Courageous Cardinal George Leads the Effort to Defend Marriage in Illinois
When the ways of nature and nature's God conflict with civil law, society is in danger. It is to that danger that we direct your attention
The Illinois General Assembly is being asked to consider a bill called "The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act." This is a deceptive title that ignores basic truths.The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible. Neither did the Church create marriage.
Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I.
CHICAGO, IL (Catholic Online) - Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I, the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, is one of the great churchmen of our age. His courage has been demonstrated throughout his service to the Church and the world into which she is sent. He is a holy man, in love with the Lord and well aware of the challenges we face as we begin a new missionary age.
The Cardinal's mettle was demonstrated on another front recently by his heroic struggle against cancer. He is a prophetic leader because he is unapologetically committed to the existence of truth in an age rightly characterized by Pope Benedict XVI as struggling under a "dictatorship of relativism". He has long been a defender of the fundamental human right to life of our first neighbors in the first home of the womb. He is a friend of the poor and a man of mercy.
Now, supported by his brother Bishops in Illinois, this brave man is taking on one of the greatest assaults against truth in our time, the battle against marriage and the family and society founded upon it. He knows the implications of the struggle - and the ferocity of the opposition. Yet, he is unafraid. In an article the Catholic New World entitled The Wrong Side of History, written just prior to the 2012 elections in the United States, he offered some insight into the context within which he sees this task:
"Communism imposed a total way of life based upon the belief that God does not exist. Secularism is communism's better-scrubbed bedfellow. A small irony of history cropped up at the United Nations a few weeks ago when Russia joined the majority of other nations to defeat the United States and the western European nations that wanted to declare that killing the unborn should be a universal human right. Who is on the wrong side of history now?"
"The present political campaign has brought to the surface of our public life the anti-religious sentiment, much of it explicitly anti-Catholic, that has been growing in this country for several decades. The secularizing of our culture is a much larger issue than political causes or the outcome of the current electoral campaign, important though that is."
"Speaking a few years ago to a group of priests, entirely outside of the current political debate, I was trying to express in overly dramatic fashion what the complete secularization of our society could bring. I was responding to a question and I never wrote down what I said, but the words were captured on somebody's smart phone and have now gone viral on Wikipedia and elsewhere in the electronic communications world."
"I am (correctly) quoted as saying that I expected to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. What is omitted from the reports is a final phrase I added about the bishop who follows a possibly martyred bishop: "His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." What I said is not "prophetic" but a way to force people to think outside of the usual categories that limit and sometimes poison both private and public discourse."
The courage demonstrated by Cardinal George is reminiscent of heroic Bishops through our history as a Church. Thank God their numbers are increasing in this urgent moment in our history. We need them. It should inspire us all to take our place in the mission of the whole Church, no matter what our state in life or vocation. It should also prompt our dedicated prayer for him and all of our Bishops.
True marriage is the preeminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions. It is a relationship defined by nature itself and protected by the natural law that binds all men and women. It finds its foundation in the order of creation. Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they create a "right" to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. The institutions of government should, when acting properly, defend marriage against those who would redefine it.
Government has long regulated marriage for the common good. For example, the ban on polygamy and age requirements were enforced in order to ensure that there was a mature decision at the basis of the Marriage contract. Heterosexual marriage, procreation, and the nurturing of children form the foundation for the family, and the family forms the foundation of civil society.
To limit marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory now, nor has it ever been. Homosexual couples cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its very definition. To now to confer the benefits that have been conferred in the past only to stable married couples and families to homosexual paramours is bad public policy.
The current cultural situation we face as Christians in America is not an unfamiliar one. We need to see it now ...
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