Rev. James F. Keenan, S.J., appeared before the joint committee on the judiciary for the state of Massachusetts to offer the Catholic perspective on a bill they were debating.
The bill was constitutional amendment H.3190, whose purpose can be summed up in the following excerpt: “…only the union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Massachusetts. Any other relationship shall not be recognized as a marriage or its legal equivalent.”
Fr. Keenan’s written testimony purported to speak on behalf of the U.S. Bishops: “To appreciate why Catholic moral theology could not support H. 3190 we need to appreciate how theologians and bishops differentiate the church’s theology of chastity from its theology of justice.” In the midst of arguing that Catholic theology purportedly opposed the marriage amendment as “contrary to Catholic teaching on social justice”, apparently because it would deny “gays and lesbians” the “full range of human and civil rights”, i.e., the right to marry, Fr. Keenan’s testimony stated “[t]his same position has been endorsed by the United States Catholic Bishops”.
If you find Fr. Keenan’s take on Catholic Morality interesting, you might want to read Virtues for Ordinary Christians, where Keenan teaches “conscience is all we have”, “gray problems necessitate grey answers”, principles “lack the subtlety, malleability, and flexibility that problems of ordinary life demand”, and where he removes fortitude (courage) from the company of Cardinal Virtues traditionally accepted as prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance in order to make room for “Self-Esteem.”
Otherwise, you may find the voice of the Bishops of Massachusetts relevant (http://www.macathconf.org/03_memo_on_erroneous_testimony_4.htm), and perhaps choose to review Pinkaers’ accessible Morality: The Catholic View or his weightier work, The Sources of Christian Ethics, which are next on my reading list.
- The Mountains of Bashan vs. Where God Dwells (Ps 68)
- Pray the Divine Office with me