Catholicism v Freedom

Eric does a really thorough job on Bill Donohue and the Catholic League.

A sample:

This explains, for instance, the insistence, by Catholic bishops, archbishops and cardinals, that the law of marriage not be changed to accommodate the relationships of homosexual persons. Although according to canon 1059, “the marriage of Catholics is governed not only by divine law but also by canon law, without prejudice to the competence of civil authority concerning the merely civil effects of the same marriage,” (my italics) it is clear that, by insisting that civil authorities cannot unilaterally declare the validity of marriages between homosexuals, Catholic bishops are holding canon law to be, in effect, superior to, and determinative of, what can be licitly determined by civil law. We should not be under any illusions about the scope of canon law in terms of the church’s own self-understanding. Canon law is, in crucial respects, prescriptive for civil law.

This is particularly evident with respect to laws governing abortion and assisted dying. The very existence of legal abortion or assisted dying is offensive to obedient Catholics. (The qualification is necessary, though, in general, the church holds that dissidents have effectively excommunicated themselves by their beliefs and actions. Only those Catholics faithful to the teachings of the Magisterium are considered to be Catholic in the true sense of that word.) In a short paper entitled “Response to Our Critics,” (The Review of Politics, Vol. 63, No. 1 (Winter 2000) 43-48) the Catholics Gary Glenn (I believe the linked Gary Glenn is the co-author of this paper) and John Stack inveigh against what they call the “civil liberties” regime in the United States, which they hold to be a great danger to Catholics.

Read on.


  1. smrnda says

    My assumption on how religious agencies handled marriages that IF you wanted the church to do/bless your marriage, you had to do what they wanted you to – the idea is that, say, a catholic church doesn’t have to perform a marriage for a couple where one person is a catholic and the other is say, a wiccan if they feel it violated the teachings of their church. That’s what the part in italics seems to say to me.

    I’m sure that many folks in the church though are longing for the good old days when their jurisdiction extended beyond the church and into the lives of everybody.

  2. says

    I think “longing” is an insufficiently strong word for what Donohue and his bunch think they are doing. They are proceeding under the assumption that they do still have that jurisdiction, and those who would contradict that assumption risk the wrath of the Almighty God (TM), which Donohue and his minions have been commissioned to channel on behalf of the Almighty God (TM), who seems to be fresh out of thunderbolts Himself.

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