The Roman Catholic Church has decided to pull out of the marriage debate in Maine. They will not be doing fundraising, staffing, advertising or campaigning against marriage equality. According to Ned Flaherty out of Boston, Mass:
Bishop Richard Malone, the sect’s top-ranking official in Maine, said on 2 March that his goal now is only to re-train the wayward 25% of Maine’s 187,306 Catholics. He said that the church “doesn’t want to impose a law or belief on anyone,” especially non-Catholic citizens, who comprise 86% of Maine residents, and 77% of all Americans. Maine voters will decide by ballot in November whether to write same-gender marriage into state law.
The Roman Catholic Church has been hurting a lot lately thanks to the contraception debate as well as their push back coming over marriage equality. So far, the Roman Catholic hierarchy has opposed every regulation, policy and law which would advance LGBT rights. During the last fight in Maine over same-sex marriage, the Church spent some $1.9million.
Flaherty wrote that “Friday’s historic retreat is the first of its kind for this religious sect, and is profound. Such changes are not made independently, and are always coordinated with higher church officials. The Diocese of Maine, located in Portland, is a corporation sole which reports to the Ecclesiastical Province of Boston, located in Boston, Massachusetts, which includes the states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.”
He went on to write:
The Catholic church’s reversal on this year’s campaign in Maine may help current marriage equality efforts in 18 other states, especially New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Washington. In Minnesota and North Carolina, the church has been lobbying to ban marriage for all same-gender couples by amending those states’ constitutions. Bishop Malone gave no indication of when, whether, or how Maine’s retreat on marriage equality will affect similar campaigns in other states.
Within its own ranks, however, Roman Catholic officials are continuing to reinforce Pope Benedict XVI’s formal view of bisexual, lesbian, and gay sexuality as “an intrinsic moral evil,” “intrinsically disordered,” and “inherently evil.”
Last month, the church assigned Rev. Kevin Martin of St. Michael Parish in Augusta to operate a newly formed Maine chapter of Courage, the international organization that claims to cure people of the sexual orientation that they are born with. The cures are attempted using a mixture of firm hope, additional prayer, new apparel, and/or life-long celibacy. Such reparative therapies have been discredited and denounced by every major mental/medical health professional organization as ineffective, painful, and dangerous to patients because of higher death rates from suicide.
Despite withdrawing from the public debate, the church still bans marriage for same-gender Catholic couples, according to its official policy (http://beautyofmarriage.org/) and Bishop Malone’s recent 22-page letter (http://mycatholicweb.org/marriage/files/2012/03/Marriage-Pastoral-LetterFINAL.pdf).
The Catholic Church may be finding themselves in a lot of trouble because of the damage that is being done to them by their own political activities.
Thanks to Flaherty for what he wrote.