Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Quick Hits I: A caution on letting the states decide, a prophetic statement on violence against homosexuals

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jun 14, 2016 | In Quick Hits

  • In years of debate over the Roe v. Wade decision, some earnest American pro-lifers argued that the best resolution would be to restore the power of the individual states to regulate abortion. More recently, defenders of marriage have made the same argument: step aside from a heated national argument, and let the states settle their own policies regarding same-sex unions. Hadley Arkes notes that this line of thought shows The Lure of Subsidiarity, and he is sympathetic. That line of argument, he writes, can be traced back all through US history; it was a major issue in the Lincoln-Douglas debate, and even cropped up in the Constitutional Convention. And here’s the problem: that argument always loses. Arkes explains: “As soon as the sense takes hold that something rightful, something of moral significance is at stake, the walls of subsidiarity will be coming down.” So we can’t finesse the argument. If we want to save marriage, or roll back Roe, or stop euthanasia, we must engage in the moral debate.

  • And speaking of moral debates, in light of current events I don’t think it’s necessary to explain the relevance of this prophetic quote from the Vatican’s “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” issued in 1986 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:
    10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

    But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.

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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