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A more fraudulent title for this dangerous measure could not be imagined.

These are the words Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois uses for the "The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act" as part of a letter he wrote concerning this Act. The Act is a bill currently being considered by the State legislature in Illinois which would legalize so-called same-sex "marriage" (Illinois already recognizes civil unions for same-sex couples).

Bishop Paprocki wrote the letter to be read to all his parishoners from the pulpit at Mass this past weekend and after Lydia posted the Hobby Lobby letter, I thought our readers might be interested to read the good Bishop's forceful denunciation of a slightly different aspect of the madness of liberalism. His last three paragraphs are particularly good and get at the religious liberty problems associated with all these so-called same-sex "marriage" bills:

The pending bill is not only a dangerous social experiment about marriage. It is also a lethal attack upon religious liberty. This so-called "religious freedom" would not stop the state from obligating the Knights of Columbus to make their halls available for same-sex "weddings." It would not stop the state from requiring Catholic grade schools to hire teachers who are legally "married" to someone of the same sex. This bill would not protect Catholic hospitals, charities, or colleges, which exclude those so "married" from senior leadership positions. Nor would it protect me, the Bishop of Springfield, if I refused to employ someone in a same-sex "marriage" who applied to the Diocese for a position meant to serve my ministry as your bishop. This "religious freedom" law does nothing at all to protect the consciences of people in business, or who work for the government. We saw the harmful consequences of deceptive titles all too painfully last year when the so-called "Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act" forced Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoption services in Illinois.

These threats do not raise a question about drafting a better law, one with more extensive conscience protections. There is no possible way - none whatsoever- for those who believe that marriage is exclusively the union of husband and wife to avoid legal penalties and harsh discriminatory treatment if the bill becomes law. Why should we expect it be otherwise? After all, we would be people who, according to the thinking behind the bill, hold onto an "unfair" view of marriage. The state would have equated our view with bigotry - which it uses the law to marginalize in every way short of criminal punishment.

The only way to protect religious liberty, and to preserve marriage, is to defeat this perilous proposal. Please make sure our elected representatives understand that and know that they will be held to account.

I fear Illinois is already too far gone to prevent such an evil law from passing, but I'm glad that Bishop Paprocki is at least down in Springfield, where the legislature meets, to provide witness to the Truth about such legislation and may even sway a couple of Catholic lawmakers who still have a conscience to sway.

Comments (14)

He is absolutely right. It's downright scary what's being proposed legislatively these days. I think it's time for conservatives to actively campaign for weaker governments all around though - not just when the results threaten us.

I shd. keep a copy of Paprocki's letter around all the time. He puts things well and succinctly here. I appreciated this part as well:

It would enshrine in our law - and thus in public opinion and practice - three harmful ideas:

--What essentially makes a marriage is romantic-emotional union.
--Children don't need both a mother and father.
--The main purpose of marriage is adult satisfactions.

Strike one, strike two, strike three, aaaand out!


Those three statements describe what is wrong with our society.

Another example of government/people trying to dress a terrible bill with innocuous language. Similar to the, "Patriot Act," "Marriage Equality," "Affirmative Action," etc. There are probably many more, I just picked some low hanging fruit.

the term "marriage equality" always's irked me because, while it accurately describes the liberal frame of argument on the issue, it also seems like a lame way to make it more palatable by not saying "gay marriage"

So does this bill have some extremely weak religious exemption (like a priest can't be _personally compelled_ to "marry" two men) which is the stupid excuse for the fraudulent "religious freedom" part of the title?

It seems to me that the title of the bill is a cunning way of attempting to define "religious freedom" as freedom of worship, and of making this restrictive new redefinition of American religious liberty sound both magnanimous and expansive. More than being Orwellian, it is a perfectly Obama-esque kind of rhetorical duplicity.

Sage, Wesley J. Smith has been talking about that a lot: Obama has been pretty explicit. Every time he mentions something like this he'll use a phrase like "freedom of worship," which isn't the same thing at all.

Mind you, a bill like this shouldn't be passed at all, because non-religious people also should not be forced to treat non-marriages as marriages. I believe Bishop Paprocki implies that in his letter as well.


I think you have it right. According to this local news article, the legislation protects religious ceremonies, but nothing else a religious organization might do:

The religious leaders further warned that, while the law exempts religious institutions from having to consecrate same-sex marriages, the proposed legislation does not protect their rights to freely exercise their religious beliefs because they would have to treat same-sex unions as the equivalent of marriage in their business practices. For example, they might be forced to provide health insurance to an employee's same-sex spouse.

It should also be noted that our previous civil union bill, along with non-discrimination legislation, already put the Catholic Church out of the adoption business. So more of the same for Illinois.

Yaaaayyy for Bishop Paprocki.

Now, it is time for the bishops to put their money where their mouth is: they should be excommunicating legislators who vote for laws like this. Yes, it will be wildly unpopular in some circles. Yes, it will give the media a feeding frenzy. Yes, it will turn a significant number of "Catholic" politicians out of the Church visibly - they will walk away.

Ok, there might also be some down-sides to doing it as well. I'll probably think of them if I take enough time.

Ok, there might also be some down-sides to doing it as well. I'll probably think of them if I take enough time.

Heh, this made me chuckle, Tony.

In all seriousness, the fact that we're NOT excommunicating some of these politicians might even violate canon law-Fr. Zuhlsdorf has a lot to say on this matter. He keeps posting the particular canon I'm thinking of, but I don't remember which one it is right now.

The good bishops of this generation were disempowered by the corrupt bishops of the previous. The homosexual abuse scandals made the new impotent as credible witnesses to truth and morals. They are fighting a losing battle against the march of hard-core secularism. And on top of that, they have a flock that generally is not as much interested in faith as in feeling good. As long as the good times are rolling, Bishop, why should I care about abstractions of good and evil, morality and immorality. I'm fine. Chill out. Get out of politics.

The battle against liberalism has been lost in our country. Look and see if you can find any example in the past 20 years where reason, faith, or what once was a common understanding of morals have prevailed against progressivism. Countless arguemnts in countless venues have been advanced against plunging into the darkness that we see before our eyes. I cannot think of a single vector that has been shortened.

As I understand it, Rome changed from a pagan culture to a Christian culture, and that was progress for humanity. Curious, don't you think, that the USA is changing in the opposite direction?

The way liberalism achieves victory is by corroding and corrupting everything that is naturally human so that there is noting left to understand about humanity except what the leftists say. God as the master of man's nature is sent on his way as a represser, so some men can be free to be the master of man's nature, as the new represser. Laws enshrining homosexual marriage, while of enormous import to human future, are yet just minor topographical features - pimples if you will - on the progressivist face that has risen unabated. What is happening is a complete "make over" of man by some people with the power to enforce it. And reason is impotent to stop it.

This is ridiculous ! Same sex marriage does not"interfere" with anyone's religious freedom, or freedoms of any kind, any more than allowing blacks and women violated the voting rights of white males long ago.
Children need to be raised by a mother and a father? This isn't possible in all cases .
And there is not one shred of evidence that being raised by a homosexual couple is instrinsically harmful to children in any way .
Same sex marriage does not prevent opposite sex couples from getting married and raising families . What's all the fuss about ?

If you don't know what all the fuss is about, and given the rest of your comment, I'm sure I can't explain it to you in any way that you would ever acknowledge. I could list, and link, all the ways in which people have _already_ been punished for "discrimination" because they will not treat homosexual couples as married and homosexuality as normal. I could list, and link, the religious organizations whose good work has been undermined or shut down by the homosexual agenda. I could list in excruciating detail all the violations of conscience and personal freedom of speech and action that result and still more that will result from the government's requiring everyone to act as though homosexual groupings are normal and equivalent to marriage. And you wouldn't acknowledge this to be a problem, because you are obviously both unreasonable and lacking in even a modicum of imagination.

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