Action Alert!

Re: Mass. bishops and marriage

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | May 07, 2003

A fellow blogger has taken me to task, understandably, for saying that the bishops of Massachusetts did not weigh in on a bill to define marriage as an alliance between a man and a woman. The Pro Dei et Patria blog notes that the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the official policy arm of the state's bishops, was very actively involved in the legislative hearings.

Point taken. Indeed the Mass. Catholic Conference is the staunchest reliable proponent of pro-life and pro-family legislation in Boston. You could say that without the MCC, there would be no discernible pro-life or pro-family movement on Beacon Hill.

But here's (what remains of) my point. Dan Avila testified in favor of the bill, and as always did a great job. But Dan is a layman, and four priests testified against it. Anyone who knows Boston politics should realize that the testimony of a priest regarding Catholic teaching trumps that of a layman in the public perception-- even when, as in this case, the layman is 100% right and the priest is 100% wrong.

To counteract damaging and misleading testimony from a priest, you need another priest-- or, better, a bishop, or even a public statement issued by a bishop. That's where the silence hurts.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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