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Monday, 6 July 2015

The 'Good Shepherd' protects his sheep.

   'What God has revealed  and what the Church therefore holds to be true about marriage, has not changed and is unchangeable.'  Bishop Joseph Strickland, Bishop of Tyler, Texas, USA.

                                                    Bishop Joseph Edward Strickland

In July 2013,  legislation to allow same-sex ‘marriage’ was passed by the UK Parliament, the law becoming effective from March 2014.
On June 26, 2015, by a 5 to 4 majority decision, the Supreme Court of the United States established the legal rights of two individuals of the same sex to marry, in all of the fifty States.

On the same day, the following Pastoral letter was written by Bishop Joseph Strickland, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Tyler, Texas. Although addressed to the people of Tyler, the letter reminds us all of the 'sacredness and immutability of marriage as between man and woman'. This is a truth to be continually proclaimed world-wide, and this letter exemplifies the concern of the ‘Good Shepherd’ who does not abandon his sheep. 


Joseph Edward Strickland
By the Grace of God and the Apostolic See
Bishop of Tyler

On the morning of June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a 5-4 decision establishing the legal right of two individuals of the same sex to legally marry in all 50 states. By doing so, the Court has acted in contradiction to their duty to promote the common good, especially what is good for families. I join with the Bishops of the United States in calling this decision a “tragic error.”

Let me unambiguously state at the outset that this extremely unfortunate decision by our government is unjust and immoral, and it is our duty to clearly and emphatically oppose it.  In spite of the decision by the Supreme Court, there are absolutely no grounds for considering unions between two persons of the same sex to be in any way similar to God’s plan for marriage and the family.
Regardless of this decision, what God has revealed and what the Church therefore holds to be true about marriage has not changed and is unchangeable.

Marriage is not just a relationship between human beings that is based on emotions and feelings. Rather, our Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Traditions tell us that God established true marriage with its own special nature and purpose, namely the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.

               'Marriage Feast at Cana'  by Bartolome Murillo (c1665)
While taking a strong stand for marriage is the duty of all who call themselves Christian, every type of unjust discrimination against those with homosexual tendencies should be avoided. We must treat these individuals with loving kindness and respect based on their dignity as human persons. Christ rejects no one, but he calls all of us to be converted from our sinful inclinations and follow the truth He has revealed to us. Nevertheless, our continued commitment to the pastoral care of homosexual persons cannot and will not lead in any way to the condoning of homosexual behavior or our acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex unions.

While some of us may have family members who have same-sex attraction, and there are even some who are members of our local churches, this decision to require the legal recognition of so-called marriage between homosexual persons should in no way lead us to believe that the living out of this orientation or the solemnizing of relationships between two persons of the same sex is a morally acceptable option.

We know that unjust laws and other measures contrary to the moral order are not binding in conscience, thus we must now exercise our right to conscientious objection against this interpretation of our law which is contrary to the common good and the true understanding of marriage.

Given this and recognizing my responsibility and moral authority as the shepherd of this Church of Tyler, I will shortly issue a decree in this Diocese establishing, as particular law, that no member of the clergy or any person acting as employee of the Church may in any way participate in the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages, and that no Catholic facilities or properties, including churches, chapels, meeting halls, Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions, or any places dedicated or consecrated, or use for Catholic worship, may be used for the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages

      'Holy Family with St Anne and St John the Baptist' by Titian

 Finally, I call on the Catholic faithful of the Diocese to turn in prayer to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, asking their intercession for our nation that all of us may come to a greater understanding of the beauty, truth and goodness that is found in marriage as revealed to us by our Savior.

I instruct that this letter is to be publically read by the priest-celebrant following the proclamation of the Gospel at all Masses of obligation in the parishes, missions and chapels of  Diocese of Tyler on the weekend of July 3-4, 2015.

Given at the Diocesan Chancery
On the 26th day of June
Friday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Fifteen
Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop of Tyler


David Roemer said...

Reasons to Believe in Jesus

Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

by David Roemer

umblepie said...

David Roemer,

I do not necessarily understand or agree with your comment, but it is published in the interest of debate.
I would take issue with the wording and perhaps the meaning of your first sentence,for it suggests that Jesus Christ is a separate being/person to God, it thus appears to deny the truth of the Blessed Trinity which is a base-rock teaching of Christianity.

umblepie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Roemer said...

The doctrine of the Trinity is just a doctrine. The most important decision is whether or not there is life after death. Faith is both a decision and a gift from God. Once you believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God, you can decide whether he founded the Catholic Church which means that Catholic doctrine is true. The doctrine of the Trinity is a reason to believe Jesus founded the Catholic Church because it makes so much sense. The anti-Trinitarianism of Islam and Judaism makes God look like a finite being.

umblepie said...

David Roemer,
Reference my previous comment, on reflection it appears that I did not think it through clearly, and would like to clarify that we are taught that there is but one God, but there are three persons - God the Father,the Son, and the Holy Ghost. In the words of the Creed " ...on the third day He (Jesus) rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of God the Father, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead ..."
Thus it seems correct that God the Son (Jesus)is alive in Heaven with God the Father - as you say. However I am not sure that this could be described as 'a new life'. Regards. BC.