George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.
www.asthma-drsprecace.com

WHAT’S WRONG - AND RIGHT - WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH #9

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

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ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency
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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' becomes 'agape.'"

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."

Obama's doctorate

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 firmness."

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."

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ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency
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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 amendment.

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.

Truth

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 truth."

"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 Kurtz.

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."

Dignity

"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 families."

"The institution of marriage as we have always understood it has served California and our broader society since the nation was founded," Prentice affirmed.

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."


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