impart to Jerry Brown who when writing the brief synopsis for the ballot wrote “ban on gay marriage”)” From the very beginning, this was
not our purpose.
When the United Nations was established in 1948 (The UN? How about the CCC, the Bible or Church Councils, or Saints writings?) , it proclaimed the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights which set in place some 30 Articles to embrace all rights of
all peoples on the earth. Article 16 deals with marriage. In the context of the time when
it was written, it is clear that the basic understanding of the family, as envisioned by the
United Nations Declaration (Whatever happened to Jesus? I thought he was the foundation of everything?) , was one founded on the marriage of one man and one
woman. Subsection 3 states: “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of
society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” It is this universal
understanding of marriage and family which Proposition 8 desired to guarantee in
California.
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Such an understanding of marriage is found in at least three major religious
traditions (and also false religions) which have described the origin, meaning, and intent of marriage in their
sacred writings. In the Hebrew Scriptures, we find explicit reference to marriage
between a man and a woman in 51 verses located in 19 books. The Christian Scriptures
have 14 verses dealing directly with marriage in six books. The Muslim Koran (get that heresy out of this pastoral letter) records
14 passages dealing with marriage. Thus, our faith communities (there’s the we the people are God part) and their sacred writings (the Koran’s not sacred…yeah, I said it)
are in agreement about the application of the term “marriage.” And there are other faith
communities which, in their own (non) sacred writings, concur with this understanding. Our
faith communities have never understood this term to be applied to other types of
relationships between people (Let me re-translate into slightly more correct language: There were relations between men and men, and women and women in the OT (not explicitly mentioned), but NONE OF THESE WERE CALLED MARRIAGE).
These sacred writings and traditions, spanning thousands of years, support the
fundamental truth that God created the human family as male and female, sending them
forth to be fruitful and multiply. This is the understanding of marriage which has
prevailed throughout human history, and has been enacted in the laws of peoples, nations,
races and religions everywhere (well, this function has been in existence before time) . It is this truth (that’s capital T) that is at the heart of Proposition 8.
Proposition 8 was not crafted as a concern for civil rights (that’s because all homosexuals already have civil rights in the constitution) but as an effort to resist
a redefinition of marriage. “Marriage” is not a merely religious concept, but is so
fundamental to human experience that it cannot be redefined legally.
The Catholic Church has historically opposed attempts to deny or to limit the
exercise of the basic rights which are known through the natural law and which are
expounded in Sacred Scriptures and in the charters and declarations of world bodies. Our
efforts in this country to espouse equal rights for all citizens have frequently created
adverse reactions for our Church: our somewhat belated efforts to prohibit slavery (The Popes have condemned slavery, yet the American Bishops’ for the most part didn’t listen, (the disobedience didn’t start with the advent of the USCCB) ; our
insistence on equal educational opportunities for all children (equal opportunity, the Church was desegregating schools long before public schools were); our strong support of
immigrants rights (in so far as they do not break the law of the land…that being said the bad minority shouldn’t outweigh the good majority); our struggles on behalf of unborn children and those at the end of
life’s journey, and so many others. In 1997 the United States Catholic Bishops’ (Not infallible by any means)
Committee on Marriage and the Family published Always Our Children: A Pastoral
Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions (suggestions, LOL!) for Pastoral Ministers,
urging the Christian community and especially parents of homosexuals to offer them
understanding and pastoral care (which would mean teaching them the Gospel of Christ, and getting them to Courage ASAP, headed here in LA by Fr. Harrigan, a solid orthodox priest friend of mine).
Proposition 8 was never intended, directly or indirectly, to lessen the value and
importance of gay and lesbian persons. Your intrinsic value as human beings and as
brothers and sisters continues without change. If we had ever thought that the intent of
this proposition was to harm you or anyone in the State of California, we would not have
supported it (Let me say that again, if we had ever thought that the intent of this proposition was to harm you or anyone in the state of California, we would not have supported it. Now, I don’t know about you, but last time I checked the Gospel of Christ was intended to divide., sometimes offend those who hear it, some people call it guilt, I call it call to conversion). We are personally grateful for the witness and service of so many dedicated
and generous homosexual Catholics. We pledge our commitment to safeguard your
dignity.
Here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles we began our spiritual and pastoral
outreach to homosexual people over twenty years ago. And we were pilloried by many
3
for doing so (Courage is the only Catholic program that i know that’s solid, and leads to people recovering from SSA). We began the various Serra Residences for victims of HIV and AIDS when
the public understanding and fear of this illness repulsed so many.
As we have come to learn over these past decades, there are many groupings of
people residing under one roof across California. Some of these groupings are related
family members, while others are companions and friends. There are now seventeen
rights for such companions and friends specifically included in the State of California’s
legal structure.
We are saddened that some people who opposed Proposition 8 have employed
hurtful and accusatory language (Unfortunately there are some that used language that was beyond them, that’s wrong), and even threatening actions, against those who voted
for Proposition 8. This is most unfortunate since such strategies obscure the basic matter
at issue: the preservation of the ordered relationship between man and woman created by
God.
Supporting marriage as it has always been understood diminishes none of us.
We welcome thoughtful and civil dialogue (how about help with recovery?) with you so that we can deepen our realization
that all of us cherish God’s creative life which we equally share. We are committed to
find ways to eliminate discrimination against homosexual persons (where true discrimination exists, this is wrong, and that must be put an end to. We must treat all people with respect no matter what their orientation, but it does not mean the acceptance of their sins), and to help guarantee
the basic rights which belong to each of us.

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