Action Alert!

"... the farthest shore of madness..."

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Oct 24, 2003

In 1991, when lawmakers in Massachusetts discussed "domestic partner" benefits for homosexual couples, Msgr. Wiliam Murphy-- now the Bishop of Rockville Center, New York-- referred to the proposal as "the farthest shore of madness."

Yesterday Bishop Daniel Reilly of Worcester-- speaking for all the bishops of Massachusetts-- endorsed roughly the same proposal, identifying it as a matter of "distriibutive justice."

What has happened in the past 12 years, to change "madness" to "distributive justice?"

  1. Has the Catholic Church changed her teaching regarding the morality of homosexual acts. No.
  2. Has the Vatican released a new document to clarify the issue? Actually, Yes. Just a few weeks ago, a new Vatican statement made it clear as day that Church leaders should not accept-- much less promote-- legislation that would homosexuals the same benefits as married couples.
  3. Has the Catholic hierarchy of Massachusetts caved in, abandoning the clear and consistent teaching of the Church and surrendering to secular culture? Decide for yourself.
As an afterthought: Can we expect Bishop Murphy to denounce the surrender in Boston, and scold his brother bishops for having reached "the farthest shore of madness?" I'm not holding my breath.

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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  • Posted by: - Oct. 24, 2003 9:09 PM ET USA

    Oh Pseudo D, please! Do you really think the bishops have the slightest clue about what Aquinas or Augustine or any of the Church fathers taught? It would be a far better bet that they know all the words to all the songs of the musical "Godspell."

  • Posted by: - Oct. 24, 2003 4:30 PM ET USA

    Will the Vatican step in to correct the Mass. bishops? Answer; No. Then I ask: Was Archbishop Lefebre on the right track or not? Answer: ? What is to be done? Answer: Hang in there and keep your money in the bank or send it to the few bishops who are still faithful.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 24, 2003 2:21 PM ET USA

    Well PseudoD, if the good bishop has read Aquinas, he may have misinterpreted him. I mean, old Tom did say that "...the proper matter of justice consists of those things that belong to our intercourse with other men..." ... :)

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Oct. 24, 2003 11:59 AM ET USA

    We keep tip-toeing around the issue of out-right rebellion. Elected officials and protestants of any kind appear to be "fair game" but when it comes to "our own" (the Bishops) we draw back in fear. How long will the "elephants " in the Catholic Church go ignored? It is going to get worse. ANY man or woman may choose to go to Hell, however, how long will we endorse that kind of leader by our passive silence which will lead to the destruction of many little ones?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 24, 2003 10:39 AM ET USA

    Memo to Bishop Daniel Rielly, Begging your pardon your Grace. If you look up Aquinas, you will see that there is a tripartite definition of Justice (Commutative, Distributive, Social if memory serves) -- which have to be carefully balanced to avoid error, and, in extreme cases heresy. Perhaps you wish to review what Liberation Theologians did with Social Justice and what Pope John Paul II had to say on the matter.