Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
In a radio interview earlier in the week I was asked what is needed to get Catholic politicians to stop supporting gay marriage. My answer was short and simple. The Bishops need to get serious. Catholic politicians have no fear of voting against the teaching of the Church on very grave matters because other that some occasional Episcopal tut-tutting, nothing ever happens to them.
The Bishops could not be that serious about stopping gay marriage or else they would do something serious about it. And by serious I mean one thing. Let me explain.
Well in advance of any vote on gay marriage, such as we just had in NY, Bishops need to be on the phone with every single Catholic representative. In this private call, each Bishop must make absolutely clear Church teaching on the matter so there is no ambiguity. Further, the Bishop MUST make clear to said Catholic representative that if they publicly oppose the Church on this matter, the Church will publicly impose canonical consequences. And then they need to follow up and do it.
Until this happens, nothing will change. Catholic politicians will continue to openly oppose the Church and still claim the name Catholic. This must end. And the only way, the only way to do this, is the imposition of canonical consequences.
So now it turns out there is someone who completely agrees with me and is not afraid to say so. And guess what? He is a Bishop.
Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi pulled no punches when he wrote:
OK, SO WE LOST NEW YORK, BUT THE REST OF THE NATION IS LARGELY IN SUPPORT OF THE TRADITIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF MARRIAGE AS A CONTRACT BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN.
We can win the war if only my brother bishops will stop talking in platitudes and start enforcing canon law.
For over a thousand years the Church has dealt with renegade Catholics like Andrew Cuomo by applying canonical remedies, not as punishment but as medicinal cures.
It is time bishops start using the power the Church has given them!
Use the power the Church has given them. No more platitudes, consequences. You will know that the Bishops are serious about this issue when they enforce the canonical consequences. Until then, you will know that they are not.