Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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.

Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Marriage, Gay Marriage, Homosexual Marriage, Cardinal George, family, Culture, Illinois General Assembly, Deacon Keith Fournier


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 in terms of Christian history. I do not care how "scientifically advanced" we think we have become, or how "modern" the issues purport to be, we humans do not really change all that much, at least without grace. The struggle we are engaged in as Christians in contemporary western culture still concerns a clash of worldviews, personal and corporate, and competing definitions of freedom.

Christians are often presented as unenlightened, forcing "our view" on others. When, in truth, our positions on marriage, family, authentic freedom, the dignity of every human person, and the nature of truth as objective are what frees people from the bondage of disordered appetites. These truths are objectively true for all men and women. We were made for relationship. We were structured for authentic love and human flourishing within family and a society founded upon family.

The early Church was sent into cultures filled with people who thought they were extremely "advanced" in light of the arts and sciences of their day. Yet, these cultures practiced primitive forms of abortion and even exposure, a practice of leaving unwanted children on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or picked up by slave traders. To them, freedom was rooted in a notion of power over others and the right to do as they chose. Sound familiar?

One has only to read the ancient Christian manuscripts such as the Didache (the Teaching of the Twelve) or the accounts of Justin Martyr or other early sources to read of cultures not unlike the one in which we live today, cultures of use where people were treated as property - cultures of excess where "freedom" was perceived as a power over others and unrestrained license masqueraded as liberty, where homosexual sexual practices were prevalent and efforts to grant them moral and legal equivalency were championed by some. 

These early Christians, with joy and integrity, spoke and lived a different way in the midst of that pagan culture. As a result, they sometimes stirred up hostility. Some of them were martyred in the red martyrdom of shed blood. Countless more joined the train of what use to be called "white martyrdom", by living lives of sacrificial witness and service in the culture, working hard and staying faithful to the end of a long life spent in missionary toil.

Slowly, not only were small numbers of "pagans" converted and baptized, but eventually their leaders and entire Nations followed suit. Resultantly, the Christian worldview began to influence the social order. The clash of freedoms continued, but the climate changed significantly. It was the Christian faith and the practices of these Christians that began to win the hearts of men and women. The cultures once enshrined to pagan practices, such as plural marriage, homosexuality, exposure and abortion began to change dramatically and this dynamic continued for centuries.

It was Christianity that taught such novel concepts as the dignity of every person and their equality before the One God. The Christians proclaimed the dignity of women, the dignity of chaste marriage and the sanctity of the family. It was Christianity that introduced the understanding of freedom not simply as a freedom from, but as a freedom for living responsibly and with integrity.

The Christians insisted that freedom must be exercised with reference to a moral code, a law higher than the emperor, or the shifting sands of public opinion. It was the Christians who understood that choice, rightly exercised, meant always choosing what was right and that the freedom to exercise that choice brought with it an obligation and concern for the other.

Their faith offered a coherent and compelling answer to the existential questions that plagued the ancients, such as why we existed and how we got here. What was the purpose of life? Questions like how evil came into the world and why we could not always make right choices? What force seemed to move us toward evil and how we could be set free from its power?

Christian philosophy began to flourish and the arts also flourished under the Christian worldview. Philosophies of government and economic theory began to be influenced by these principles derived from a Christian worldview. Now, we are called to transform our own American and Western culture from within once again. Our social and cultural mission is not an option. It lies at the heart of what it means to be "leaven", "light", "salt" and the "soul of the world" as the early Christians taught.

However, we need to realize that the task we face is first, at root, a spiritual struggle that will first be won in prayer and then stepped into a new Christian missionary movement by the compelling witness of a vibrant, orthodox, faithful Christianity that is culturally engaging, relevant and compelling to the new pagans of our age. The heroic witness demonstrated by Cardinal George is the prescription for the malady which is making the culture sick.

True marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of the universe. They are God's idea and not our own. Marriage is the first vital cell of society and creates the first society wherein children are to be raised so that they can fully develop and flourish.

Children have a right to a mother and a father. Yes, there are broken homes and single parent homes and we must always provide a compassionate social framework for those families. True marriage and family are the social foundation and glue of any truly just society. They are under an assault.

Below is the text of a letter which the Cardinal sent to all Catholics in Illinois. It is co-signed by his brother Bishops whose names follow his at the end.

*****

"Same-sex Marriage:" What do Nature and Nature's God say?

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

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.

Marriage comes to us from nature. The human species comes in two complementary sexes, male and female. Their sexual union is called marital. It not only creates a place of love for two adults but also a home for loving and raising their children. It provides the biological basis for personal identity.

It is physically impossible for two men or two women to consummate a marriage, even when they share a deep friendship or love. Does this mean nature is cruel or that God is unfair? No, but it does mean that marriage is what nature tells us it is and that the State cannot change natural marriage. Civil laws that establish "same-sex marriage" create a legal fiction. The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.

Neither did the Church create marriage. The Church asks if a man and woman proposing to marry are mature, responsible and free, willing to commit themselves to one another before the Lord in the presence of the community of the faithful to a lifelong relationship of fidelity to one another and openness to the creation and care for new life in their children.

Christ raised marital union to the dignity of a sacrament, giving it significance beyond that given it by nature; but, like the State, the Church cannot change the natural basis of marriage. Does this mean that the Church is anti-gay? No, for the Church welcomes everyone, respects each one personally and gives to each the spiritual means necessary to convert to God's ways and maintain friendship with Christ.

The Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Chicago has consistently condemned violence toward or hatred of homosexually oriented men and women. Good pastoral practice encourages families to accept all their children and not break relationships with them.

The Archdiocese offers Mass and other spiritual help to those who live their homosexuality anonymously (Courage groups) and also to those who want to be publicly part of the gay community (AGLO, which celebrates its twenty fifth anniversary this year). People live out their sexual identity in different ways, but the Church offers the means to live chastely in all circumstances, as the love of God both obliges and makes possible.

Should the lame duck legislature or the new Assembly take up the passage of a "same-sex marriage" law, it will be acting against the common good of society. We will all have to pretend to accept something that is contrary to the common sense of the human race.

Those who continue to distinguish between genuine marital union and same sex arrangements will be regarded in law as discriminatory, the equivalent of bigots. This proposed legislation will have long term consequences because laws teach; they tell us what is socially acceptable and what is not, and most people conform to the dictates of their respective society, at least in the short run.

What happens next? If we ignore in law the natural complementary of man and woman in creation, then the natural family is undermined. Our individual lives become artificial constructs protected by civil "rights" that destroy natural rights. Human dignity and human rights are then reduced to the whims of political majorities. 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.

We urge you to visit www.ilcatholic.org to stay updated on the effort to redefine marriage in our state and to find information on how to contact your state legislator.

Pray for our State.

Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I.
Bishop George J. Rassas
Bishop Francis J. Kane
Bishop Alberto Rojas
Bishop John R. Manz
Bishop Andrew P. Wypych
Bishop Joseph N. Perry

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More U.S.

Bill Clinton Panders to Homosexual Activist Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. We Will Resist Them Watch

Image of Pictured: Bill Clinton

This is the same President who, one year after he signed the Defense of Marriage Act, told the Homosexual and lesbian magazine The Advocate - I remain opposed to same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. This has been my long-standing position, and it is not being reviewed or considered. So, what has changed? Certainly not the truth about marriage. It cannot and will not change. Rather, this politician has changed. And, his wife wants to be President of the United States.

By Keith A. Fournier

All people of good will who recognize the vital role that marriage and the family play in serving the common good must get ready for what lies ahead. All people of good will who respect free speech, free association and the free exercise of religion must not be ... continue reading


New Hampshire sees a massive spike in job growth, problem? It's all going to immigrants Watch

Image of The so called

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has issued a new a report that shows that New Hampshire-the state where both senators voted for the "Gang of Eight" immigration bill-has had 71% job growth, but here's the kicker, those jobs are going to foreign-born ... continue reading


Why Christians Should Celebrate Halloween - and Transform the Culture Watch

Image of Noah dressed up as the Incredible Hulk

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The International Association of Exorcists sponsored a gathering in Vatican City on the last weekend of October in 2014. The organization was formally approved by the Holy See in June. The global Press was enamored with the notion that the Church even recognizes ... continue reading


Three men sentenced for participation in Internet child pornography ring Watch

Image of The 13 defendants, who range in age from 23 to 66, are from Indiana, New Jersey, Washington, Virginia, Maryland, Oregon, Missouri, Montana, Kentucky, Arizona and Massachusetts.

By Stella Dawson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The United States this week sentenced to prison three men involved in an international child pornography ring that exchanged online pictures and videos of children engaged in sexual acts, the government said on Wednesday. WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - ... continue reading


How could he let it happen? 92% of Afghan war Marine KIA under Obama Watch

Image of During the entire, 12 years war in Afghanistan, 92% of U.S. Marine casualties took place under the six years of President Obama's term.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Earlier this week the U.S. Marine Corps withdrew its forces from Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province in Afghanistan, effectively ending their 13 year involvement in the Afghan war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "U.S. Marines and service members from the ... continue reading


VIDEO: Antares rocket launch fails with fire and smoke Watch

Image of The Antares rocket was set to launch on October 27, but was postponed a day because a ship was in its expected trajectory.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A private contracted, unmanned NASA rocket exploded just after launch along coastal Virginia early on the evening of October 28 . LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft, products of Orbital Sciences Corp., were set to ... continue reading


Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christian Leaders Stand in Solidarity to Defend Marriage Watch

Image of Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman was not an idea manufactured by the Christian Church. It precedes Christianity. Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by Christian teaching, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Moral Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Marriage Solidarity Statement was drafted by Deacon Keith Fournier, Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Alliance, and Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Liberty Counsel Action. It was vetted among other Christian pastors and leaders ... continue reading


A 'Living legend': Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, last of the Crow war chiefs, turns 101 Watch

Image of Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, a living legend at 101, and a renown historian and scholar of the Crow people.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, the last Crow war chief, turned 101 on October 27, and spent the day at the Bighorn Battlefield, with his son. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I was fortunate when I was growing up," he said. "The Crow Indians were still retaining the ... continue reading


Former TV reporter says computer was bugged by Obama administration Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former President Richard M. Nixon was notorious for the surveillance he used on who he perceived as being enemies - but it appears that current U.S. president, Barack Obama could have taught "Tricky Dick" a thing or two. According to former CBS reporter Sharyl ... continue reading


School shooting in Washington state leaves 2 dead, five injured Watch

Image of Kids and parents react to news of the shooting.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A shooting has occurred at a school in Washington, in which authorities believe a bullied student shot and killed another. The shooter is also believed to be dead. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A school shooting has taken place at Marysville-Pilchuck High School ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Philippians 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 14:1-6
1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day he had gone ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 31st, 2014 Image

St. Wolfgang
October 31: Wolfgang (d. 994) + Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter