Friday, July 08, 2005

Blimey! I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition.

Another Catholic member of parliament has been sanctioned by his bishop for voting in favour of same-sex marriage.

Hat tip to Neale News. From the Canadian Press and Windsor Star via today's National Post we learn from Brent Forster the following.

LONDON, Ont. -- A New Democrat MP has been barred from involvement in church activities by a southwestern Ontario Catholic diocese for supporting
same-sex marriage.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro of the Diocese of London admonished Windsor-Tecumseh MP Joe Comartin in a July 6 letter to priests, saying "a person who does not accept Catholic teaching on fundamental matters is disqualified from acting on behalf of the church in a public capacity." Fabbro said the measure would remain in effect until Comartin has "a change of mind" in using the term marriage with reference to homosexual unions.
Rather than accept his bishop's admonition, Mr. Comartin defended his actions which were clearly contrary to Catholic doctrine on marriage. He is hurt by Bishop Fabbro's action.

Comartin had said he hoped that one day the Catholic Church would recognize same-sex marriages, noting the issue is about love and all couples being treated equally." My recent comments expressed my sincere hope that someday the leadership of the Catholic Church would embrace a fuller sense of inclusion," he said in a release after hearing of Fabbro's letter.
You see, for Mr. Comartin, it is the Church that is at fault for not embracing homosexuality. He is blameless in this affair. And no, it is not just about love. Were it so Comartin would have to advocate siblings marrying each other and mothers marrying their sons, etc. Love is part, but not all, of "it."

He added that "the actions of Bishop Fabbro have deeply hurt and saddened myself and my family." Comartin has been an altar server, administered the eucharist and taken part in fundraising projects for the church. "These parish activities have been an important and meaningful part of my life," he said.
I wonder if Mr. Comartin ever gave a thought to the hurt his actions caused among faithful Catholics who looked to him, and other Catholic parliamentarians to act in accordance with the magisterial teaching of the Church when faced with votes pertaining to faith and morals. Our disappointment is great and our pain is profound.

Comartin also recently taught marriage preparation courses with his wife, but will no longer be able to do so.
The sanction applied by Bishop Fabbro is actually quite mild under the circumstances. He will still be able to receive communion. He just won't be able to give marriage preparation courses. Given his evident lack of assent to Catholic teaching on marriage his unfitness to give such instruction ought to be self evident to him. Not so.

Despite the rift between Comartin and the church, he remains hopeful of a resolution. "I hope Bishop Fabbro will reconsider his actions," Comartin said. "In this spirit, I welcome a dialogue with the diocese, and will strive to not only provide a fuller understanding of my intentions but also do my best to understand Bishop Fabbro's intentions."

A more honest man would acknowledge that he placed his loyalty to his political party above his loyalty to the Church. His views on this matter are not Catholic, but he is spinning the sanctions as being the result of a lack of dialogue on the part of the diocese and a failure of the bishop to understand his intentions. I think his bishop has an excellent grasp of Mr. Comartin's intentions.

A dialogue would be a good idea and ought to have taken place before the vote in parliament. Joe Comartin is a man desperately in need of catechesis.

One small suggestion Joe. It is not Bishop Fabbro's intentions that are at issue. Those are clear. He has a duty, as a successor of the apostles, to help you regain your spiritual footing as a Catholic and is trying to do so.

It is your duty as a Catholic (as it is for all of us) to listen carefully, to learn the teaching of the Church, and to formally assent to them. Your intentions, while important, are secondary to the truth.

And Joe. Leave the hurt feelings at home and grow up. It does you no credit to play the victim.

You aren't.


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