Pope Francis, Homosexual “Unions”, And The Duty Of The Church.
Jimmy Akin has a very interesting article about the way Church prelates should act in the face of Anti-Christian legislation. It seems to me, though, that he reaches, in part, the wrong conclusions.
The intent of the author is to analyse what the then Cardinal Bergoglio might have said (but no one knows whether he has) concerning Sodomarriages, and to justify his behaviour if he really did it. I think the explanation goes too far.
The central point of the article is the way Catholics (the bishops, the cardinals, the priests on the ground, but also activists and lawmakers) must act on anti-Christian legislation in a democratic environment, namely:
1. try to avoid that it becomes law.
2. try to kill it if it does, and
3. try to tear it into pieces as soon and as far as possible if option 2 seems, at some point, not realistic.
Up to here everything is very fine, and the author brings some useful examples of this concerning pro-life legislation in the US: Roe vs Wade is there, an outright repeal is not in the cards for now, and the work is therefore focused on measures taking away the evil from Roe vs. Wade, so to speak, one limb at a time.
Where I think Mr Akin is getting to the wrong conclusions is when he says that then Cardinal Bergoglio – if he really did so; which we don't know – might therefore have been done the right thing if he proposed a “civil union” legislation at the national level to avoid the bigger evil of impending Sodomarriage.
Now, this cannot be right. Firstly it is un-Catholic, and secondly it is illogical.
The Church never tolerates “lesser evil” thinking. Until an evil legislative measure has become the law of the land, there is only one duty, and this is to fight it with all the Church's strenght. To propose or promote or in any way facilitate a law which is a worsening of the present situation because a “worse worsening” might otherwise happen is not Catholic, and is in clear contrast to what has been said before. Firstly you make everything on earth to avoid Sodomarriage legislation; secondly you make hell on earth for the politicians who dared to approve it to get it repealed. If after a number of years it should be seen that it partout does not work, then you work to tear the bad situation to pieces one limb at a time.
Look at the Papal States, deprived of sovereignty in 1870. Firstly they have fought against the army of the Kingdom of Italy; secondly they have tried to reverse the situation after it had occurred, desperate as the situation appeared, among other things forbidding Catholics to take part in elections; at some point (in the Nineties of the XIX century) they have started serious talks about how Church and State could live together, and at the appropriate juncture they have acted to improve on the existing situation. They certainly haven't thought for a moment “The Kingdom is going to invade us soon, so let us try to find a compromise that damages us in a lesser way”.
The illogical part comes from the consequences of this thinking. If to put, so to speak, point 3 before point 2 were a permissible step, there would be no boundaries to what the Church would approve. The threat of Sodomarriage would be enough to let them propose civil unions; the threat of polygamy would be enough to let them propose Sodomarriage, and the threat of bestiality would be enough to let them accept or propose polygamy. If to run one step ahead were the way to get the Church to get into “damage limitation” mode, there is really nothing which Church prelates cannot be moved to approve. The Cuomos of this world would simply adopt the strategy of legislating one half step at a time – with the Church's support – rather than one step at a time without it. It just doesn't make sense.
Thinking of today's England, the consequence of this would be for the Church to embrace either civil partnerships (which are there already) or a sodomarriage legislation with some special guarantees for the Catholic church, as the so-called same sex marriage legislation has already passed the first hurdles and might well become law at some point. If the Church doesn't fight tooth and nail against it, that is.
The reasoning doesn't make sense also because the experience shows us that such lesser evil legislation unavoidably leads to the proposal of the bigger evil, and I do not know of any country where “civil partnership” legislation has quenched the calling for so-called same sex marriages. To propose such legislation is tantamount to delivering ourselves to the Enemy in installments.
The Church is in the business of blocking evil before it occurs, and fighting it after it did. She is not in the business of caring that, at every given day, the faithful may be given half the load of manure in order to avoid secular lawmakers to unload the entire load. You just don't propose or facilitate a lesser abomination to avoid a bigger one.
The conclusion from this is that if really Cardinal Bergoglio proposed such a measure – which we don't know; and I'd say he didn't, unless perhaps in a “brainstorming” exercise reaching conclusions whose erroneous nature he must have immediately seen – then Cardinal Bergoglio was obviously wrong in doing so. We should analyse the clergy's actions in light of what they are or were supposed to do, not try to find justifications a posteriori for when they didn't. There is nothing like retroactive infallibility of the future Pope anyway.
Having said that, I found the article very interesting in the way it explains the approach to effective action in the face of evil – when teh action is the appropriate one – and though I would share it with you.
Posted on March 22, 2013, in Catholicism and tagged Conservative Catholic, conservative catholicism, Pope Francis, so-called same sex marriages. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Pope Francis, Homosexual “Unions”, And The Duty Of The Church..