Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Cath News back to its old tricks promoting same sex marriage. Sigh!

I have been keeping quiet of late about Cath News, the news clip alert service sponsored by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (it is published by Church Resources, an organisation 'having liasion with' the ACBC), because it seemed to me that it has actually improved, at least a little!

It still highlights every dissenting piece going from Eureka Street and such like places, but on the whole it does seem to me to be making more of an effort in a positive direction.   The new 'blog watcher' for example, even if maintaining the same progressive slant as his predecessor at least manages to report reasonably accurately (and I'm not exactly weeping that it continues to ignore me, despite the fact that I'm one of the few Australian blogs, and one of the larger ones, if not the largest in terms of readership, as far as I can work out!).

But alas, today's Blog piece is one of those classic Cath News pieces whose aims seems to be the undermining of the Magisterium and the Churches own campaigns against same sex marriage legislation.

Flawed arguments

Written by Dr Drasko Dizdar, who, alarmingly though not unsurprisingly given the state of that archdiocese, is 'a theologian with the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office', it tries to argue that there is a distinction between the sacrament of matrimony, and marriage as recognised by civil law, such that in the light of that distinction, there is no real problem with legalising same sex marriage.

His argument rests mainly on three flawed premises: first that the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the (official) Latin only talks about matrimony, not marriage and they are distinct concepts; secondly that Cardinal Schonborn is alright with civil partnerships so there isn't a problem in recognising same sex relationship legally per se; and thirdly that because of divorce, the relationship between sacramental 'matrimony' and marriage have irrevocably long since parted ways.

Dr Dizmar asks rhetorically if his argument about the distinction between the sacrament of matrimony and marriage in the Catechism is just about semantics.  Semantics he responds are important.

Well yes they are.

But someone claiming to be a theologian might surely be expected to understand that the different terminology arises from the basic teaching of the Church that marriage is a natural institution that Christ elevated to a sacrament.  That is why the Code of Canon Law generally presumes that all marriages, even those between two non-Christians, are valid.

Yes, the existence of divorce may well mean that in practice many people do not give genuine consent to the lifelong commitment that marriage - by law - actually entails.  Yet those marriages are still presumed valid until a Tribunal rules otherwise.

Nor is the case, as Dr Dizmar claims, that the concept of marriage over time changed even in the Old Testament: assorted practices may have been allowed as a dispensation at times, or the moral law ignored, yet the divine/natural law endures!

Nor can one hang one's hat on Cardinal Schonborn (or any other bishop's) interesting equivocations around civil unions.  First, though Cath News reported the Tablet story on Cardinal Schonborn's remarks I don't recall seeing the response from the Cardinal's spokesperson, which accused the Tablet of misrepresenting his remarks, reported there.  For the record, the corrective statement said, inter alia,  'that, as the state may choose to respect certain choices made by its citizens, it may as a consequence legislate upon them, but it must never equate marriage with non-marriage. This cannot be seen as an endorsement of same-sex civil unions, neither in a legal sense, nor in a moral sense'.

But more fundamentally, unless he were the Pope talking authoritatively, the magisterial power of a bishop's teaching depends on its being in harmony with the teaching of the Church.  And the Church has never taught that the practice of homosexuality should be recognised as anything but as a sin.

This is disappointing stuff to see up on a semi-official Church website.


Joshua said...

Dr Drasko is an ex(claustrated?)-monk from an American Benedictine monastery, who is currently trying to set up an ecumenical monastery in Tasmania. I have heard him speak: so long as he is on about prayer and meditation, he is great, but as soon as talk turns to theology and the Vatican, one notices a strong anti-Roman stance.

PM said...

Still, he's an improvement on his predecessor. I can't imagine Mr Mullins linking to some of the articles Dr Drasko puts up - such as the interesting compare-and-contrast piece on CS Lewis and St Thomas a while ago.

A Canberra Observer said...

Yes, I saw that opinion piece. Pure unadulterated compost.
A Country Priest's opining that this was the defining crisis of our generation seems truer by the minute.

Kate Edwards said...

I agree blogwatcher is much improved on the whole, with some good coverage, for example, of the conclave (I liked the collection of Cardinal's tweet addresses for example). But my post was perhaps a bit confusing on authors - blogwatch is written by Stefan Gigacz rather than Dr Dizmar.

I'm glad to hear Dr Dizmar is good on prayer - all the same, one wishes Cath News would just resist the temptation to publish this kind of stuff!

Kate Edwards said...

PS For the kind of article you'd like to see appearing over there on marriage and its history, try this one by Don Prudlo: