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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cardinal Confusion: McCarrick's "Clarification"

A few days ago, I posted on Cardinal McCarrick's CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer in which McCarrick explained that he supported civil unions for homosexuals. According to a "Clarification" issued by the Archdiocese of Washington, it seems that I, and other commentators, "misinterpreted" the good Cardinal's words. Here's the Clarification:

Some remarks by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, that were made during an interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN (air date June 7, 2006) were not clear and have been misinterpreted by some individuals. To prevent further confusion, the Cardinal issued the following clarification:

"I'm afraid that I misspoke last Wednesday when I was being interviewed on CNN.

"We were talking about the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment and the protection of marriage between a man and a woman. Here is what I said: 'We really have to continue to define marriage as we have defined marriage for thousands of years as a union between a man and a woman.'

"After that, I spoke of the legislation as it had been proposed and that it would not eliminate the possibility of civil unions. I said, 'If this is what the legislation would provide for, I think we can live with that.'

"My point was that the wording of the proposed legislation to protect marriage, which did not eliminate civil unions, might be necessary in order to have the votes needed to pass it. I added, 'to say that you can take the concept of marriage and use it in ways that it has never been used before, as far as I know, in the history of the world, I think makes no sense.'

"When probed further on the question of civil unions, which came up because the wording of the constitutional amendment did not seem to eliminate them, I returned to the ideal -- that everybody should be 'able to enter a union with a man and a woman and that would bring children into the world and have the wonderful relationship of man and wife that is so mutually supportive and is really so much part of our society and what keeps society together.'

"I added, 'If you fool around with the whole nature of marriage, then you are doing something which affects the whole culture and denigrates what is so important for us. Marriage is the basic foundation of our family structure and if we lose that, then I think we become a society that is in real trouble.'

"In trying to reply to a question, I mentioned people who may need the right to take care of each other when they are grievously ill and hospitalized, but it was always in the context of the proposed legislation and in no way in favor of a lifestyle that is contrary to the teaching of the Church and Scripture. I realized that my words could have given the wrong impression to someone who did not take my remarks in context.

"I regret any confusion my words may have caused because I did not make myself sufficiently clear."


My Comments: OK everyone, are you now clear on the Cardinal's position on civil unions? Neither am I.

In the original CNN interview, Blitzer asked McCarrick the following question: "You think that you could live with -- you could support civil unions between gays and lesbians, but you wouldn't like them to get formally married, is that right?" McCarrick answered "yes" and then tried to clarify his answer, and in doing so only ended up reiterating his support for civil unions.

Now McCarrick's "clarification" explains that his CNN remarks were confusing and may have been misinterpreted. Well, this commentator continues to be confused by McCarrick's position. Re-read the Cardinal's "clarifying" remarks. Does he ever indicate that he opposes civil unions for homosexuals? No.

I believe that Cardinal McCarrick now needs to offer a clarification of his clarification in order to unambiguously state that both he and the Catholic Church oppose civil unions for homosexuals. Until McCarrick makes such a statement, he is failing in his duty to oppose civil unions (see Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons), and I will be forced to continue in my belief that Cardinal McCarrick, in opposition to Church teaching, supports civil unions for homosexuals.