The heading here is taken from a headline in the "Catholic Star Herald" serving the Catholics in southern New Jersey. (February 19, 2010 issue.) A Roman cardinal said something akin to those words.
I guess I should begin by saying that I, personally, am against gay marriage.
And I should also add that any pro-gay-marriage politician falls apart and surrenders if asked if he supports marriages between people and animals. Years ago, I secured a relatively heavy jail sentence for a lady who was nicknamed "German Shepherd Lady" by the DA's Office in Philadelphia who supported herself by the sale of certain provocative photographs connected with her name. Suppose "German Shepherd Lady" were to manage to accumulate every freak in the United States who wants the freedom to marry animals into her legislative district. Should the state senator for the legislative district support the right to marry animals? Suppose he is cowardly and says, "Yes." And then, while his wife is standing there, he is asked if he will support the applications of German Shepherd Lady herself and her friends to take all of the teaching positions at the school where his daughter attends first grade. Life is complex, so things are not that simple.
But that "life is not simple" business cuts both ways.
The cardinal and the the legislator are invited to a debate. The debate is in front of the local abortion clinic. With 5,000 citizens watching, the cardinal is asked, "The Catholic Church opposed the current pro-choice constitutional amendment. The amendment passed, 4,000,000 votes to 2,000,000 votes. Do you support the responsibility of Catholics to not interfere with the perfectly-legal process of getting an abortion? In other words, do you support rule of law, or do you advocate civil disobedience, beginning with civil disobedience by yourself? To put it more bluntly, do you support the right of this pregnant woman walking in at this moment to be protected by the law, or is anyone supporting that laws be obeyed until they are changed 'not Catholic'?"
He adds, "Additionally, should Congress pass laws forcibly taking the money of X at gunpoint and paying it to Y, just because Y is a family man with kids? I ask that because in effect that is exactly what happens. If people refuse to pay taxes, ultimately IRS agents with guns come and arrest them and put them in jail. Suppose a gay head of household, barred from getting married, objects that therefore he is entitled to a personal deduction for the 19 year old college student living with him, just as Mr. and Mrs. Heads of Household are entitled to personal deductions for their college students. So, he absolutely refuses to pay federal income tax to the extent of the personal deduction. Do you support his arrest and imprisonment, so that Catholic heads of household can get their personal deduction?"
2,000 of the 5,000 citizens watching the debate are Catholics worried about this attack on their income.
What should the cardinal say?
Additionally, the liberal politician argues, "The Church opposes abortion. And the Church says that it opposes use of artificial birth control -- condoms, the Pill, and so on. Fair enough. But I have noticed that whereas you condemn politicians who support and vote for gay marriage and condemn politicians who support and vote for abortion, and use your pro-life budgets to oppose abortion laws, no one actually sees the Church actively opposing use of artificial birth control, and no parish really has an anti-artificial-birth-control component in their budget. Could that be because the vast majority of Catholics including the large majority of Catholic Church goers quietly support use of artificial birth control so that if the Church goes after it wildly, contributions will dry up and the Church will essentially shut down?"
The politician points at the audience. "Do you say that those parents who support use of contraceptives are not Catholic?"
"Also, studies have shown that the reason why the support for abortion exploded in the 1960s is because use of contraceptives exploded in the 1960s, where contraceptive use generates a massive, powerful social ethos in favor of using abortion as a 'contraceptive backstop.' So, should not the Church publicly oppose contraceptive use by Catholics just as loudly and violently as it opposes abortion?"
The politician points again to the audience: "Do you condemn the Catholics in the audience who support birth control use, and say that they are not Catholic?"
I'm not trying to confuse anyone. But we live in a pluralistic society, characterized by opposing points of view.
When a bishop or cardinal makes one of those statements "platonizing" a principle by implicitly or explicitly driving a leader out of the Church, shouldn't they do it only after doing it to themselves?
Life is complex.
Let us pray constantly for each other and for society.