* Yesterday’s poll results showing a ten-point increase by Illinoisans in support of gay marriage prompted this reaction from the Catholic Conference…
The Catholic Conference of Illinois plans to more aggressively argue against gay marriage, said its executive director, Robert Gilligan. Brochures with questions and answers about the subject will go out to parishes around the state, he said, and pastors will receive talking points to help them discuss gay marriage more effectively.
* The Election 2012 talking points have already been posted online. Here’s an excerpt from October 14-21…
As Catholics, we must recognize that not all issues carry the same moral weight. The continuing slaughter of innocent children through legal abortion—to take the most appalling example of such “intrinsic evil”—is a grave offense against God and our own human dignity, and cries out for justice. Accordingly, “the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions.”
Those who knowingly, willingly and directly support public policies or legislation that protect and perpetuate such injustice cooperate with that grave evil. Candidates who promise to support the common good, while at the same time glossing over their support for intrinsic evils such as abortion, perpetrate a lie. Catholic candidates who do so are also a cause of scandal among the faithful.
Finally, two other issues of particular importance in this election year demand our attention. The first is marriage: the permanent, faithful relationship of a man and a woman as husband and wife is the root of a family and the foundation for all of society. The decline of marriage in our culture has already inflicted untold spiritual and material costs upon society and individuals alike. Attempts to redefine marriage are contrary to the natural and moral law and only serve to further erode this fundamental institution. The defense of marriage is a matter of social justice.
*** UPDATE *** The Catholic Conference called to clarify that these are bulletin inserts and are not the “talking points” that Gilligan referred to above.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
The official talking points make the case that “not all issues carry the same moral weight.” Abortion is referred to as an “intrinsic evil,” while opposition to gay marriage is said to be a “matter of social justice.”
* But Springfield’s Catholic Bishop, Thomas John Paprocki, wrote a column recently that appeared to refer to both abortion and gay marriage as “intrinsic evils”…
Moreover, the Democratic Party Platform also supports same-sex marriage, recognizes that “gay rights are human rights,” and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.
Now, why am I mentioning these matters in the Democratic Party Platform? There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils. My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding “political” and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues. People of faith object to these platform positions that promote serious sins. I know that the Democratic Party’s official “unequivocal” support for abortion is deeply troubling to pro-life Democrats.
So what about the Republicans? I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin. The Republican Party Platform does say that courts “should have the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases.” But the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (in paragraph 2267), “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm — without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself — the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”
One might argue for different methods in the platform to address the needs of the poor, to feed the hungry and to solve the challenges of immigration, but these are prudential judgments about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils. [Emphasis added.]
Springfield’s Bishop might have been unclear on the concept.