Melody, a self described CMR fan (clearly a woman of taste!), sends us news of more Episcopal backbone on display. Melody writes,
The San Diego City Council plans on passing a resolution to condemn Prop 8 tomorrow.
San Diego’s Auxiliary Bishop Cordileone wrote the following letter in response. And I couldn’t be more proud.
A rally is also planned for tomorrow to express support for Prop 8. A follow up rally in front of the City Council Building is also planned. I’ll send pictures if you like.
Most Rev. Salvatore Cordileone
Catholic Diocese of San Diego
October 21, 2008
Dear Mayor Sanders and Members of the San Diego City Council,
Those of us who favor preserving marriage as the union of a man and a woman in California are wondering what ever happened to our democracy.
In 2000, 61% of voters – 4.6 million citizens – voted in favor of Proposition 22, which placed the traditional definition of marriage into the California Family Code. The will of the majority was overturned by four Supreme Court Justices on May 15th of this year. It is true that citizens should ensure that ballot propositions they present be able to pass constitutional muster. But defining marriage as it has been understood in every society since the beginning of the human race is hardly the stuff of which unconstitutional laws consist.
Trusting in the democratic process, many people expended vast resources of time, energy and capital to qualify the language of Proposition 22 as a constitutional amendment, and it was certified shortly after the Supreme Court decision as Proposition 8. Concerned about the confusion and legal quagmire that could result not only in California but all throughout the country due to same-sex marriages contracted between the time of the implementation of the decision and the hopeful passage of Prop 8, the attorney general was requested to stay the decision until after the election. Such an action would seem to be a common sense move to protect the public good. Nonetheless, he refused do so. Then, in an unprecedented move, he also changed the title of the proposition after its qualification for the ballot in a way that prejudices the wording as much as possible against the initiative.
Next, we hear of “Yes on 8” signs disappearing repeatedly, all throughout the state, with impunity. A pro-Prop 8 worker in Modesto was attacked, and so severely beaten he had to be rushed to the hospital and given stitches. And yet, not a peep from our elected officials decrying this violence and intolerance. A little over a year ago, a letter of mine was read in these very chambers when you were debating signing onto the Amicus curiae brief to urge our State Supreme Court to rule the traditional definition of marriage unconstitutional. In the letter, I stated that this issue was divisive, and we needed to unite our community; that point was rejected as being untrue. The experience over this last year has more than adequately demonstrated that it is true.
Now we find our City Council poised to speak for our entire city in taking a stand against Proposition 8. Have you taken a survey of the citizens of the San Diego area? The movement in support of Prop 8 began here in San Diego and has spread like an October wildfire all throughout the state. At this time, the polls indicate that supporters for Prop 8 outnumber its opponents. How can you presume to speak for the entire city when a majority – or at least, a very sizeable minority – is in favor? What would the other side think and feel if you voted to support Proposition 8? Why are our thoughts and feelings not worthy of equal consideration to theirs, especially when we can offer many rational, cogent arguments to justify our position? We support marriage because marriage benefits everyone; we abhor violence and unjust treatment against people who disagree with us. Nonetheless, we are accused of discrimination. Who, though, is being discriminated against now?
A little over two weeks ago, I stood on the same stage with some of you at the San Diego Organizing Project’s rally for our youth. I was happy to be there and even felt obliged to attend, because I can hardly recognize this city from what it was when I grew up here in the 1960’s. I could walk home alone from elementary school and fear no harm. My friends and I could play in the streets without our parents having to worry for our safety, and we all had secure homes to return to. That is why I was so gratified by your commitments to make the youth of our communities a top priority. What, though, can be a greater benefit to children and young people than growing up with their mother and father married to each other in a low-conflict relationship? We need to be supporting and strengthening the institution of marriage for the sake of children, not redefining and weakening it. Yes, many people find themselves as single parents through no fault of their own, and they need and deserve our praise and support for the sacrifices they make to give their children the best possible up bringing in less-than-ideal circumstances. But to intentionally deprive children of a mother and father is something quite different. After having made such laudatory and inspired commitments to our youth, please, do not now sell them down the river by telling them that it’s not important for them to have a mother and a father.
Please do not divide our community any more bitterly than it already is. Please do not betray the trust the public has placed in you. Please do not disenfranchise those who worked so hard to give Californians the opportunity to decide. Rather, please place principle over politics, and allow the democratic process to work, unencumbered and objectively. Please, do not give up on the idea that democracy is a good thing when allowed to work according to its principles. Please, let the people decide, fair and square.
Most Rev. Salvatore Cordileone
Catholic Diocese of San Diego
Thanks to Bishop Cordileone and many thanks to Melody for this letter. And yes Melody, we would like pictures!
But wait, there is more! This comes to us from Jeremy (Thanks!). This was read in every Church in the Diocese of Sprinfield-Cape Girardeau.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Grace and peace be with you! We may not realize it, but we are living at a decisive moment in our nation’s history; one in which our own personal destiny and the destiny of our nation is at stake. As Christians we face this moment full of hope because of God’s love revealed and given to us in His Son, Jesus Christ, who has promised to be with us “always, to the end of the age,” (Mt 28:20). Nevertheless, our hope in God’s love and providence must be matched by our own faith in action.
While I have written several times in the past weeks on this topic, I wish to reiterate that while there are many social justice issues which demand our engagement as Catholic citizens, the Catholic Church teaches that the right to life holds a certain precedence. It is foundational. These other issues are dependent on this first right being upheld and protected. As Pope John Paul II stated:
“Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good… It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop.” (The Gospel of Life, 72, 101).
While abortion and the destruction of human life for research purposes is not the only issue, it is the defining moral issue of today, and in fact, has been for the last 35 years, during which more than 48 million American lives have been lost.
In the U.S. Bishops’ document, Faithful Citizenship, there is a section which addresses whether it might ever be morally permissible for a Catholic to vote for a candidate who supports and intrinsic evil, such as abortion – even when the voter does not agree with the candidate’s position on that evil. In response, the Bishops note that it might be possible if another intrinsic evil outweighs the evil of abortion. While this is sound moral guidance, I ask you, are there truly any grave moral and proportionate reasons, singularly or taken together, that outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year? Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver puts it in perspective when he says: “What is a proportionate reason when it comes to abortion? It’s the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them in the next life – which we certainly will. If we’re confident that these victims will accept our motives, then we can proceed.”
Last month while I was in Rome, I had the privilege of viewing several paintings in the Vatican depicting one of the most crucial battles in history, the Battle of Lepanto. This crucial victory which saved Christian Europe on October 7, 1571, was attributed to the praying of the Rosary. In fact, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was established in thanksgiving for this event. The Rosary can also help us in our current struggle as a nation to build a culture of life.
I, along with the other Missouri bishops am asking that the week beginning next Sunday, October 26, be a week of prayer in all of our parishes. I am asking that every parish have a Holy Hour before the Most Blessed Sacrament, which includes praying the Rosary, on one weekday night next week, to pray for our country as we choose our leaders and the destiny of our nation. I also ask all families to pray the Rosary and other prayers from now until election day, November 4.
With the assurance of my prayers, and invoking the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I am,
Devotedly yours in Christ,
Most Reverend James V. Johnston, Jr.
Bishop, Sprinfield-Cape Girardeau