Orders from Rome

One wonders what the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) hoped to accomplish with the July 31 release of its statement, “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons.” It was not so long ago in this country that Catholics aspiring to serve in elected office were questioned as to whether or not they would “take orders from Rome.” Evidently, the congregation now believes the influence of the church on public policy will be strengthened if it issues precisely such orders. “All Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions,” the CDF announces. “Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way....When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.”

If these instructions did not have a Roman postmark, one would be tempted to think they had emerged from the fevered imagination of Paul Blanshard, the author of the bestselling anti-Catholic screed, American Freedom and Catholic Power (1949).

Whether or not civil law in this country should recognize same-sex marriage or, short of that, “civil unions,” is a question that divides many people of good...

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