Monthly Archives: March 2013


Let it not be said that Father does not have friends in high places!

Mid Forest, Michigan Oct. 2010 027

Dr. Edward N. Peters: A Primer on Church teaching regarding ‘same-sex marriage’

In the Light of the Law

A primer on Church teaching regarding ‘same-sex marriage’

No matter which way the US Supreme Court rules in the “gay marriage” cases before it the international debate over the definition of marriage will continue because that debate is, at root, about matters beyond a civil court’s competence, things like the nature of human beings and the fundamental good of society. Because we Catholics are and will surely remain major participants in such a debate we should be clear among ourselves as to what our Church teaches in this area. I offer as a primer (I stress, primer) toward such better understanding my position on the following points.

1. The Catholic Church teaches, through its ordinary magisterium and with infallible certainty, that marriage exists only between one man and one woman. CDF, “Considerations” (2003) passim; CCC 1601-1608; CCEO (1990) 776; 1983 CIC 1055 § 1; Rite of Marriage (1969) n. 2; Vatican II, Gaudium et spes (1965) 48; Pius XI, Casti connubii (1930) 6, 20, 23; Leo XIII, Arcanum (1880) 5, 24; Matthew XIX: 4-6; and Genesis II: 21-24. There is no evidence of ecclesiastical authority eversupporting any other definition of marriage.

1. Note. It is possible that this teaching is proposed as an object of belief(credenda, per Canon 750 § 1, doubt or denial of which assertion would be heresy under Canon 751 and thus sanctionable under Canon 1364 § 1); at a minimum, however, the Church proposes the man-woman assertion as necessarily to be held(tenenda) in order “to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith” (Canon 750 § 2), rendering those who “obstinately reject” the assertion liable to “a just penalty” if, having been duly admonished, they refuse to retract (Canon 1371, 2º).

2. The Catholic Church has the right and duty “always and everywhere to announce moral principles, even about the social order, and to render judgment concerning any human affairs insofar as the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls requires it.” 1983 CIC 747 § 2; CCC 2246.

3. Catholics who promote “same-sex marriage” act contrary to Canon 209 § 1 and should not approach for holy Communion per Canon 916. Depending on the facts of the case, they also risk having holy Communion withheld from them under Canon 915, being rebuked under Canon 1339 § 2, and/or being sanctioned under Canon 1369 for gravely injuring good morals.

3. Note. The situation of Catholic politicians lending support to “same-sex marriage” is to be assessed as above, with special attention being paid to the heightened responsibility that civil servants have to protect the common good. CDF, “Considerations” (2003) 10; CCC 2235-2237, 2244; 1983 CIC 1326 § 1, 2.

4. The Catholic Church would regard any attempt by persons of the same sex to marry, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof, as null. CCC 1603; 1983 CIC 1055 § 1.

5. Catholics who attempt a “same-sex marriage” act contrary to Canon 209 § 1 and should not approach for holy Communion per Canon 916. Depending on the facts of the case, they also risk having holy Communion withheld from them under Canon 915, being rebuked under Canon 1339 § 2, and/or being sanctioned under Canon 1379 for simulation of a sacrament. Moreover, Catholics who assist others toward attempting a “same-sex marriage” cooperate in the bad act of those others, which cooperation is liable to moral assessment in accord with the usual principles applicable to cooperation with evil and, under certain facts, according to the canonical principles applying to cooperation in crime per Canon 1329 and/or scandal per Canon 1339 § 2, etc.

5. Note. Catholics who have attempted a “same-sex marriage” or who have assisted another toward a “same-sex marriage” can be reconciled morally under the usual conditions by sacramental Confession (Canon 959) or by a ‘perfect act of contrition’ per CCC 1452; they can be reconciled canonically, if necessary, in accord with applicable law.

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Additum: Scholion on the phrase “homosexual unions” as envisioned in CDF’s “Considerations” (2003).

Some are wondering whether the 2003 CDF document requires Catholic opposition toany civil attempt to accord same-sex couples, qua couples, any, let alone many, of the rights of married couples. I think the CDF document does not make such a demand on Catholic consciences.

Consider: having thoroughly and completely and correctly rejected the claim that same-sex couples can marry, the CDF document, to underscore, I suggest, its rejection of that claim,  would not even countenance use of the phrase “same-sex marriage” or “gay marriage” or “homosexual marriage”, and instead referred exclusively to “homosexual unions”. Now, however, a decade further into this debate, the distinction between “same-sex, or gay, or homosexual marriage” and “same-sex, or gay, or homosexual unions” is more commonly recognized, with the latter category (“unions”), insofar as it limits itself to civil consequences for certain living arrangements and does not attempt to redefine marriage itself, being a possibility to be assessed in accord with prudence, while the former category (“marriage”) is, as a matter of principle, to be universally and indeed vigorously rejected.

In short, notwithstanding the 2003 CDF language, civilly sanctioned “homosexualunions”, as that term is understood today, might or might not be objectionable depending on the terms of such recognition, but civilly sanctioned “homosexualmarriage” can never be supported by Catholics in good conscience.

Salvo sapientiorum iudicio.

Adage of the Season

Colui che arriva al concilio da papa,

ne diparte da cardinale.

Sandro Magister on Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ [5 December 2002]

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Profession: Servant of the Servants of God

He´s the latest Latin-American rumored for the papacy, and he´s already at the head among the possible successors of Peter. If elected, he would be the first Jesuit pope

by Sandro Magister    

( From “L´espresso” no. 49, November 28 – December 5, 2002, original title: “Bergoglio in Pole Position” )

Midway through November, his colleagues wanted to elect him president of the Argentine bishops´ conference. He refused. But if there had been a conclave, it would have been difficult for him to refuse the election to the papacy, because he´s the one the cardinals would vote for resoundingly, if they were called together to choose immediately the successor to John Paul II.

He´s Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Bueno Aires. Born in Argentina (with an Italian surname), he has leapt to the top of the list of the papabili, given the ever-increasing likelihood that the next pope could be Latin-American. Reserved, timid, and laconic, he won´t lift a finger to advance his own campaign – but even this is counted among his strong suits.

John Paul II made him a cardinal together with the last group of bishops named to the honor, in February of 2001. On that occasion, Bergoglio distinguished himself by his reserve among his many more festive colleagues. Hundreds of Argentinians had begun fundraising efforts to fly to Rome to pay homage to the new man with the red hat. But Bergoglio stopped them. He ordered them to remain in Argentina and distribute the money they had raised to the poor. In Rome, he celebrated his new honor nearly alone – and with Lenten austerity.

He has always lived this way. Since he was made archbishop of the Argentinian capital, the luxurious residence next to the cathedral has remained empty. He lives in a nearby apartment, together with another bishop, old and sickly. In the evening, he himself cooks for both of them. He rarely drives, getting around most of the time by bus, wearing the cassock of an ordinary priest.

Of course, it´s more difficult now for him to move about unnoticed, his face becoming always more familiar in his country. Since Argentina has spun into a tremendous crisis and everyone else´s reputation – politicians, business leaders, officials, intellectuals – has fallen through the floor, the star of Cardinal Bergoglio has risen to its zenith. He has become one of the few guiding lights of the people.

Yet he´s not the type to compromise himself for the public. Every time he speaks, instead, he tries to shake people up and surprise them. In the middle of November, he did not give a learned homily on social justice to the people of Argentina reduced by hunger – he told them to return to the humble teachings of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. “This,” he explained, “is the way of Jesus.” And as soon as one follows this way seriously, he understands that “to trample upon the dignity of a woman, a man, a child, an elderly person, is a grave sin that cries out to heaven,” and he decides not to do it any more.

The other bishops follow in his footsteps. During the Holy Year of 2000 he asked the entire Church in Argentina to put on garments of public penance for the sins committed during the years of the dictatorship. As a result of this act of purification, the Church had the credibility to be able to ask the nation to acknowledge how its own sins had contributed to its current disaster. At the celebration of the Te Deum at the most recent national feast, last May 25th, there was a record audience for Cardinal Bergoglio´s homily. The cardinal asked the people of Argentina to do as Zacchaeus had done in the Gospel. Here was a sinister loan shark. But, taking account of his moral lowliness, he climbed up into a sycamore tree, to see Jesus and let himself be seen and converted by him.

There isn´t a politician, from the right to the extreme left, who isn´t dying for the blessing of Bergoglio. Even the women of Plaza de Mayo, ultraradicals and unbridled anti-catholics, treat him with respect. He has even made inroads with one of them in private meetings. On another occasion, he visited the deathbed of an ex-bishop, Jeronimo Podestá, who had married in defiance of the Church and was dying poor and forgotten by all. From that moment, Mrs. Podestá became one of his devoted fans.

But Bergoglio has also had his difficulties with his ecclesiastical environment. He is a Jesuit of the old school, faithful to St. Ignatius. He became the provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina just when the dictatorship was in full furor and many of his confreres were tempted to take up the rifle and apply the teachings of Marx. Once removed from his position as superior, Bergoglio returned to obscurity. He came back into the public eye in 1992 when the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Antonio Quarracino, made him his auxiliary bishop.

From there, his ascent began. The first – and almost only – interview he has given was to a parish news bulletin, “Estrellita de Belém,” as if to make the point that the Church is in the minority and shouldn´t cultivate illusions of grandeur.

He travels as little as possible. He visits the Vatican only when strictly necessary, the four or five times a year they summon him. He reserves a small room in a residence for clergy (the “Casa del Clero” on Via della Scrofa), and every morning at 5:30 he´s already awake and praying in the chapel.

Bergoglio excels in one-on-one communication, but he can also speak well in public when necessary. At the last synod of bishops in the fall of 2001, they unexpectedly asked him to take the place of one of the speakers who had withdrawn. Bergoglio managed the meeting so well that, at the time for electing the twelve members of the secretary´s council, his brother bishops chose him with the highest vote possible.

Someone in the Vatican had the idea to call him to direct an important dicastery. “Please, I would die in the Curia,” he implored. They spared him.

Since that time, the thought of having him return to Rome as the successor of Peter has begun to spread with growing intensity. The Latin-American cardinals are increasingly focused upon him, as is Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. The only key figure among the Curia who hesitates when he hears his name is Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano – the very man known for supporting the idea of a Latin-American pope.


Just back from Hillsdale, caught like deer in the headlights.12 March 2013



Way Kool: Dr. Eric and Dr. Ron in Alma, Michigan


Historical Distortions and The Templars | The Foreword to Régine Pernoud’s ‘The Templars: Knights of Christ’ by Piers Paul Read | Ignatius Insight [22 October 2009]

As disgraceful as the fate of the last Templars–the last Grand Master, *James of Molay, was burned at the stake in Paris–has been the appropriation of the Order by myth-making Freemasons in the eighteenth century, whose mytagogy and obfuscation persists to this day. From Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, the protrayal of the Templars is as false as it is absurd. This distortion exasperated, and even enraged, the French historian Régine Pernoud, who has already set right many of our misapprehensions about the Middle Ages in her Those Terrible Middle Ages: Debunking the Myths. Now in The Templars she rehabilitates the devout Catholic knights, exposing ‘the incredible crop of fanciful allegations attributing to the Templars every kind of esoteric rite and belief, from the most ancient to the most vulgar. . . .’ As she rightly points out, the truth is accessible in archives and libraries; it is not impossible to uncover the facts. The result is an excellent, unadorned history which is a pleasure to read.

* Jacques DeMolay