Friday, June 26, 2015


June 26, 2015
Each U.S. Supreme Court decision that has ever been rendered has resulted in deep disappointment for some and vindication for others. If we all agreed on the outcomes of divisive cases, there would be no reason for the Court ever to convene. This most recent decision is no different.

By the same token, every court decision is limited in what it can achieve; again this one is no exception. This decision does not change the biological differences between male and female human beings or the requirements for the generation of human life which still demands the participation of both. It does not change the Catholic Church's teaching regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony, which beautifully joins a man and a woman in a loving union that is permanent in commitment and open to God's blessings of precious new life.

The Catholic Church will always maintain that marriage is a vocation of a man and a woman to faithfully commit themselves, through sacred vows, to a life shared until death which pledges them to complement one another in their development as husband and wife and to be co-creators with God in the procreation of human life.

This decision of the Supreme Court is primarily a declaration of civil rights and not a redefinition of marriage as the Church teaches.

However, this judgment does not dispense either those who may approve or disapprove of this decision from the obligations of civility toward one another. Nor is it a license for more venomous language or vile behavior against those whose opinions differ from our own.

This Court action is a decision that confers a civil entitlement to some people who could not claim it before. It does not resolve the moral debate that preceded it and will most certainly continue in its wake.

The moral debate however must also include the way that we treat one another - especially those with whom we may disagree. We are all God's children and are commanded to love one another. In many respects that moral question is at least as consequential and weighty as is the granting of this civil entitlement.

This decision has offered all of us an opportunity to continue the vitally important dialogue of human encounter especially between those of diametrically differing opinions regarding its outcome.

This decision has made my task as bishop more complex as I continue to uphold the teachings of my Church on the Sacrament of Matrimony and the equal transcendent dignity of every human person.

Diocese of Savannah
2170 E. Victory Drive
Savannah, Georgia 31404


Anonymous said...

Shouldn't be surprised that this comes from the same justice system that gives us the following.....

A man hits a pregnant woman with his car while she's opening the door to the abortion clinic with the intent to kill her child. The child dies and the woman lives. She decides to press manslaughter charges and under our "justice system" she wins.

How will the great legal minds resolve this one.....

A gay father wants to marry his gay son. How can this not be allowed now?


Rood Screen said...

"YouTube and Google are proud to celebrate marriage equality. #ProudtoLove." This is all about pride, the sin of the devil. If God wants fruitfulness, then the USA will proudly enshrine fruitlessness in our constitutional law.

Now is the time to remove "In God We Trust" from our money, and to stop singing "God Bless America". How could God ever bless a federation that has so little trust in the laws of nature's God?

Anonymous said...

Praying for priests and bishops. The salvation of many souls is at stake, and yet saving souls by preaching God's truth as it relates to marriage and sexuality may result in criminal prosecution. The ramifications of this are far reaching as has been stated by the dissenting justices. And gay activists have claimed that the end goal is not marriage equality but destruction of the institution of marriage. Down the rabbit hole we go. Praying that we all have the grace and courage to obey God rather than men and suffer with our Lord.


Paul said...

Well Mike,

That's the slippery slope that so many people scoff at yet here we are sliding down that slope. Perhaps they'll want to be married just for the legal and monetary advantages.

There was a case in Germany when a brother tried to "marry" his sister but that was struck down by German courts. For now.

Incest is legal in many parts of the world.

People will then scoff stating: "can't equate the two". Well, that's what was ruled today under the specious pretext of "equality" cloaked in "rights".

The slope just got steeper.

Anonymous said...

Well-written---he had that posted pretty quickly this morning---wonder if the bishop anticipated the ruling and had a draft made up---not much time otherwise to draw it up. Haven't seen anything from Atlanta's bishop---of course I mean the Catholic archbishop.

The Episcopal Church is having its triennial convention and reportedly there were cheers out there in Salt Lake City upon the court decision today. A bishop in that denomination who will stand up for traditional marriage is about as rare as a chilly night in Savannah in summertime!

One question for Father M: Obviously Catholic clergy sometimes are invited at ecumenical weddings to participate---say a Catholic priest and Episcopal one. I suspect the Church now must come up with standards saying that priests/deacons may not assist at any marriage ceremony (in another denomination) that involves a same-sex couple. In the past such was not needed, as who could imagine a denomination allowing same-sex marriage? When the unimaginable not only becomes imaginable but reality, we are in trouble......

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, the Archbishop's statement is a call to Christian charity and not a strong denouncement of the ruling itself? ... which is, sad to say, what we have come to expect from our Church leaders. I see he did reaffirm Catholic teaching in a clear way, but had no words denouncing the ruling. Not too many St. Pauls around today, I fear.
It's okay. I don't put my faith in men. I put my faith in Jesus Christ. It's sad, but okay.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Father, but we live in times that call for a strong defense and strong language to point out what is wrong. LEADERS do that. These are not the words of a leader. They are the words of a high-level administrator who doesn't want to step on anyone's toes. i.e.: A Typical U.S. Bishop.

I was going to say we deserve better, but I fear we are getting exactly what we deserve.

Rood Screen said...


Priests and deacons assist at such weddings only with episcopal permission.

Anonymous 2 said...

An excellent statement from Bishop Hartmayer!


“gay activists have claimed that the end goal is not marriage equality but destruction of the institution of marriage.”

Could you please cite to some examples? Thanks

George said...

I can only echo the statement that Vatican issued after the Irish vote: It represents a "defeat for humanity."
The ramifications of this have not been fully considered . Think about how much in the social/moral sphere has changed over the last ten years. What will things be like in another ten years? Will the Church's exempt status be taken away at some point if it does not bow to the forces of the new morality? According to many of those caught up in the political and social ethos prevalent today, faithful Catholics are either hopelessly anachronistic or dangerously reactionary. The latter view is gaining more prominence as each year goes by. Even if a conservative Republican is elected to the presidency in 2015, I'm afraid it will only delay the inevitable. I don't see how anyone faithful to all the Church teaches can put a positive face on this.

George said...

The division of the Catholic judges in this decision is reflective of the liberal/progressive, traditional /conservative dichotomy in the Church as a whole. Right now the former are winning and in the ascendency. This is not good for the Church or the world. I know that the decision was reached on the contest between differing judical philosophies, but here was a time when conforming to God's Holy and Just law would have ruled the day.

Justice Scalia:
"Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. "

Anonymous said...

Anon 2
Activist in favor of destruction of marriage link

Bummed in GA.

George said...

Traditional marriage, which is that union which is solemnized(explicitly or implicitly) between a man and a woman, derives from our Divine Creator. Its end is directed toward the good, and this good itself derives from God who is Goodness and Holiness which is manifested fully in His Divine Nature.
Same-sex marriage (which really should not be denoted as such) is in opposition to God's intent and design; and so, while it more proximately derives from man, in the end it corresponds to the designs of the Evil one whose efforts oppose God. Those who support and enter into this ungodly arrangement, in no small part, whether intentionally or not, do damage to the Body of Christ,
and so they manifest evil due to their objective and desire which does harm to the Catholic Church,since it is the Divinely ordained instrument of man's salvation.

George said...

I meant to type above

Even if a conservative Republican is elected to the presidency in *2016*

Anonymous 2 said...

It is a mark of wisdom to choose one’s battles wisely. This was a battle that could not be won, period. The better battle line is defense of the Church Sacrament, which is where the Church will, I believe, prevail.

Angry Augustinian said...

Pretty mild statement from the Bishop. Go along to get along be nice, etc, etc.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Whoop-dee-doodle-doo.

How impressive.


George said...

Anonymous 2

I hope you are right but reading Justice Kennedy's reasoning, it doesn't seem much of a jump to apply his argument for a same-sex couple wanting a Church wedding. Especially if a state were to do away with civil "marriages" while keeping civil unions. OK, so Kennedy wouldn't apply it that way, but what of some future justice?

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. Steven:

Thank you for the link. I listened to the audio. This particular activist opposes the institution of marriage because of her own complicated family situation. This becomes clear towards the end of the audio. There are many heterosexual radicals who hold similar views. So, I don’t think the problem is a gay/lesbian problem specifically.

As for her contention that gays/lesbians lied when they said the institution of marriage would not change, if anyone said such a thing the position seems absurd on its face. Of course, the institution of marriage changes when it is opened up to same sex couples. I do not understand how anyone, heterosexual or gay/lesbian, could reasonably deny that.

rcg said...

This is not really a clear statement. It almost makes it sound like the ruling does not matter. If he had added that most marriages covered by civil law are not valid under Church Law in order to give perspective it would have helped. i believe this is a disaster for our country but I am not aware that any minister is forced to perform a marriage That was attendant to a legitimate religion. (There was mail order minister with a wedding chapel business that ran into trouble). Considering that most marriages are not valid I think we are safe at this point as long as people who are openly trying to hurt the Church are not allowed to force blasphemy on us.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should be reminded of Acts 5:29: "Peter and the other apostles answered, 'we must obey God, not men."

It would be easy to blame liberal Protestantism for the moral decay of our society and yesterday's ruling---the so-called mainline denominations which become more irrelevant by the day---but unfortunately the enemy As in Catholics overall.

You say, how could that be?

Well, elections have consequences. Lets go back to 1992. A lot of Republicans/Catholics were mad at the first President Bush for raising taxes, and they voted for Ross Poert, which paved the way for...Bill Clinton. And the fruits of that election? Liberals Steven Breyer and (from the ACLU) Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Supreme Court.

2008? Folks mad at the second President Bush because of the mess in Iraq (yes, a fatal blunder) and recession---people want to make history and elect the unqualified, secularist Barack Obama. Fruits of that election? Elena Kagan and Sotomoyr.

Right there, 4 of your 5 votes yesterday for same-sex marriage.

That doesn't excuse Reagan-appointed Anthony Kennedy, who as a Catholic has betrayed traditional Christian teachings. But that was only 1 vote.

It was simply impossible for either Clinton or Obama to have been elected without a lot of Catholic support. There are not enough liberal Episcopalians to have elected either (and some Episcopalians still vote Republicans because of economic, not social issues, like here in the wealthy Buckhead section of Atlanta.)

So I hate to say, but "we have met the enemy...and he is us!"

Anonymous 2 said...


So why don’t you draw the necessary conclusions and blame Bush, for his mismanagement of both domestic and foreign policy? I agree elections have consequences. So do the actions that precede them. If Republicans didn’t want people to vote Democrat in the 2008 election perhaps they should have done a better job in office.

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget that Dick Cheney (unlike George Bush) supports same sex marriage (because of his daughter).

So it just isn’t so simple is it?

And another thought for perspective – same sex marriage pales into insignificance compared to the evils that the Bush administration unleashed in the Middle East.

Angry Augustinian said...

Ah, Anon 2's Bush hate comes out. Blame it on Bush. Man, you libs sure give him a lot of power. I did not think he was that impressive, myself, although I voted for him and like him.

George said...

Anonymous 2

"If Republicans didn’t want people to vote Democrat in the 2008 election perhaps they should have done a better job in office."

It would follow from that then that a Republican will occupy the White House in 2017.

Anonymous said...

Blame whoever you like. Nothing is going to change as long as we have weak bishops doing their twice-a-year gig at the 5-star hotels and ignoring the society around them going up in flames while they take up less than urgent causes in their closed-door meetings. They are re-defining irrelevancy.

Anonymous 2 said...

Extremely Angry and Not at All Jolly Today:

_My_Bush hate? Anonymous, who lamented the election of Obama and his influence over Supreme Court nominations suggested that many people voted for Obama in 2008 “because of the mess in Iraq (yes, a fatal blunder) and recession.” I merely invited him/her (probably him) to draw the inevitable conclusions.

As for your typical playground “lib” slur, I agree that a British conservative would look like a “lib” to you -- heck, Attila the Hun would probably look like a “lib” to you – and I remind you that I voted for George Bush in 2000. However, in his own words:

“There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.”

Jusadbellum said...

Irony. When it comes to saving Obamacare, the actual text means nothing because we must go for the INTENT of the legislature and figure out how to re-word the law so as to effect what they really intended...

But when it comes to the 14th amendment, the text may be reinterpreted without any reference to the intent of those who passed it.

Why did we need an amendment to give women the right to vote if the right was implicit in the 14th amendment all along?

But beyond that, this ruling nullifies federalism and nationalizes all rights. I for one will be waiting with baited breath on national recriprocity laws for guns...after all, if it's legal to open carry rifles in some states and some states are 'shall issue' the "logic" of this case would point to all bans on guns being struck down as against the dignity of fellow citizens...

But who am I kidding? Logic and precedent only matter when the cause is a progressive one.

Angry Augustinian said...

Hey, Anon 2, how are all your gay friends you apologize for doing today? Have they stocked up on Crisco and olive oil?

Anonymous 2 said...


“Apologize” is your word, not mine. I have never “apologized” for gays and lesbians. What I have done and will continue to do while also defending the Church’s teachings in such dialogue is well expressed by Bishop Hartmeyer:

“The moral debate however must also include the way that we treat one another - especially those with whom we may disagree. We are all God's children and are commanded to love one another. In many respects that moral question is at least as consequential and weighty as is the granting of this civil entitlement.

This decision has offered all of us an opportunity to continue the vitally important dialogue of human encounter especially between those of diametrically differing opinions regarding its outcome.”

You have the luxury of lobbing vicious and uncharitable comments here, there, and everywhere and of talking big about “lock and load” (the default sentiment of those who cannot be bothered to do the really hard work of defending the Church while trying to maintain civil peace). Most of us have to live and work in environments in which we do not have that luxury (even if we wanted to, which we don’t). And this means that some of us are on the front lines of the real battle, not your pseudo macho battle. Jesus didn’t “lock and load.” Give me a break! Moreover, the battle lines are now clearly drawn – to defend religious liberty – now that the skirmish in the public square is over.

I realize that this approach is probably too complicated to wrap your mind around but do give it a try.

Anonymous 2 said...


“It would follow from that then that a Republican will occupy the White House in 2017.”

Whether or not it follows will be seen in 2016 when the judgment of the Electorate becomes known.

Angry Augustinian said...

Hey, A Nonnie Mouse, I was just axing you a simple question about your gay buddies. It seemed a reasonable one based upon your apparent affinity for them. A hit dog do holler…now, back to academia with you...

Anonymous said...

Let's face it fellow frogs: We're all in that pot and it is too late to jump out--it's boiling and we sat here while it happened. In just a few years we will have public figures-most likely liberal politicians with great "social justice" records--who will be married to their dogs and horses and chinchillas and our bishops will still be attending junkets with these folks and shaking their hands and giving them Communion when they bother to show up for a politically motivated Mass attendance.

Yup. You gotta love those tough Catholic bishops. Makes me wish we had some.

Anonymous 2 said...

AA Crisco Man:

No, you were not asking a simple question. As for “apparent affinity,” when are you going to understand that people are defined by much more than their sexuality? You certainly seem to be really hung up on it. Of course, I am no Freudian, but . . . .

Anonymous 2 said...


I am not so worried about animals. In case you don’t realize it, a chinchilla lacks capacity.

The more serious issue will be those who want to enter a polygamous marriage (I mean as opposed to the serial polygamy we currently have) or to marry someone within prohibited degrees of consanguinity. The issue will be whether the courts can articulate a principled distinction between same sex marriage and these other situations. I suspect that the latter might be easier to resist than the former.