Background: (from Wikipedia)
On July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world, and the first country outside Europe, to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act which provided a gender-neutral marriage definition. Court decisions, starting in 2003, had already legalized same-sex marriage in eight out of ten provinces and one of three territories, whose residents comprised about 90% of Canada's population. Before passage of the Act, more than 3,000 same-sex couples had already married in those areas. Most legal benefits commonly associated with marriage had been extended to cohabiting same-sex couples since 1999.
The Civil Marriage Act was introduced by Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal minority government in the Canadian House of Commons on February 1, 2005 as Bill C-38. It was passed by the House of Commons on June 28, 2005, by the Senate on July 19, 2005, and it received Royal Assent the following day. On December 7, 2006, the House of Commons effectively reaffirmed the legislation by a vote of 175 to 123, defeating a motion of the Conservative minority government to examine the matter again. This was the third vote supporting same-sex marriage taken by three Parliaments under three Prime Ministers in three different years.
I came across some news items last week that have captured my attention and my thoughts almost continually. The first was a quote attributed to Prime Minister Paul Martin: “If I have to choose between the Church and the Charter, I’ll choose the Charter.” The second was a headline stated: “Nearly four out of five Catholic politicians in Canada to vote in favour of gay marriage.” The report further claimed that the majority of Canadian Catholic MPs will vote for same-sex 'marriage' despite the fact that the Vatican, in 2003, has stated categorically: "When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral." The most shocking statement in the news item was this one: “Of note, although that statement was issued by the Vatican in 2003 to date the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has not related it to Canadian politicians.”
I was quite stunned when I read that and my first thought was that the writer was somehow mistaken. How could timely instruction from the Vatican on such a serious matter, instruction aimed at guiding and protecting a nation from a grave moral evil through its lawmakers, not be relayed to the very people it concerned and warned most? Such direction sounds to me a clear warning against grave (mortal) sin and unconfessed mortal sin can condemn a soul to hell. Is it possible that bishops, upon receipt of such crucial guidance from the Vatican could ignore their responsibility to inform Catholics of such a grave danger? What could be more important for the souls of these Catholic politicians than this warning? Without a clear confirmation by bishops of such warnings the counsel of Mother Church is frustrated, truth is maligned, evil will expand, and souls will be forever lost. Can it be that Canadian Catholic bishops doubt or ignore this? If so, once such a precedent is set, what other areas of grave sin will be faithful not be alerted to or reminded of in future, to the detriment and loss of thousands of souls? My thoughts along these lines disturb me tremendously because a further question emerges: Have Catholics en masse in Canada been denied the truth of the grave immorality of other actions and the severe consequences that accompany them? Has there truly been forty years of virtual silence on marital moral sexual issues from the Canadian bishops? Is such a spiritual failure on the part of Canadian bishops to blame for the desperate moral state (to say nothing of the grim spiritual fate) of Canadian Catholics and Canadians in general?
Other questions have flooded my mind this week due to the distress caused by this subject. I wondered if maybe the failure to inform our Catholic politicians was a major reason the same sex ‘marriage’ issue has progressed to the stage that it has. After all, is it too much to believe that our Holy Mother Church sees by the Holy Spirit the correct time to intervene with vital instruction to the leaders of the Church for the good of the faithful and all of society? I wondered also what could possibly be the human line of reasoning which would prevent the Vatican instructions from being passed on. Maybe it was because the Conference did not think it would alter the actions of the Catholic politicians. I suppose that suggesting to them that it was gravely immoral would only curb their plans if there were some serious consequences associated with their disobedient and immoral actions. Would the bishops in unity follow through with serious consequences, specifically the withholding of Holy Communion if necessary, as is the Catholic Church’s policy in cases of clear obstinate mortal sin?
Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis has made clear forthright statements on this matter it seems to me. Again it was only this week that I read his statement “that as Catholics continue to speak out on life and family issues they will face persecution." It appears that Archbishop Burke speaks plainly the teaching of the Church on matters of crucial importance, even though he might be attacked or labeled politically incorrect. In regard to refusing Holy Communion the Archbishop said that "although the refusal by a pastor or bishop to distribute Holy Communion to anyone is a source of great sorrow . . . What would be profoundly more sorrowful would be the failure of a bishop to call a soul to conversion, the failure to protect the flock from scandal and the failure to safeguard the worthy reception of Communion." This seems to me to be a statement in full accord with the teaching tradition of the Church and when applied faithfully and consistently how could it not succeed to bring about the results that God desires in the life of any Catholic, whether politician or layperson.
Is it possible to imagine, ten or twenty years from now, a small association, perhaps called the Right to Free Christian Expression Association? Imagine this association faltering and in imminent danger of failing due to persecution, Church disinterest and lack of financial support; an association reeling from the constant bombardment by a tyrannical state controlled by homosexual activists seeking to extinguish every expression of authentic Christianity. And further imagine only one or two solitary priests, perhaps even the local bishop only, encouraging the few faithful heroes remaining to keep up the fight because without them the truth would be forgotten. Now multiply this scenario throughout the entire land of Canada and mourn the loss of free Christian expression and testimony in Canada. And consider now, how different from the Right to Life Association is the above described association?
How likely is such a thing to happen? Is it possible that it already has happened once when the Canadian bishops held back their full authority and duty to Canadian society by dissenting from the truth of Humanae Vitae; did it happen again when Canadian bishops failed to discipline Canadian politicians endorsing abortion in the years before abortion was legal? And is it happening in these days again, as Canadian society is under extreme attack and radical surgery to remove its Christian heart altogether, leading to its ultimate corruption and death? Perhaps today the only obstacle that stands in the way of preventing the formation (and failure) of the Right to Free Christian Expression Association is a courageous bishop, the spark that ignites a great fire of genuine Catholic faith and life in Canada.
Yours sincerely, in Christ.