The paranoia of Catholic bishops and their claque over the supposed “redefinition” of marriage has some bizarre consequences. At Notre Dame, for example, an editor’s anxiety to reserve the word “marriage” to sacramental marriage, between a man and a women, has led him to change the wording of an alumnus’ announcement that he had been married, to “united in a ceremony”. In doing so, they have unilaterally renamed civil marriage – effectively, redefining marriage, is it exists in the regulations for Washington DC. It is, furthermore, plainly discriminatory: there is no indication that the same editor has ever renamed opposite- sex civil marriages as “commitment ceremonies”.
Chuch Colbert has the story at Windy City Times, following a piece on the continuing struggle at ND for LGBT inclusion and approval of a gay straight alliance. Here are some extracts:
LGBT name game at Notre Dame Magazineby Chuck ColbertEven as advocates at Notre Dame pressed school officials to make the university gay friendly, a policy change at the Notre Dame Magazine signals a step backwards.The magazine, which is distributed free of charge to tens of thousands of alumni worldwide, does not allow use of the word “marriage” in the classnotes section to acknowledge legal same-sex wedlock.The new block-out policy came to light in the most recent issue of the magazine (Spring 2012) in a letter to the editor.“When I was married in the District of Columbia on June 18, 2011, my friend and classmate Lorie Masters was kind enough to write about this joyous occasion in the classnotes section of the winter issue. You, however, saw fit to change the word ‘marriage’ to ‘united in a ceremony,'” wrote a 1981 law school alumnus, Allyn Amato of Alexandria, Va.He continued, “Not only is your editorial policy intellectually and logically flawed, it is also downright insulting both to my husband and to me. We are married and have exactly the same legal status as any heterosexual couple married in the District of Columbia.”“The attitude evidenced by your editorial policy is, in my view, most decidedly hypocritical and anti-Christian. Please answer me this question: Had I married a Jewish or Muslim woman outside the Catholic Church, would you have edited the column in the same manner? I think not,” wrote Amato.
Editor Kerry Temple explained how the change came about. “Until three or four maybe five years ago, the magazine’s classnotes section carried news of same-sex unions and called them marriages,” he said in e-mail correspondence.“Then some very vocal alums protested and the result was a meeting of administrators during which it was decided not to use the word marriage, but to use other terminology, such as civil union or partnership ceremony,” said Temple.“The rationale was that for the vast majority of our readers the word marriage means the sacrament of matrimony,” he added.And yet the issue here is civil marriage and not sacramental marriage—civil rights, not sacred rites.
This sad incident highlights one of the numerous internal contradictions in the orthodox Catholic teaching on homoerotic relationships. The documents make clear the importance of treating us with “respect, compassion and sensitivity”, avoiding opposing unjust discrimination and avoiding any encouragement of malice or violence in speech or in action. But attempts to keep strictly to the rest of the teaching, on the “disordered condition” and its resultant condemnation of marriage equality, lead inevitably to actions which are themselves offensive or insensitive, discriminatory – and may well encourage hurtful speech and behaviour. In attempting to follow through logically with strict adherence to the bishops’ line on marriage, the editor is in clear contravention of the other, often – neglected strand in Catholic teaching.
- More Catholic Bishops speak about gay marriage
- Pope’s envoy tells Bishops: ‘get tough on gay marriage’
- Celebrating Our Relationships
- It’s Still Not Getting Better At The University Of Notre Dame (thinkprogress.org)
- On Marriage (gaudetetheology.wordpress.com)
- Notre Dame Professors Call For Bishop To Apologize or Resign From Notre Dame Board For Comparing Obama To Hitler (thinkprogress.org)
- The War On Secular Marriage (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)