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More on the Mass Bishops

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 31, 2003

Say your daughter --against the strenuous objections of you and your husband -- moves in with her boyfriend, and after a month of entreaties your husband relents and not only gives the lovers your second car on permanent loan, but pays the utilities for their apartment. You may well feel betrayed by his generosity. And almost certainly you wouldn't buy it were he to say, "I'm not selling out Catholic teaching on marriage. I simply want them to have the things couples are entitled to."

The Massachusetts bishops have in effect pulled the same stunt as this spineless father, abandoning their steadfast opposition and waffling about the rights of same-sex partners to domestic benefits. When the media (as well as interest groups pro and con) drew the perfectly obvious conclusion that the shift was a huge boost for the gay marriage initiative, the bishops went into damage control mode and claimed the media got it wrong.

"Contrary to the headlines, the Roman Catholic bishops upheld church teachings on marriage at last week's State House hearing."

Exactly -- they upheld the teaching with the same conviction of the man who reminds his daughter of the sanctity of marriage while buying her for her boyfriend's enjoyment. What's going to mean more, his occasional embarrassed lectures or his tossing her the keys to the Camry?

CWN editor and OTR blogger Phil Lawler was asked by the reporter for his take on the bishops' explanation. His answer: "Plausible deniability."

"Plausible" in this context does not mean credible, but serviceable. It will stymie the authorities until the necessary compromises can be made. The faithful, alas, have become all too accustomed to the ploy. As Groucho Marx said (in a similar context), "Who are you gonna believe -- me, or the evidence of your own eyes?"

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Nov. 01, 2003 11:12 PM ET USA

    So just when does a man become a traitor, when does a man become a liar? If Jesus Himself warns, "But because you are lukewarm, neither hot or cold, I will spew you out of my mouth!" then how much longer should this equivocation go on regarding our evaluation of this clerical double-speak?

  • Posted by: frjimc - Nov. 01, 2003 7:31 PM ET USA

    They HAVE faced the issue of homosexuality -- they've accepted it. Not every chancery, perhaps, but a sizeable number are home to the Peter-principled career-minded homosexuals of the particular diocese. In ours, for example, the number of unabashedly active homosexuals chosen for posts close (hierarchically AND physically) to the ordinary leads one to the inescapable conclusion that "birds of a feather flock together." Bishops embrace that which comprises the bigger part of their environs.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 31, 2003 10:52 PM ET USA

    The bishops can face the problem of homosexuals now or they can face it later but make no mistake about it they will have the face it. They would do well to face it now. It is much more difficult to play defense then to go on the offensive.

  • Posted by: Psalms - Oct. 31, 2003 8:10 PM ET USA

    O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to decieve. At times I wonder if our Bishops really believe in the Roman Catholic Church and what she teaches. Instead of being sprirtual leaders they have entered the realm if the political pandering to gain parishioners support for the money they need to support their causes. I wonder if they also support domestic benefits for heterosexuals who live together without the benefit of marriage.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 31, 2003 10:32 AM ET USA

    Aristotle said that small errors in the beginning, lead to larger errors in the end; hence the reason that hatred of error should not be confused with narrowness of spirit. The bishops have been impaled on the horns of their dilemma (or trilemma I suppose).

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