Charles Cooper Would Have Prevented Embarrassment With Church Catechism’s Understanding of Marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court case involving California’s Proposition 8 and its ban on same-sex marriages is receiving an elevated level of attention.  It’s providing an excellent opportunity for those supporting the unchangeable institution of marriage to reveal their understanding of it… or lack of it as evidenced by:

From  the  Court’s  Proceedings

“Much of the debate circled around the needs of children and the importance of procreation to the state’s interest in marriage. In one exchange, Justice Elena Kagan asked whether it would be constitutional to prevent couples over the age of 55 from marrying, given that they would not be procreating.
‘Your Honor, even with respect to couples over the age of 55, it is very rare that both couples, both parties to the couple are infertile, and the traditional –‘Cooper began, before being interrupted by laughter.
‘I can just assure you, if both the woman and the man are over the age of 55, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage,’ Kagan shot back.”1

Key  Aspect  of  Marriage  is  Misunderstood

Charles J. Cooper, representing Proposition 8, got himself into this jam when he said that it supports “responsible procreation”2 and the implication that marriage without children is not a marriage.  One of the aspects of a valid marriage is that the couple is “open to having children,” not necessarily discovering whether they are able to have them.  Thus, the discussion with Justice Kagan took a turn for the worse (see footnote #3).

The Old Testament case of Abraham and Sarah is a great example of this distinction.  They were an elderly, childless couple.4  They proved to be open to God’s will to give them a child, even though they certainly weren’t of the age normally expected to be able to have one.

Society  Chose  the  Wrong  Fork  in  the  Road  in  the ‘60s

“Openness to children” is a recurring theme regarding human sexuality, especially since the arrival of artificial contraceptives in the 1960s.  Many, including a great number portraying themselves as Catholic, were “relieved” and took great delight in reducing the chances for conception within marriage through unnatural means.  By doing so, they ignored a key aspect of marriage.3,5

This notion of trying to circumvent the inherent responsibility of sex spilled over into the unmarried segment of the population.  The outcome is a complete disregard for all that the 6th Commandment entails.6

Consequently…

With the resulting distortion of what marriage is and the erroneous belief that human sexual activity does not have to be restricted to valid marriages, is it really surprising that there is a movement to legitimize disordered same-sex unions?

1 – from “Supreme Court Prop. 8 Arguments Focus on Sex, Science,” by Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience senior writer, 3/26/2013
2 – Huffington Post article by Mike Sacks and Ryan J. Reilly, 3/26/2013
3 – Paragraph 1664 of Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Unity, indissolubility and openness to fertility (emphasis added) are essential to marriage.  Polygamy is incompatible with the unity of marriage; divorce separates what God has joined together; the refusal of fertility turns married life away from its “supreme gift,” the child (emphasis added).”  Before someone argues that the Church does not consider a couple to be married when it is discovered they cannot have children, there is Paragraph 1654: “Spouses to whom God has not granted children can nevertheless have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms.  Their marriage can radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality, and of sacrifice.”  (published by Liguori Publications, Liguori, MO, 1994)
4 — Whether or not one takes their stated ages literally is not important.  The purpose of the account was to show that they were beyond the normal child-bearing years, at least for the wife.
5 – Preventing conception through natural means allows for God to “overrule” us.  By the same token, “openness to children” does not mean having children using any method.  This includes having in vitro fertilization (which also involves the destruction of “excess” babies) and surrogate conception, both of which go outside the marital bond.  Each is an attempt to overrule God’s natural plan for procreation.
6 – In discussions, I have found that a great many Christians think that the 6th Commandment pertains only to married couples because it says “adultery”—that single people are not bound by a moral standard for sex, too.  Somehow Scripture’s condemnation of fornication between heterosexuals and disordered sexual behavior between those who are same-sex attracted has been conveniently swept under the carpet.  In addition to the overriding fact that same-sex relations are inherently disordered, they are also a means of unnaturally blocking the potential procreative aspect of sexual activity in the same way self-gratification does (masturbation).

“The voice of those children is considerable in this case, don’t you think?”*

Certainly, this quote refers to those 3,500 unborn children2 whose lives are legally snuffed out each day because of the U.S. Supreme Court decision forty years ago which denied the right to life!

…….. Uh, no, this was Justice Anthony Kennedy referring to the 40,000 of California’s children whose guardians are same-sex “married” couples.

The children’s inexperience requires parental permission for even the simplest of activities off school campus.  Nevertheless, their implied expert testimony is admissible (in absentia) for this case dealing with an attempt to overturn an aspect of Natural Law, which is not under the state’s jurisdiction by the way.

For some reason, the voice of their dying, younger peers doesn’t count in the defense of their innocent lives.

* – Justice Kennedy’s quote partially summarizing a concern of those who are opposing California’s Proposition 8 (approved by a majority of voters and which stated that marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman.)  He was speaking to Charles J. Cooper, who represents supporters of Proposition 8.  [“Supreme Court Proposition 8 Case Arguments Cast Doubt on Gay Marriage Ban,” by Mike Sacks and Ryan J. Reilly, www.huffingtonpost.com, 3/26/2013]
2 – I cannot take credit for this observation of a close friend, only for the courage to post commentary on a timeless truth currently out-of-fashion with a majority of the media and its followers.

Chicago Public Schools Commit Flagrant Foul With Early Sex Education Plan

”A new policy approved by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will require all public school students to participate in sex education instruction, beginning in kindergarten.  The new mandate was passed February 27, will require each student to receive ‘minimum instructional minutes’ of sex-ed information that is ‘medically accurate’ as well as (supposedly) age-appropriate.  ‘It is important that we provide students of all ages with accurate and appropriate information so they can make healthy choices in regards to their social interactions, behaviors, and relationships,’ Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in the CPS announcement about the policy. ‘By implementing a new sexual health education policy, we will be helping them to build a foundation of knowledge that can guide them not just in the pre-adolescent and adolescent years, but throughout their lives.’”1

Why  the  CPS  is  Clearly  Out-of-Bounds

Sexual morality is one aspect which separates humans from other animals (the HHS mandate’s veterinarian treatment of human reproduction notwithstanding).  “Sex education” is but a part of the formation process.  As with all education, it is not under the jurisdiction of the state, but of the parents who are the first and primary teachers of children.2  For the state to usurp parental authority in this matter is not only damaging to the child,3 but is another proof of Diana Fessler’s warning in the early 1990s that the “it takes a village to raise a child” philosophy was being misused for ulterior motives.(The African concept meant that villages, microcosms of society, were concerned with the upbringing of children as an assist to parents, not as a replacement of them.)

Our  Challenge

With the President leading the way, the self-appointed elite continues to make inroads into areas of authority not granted to them by the Constitution or by God (Natural Law for non-believers).   We must ignore the spurious claims of the media that we are extremists whenever we assert ourselves in an effort to fulfill our innate responsibilities.  Chicagoans need to reverse this flawed policy.  For the rest of us, vigilance is the key.  We must be on guard at all times because many a program inspired by sinister intent is packaged as a delightful alternative.  The serpent is not only to be found in the Paradise of antiquity.  He is in our midst, in disguise.

 

1 – Newsdesk International’s Blog, 3/15/2013
2 – As we are reminded by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 2221: “The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and spiritual formation. ‘The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.’  The right and duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.” And by Paragraph 2223: “Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children…”  (published by Liguori Publications, Liguori, MO, 1994)
3 – Also from the same Newsdesk International’s Blog of 3/15/2013, “Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council told the Christian Post that the notion of early-childhood sex education ‘is part of the legacy of Alfred Kinsey, and the belief that “children are sexual from birth.”’ This is a false and pernicious idea that introduces words, thoughts, and concepts to children long before it is developmentally appropriate for them. This premature exposure may contribute to early sexual activity, when we should be working to prevent it.”
4 – In her first successful campaign to be elected to the Ohio Board of Education, Ms. Fessler presented some of the Board’s long-range plans to construct 24-hour school centers.  These centers were to be available to students of all ages where they could go for the counsel, assistance, etc. that is properly found at home.  The goal of these social engineers was to create a society which would be devoid of those supposedly intolerant views of well-meaning, but outdated parents.

Senator Portman Forgot: Difficult Times Don’t Change Moral Truths

Ohio’s Republican senator, Rob Portman, has experienced much emotional turmoil since his son’s admission a couple of years ago that he is a homosexual.  For any Christian such as the senator, this brings a torrent of conflicting emotions.  One encounters the dilemma of how to show unconditional love and support for a family member while being consistent with moral truths.

Senator Portman’s announcement that he is now in favor of same-sex “marriage” is a sad example of how difficult it can be to be loyal to Truth when experiencing great distress.  His statement, “It’s a change of heart from the position of a father” and “I
think we should be allowing gay couples the joy and stability of marriage”1 show the strong feelings of this situation.  The troubling reality is that feelings are not reliable guides for discernment.

This is not the time to quote the Biblical verses which are clear that sexual relations outside of a valid marriage between one man and one woman are not permissible.  For non-believers, simply look to Natural Law for a similar secular conclusion.

We Christians recall that Christ gave Peter “the keys to Heaven” and what he declared bound or loosed on earth would be bound or loosed in Heaven.  This, however, did not include the authority to change the Ten Commandments.  And none of us have such authority, no matter how compassionate we think we are being.2

This is certainly not a condemnation of Senator Portman or his son, for this Sunday’s gospel reminds us that none of us are qualified to do so.3  Rather, this is to encourage us to ask for the fortitude we need in times of great difficulty.  May we have the strength to choose God’s commands, which produce eternal happiness, over our feelings which can mislead us into opposing Him.


1
Cincinnati Enquirer, 3/15/2013, article by Deidre Shesgreen
2 – The senator’s use of “allowing” points to the problem.  Marriage is not our creation;
therefore, we aren’t in a position to permit alterations.
3 – For non-Catholics, today’s gospel for the 5th Sunday in Lent dealt with Jesus’ response to those who wanted him to publically condemn the woman caught in adultery (John, all of chapter 8).

Gentle, But Serious Reminder in Pope Francis’ First Papal Homily

Today, in his first homily as the leader of the Church, Pope Francis said that “to profess to do good things, but without professing Jesus Christ, is just being worldly and being worldly is what Satan teaches.”

What I took from this is that we must be careful that, as we busily go about promoting and accomplishing “good things,” it must be apparent that we do this because we are following the commands of our Lord.  It is His mission, not ours.  If we sanitize our actions publically so that we are simply being pragmatic and politically correct, it puts us in Satan’s camp.  He wants us to think that we can do anything without God and without giving Him the credit He deserves for His guidance and blessings.   It becomes all about us and the praise we feel we deserve.

An EWTN commentator mentioned that the Pope quoted a French author who said that if we aren’t praying to God, then we are praying to Satan.

We have heard many times that our lives should be as a prayer to God.  The stark reality is that our lives are either a witness to our loyalty in the all-good Creator or we are siding with the Prince of Darkness.  There is no middle ground.  Do not be deceived!

A Common Currency (Euro) is Europe’s Real Problem, Not Germany’s Trade Surplus

Background

David Wessel’s 3/7/2013 article in The Wall Street Journal, “A Chinese Lesson for Germany,” compared China’s dealing with its trade surplus to the track Germany has taken.  It began with the surprising statistic that Germany’s trade surplus as a percentage of GDP is 6.4% compared to China’s 2.6% down from its peak of 10% in 2007.  The purpose of his writing was to say that China’s monetary policy was more beneficial to its economy, with a side benefit to the rest of the world, while Germany’s stubborn goal of significant trade surpluses was hurting Europe as a whole.

Does  a  Stagnant  World  Economy  Mean  Some  Virtues  Are  to  be  Discouraged? 

Mr. Wessel acknowledged that at any given time there will be both net importing and net exporting countries.  However, his main concern was that in this particular economy which “is starved for demand,” a non-growing global economy means “a strong economy (Germany’s) that runs a big trade surplus is taking away someone else’s lunch.”  He went on to say that this problem “is particularly acute in Europe” because “Southern Europe is struggling to increase exports and use the proceeds to pay debts.”  So, is this to suggest that Germany is the bad guy because its disciplined economy does not have to pay the pied piper as other countries must?

“Every decrease in the trade deficits of Portugal, Spain and Italy has to be matched by a decrease in someone else’s trade surplus.”  True, but why must it be Germany’s?  Is it the main exporting opportunity for these countries?

“China  Gets  It”

Oh, really?  After years of not allowing its currency to seek its true value in the world market, now they are to be praised?  “It has allowed its currency to rise against those of its trading partners, which makes its exports less attractive.  It has spent heavily on investing in everything from steel mills to airports.It is allowing labor shortages to push up wages, which gives consumers more spending power.2… China’s leadership preaches the virtues of enhancing people’s ability to consume.3   And the yuan hasn’t been replace with a common currency either.

Germany’s  Approach

The writer didn’t hide his slant with: “The rigid German business model dates back to the 1950s… Germans saved a lot, and spent less.  Producers relied more on selling to foreigners.”  He should have respectfully called it a “disciplined” business model, but he couldn’t with the Chinese “virtues” just mentioned.  And, in the U.S. we have the problem of not saving.  Do we have any experience with excessive saving?

How  the  Euro,  or  Any  Common  Currency,  Restricts  Natural  Market  Forces

As the writer recounts the normal activity of an unrestrained currency: “A period of strong exports and growing trade surpluses would push up the deutsche mark.  The rise in the currency would curb exports.  That would increase unemployment, and laid-off workers rarely moved to other industries.  That, in turn, would provoke a burst of productivity that restored international competitiveness; exports would rise again.”  Wouldn’t the decrease in exports also see the rise of imports, increasing some jobs at least?

Anyway, the writer “gets it here.”  He says, “The advent of the euro disrupted the usual equilibrating move in exchange rates.  If Germany still had the mark, the currency would be soaring, diminishing exports.  But the mark has given way to the euro, and the Continent’s woes restrain the currency from climbing.”  So, even though the problem is caused by the common currency, we see him blaming the German people for being industrious with: “So Germany enjoys an export boom.  Its advice to the rest of Europe: We made our manufacturers more competitive.  We cut our budget deficit.  You should, too.”  Is he mocking those who reap the benefits of honest hard work.  Just a moment, did President Obama write this?

Must  the  Euro  Be  Saved?

That seems to be Mr. Wessel’s point.  He went on: “That approach (Adam Posen’s statement that Germany sees export success as a goal rather than a means to an end4), though, threatens the viability of the euro.  It threatens the prospects that Southern Europe will be able to pay back the loans that Germany’s savers, banks and governments have made to them.  It hurts the global economy.”  But, it appears that by eliminating the euro and the deutsche mark would correct the situation.  

And  Keynes  to  the  Rescue!

“Keynesian textbooks prescribe more government spending and bigger budget deficits for Germany, but that’s not going to happen.”  Perhaps, because the Germans have seen what unbridles Keynesian economics has done for the U.S. and others?

He adds, “A surge in business investment would be welcome, but companies aren’t so inclined.”  Even if they are as selfish as this article implies, German businesses will be smart enough to reinvest to keep their implied greed satisfied.  Believe me.  They didn’t achieve this success, in the midst of irresponsible countries everywhere, by being stupid.

Concluding  Remarks

“Reducing a trade surplus to zero essentially means a society consumes as much as it produces.  The notion that consuming what you produce is punishment is uniquely German.”  He closed with, “Perhaps Germany could learn a little something from China.”  For what?  For being successful while maintaining a free society?

This article is uniquely socialist in its indignity.  The German people have no need to apologize.  And with that, no further questioning, I rest my case.

1 – and major pollution, but that’s another story (see “Beijing Pollution Hits Highs,” by Wayne Ma, The Wall Street Journal, 1/14/2013 and “Japan seeks cooperation with China on smog problem,” by Elaine Kurtenbach (Associated Press), Cincinnati Enquirer, 2/10/2013)
2 – until inflation sets in, of course
3 – “China, virtue and consume” in the same sentence?  Who would have thought?  Baby Boomers and their parents getting dizzy about now?
4 – Adam Posen of Washington’s Peterson Institute for International Economics

Looking for Truth in a Church, or Just Wanting To Be Comfortable?

Deciding the religion where we believe our faith will grow best is the most important decision of our lives.  From it, we are expecting to receive the necessary guidance for our most important destination – eternal life in Heaven.  This discernment takes top priority, over our choice of career or spouse and even over what nation we choose to be loyal to.1

Some  Suggest  a  Laid-back,  No-Big-Deal  Approach

There has been a strange increase in popularity of the notion that Christians ought to join a church based on where they feel comfortable instead of discerning whether it teaches Truth.2,3  In a disturbing denial of humility, we are being encouraged to be our own experts.  So, if we really do have it all figured out, then why bother?  We can “teach” ourselves and join a congregation just for the camaraderie.  (Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising because many feel that some Commandments don’t apply to them, including the one to attend church at least every Sunday and certain holy day.)

Here are two examples of the proponents for choosing a church using subjective yardsticks.

1)   One site has the “Christian Denomination Selector.”  It contains twenty-four questions regarding religious doctrines or practices, all having the choices “I agree,” “I disagree” and “No preference” with the ability to rate the question’s priority.

2)   “If you belong to a faith community, you’ll benefit even more if you volunteer.  If you don’t belong to one, seek new places of worship that suit your current values and beliefs.”5 (emphasis added)

With minor rewording, these could easily be helpful tips on how to buy a car.

Not  a  Decision  to  be  Taken  Lightly

The impact of this choice goes beyond an individual’s earthly life.  Deciding responsibly will require more research and discernment (especially prayer) than with any other decision.  It would be easy if all Christian churches taught the same doctrine.  Of course, if that were true, then there would be unity in one Church!  Unfortunately, it is not true that “any church is as good as any other.”

Necessary points to consider include:  what does it teach, who founded the church and with what authority, how does it guide formation of conscience, can it distinguish between unchangeable practices and those which may be altered, etc. etc.  The process is not easy, but it will be worth it!

 

1 – As Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia said, “We’re Catholics before we’re Democrats. We’re Catholics before we’re Republicans. We’re even Catholics before we’re Americans because we know that God has a demand on us prior to any government demand on us.  And this has been the story of the martyrs through the centuries,” (Jeannine Hunter, www.washingtonpost.com, 10/24/2012)
2 — “The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness, for good.” — Pope Benedict XVI, 2005, as posted on www.gelvalle.wordpress.com, 3/10/2013 and corroborated by www.catholicglasses.com, 3/31/2012 as having been said to his first audience with German pilgrims
3 – “And, we need to do our part to help promote the healing, the reconciliation, and the authentic liturgical renewal that our Pope is trying to engender. If that means that we have to come out of our comfort zones a bit, well then, so be it. Just look at the Cross and ask yourself if He would do any less for you. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say, ‘Jesus came to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable.’” (John Martignoni, www.menofstjoseph.com, 11/23/2011)
4 – by Mike Hopkins, www.SelectSmart.com, November 2001.  Was referred to by Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist on its WordPress.com blog, article posted on 1/7/2011
5 – “Give Yourself a Happiness Makeover,” (quote was part of item #7 in a 10-step article) by Dan Buettner, AARP-The Magazine, February/March 2013