Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mirror of Michael: raising questions while the combox is closed

I am a frequent reader of the blog, Mirror of Justice, the Catholic legal theory blog. Recently, law professor Michael Perry has raised questions about Archbishop Charles Caput's decision to remove a student from a local Catholic school in his diocese because the child's legal guardians are lesbians. Here is the Archbishop's statement on the matter. Here is Professor Perry's blog post:

"In his written statement Tuesday, Chaput said the parents of Catholic school students are expected to agree with church beliefs, including those forbidding sex between anyone other than married, heterosexual couples."

"Church beliefs"? Let's assume Archbishop Chaput is talking about the magisterium's *moral* beliefs.

"Catholic school students"? Let's assume that non-Catholic students too will be excluded if they are living with a parent who is a member of a same-sex couple.

Again,does anyone know whether Archbishop Chaput intends to exclude children living with a parent who practices contraception (or at least is willing to admit to it on an application)? Children living with a parent who is divorced and remarried? And so on. Or just children living with a parent who is a member of a same-sex couple? What's the archbishop's criterion?

Does anyone know whether there is another bishop in the country--or outside it--who has adopted, or is inclined to adopt, this policy?

Oddly, Professor Perry did not open the combox. Why, then, does he ask questions?


I'm only a recent returnee to the Catholic Church. So, I have not yet mastered the fine distinctions that Professor Perry alludes to in his blog entry. I am a simple believer, not accustomed to ascending the cerebral heights at which luminaries like Professor Perry have occupied for decades.

Apparently, he thinks that the Church's moral theology--articulated by Archbishop Chaput--is not actually true. (Maybe I am reading him wrong; so, please correct me if I am mistaken). It seems to me that he is saying (or at least implying) that when the Church affirms in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that human sexuality has a particular natural end that it is only talking about a natural end peculiar to Catholics but not human beings outside the Catholic Church or even Catholics who think of these teachings as merely the magisterium's "moral beliefs." It would follow then, if I understand Professor Perry correctly, that racism, spousal abuse, and torture--all condemned in the same catechism that affirms the normativity of male-female marriage--are not moral wrongs per se, but merely wrongs for Catholics who choose to accept the magisterium's "moral beliefs." Protestants, pagans, and Catholic dissenters, apparently, are free to engage in these activities since they are not Catholics or they are Catholics who, as a matter of conscience, cannot embrace the "moral beliefs" of the magisterium. They, then, should not fear any judgment emanating from Professor Perry's blog, since the Church's moral teachings are sectarian and optional in scope and application. Am I missing something here?

1 comment:

Gina M. Danaher said...

I agree with your questions for Dr. Perry's rhetorical(?)questions.

The apostolic Epistles of the New Testament were written to believers in particular but the biblical principles apply to the human race in general and all are called to repent, believe and embrace God's call for holiness through Christ. Paul did warn us not to judge the unbeliever, but once that person becomes a part of the Body of Christ there are responsibilities to that body, local and universal. Whether or not a person, attending and participating in a Christian church/school, is truly a Christian is not always obvious. However, it is required that their external participation be in harmony with God's internal requirements for obedience to His Word.

The bigger question in all of this is, just what is the endgame of this lesbian couple? They know full well that the teachings of the Catholic Church, in accordance with the Scriptures, regard homosexuality as sin and rebellion against God. Yet they want their "child" to sit under this teaching. I have not read the full news report of this situation so I am unaware of their responses.