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

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Reason #12,645 Why I Have No Faith in the American Hierarchy: Theodore Cardinal McCarrick

Soon to be retired (Thank God!) Theodore Cardinal McCarrick of Washington, D.C. recently was interviewed on CNN by Wolf Blitzer (Hat Tip: Diogenes). Among other things, Cardinal McCarrick addressed the issue of Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions. My comments follow.


BLITZER: Another very sensitive issue that's being dealt with in the Senate right now involves a constitutional ban on same sex marriage. Senator Ted Kennedy said this yesterday. He said, "A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry, pure and simple." You disagree with him, don't you?

MCCARRICK: On this one, I do. Ted and I have -- do have differences from time to time. And this is a real big one. It seems to me that we really have to continue to define marriage as we've defined marriage for thousands of years as a union between a man and a woman.

Now, I think the legislation as it is proposed would not throw out the possibility of a civil union. And I think we can -- we can live with that if this is what -- if this is what the Constitution will provide for. But to say that you can take this concept of marriage, this word 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 that makes no sense.

BLITZER: So just explain. 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: Yes. I think -- I think basically the ideal would be that everybody was -- was able to enter a union with a man and a woman and 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 our society together. That's the ideal.

If you can't meet that ideal, if there are people who for one reason or another just cannot do that or feel they cannot do that, then in order to protect their right to take care of each other, in order to take care of their right to have visitation in a hospital or something like that, I think that you could allow, not the ideal, but you could allow for that for a civil union.

But if you begin to fool around with the whole -- the whole nature of marriage, then you're doing something which effects 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's in real trouble.

(emphasis added)


My comments:

In 2003, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document entitled "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons." The Document was approved by Pope John Paul II and by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. Though Cardinal McCarrick was undoubtedly busy working on the task force examining the church's relationship with Catholic politicians whose voting records conflict with Church doctrine, some of us did have the opportunity to read the document.

Though I am not schooled as McCarrick is in the art of nuance [FN], the Church's position seems clear enough to me. Here are two paragraphs from the document:

"In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection."


"The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself."

Note to Cardinal McCarrick: the Church opposes civil unions for homosexuals as well as so-called Gay Marriage. Perhaps you'll have more time to catch up on your reading of Church documents during your upcoming retirement.

As a final treat to our readers, I have decided to include the remaining portion of Wolf Blitzer's interview with Cardinal McCarrick. Enjoy!


BLITZER: You're about to retire. What are you going to do, because a lot of us think you're hitting your prime right now. Those of us who have seen you in action over the years here in the nation's capital. It's almost a pity you're retiring. Are you being forced to retire? Is that the rules of the Catholic Church, the Vatican? Says you reach a certain age, you've got to retire?

MCCARRICK: Well, the rules are a certain age, when you hit 75, you have to send in your resignation. And that's what I did. The Holy Father gave me a whole year later, because I sent it in July of last year.

So now the Holy Father felt that it was good to have a younger man who's going to be -- who's going to be wonderful. He's the best possible archbishop of Washington, I think, is Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh, who is going to succeed. And I think he's a great teacher. He's a man of the center. He's articulate. He's courageous. The people are going to love him, and he's going to love the people.

I think I'm really happy that we have a good man coming. I keep saying this is going to be the golden age of the archdiocese. They're in the Bronze Age now. We're going to make good progress.


[FN] Cardinal McCarrick received the honorary degree "Doctor of Nuance" from Georgetown Univeresity in May of 2003.