Fr. W. Thomas Faucher, the pastor of St. Mary's Parish in Boise, Idaho, made the following statements in the Idaho Statesman, Idaho's capital city newspaper, on February 25, 2006. Read it. The article speaks for itself.
February 25, 2006
The Idaho Statesman
Boise, Idaho, U.S.A.
by The Rev. W. Thomas Faucher
The Idaho Legislature has approved a constitutional
amendment to define marriage in a manner which will ensure that same-gender
"marriage" could never happen in Idaho. The amendment is subject to voter
approval in November.
This is at its core an anti-gay movement.
For a Roman Catholic priest to address anything to do with homosexuality at this point in American history is probably not a wise move. The sexual scandals concerning those priests who molested children and the subsequent cover-up of those offenses by some Catholic bishops have seriously damaged the credibility of Catholicism on moral issues. There is too much dirt on the Catholic windows for people to pay much attention to Catholic opinions. At the same time, recent Vatican statements and writings have shown a very strong anti-gay attitude from top church officials.
But I have not always been particularly wise, and this issue
calls for some comments to be made about morality and legislation.
There are two main arguments made by many of those who want the constitutional amendment. The first is that homosexual activity is morally wrong. The second is that allowing same-gender unions to be legalized would weaken the existing institutions of marriage and family. Both of those points need to be carefully examined.
First, the various religious bodies of Idaho have strong
opposing positions about what is moral or immoral in many different areas.
That is part of the role religions are to play in a multicultural society.
There are strong opinions about the morality of homosexuality. (My own
church views homosexual activity as immoral.)
It is not the right nor the responsibility of the Legislature to decide moral issues. While all lawmaking is to some extent legislating morality, the basis for laws is not personal theology but what is best for society.
Lawmakers face personal tension in laws that allow actions the individual legislator sees as immoral. Examples include abortion, gambling, use of alcohol, divorce, race issues and capital punishment. Because homosexual activity is legal in Idaho, the morality of it is not the lawmakers' responsibility. The morality of what gay people do is not any more of an issue than is the morality of those who go to Jackpot and gamble or those who go to bars and drink.
This brings up the second point. The argument says that
allowing two people of the same gender to form a legal union would weaken
marriage and weaken family life. I strongly disagree and, in fact , believe that
allowing same-gender legal unions would strengthen marriage and family life.
What weakens marriage and family life are people who live together, have children together, without any legally recognized commitment. There are thousands of children in Idaho today who have never known a stable marriage or any stable family life.
Many people in the gay community want a stable union.
They want to publicly make a commitment. The effort for "gay marriage" or
"civil unions" is a movement reaffirming the importance of commitment and
family life. The gay lifestyle is criticized for its lack of structure, its
promiscuity, its disregard of convention. But society has worked very hard
to deny homosexual people any opportunity to have structure.
There are thousands of gay men and women in Idaho. They are citizens and they have rights. Their desire for stable recognized unions strengthens the argument that society needs marriage commitment and family life.
Gay people are never again going to be a closeted silent minority. The rest of society must accept that reality, whether they like it or not. If laws are made about gays, they must be fair and just laws.
The Rev. W. Thomas Faucher is pastor at St. Mary's Catholic Church.
Fr. Tom Faucher committed a faux pas. Scandalous. It is not the type of scandal that makes a little old lady with a hair bun gasp. It is the type that can effect and misdirect young men and women in the tender years of life when they make vital decisions in their lives. It does not direct and guide souls down straight paths, but misguides them wrongfully. What to do? Keep praying.
Here is the Catholic position from Bishop Michael, the Bishop of Boise, in the Idaho Register in the April 7, 2006 edition:Catholic Church’s definition of marriage
When I was ordained 41 years ago, I made a
promise of obedience to my bishop. By taking on this public role of priest
in the church, I understood that my public actions and expressions were to
be informed by the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. This is the
position of our Catholic Church on the issue of marriage and “same-sex
unions.” It is, therefore, my position as well.
The United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB), states that “Marriage, as instituted by God, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of life and love. They commit themselves completely to each other and to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children into the world and caring for them. The call to marriage is woven deeply into the human spirit. Man and woman are equal. However, as created, they are different from but made for each other. This complementarity, including sexual difference, draws them together in a mutually loving union that should be always open to the procreation of children” (see Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], nos. 1602-1605).
The Church also teaches that the valid marriage of baptized Christians is a sacrament. “Jesus made marriage a symbol of his love for his Church (Ephesians 5:25-33). A sacramental marriage lets the world see something of the faithful, creative, abundant, and self-emptying love of Jesus Christ.”
We bishops further state that “a same-sex union is not equivalent to a marriage, that a same-sex union contradicts the nature of marriage: It is not based on the natural complementarity of male and female; it cannot cooperate with God to create new life; and the natural purpose of sexual union cannot be achieved by a same-sex union. Persons in same-sex unions cannot enter into a true conjugal union. Therefore, it is wrong to equate their relationship to a marriage.”
We bishops in this same document address the issue of what we as Catholics should do in the public, political arena. As Catholics we should form our conscience based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition. We should act as a “community of conscience within society. By our voice and vote, we should contribute to society’s welfare and test its public life by the standards of right reason and Gospel truth. Responsible citizenship is a virtue. Participation in the political process is a moral obligation. This is particularly urgent in the light of the need to defend marriage and to oppose the legalization of same-sex unions as marriages.”
To sum up, the Church has been and is very clear about its definition of marriage. The Catholic Church in these United States sees that the nature and purpose of marriage established by God can only be the union of a man and a woman and must remain such in our civil laws. “Marriage is a basic human and social institution. It is regulated by civil laws and church (canon) laws. However, it did not originate from the church or the state, but from God. Therefore, neither the church nor the state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage.”
There should be no question as to what the Catholic Bishop of Idaho thinks about marriage. I place this teaching before you now to help inform conscientious decision-making in the coming months as legislation is proposed and brought forward for consideration by the people of Idaho.
I am grateful to my brothers and sisters who served with me on the Committee on Marriage and Family Life in the USCCB, and the full body of bishops who approved for publication at their November, 2003 General Meeting this statement from which I have used and quoted in abundance, “Between Man and Women: Questions and Answers About Marriage and Same-Sex Unions.”
Thank you for the clarification, Bishop MIchael.