The Bishop and I are share a hometown with a unique dialect, wherein “neb nose” is someone who is butting into another’s business without warrant.
(And let me be very clear that while I disagree wholeheartedly with his position here, I also wholeheartedly support his right to believe, and preach, whatever he likes.) We might both bleed black and gold during football season, but that’s about all we agree on. Here’s his absolutely appalling statement on civil unions, released despite the horrible Corvese Amendment that basically allows religious institutions to ignore civil unions in any context (including making medical decisions at religious hospitals, recognizing parental rights at religious schools, and obtaining housing from a religious shelter). Essentially, this is like passing legislation that allows religious institutions to ignore divorces. Hope you feel good about having your first wife make those end-of-life decisions for you….
I am deeply disappointed that Rhode Island will establish civil unions in our state. The concept of civil unions is a social experiment that promotes an immoral lifestyle, is a mockery of the institution of marriage as designed by God, undermines the well-being of our families, and poses a threat to religious liberty.
In this context it is my obligation to remind Catholics of the teachings of the Church on this matter. First, the Church continues to have respect and love for persons with same-sex attraction; they are indeed children of God and our brothers and sisters in the human family. We pray for their well-being and offer them spiritual guidance and pastoral care. We also extend our love and support to families of homosexual persons who sometimes struggle with this difficult emotional issue.
At the same time, the Church reminds its members that homosexual activity is contrary to the natural law and the will of God and, therefore, is objectively sinful. Persons with same-sex attraction are required to live the Christian virtues of chastity and modesty, as all persons are. The importance of these virtues is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures and in the constant tradition of the Church.
Because civil unions promote an unacceptable lifestyle, undermine the faith of the Church on holy matrimony, and cause scandal and confusion, Catholics may not participate in civil unions. To do so is a very grave violation of the moral law and, thus, seriously sinful. A civil union can never be accepted as a legitimate alternative to matrimony.
Can there be any doubt that Almighty God will, in His own time and way, pass judgment upon our state, its leaders and citizens, for abandoning His commands and embracing public immorality? I encourage Catholics to pray for God’s patience, mercy and forgiveness in these distressing times.