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Cardinal Wuerl emphasizes: defenders of marriage are not bigots

Catholic World News - August 22, 2013

In a recent blog post, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington decried attempts to characterize those who recognize marriage as the union of a man and a woman as bigots.

“If someone describes marriage as inherently something between a man and a woman only, is this somehow discrimination, bigotry or even hate speech?” he asked. “Until just a few years ago, this question would be looked upon as absurd. But today it is a real inquiry and an open challenge to the truth about human sexuality, the complementarity of man and woman, and the nature of marriage. The assertion is made that for the Church to profess that some activities are immoral is in itself wrongful and, therefore, Catholics should not be free to publicly proclaim the Church’s revealed and received tradition.”

“In the debate over the nature of marriage, even the White House chose to use words like ‘discrimination’ to describe the position of people in good faith who simply disagree with the President’s stance,” he added. “In states where traditional marriage has been challenged in the legislative process and/or the courts, words like ‘bigotry,’ ‘discrimination’ and ‘hatred’ have been bandied about with nothing more to support them than the actual fact that some people think that the definition of marriage really and truly is between a man and a woman.”

Cardinal Wuerl continued:

Perhaps one of the most egregious examples of the current trend of gratuitously defaming people based on the suspected rationale for their positions is the majority opinion in the recent Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Here we find justices of the Supreme Court asserting that they are able to read the minds, hearts and souls of people, including Congress and the President of the United States, and have determined that the supporters of DOMA acted with malice, with the “purpose…to disparage and to injure” same-sex couples. The same majority opinion goes on to claim some sort of superhuman power to read men’s and women’s hearts, allowing the court now to announce that the motivation for DOMA was “to demean,” to brand as unworthy and to humiliate. The invocation of these angelic powers to penetrate the souls of people might be amusing if it were not for the raw injustice done to anyone who accepts Jesus’ declaration, “Have you not read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two should become one flesh’? …Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Matthew 19:3-6).

What is particularly alarming about the new tactic of branding one’s political opponents as intolerant, discriminatory or bigoted is that what follows easily is the declaration that we who have been declared extremists are told what we say is now “hate speech.” Almost everything Jesus says in Saint Matthew’s Gospel chapters 5 through 7 could be condemned today by someone as “hate speech.”

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  • Posted by: unum - Aug. 22, 2013 8:29 PM ET USA

    Bravo, Cardinal Wuerl, bravo! For too long the Church has been reluctant to debate moral issues in the public square, especially when the government is involved. What an opportunity to "teach as Jesus did". I am proud to see a prince of the Church standing up for Christ and His Church.

  • Posted by: nix898049 - Aug. 22, 2013 5:17 PM ET USA

    Maybe the Cardinal is finally getting some backbone. I remember seeing him address the issue on FOX and timidly suggesting that there should be room in the USA for differing points of view on the subject. Diplomacy doesn't work with bullies.

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