Posted below are two recent articles from Zenit
which generally deal clearly with their subject matter. But, as
is too often the case, Church spokesmen frequently over-state their
case and unnecessarily turn off their Faithful. I continue to
address this problem in a series of commentaries under the same title,
above. A review of my articles # 1 and 3 are relevant
here. I refer to the comment in the first posted article: "The
Cardinal affirmed that priests, as well as married people,
are asked to live Chastity". By what authority? For
reasons already given, I believe that the Church has no
jurisdiction over the sexual life of a committed married Catholic
couple in the discharge of their multiple responsibilities
accepted with the vows of Matrimony.
Why am I dwelling on these matters of concern mainly to
Roman Catholics? Because these are pressing issues that now
affect all Americans in ways that are producing serious divisions and
ill will. The Catholic Clergy and Laity could play an
important role in promoting vital informed, moral and civil
dialogue among us...but only after we set our own House in order.
That's why. GS
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Cardinal Stands Up for Priestly Celibacy
Lima Prelate Says Notre Dame Is Confused
ROME, MAY 29, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Scandals that arise when priests fail
to live celibacy are not just about priestly discipline, but rather
about a failed understanding of human love, says the cardinal
archbishop of Lima, Peru.
ZENIT spoke with Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani about two recent scandals
regarding priestly celibacy that have attracted the attention of the
American continent -- Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo who admitted
he fathered a child while still a bishop, and Miami Father Alberto
Cutié who converted to the Episcopalian church this week after
photos of him with a woman were circulated.
"I think that we shouldn't speak just of these two cases, of celibacy,
but of human love in general," Cardinal Cipriani suggested, affirming
that "Deus Caritas Est" explains it well. "The Pope explains to us with
great detail how this love, which begins in this movement of 'eros'
Noting how God defines love clearly, not just with words, but also with
the sacrifice of his Son, the cardinal added that today, "in not
wanting to accept suffering, the sacrifice that life brings, love is
killed and what remains? Sexual possession. The capacity of suffering
has been amputated because of fear, cowardice, mediocrity, because only
success and pleasure are sought.
"We have killed the plant that arises from suffering, which is love,
and therefore in many human relationships, family relationships, a
totally material relationship arises, in which practically, the
integrity of the person is not involved. When this materialism takes
over human relationships, then the man and the woman become objects of
a sexual experience , this experience loses its stability, comes and
goes, doesn't produce that joy of surrender because it does not come
from suffering or sacrifice, and when a sickness comes or an economic
problem or a fight marriages break in the same way as these cases, like
Lugo or Father Cutié, who in the moment of feeling a sacrifice
greater than their strengths, break the promise they've made."
The cardinal affirmed that priests, as well as married people, are
asked to live chastity.
"There is a conjugal chastity and there is chastity in celibacy," he
said. "One who knows how to love and who has the experience of a
healthy and stable matrimonial love knows what I'm talking about. It is
the same that the Church offers to those of us who give up everything
for the love of God. It is not more or less difficult, but this product
of this love today is hard to find, and therefore, in a materialistic
and slightly hedonistic world, it is difficult to explain celibacy,
which is a treasure of the Church."
ZENIT also asked Cardinal Cipriani what he thought of this month's
turmoil over the decision by Notre Dame University to bestow an
honorary doctorate on the U.S. president, despite Barack Obama's
staunch support of abortion rights and other anti-life issues.
The cardinal answered that Catholic identity is not a decision of a
particular university or a rector or education official, but rather is
something given by the Church itself.
He explained: "What cannot be done and what is not done in any
institution is to say 'this automobile is a Toyota,' if the Toyota
manufacturer does not put his brand on it.
"I think there is a need for a little more clarity and authority.
Clarity from those who are responsible for being able to say: 'If you
don't want to be Catholic, then don't be.' But what we can't do is sell
a ruined product. To think that parents and their kids go to a
university that has the title of 'Catholic' and then it turns out that
it teaches what is contrary to the faith. This is a confusion or an
abuse. I think the Church has the duty to call things by their name."
Cardinal Cipriani said it seems a "provocation to give Catholic homage
to a president who in the first 100 days has boosted abortion, gay
marriage, investigations with embryonic cells, and an entire anti-life
agenda. It does not seem to me that he is the most adequate person to
receive recognition from the University of Notre Dame, which, by the
way, has been greatly confused for some years now."
The prelate suggested that this type of controversy has been around
since the beginning of the Church, with the difference that before,
"those who dissented left the Church; today they stay within, and this
seems to me that it requires of us, for love of the Church, a bit more
He offered the Holy Father as an example: "We see with what clarity and
love for the truth Benedict XVI has returned from the Holy Land. With
what joy, with what clarity he has taken up the themes that seemed
difficult, from the political point of view, but he has handled them
from the point of view of what a pilgrimage of peace wants, a vicar of
Christ. They love him more and more. He is more and more a leader who
illuminates more this world that is in darkness."
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Bishops Weigh in on California Gay Marriage Ban
Affirm State's Responsibility to Protect Family Structure
WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 28, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops'
conference lauded the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold the
voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriage.
In a statement released Wednesday, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of
Louisville, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of
Marriage, reported the bishops' satisfaction with the decision.
He stated, "The court has thus respected the eminently reasonable
decision of the California electorate to retain the perennial
definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman."
The archbishop explained: "This respects the uniqueness of the marital
relationship and its service to the common good by respecting the value
of procreation and the good of children as well as the unique
complementarity of man and woman.
"Advancing the truth and beauty of marriage enhances, rather than
diminishes, the intrinsic dignity of every human person."
In 2000, Californians voted to keep marriage between a man and a woman.
But last May, the state's high court overturned that vote and approved
same-sex marriage. Some 18,000 gay couples were quick to take advantage
of the new prerogative.
California's citizens rallied to put the issue to vote again in
November. With slightly more than a 52% majority, same-sex marriage was
again made illegal in California, this time with a constitutional
That measure was known as Proposition 8 and it added to the California
Constitution the following clause: "Only marriage between a man and a
woman is valid or recognized in California."
However, activists succeeded in taking the issue back to the California
Supreme Court, contending that the ban needed legislature approval
before being added to the constitution.
The court's decision Tuesday upholds the ban, but does not "un-marry"
the 18,000 gay couples who wed between May and November.
The bishops' statement expressed concern that the court failed to apply
the marriage definition to these same-sex unions.
Archbishop Kurtz affirmed, "Attempts to change the legal definition of
marriage or to create simulations of marriage, often under the guise of
'equality,' 'civil rights,' and 'anti-discrimination,' do not serve the
"Such attempts," he said, "undermine the very nature of marriage and
overlook the essential place of marriage and family life in society."
The prelate continued, "The state has a responsibility to protect and
promote marriage as the union of one man and one woman as well as to
protect and promote the intrinsic dignity of every human person,
including homosexual persons."
He added that there are many ways to accomplish this, but "sacrificing
marriage is not one of them."
The California bishops' conference released an additional statement in
which Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton echoed the words of Archbishop
Quoting the natural law scholar and Princeton professor, Robert George,
the prelate affirmed: "No matter what, the law will teach. It will
either teach that marriage exists as a natural institution with public
purposes and meanings, centered around bridging the gender divide, and
bringing together one man and one woman to share their lives as husband
and wife and to become father and mother to their children, or it will
teach that marriage is a mere creation of the state, recognizing and
condoning the private sexual choices of adults."
"As Catholic bishops," the statement continued, "we are strongly
committed to protecting the dignity and worth of every human person."
It affirmed: "We endorse the intent of law to provide equal protection
for all. However, such purpose does not have to trump the natural and
traditional definition of marriage between a man and a woman.
"The law has found other ways to regulate civil unions without
destroying the traditional understanding of marriage.
"We believe -- as do the majority of Californians -- that marriage
between a man and a woman is foundational to our culture and crucial
for human perpetuity."
Ron Prentice, executive committee chairman of the coalition
ProtectMarriage.com, explained that although this court decision is a
victory for all supporters of Proposition 8, the work is not done.
He stated, "We will now turn our attention to public education and
outreach so that citizens come to better understand and appreciate the
many benefits that traditional marriage provides for society and our
"The institution of marriage as we have always understood it has served
California and our broader society since the nation was founded,"
He added, "We look forward to working with young people, churches,
ethnic communities and all of California with an ongoing discussion
about the benefits of traditional marriage."