Some politicians, notably Catholic dissident Representative Nancy Pelosi, and some very vocal extremist homosexual activist groups have launched a vicious attack on Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, protesting his announced decision to participate in and speak at a rally preceding the second annual March for Marriage organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which is being held tomorrow in Washington, D.C. Archbishop Cordileone has responded with an excellent letter addressed to his detractors, in which he defends his public defense of traditional marriage. Here are a few excerpts from this letter, followed by my comments:
"I appreciate your affirmation of my Church’s teaching—not unique to our religion, but a truth accessible to anyone of good will—on the intrinsic human dignity of all people, irrespective of their stage and condition in life. That principle requires us to respect and protect each and every member of the human family, from the precious child in the womb to the frail elderly person nearing death. It also requires me, as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing. I must do that in season and out of season, even when truths that it is my duty to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. That is what I will be doing on June 19th."
Yes, the good archbishop is simply doing his job to teach and consistently defend the full truth of what God has revealed and what the Catholic Church teaches about the human person and the Creator's institution of marriage. Whether people accept or reject certain divinely revealed truths is irrelevant. The fullness of the truth must and always will be proclaimed by the Catholic Church. Those who accept the fullness of that truth belong to the Catholic Church; those who claim to be Catholic while rejecting one or more Church teachings are heretics. Human fashions and opinions are subject to change, but God's truth doesn't change. And how dare Nancy Pelosi, who claims to be Catholic, attack her own archbishop as an intolerant, anti-gay bigot for publicly defending the truth of what the Church teaches regarding the sacred institution of marriage! Archbishop Cordileone addresses this latter point as follows:
"The March for Marriage is not “anti-LGBT” (as some have described it); it is not anti-anyone or anti-anything. Rather, it is a pro-marriage March. The latter does not imply the former. Rather, it affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union. This is precisely the vision promoted by Pope Francis, who recently said, “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and mother.” Rest assured that if the point of this event were to single out a group of individuals and target them for hatred, I most certainly would not be there."
Right on. Part of the tired old mainstream media spin is to cast pro-life and pro-marriage Americans as wild-eyed, hateful, bigoted attackers of those who are pro-abortion or in favor of legally equating same-sex unions with traditional marriage. This highly inaccurate portrayal is in fact more descriptive of pro-abortion extremists and homosexual activists. On the contrary, the overwheling majority of pro-life and pro-marriage Americans are people of good will who love and respect their enemies and who are doing their fellow men and women a great service by defending basic human rights and institutions that come from our Creator and form the foundations of our society and civilization. Yes, we must reaffirm the basic right of children to grow up in a traditional family, with a Mom and Dad. Defending that right is in no way an attack on homosexual persons.
"It gives me assurance that we share a common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric. It must be pointed out, though, that there is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction. In fact, for those who support the conjugal understanding of marriage, the attacks have not stopped at rhetoric. Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence."
The archbishop points out here that those, like him, who defend traditional marriage are increasingly under attack for doing so. In other words, most of the unjust bigotry and intolerance are coming from homosexual activists, not from defenders of traditional marriage. He also alludes to the crucial fact that marriage as the union of a man and a woman is not just Catholic teaching, but a fundamental principle of the natural law that has been recognized by all human societies throughout world history. Traditional marriage is God's design, engraved on the human heart; it is and always has been the basic building block of society. When people who espouse it can be unjustly attacked with impunity for doing so, something is seriously wrong with that society.
In closing, Archbishop Cordileone requests that his attackers get to know him before passing judgment on him:
"Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings. I myself am willing to meet personally with any of you not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each other....When all is said and done, then, there is only one thing that I would ask of you more than anything else: before you judge us, get to know us."
Good advice. But will Nancy Pelosi and her homosexual friends take it? I hope so. Let's pray for them.
I commend Archbishop Cordileone for his courteous, thoughtful, and well-reasoned response to his handful of vocal critics. His uncompromising defense of Catholic teaching and the natural law regarding the holy institution of marriage is refreshing. At a time when corruption is rampant in American politics and business, thank God that at least we have many fine bishops like Cordileone who are not afraid to teach and defend the truth about the human person and society against the despicable attacks of godless radical secularists, some of whom masquerade as Catholics and who are traitors to Christ and His Church. If America manages to survive the current onslaught of radical secularism, much of the credit will be due to the Catholic Church and to her faithful shepherds, including Pope Francis and Archbishop Cordileone. Let's keep them also in our prayers, that they remain faithful to Christ and His Church and continue fighting the good fight.