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Catholic Group Demands Maine Ad’s Withdrawal

Jim Burroway

October 13th, 2009

Remember the ad featuring the Catholic Grandma advocating for marriage equalityon behalf of her son and grandson? Apparently Catholics aren’t allowed to express an opinion. CatholicVoteAction.org, a conservative group out of Chicago, is demanding that the ad be taken down, claiming that it distorts Catholic teaching. It doesn’t, of course. It represents one woman’s ability to integrate her faith with her family, which we all know is a very dangerous thing for people who fight against families like hers. To these people, standing up for your own grandson cannot be tolerated. After all, that would be anti-family.

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Burr
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

No.. it is HATE that distorts Catholic teaching. I don’t see any support for meddling in the affairs of government in any Catholic teaching. Buzz off and tend to your flock.

Steve
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

This takes anti-gay claims of being victimized to a new level, don’t you think?

For so long, it’s been that marriage equality will ruin marriage… i.e., marriage is a wonderful, historic symbol of all that is good, but allowing lesbian and gay couples to participate will poison it.

Now, one Catholic family speaking their own truth has the power to ruin Catholicism.

Penguinsaur
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

“I don’t see any support for meddling in the affairs of government in any Catholic teaching.”

*points to the entire medieval era*
The only reason churches pretend to not care about politics is when they know they’d lose. Any chance they get they’ll use to bring us closer to theocracy.

William
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Distorts Catholic teaching? It does no such thing; it doesn’t even mention Catholic teaching. What it does do is to show that there are Catholics who are able to rise above the belated teaching of their church.

Slap Upside The Head: Lobby Group Angrily Demands “Grandma” Ad Pulled
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

[...] extended hat tip goes to Jim Burroway over at Box Turtle Bulletin for the [...]

CPT_Doom
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop with this grandmother – when some priest or bishop decides she is no longer worthy of Communion because she opposes a political position of the church.

Alex
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

I had a feeling this would happen, and it’s so hypocritical because anti-gay Christians are always whining about how they think WE silence THEM.

Tom
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

catholic hypocrites – they tell their “lemmings” that it’s a mortal sin not to go along with their teachings and they’ll go to hell if they don’t vote as they are told (is this politics or is this politics?) – if you ask me, they’re trying to get involved with this family, in particular, because they have a young innocent son – one of the church hierarchy – or the church minions – want to get their hands on him! Get the hell out of people’s lives – the whole world doesn’t revolve around catholicism or ANY religion – can you tell I’m a recovering catholic?

homer
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Those meddling grandmothers!!!

Joe
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Look, you can agree with her all you want. But on what grounds do you say that “of course” this doesn’t distort Catholic teaching? Either her Catholicism is irrelevant here (in which case why was it highlighted to begin with?) or it’s part of her message. And if it’s the latter, then she’s saying that her Catholicism is compatible with marriage equality. And for better or for worse that’s not what the institutional Church teaches, as you are well aware. Your remarks seem to assume that being Catholic is somehow self-defined (integrating HER faith as opposed to claiming something about the CHURCH’s teaching), but that’s both wrong and obviously contradicted by the fact that her Catholicism was highlighted to begin with. If it was entirely self-defined then her religious affiliation wouldn’t be relevant to anybody else, and it wouldn’t be included in the first place.

kindness
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Out here in CA when we had our Prop * fight, there were congregations that were kicking out members who believed in equality. It wasn’t just Catholics either, Evangelicals & LDS were doing it too.

Tax religion. That’s my kind of equality.

Weemaryanne
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Joe, re: “…Your remarks seem to assume that being Catholic is somehow self-defined….”

Actually, the only assumption is that the Catholic Church is not the sole property of the Pope. Or as the Chinese proverb says: “The mountains are high and the Emperor is far away.”

Ken in Riverside
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Catholics with options are called protestants.

– Stephen Colbert

tom idaho
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

The dogma of love has given way to the love of dogma.

Burr
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

The fundie Catholics like to paint things as if they are the only ones that exist, but the fact is they are often outnumbered by their pro-choice, pro-gay counterparts, particularly in the northeast.

Maybe they don’t fit into the definition that fundies claim to have a monopoly on (nevermind the Jesuits among others), but until they are excommunicated, they’re still Catholics, and eventually the pressure from within will change Catholic teaching, much as it has in the past.

Joe
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

weemaryanne,

You’re certainly right that the ecclesiology is what’s at stake here. But I would think it’s far from obvious that Catholic teaching (which is the operative notion in the claim I was commenting on) doesn’t have quite a bit to do with some teachers, notably including the Catholic bishops. And nowhere is it assumed in my comments that this is all about the Pope. But I do assume that it is not up for personal decision what Catholic teaching is. Freedom of conscience, yes, but freedom to define what Catholic teaching is in isolation from the Catholic church is something else again. (And at least it’s the case that this is not obviously false, right? I mean, it’s not right to say that “of course” what Catholic teaching is has nothing to do with the Church magisterium, it all has to do with what individual Catholics discern.
Again, the claim is about Catholic teaching, not something more amorphous like Catholic spirit or identity or what have you. You, the grandmother and everybody else are free to oppose the hierarchical structure of the Church, but just pretending that it isn’t there, or that “Catholic teaching” can be discussed entirely in isolation from it, is rather ridiculous (and frankly, self-defeating). And if Catholic teaching, as that actually exists in the real world, says repeatedly and definitively that p, and someone comes out in a public message and says, “I’m a lifelong Catholic and I think not-p, and furthermore isn’t not-p what it’s all about anyway,” then I think it’s fair to say that that person is making an end run around Catholic teaching as it actually exists in the world. And they’re free to do so, but they should expect to have people point out what they are doing.

Joe
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

On the contrary, Burr, “fundie Catholics” are very fond of castigating Jesuits and many others for just those views. Their view is not based on mistaken polling or something like that, it’s based on a certain idea of what fidelity requires, and that’s not properly addressed by a poll of New England Catholics. “Fundie Catholics” are acutely aware of the point that lots of Catholics don’t have the same notion of what fidelity means and requires. But as to the numbers game, your point is very American-centric, and more broadly Northern Hemisphere-centric. The Church’s numbers are growing far more in the developing world, and the pressures that might exert are, shall we say, not exactly identical to the ones favored by Catholics in the Northeast of the US. You want to see some unabashed “fundie Catholic” statements on homosexuality and abortion? Take a look at African and Asian Catholics.

But anyway, US opinion is getting more pro-life in general, so I see no evidence for the “pressure” you’re talking about with respect to abortion. Homosexuality is a different case in the US, but again, that’s the US. We’re practically mission territory now – they have to import priests from Africa and the Philippines to minister at our parishes. A groundswell of lay conviction requires that the numbers not be shrinking relative to lay populations that disagree on those convictions.

IT
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

American Catholics disagree with the bishops on a lot of things. Birth control, for example, and sex before marriage. Even Abortion. American Catholics are way, way left of the Bishops. And they generally also disagree on coverups of sex abuse.

A few years back, Catholics were actually encouraged to think for themselves: remember Vatican 2?

I’m sure the INstitutional church will go after this grandma. And they’ll go after the group Catholics for marriage equality. But my wife and I, one of the 18,000 in CA, were married in a civil ceremony that included a whole slew o’ Catholics celebrating with us. They just did a don’t-ask-don’t-tell with Monsignor.

So this wonderful ad and the grandma aren’t really that unusual. The media may not get it, but there is a rich tradition of social justice in American Catholicsm, and American Catholics are one of the religious groups most supportive of marriage equality. The ones out of the step are the bishops, the reactionary conservatives, and their dying mediaeval world view.

Burr
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

That’s all fine and dandy, but out of context as regards to Maine.

The church is bleeding away followers in Latin America and Europe. If they cling to their African growth, they will be relegated to a third world phenomenon. Given the church’s history of being one of the richest religious “corporations” in the history of the world, I doubt that sits well with them, and you’ll see them change eventually.

JK
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

I happen to be fairly open-minded, but the Catholic Church’s teachings are the Catholic Church’s teachings. If you don’t like it, then you can leave. It is non-negotiable, and to sit around and say how you are a faithful Catholic while patently contradicting the teachings of the Church is unacceptable in my opinion.

Burr
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Then the church has got a lot more excommunicating to do, or some schisms are in order.

DRH
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

I’ve read several comments on here regarding “Catholic teaching” and how this grandmother has veered far from it. I live in predominantly Catholic South Louisiana and I am aware that one “Catholic teaching” is against the use of birth control. However, I know of only one Catholic family who abides by that. What does that say for the rest of the Catholics in this area who use birth control? It’s not apples and organges, friends – it’s a “Catholic teaching” and yet another “Catholic teaching”. Do Catholics get to pick and choose what they will practice and believe? Please, please, please, don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!

palerobber
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

wow, so it turns out religious liberty is under threat after all.

why is CatholicVoteAction.org trying to push religious speech out of the public square?

Ken in Riverside
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

@palerobber: well done

William
October 15th, 2009 | LINK

The Catholic Church needs dissenters. If it didn’t have them, or if all those who dissented left the Church, defective Church teaching would never get corrected.

Lymis
October 15th, 2009 | LINK

Want a distortion of Catholic teaching?

Claiming that a woman who is personally heterosexual violates Catholic teaching by loving her son, and wanting her grandson to have equal treatment.

If she was claiming to be a Catholic lesbian, there would be some validity in saying that her views were at odds with Church teaching.

But it doesn’t even take a strict reading of the Gospels to see where it is very, very clear that judging others, mistreating them because they violate your take on scripture, and not treating them the way you want to be treated are all causes for condemnation. The few places where Jesus explicitly condemns people is when they let scripture outweigh love in their treatment of others.

A Catholic who demands social and legal equality for other people cannot be accused of violating Church teachings. From the commercial, we have absolutely no way to evaluate whatsoever how she follows Church teachings in her own life.

A Catholic grandmother speaking for tolerance and equality? The horror!

BarryS
October 15th, 2009 | LINK

When I see mass excommunications for birth control use I will believe the “catholic Teaching” argument. It’s just a political ploy. Just once, a priest should get up and deny communion to any worshippers present who has used “artificial” birth control , and now following this new reasoning, anyone who recommends it to their children. I bet he’s re-assigned to — Antarctica. It’s just plain bigotry.

Nan
October 15th, 2009 | LINK

Throughout my entire life, the Catholic Church’s line has been that civil marriages are not “real” marriages. They were never considered to be equal to sacramental marriages and couples with civil marriages were typically looked down upon.

So it’s mystifying to me why the Church even cares about extending civil marriage to same-sex couples, after having denigrated it for so many years. Apparently opposition to same-sex civil marriage is now a cornerstone of Catholic dogma on par with the Nicean Creed!

But if civil marriages are second class marriages to begin with, why spend so much money and effort opposing changes to them? Plenty of people who can’t be administered the sacrament of marriage can be legally married by the state. The Church would remain free under Maine law to decide who could be administered the sacrament of marriage and who could not, and it could continue to limit its marriages to opposite sex couples who meet its other religious requirements.

It’s the Church’s prerogative to decide who can be administered the sacraments. It’s not the Church’s prerogative to decide who the state can marry.

As for the Catholic Grandma ad, she is simply expressing her own personal opinion and not making any claims that it’s official Catholic teaching. The conservatives are screaming about it because it’s an effective ad.

Catholic Mother For Her Son’s Right To Marry « Camels With Hammers
October 15th, 2009 | LINK

[...] Jim Burroway responds: Apparently Catholics aren’t allowed to express an opinion. CatholicVoteAction.org, a conservative group out of Chicago, is demanding that the ad be taken down, claiming that it distorts Catholic teaching. It doesn’t, of course. It represents one woman’s ability to integrate her faith with her family, which we all know is a very dangerous thing for people who fight against families like hers. To these people, standing up for your own grandson cannot be tolerated. After all, that would be anti-family. [...]

newz4i
November 6th, 2009 | LINK

Catholics: We Do Not Like Your Families Either.

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