Surrender before the fight is engaged

Surrender before the fight is engaged

In order to avoid giving “the wrong message,” the bishop of Portland, Maine, chooses not to oppose a gay rights bill. Rather than uphold his duty as a guardian of the Church’s teaching, Bishop Richard Malone has capitulated to the fear-mongering and smearing of Christians as homophobes.

Bishop Richard Malone embraced his roles as keeper of the culture of the Roman Catholic community and its reactions, and as spokesman for the position of his religion on homosexuality. In this time when religion has become a part of secular, political positioning for power, the bishop stood down instead of making a statement against L.D. 1196, despite his concern that it is leading to support for same sex marriage.

“I think I read in your paper that 38 percent of all hate crimes were committed against homosexual people,” he told the Press Herald. “That is just outrageous. That goes against everything that our faith stands for as well. I was afraid that in that climate, my decision here could give the wrong message.”

Rather than surrender, the bishop could have instead made sure to articulate the message that while we don’t condone immorality, we also don’t condone violence against those we say are living immoral lifestyles. By capitulating, the bishop has as much put the stamp of admission on the claims of the author of the op-ed that those who oppose gay rights bills are slack-jawed, rednecks; backward, unsophisticated hatemongers.

He quotes the paper as saying that 38 percent of all hate crimes are committed against homosexuals? According to whose accounting? Who defines what a hate crime is? Is it any crime committed against homosexuals? Did they include crimes committed against conservatives? whites? heterosexuals?Christians? The thing about statistics is that without context they are meaningless.

But Bishop Malone eagerly leapt into the trap, surrendering the ship without a shot being fired. Wonderful the fearless leaders we have.

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15 comments
  • Yes, I agree that he should have put it that way.  He should be told that if he doesn’t publicly reiterate faithful Church teaching, and his beleif in such, that his red hat will be rescinded and he will be given a missionary diocese on another planet.

  • Statements like “Sexual orientation is not of any relevance to the Church” cut off at the knees people from Bp Devine on down to a volunteer lay catechist who would dare to teach what the Church teaches on sexuality.

  • I don’t understand why we should even be singling out homosexuals on the topic of out-of-wedlock sexual relations.  They are no different from single people, divorced people, widowed people when it comes to sex.  All are prohibited from having it.  Period. 

  • Whenever this happens, it makes me question the “persuasion” of the man who chooses to not fight against something so obviously wrong.

    I recall Cardinal Keeler, in the fight over a gay rights bill in Maryland, absolutely forbidding and and ALL of the churches in the Baltimore Archdiocese from even bringing the subject up.  Nobody was allowed to discuss it officially, nor was anyone allowed to even notify anyone in a bulletin, or allow handouts in the parking lot.  Of course, Baltimore is notoriously pro-homosexual, so it shouldn’t surprise.  I don’t know enough about Maine’s leader to make that judgement. 

    But it sure does beg the question…

  • It would appear that Bishop Malone is refusing to articulate the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage because he thinks that he would be inciting people to assault those who practice and promote same-sex sex acts. Bishop Malone refuses to defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman and opposes the gay rights bill in Maine. Is he therefore   accusing the New England bishops who signed the statement of support for Bishop Angell on June 8,2000 of having instigated assaults on those who practice same-sex sex acts? The letter that was signed by 15 bishops supported Bishop Angell in his opposition to Vermont legislation called The Civil Union Bill. All of these bishops opposed the bill because it “is just a stepping stone for same-sex marriage.” “We are of one mind with Bishp Angell that such legislation will undermine cultural and religious respect for marriage and will inflict a wound upon society itself….The obligation of society and the state to support and strengthen marriage as the intimate union of a man and a woman does not infringe upon the civil rights of others. Rather, those seeking to redefine marriage for their own purposes are the ones who are trying to impose their values on the rest of the population.” The statement went on to refer to the Vatican II statement: “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” to articulate the fact that “marriage as an institution confirmed by the divine law and receiving its stability, even in the eyes of society, from the human act by which the partners surrender themselves to each other.”(GS 48)…“A strong and stable institution of marriage will enhance the dignity,peace and prosperity of each individual, of the family, and indeed of the whole human race.”  Among the bishops who signed this statement in opposition to the Civil Union Bill of the Vermont Legislature were: 
    -The Most Reverend Sean P. O’Malley,OFM Cap, Bishop of Fall River
    -The Most Reverend Joseph J. Gerry,OSB, Bishop of Portland
    -The Most Reverend Daniel P. Reilly,Bishop of Worcester
    -The Most Reverend William Murphy,Moderator of the Curia,Archdiocese of Boston
    -The Most Reverend Emilio Allue,S.D.B., Auxilliary Bishop of Boston-West region
    -The Most Reverend John P. Boles, Auxilliary Bishop of Boston-Central Region
    -The Most Reverend John W, Hanley,O.M.I.,Interim Regional Vicar-Merrimack Region
    -The Most Reverend Francis X. Irwin,Auxilliary Bishop of Boston-South region
    -The Most Reverend Richard J. Christian, Auxilliary Bishop of manchester
    -The Most Reverend Michael Cote,Auxilliary Bishop of Portland
    -The Most Reverend George E. Rueger,Auxilliary Bishop of Worcester

    Does Bishop Malone think that these bishops who signed the statement supporting Bishop Angell in his defense of marriage in opposition to the Vermont Civil Unions Bill, including our present Archbishop O’Malley, would be causing assaults on those who practice and promote same-sex sex acts and demand a Civil Unions and/or a Gay Marriage Bill, if he defended marriage as the union of one man and one woman? It would appear that Bishop Malone’s position is exactly the opposite of Archbishop O’Malley’s who has publicly articulated the Catholic Church teaching on marriage.

  • Morbid obesity is a symptom of past gluttony, not current gluttony.  In our culture, it inhibits the ability to give good witness, and so should be combatted by its Christian sufferers.

    Homosexual sex is “worse” than fornication, adultery, masturbation, etc., in the sense that it not only damns the sinner to Hell if he doesn’t repent (including at least a firm resolve to go to Confession) before death, but it also cries to Heaven for divine vengeance, like fratricide, slavery and the oppression of the poor and the widow. 

  • Hey I might be missing something (wouldn’t be the first time) and I’m sure that Dom et al will enlighten me.  I just read through L.D. 1196 and there is nothing in it in regards to the right of marriage.  It is only dealing with prejudicial treatment in matters of housing, hiring practices, etc. 

    How exactly did Bishop Malone misrepresent Church teachings?

  • I never said it was going to legalize civil unions or same-sex marriage. Other people drew that erroneous conclusion.

    Bishop Malone’s error is in capitulating to the extension of special rights for homosexuals and giving credence to the idea that opposition to the normalization of the homosexual lifestyle is homophobia and leads to hate crimes.

    Also the logical next step after such a “gay rights” bill is civil unions or marriage.

    Third, the Vatican, and the Pope especially, have clearly stated time and again that the extension of special rights recognizing homosexuality as a valid lifestyle and forcing that views on others who view homosexuality as immoral should not be supported by Catholics.

  • “the bishop stood down”—doesn’t that say it all Jaime?

    According to Victoria Mares-Hershey and the bishop, the bill contains language supporting a right to gay marriage, so your argument is with her and the bishop, and not with Dom.

    The misrepresentation is by omission:  homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and society is harmed by giving a union of homsexual persons the same legal status as marriage.  Bishops with courage can “stand up” and say that while supporting anti-discrimination legislation that protects individuals.  Bp Malone didn’t.

  • Jaime, since L.D. 1196 ,the Maine Human Rights Act,“by making discrimination in employment,housing,credit,public accomodations and education based on sexual orientation or gender identity illegal”, has now passed, I wonder if the same thing that happened to the Health/Sex Education curriculum in Mass. will now happen in Maine. Back in Sept. 1991, the Mass. Dept. of Public Health(MDPH) Commissioner,David Mulligan, included these non-discrimination educational activities based on sexual orientation and sexual identity in the “Comprehensive Curriculum Guidelines on HIV/AIDS:Grades K-12”(first draft) which each and every public school in Mass. was supposed to include in their Health/Sex Education Curriculum. The curriculum required that children are to be taught about homosexuality along with other information about sexuality emphasizing that “its important to become aware of and to examine one’s own values in the area of sexuality”(p.9).Under “Grade 4-6” on p. 26, it states the following in the section”Students will be able to:“Explain how to avoid contact with HIV-(1) do not engage in unprotected sexual intercourse, (2) condom usage,safer sex and risk reduction. Then in the section on p.27 under HIV/AIDS: Students will be able to “Identify risk reduction behaviors such as abstinence,use of condoms in intercourse,mutual masturbation and other non-intercourse sexual behaviors.”
    And this was what was to be included in the curriculum for all public school children in Mass. at the grade 4-6 level!  I wont go on to tell you what was to be included in the curriculum for grades 7-12 but you can be sure that the MDPH made sure that there was no discrimination in education based on sexual orientation and gender identity in what the children were to be taught!
    Jaime, is this kind of education what L.D.1196
    will protect? If so, Maine will be in the same horrendous state of degrading” health” education as Massachusetts when it comes to what our children are being taught. Do you think this is fair to our children?

  • The article clearly states his position on marriage.

    Unless you are reading a different article than the one Dom linked to—it does not even get close to stating a position on marriage, or the moral disorder of homosexuality, which is what a bishop who “stands up” does.

    As Dom mentions, there is a principled opposition to legislation granting rights to classes of persons as opposed to individuals.

  • Unless you are reading a different article than the one Dom linked torbencivenga@shaw.ca

    204.209.17.254
    2005-03-29 14:20:28
    2005-03-29 18:20:28
    The interesting thing is that the Cardinal could have made a better point (more orthodox and possibly less controversial) by saying that someone with homosexual tendencies CAN teach in parochial school, provided he lives in chastity.  In that way he could have highlighted the difference between the temptation and the sin while not creating a rift with the law.

    But probably that was not his intent.

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