a new low in Boston Church leadership
Back in July, the Massachusetts legislature repealed a law that barred out-of-state gay couples from coming to Massachusetts to marry. Catholic Church leaders had been curiously quiet about the effort until the 11th hour; just before the State House vote, the heads of the state's four dioceses issued a joint statement opposing the repeal. It was much too little, much too late, and the repeal carried without a dissenting vote.
Unbowed by that legislative defeat, a pro-family activist group called Mass Resistance launched a petition drive, seeking to put the measure on the ballot and repeal the repeal: that is, to reinstate the law that protected Massachusetts from becoming a gay-marriage Mecca. The group has been scrambling to collect the required signatures.
But on October 5, one volunteer had a signal success: Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley signed the petition. That's when the fun began.
When Mass Resistance unwisely sent a letter to the Catholic parishes of Boston, calling attention to the cardinal's support, chancery officials protested vigorously. Cardinal O'Malley had signed the petition "privately," they said.
Privately? The cardinal signed a legal document: a matter of public record. He signed it in the presence of multiple witnesses. What's "private" about that?
Cardinal O'Malley did not intend to endorse the repeal-the-repeal campaign, archdiocesan spokesman continued. He didn't? Then why did he sign the petition? That, a spokesman told Mass Resistance, had come in "a moment of weakness."
Why is it "weakness" to endorse a campaign that defends the institution of marriage-- a campaign to reverse a legislative decision that the bishops of Massachusetts had opposed, just a few weeks earlier?
There's more: The director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference told Mass Resistance that it was pointless to reinstate the old law, because the legislature would simply repeal it again. By that logic, one should never lobby for any law, because it might eventually be overturned; and one should never work for any political candidate, because he might be unseated at the next election!
Do you want to know why the marriage law was repealed without a single dissenting vote, in a legislature where Catholics form the majority? It's directly attributable to this sort of pitiful Church leadership. For a more extended explanation, read Phil's book.
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