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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Honoring the Bernini Boys

Stumbling around the internet I found:

Sincero Bernini was my Grandmother's brother.  He and the rest of the boys were murdered by the Nazis/Fascists in 1944.

I grew up hearing their story from my Grandma, a story she could never tell without crying.  These men stood up for what they believed, fought tyranny and apparently did it without too much soul searching.  It was the right thing to do, so they did it (with the shrug of the shoulders Italians are famous for - as if doing the right thing is something that takes a great deal of thought, right?).

Today, of course, doing the right thing takes a great deal of thought, and discernment and understanding.  In the 12 step program to which I belong we often say that integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching and I have no reason to quarrel with that understanding.  What I have discovered, however, is that integrity and courage are two different things.  I have come to believe that integrity is demonstrated by doing the right thing without a witness, but courage is doing the right thing when everyone is looking and few approve.

For example:  Brad Pitt, the superstar, has a mom who happens to be against "Gay Marriage".  She wrote a letter to her local newspaper stating as much.  Because her son is such fodder for gossip magazines (and leading a famously unconventional lifestyle) her letter to the local paper was picked up and blared by the trumpets of the media for all the world to hear.  Depending upon which group broadcasted the woman's letter it was described as either 'Anti-Gay' or 'Pro Marriage'.

Either way, what many have overlooked is that this woman has the courage of her convictions and is willing to state those convictions despite the expected lashing she will receive from the Left.

Here is another example:  Me.

I am not a superstar and maybe six people read this blog with any kind of regularity.  I rarely get any posts and have been accused (falsely) of not allowing any by those who disagree with me. 

I adhere to the Teachings of The Catholic Church - all of them (even the unpopular- with- members- of -my- own -family ones that can cause problems at Thanksgiving dinners).

However, I also am one of those people that find it difficult to believe that we cannot come up with a solution to the problem presented by the proponents of Same-Sex Marriage that protects the rights of adults to be counted, taxed and otherwise monitored by the government AND protect those Religious Institutions from what surely will be lawsuits claiming discrimination when certain people are denied a Marriage Ceremony by their Rabbi, Minister, Priest, Shaman or Coven Leader.

Many of my very conservative Catholic Christian friends think I am selling out.  They especially believe this when I state I would like to see the word 'marriage' retrieved from the secular world all together.  The government should not be issuing a LICENSE for a MARRIAGE - rather, the government should be allowing couples of any type to register that they are now in a contractual relationship as a team, a fiduciary entity.  Then, if that team wants to get 'married' they can take that piece of paper that shows they have properly registered with the government and get married -by whomever they chose and whomever will marry them.

Now, the Left will tell you that religion does not have a monopoly on the word marriage and quite frankly that argument does not historically ring true.  Every society ever known has made a religious or quasi-religious ceremony out of bringing a man and a woman together to share property and have children and pass on goods.  That has lessened over the centuries as religion and government has separated and, of course, as an American I think that is a good thing.  As a Catholic I believe it is a good thing as well because the government has not always looked kindly upon Holy Mother Church (sometimes with good reason) and so I want to make sure I am allowed to be a Catholic American without having someone show up at the rectory with the intention of forcing a political belief upon my priest.

With that in mind, those of use who propose to remove 'marriage' from the civil code do so because we are accepting that the proponents of 'Gay Marriage' really just want to protect Homosexuals from civil discrimination - to allow them to transfer property, share health care insurance, pay taxes, share inheritance, be counted and tracked and managed by the government in the same manner as Heterosexuals.

And, in spite of the chorus of derision I will receive from both the Left and the Right, I am stating for the record that I do not believe the government should issue a license to ANYONE for a Sacrament.

It might not seem courageous to you, but for someone like me who always fights the fear of being hated, disliked and left alone, it is a big deal.

I hope my Uncle Sincero is proud - and praying for me.


Robert said...


You are one of my top five favorite Catholics and fellowship people, and I value your opinions. Your passion and diligence is admirable, and I know for a fact that you would not hesitate to help a person who is looking for help.

I am not a cradle Catholic. I am one of those “other” people; one who came in from the wilderness. My last church was the Episcopal Church of the United States, “ECUSA.” When I married in April of 1992, it was conducted by an older gentleman in a shiny black suit, who was a minister to the “Great Cosmic Consciousness, or Un consciousness,” can’t remember which. I did not have a sacramental marriage, only dimly was aware of what a sacrament was, and was probably drunk anyway. Our contribution to society was negligible, unless you count the county of Alameda’s insistence to attend “counseling” for the three children from my wife’s previous marriage, which were in the process of being removed from all available public schools in the area due to various behavioral features.

There are two experiences that dominate my thinking as regards same-sex marriage. One is my experience in the ECUSA; witnessing the transition from an invitation of tolerance of the lifestyles others to an insistence that we whole heartedly embrace the lifestyles of others as being equal to my own.

The other is the benefit to society from marriage. There is a body of knowledge and history that shows that society rewards unions that benefits society; “traditional marriage” benefits society in general by bringing babies into the world.

To address the first experience, I felt a distinct pressure from ECUSA to “change my evil ways” as regards my beliefs about same-sex marriage. As with most bullies, retreat only invites advance. It looks as if the Catholic Church is being bullied by the government. My perception that their claim they will be satisfied if we retreat into our churches, cowering and praying inside, while not displaying our convictions or the origin of convictions while outside the Church is a false one. I see no compelling reason to think these bullies will be satisfied at stopping at the door.

To address my second experience, there is a body of knowledge that acknowledges the benefit to society by bringing babies into the world, and the rewards granted to those who in general do so. Rewarding couples who are in love, or are interested in same sex sexual intimacy makes no sense. Being “in love” and “desiring sexual intimacy” is a dime a dozen occurrence. No commitment. Think bacon and eggs. The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed. Having unfavorable experience with acting on feelings in the past, I have some evidence to back up this opinion.

The idea that a same sex union is equal in the eyes of society to a hetero union is difficult to accept, unless you have a very good cover story. A cover story covers history, your behind, or both. Our religion is a historical Abrahamic and monotheistic one that is best explained by our *history* of contact with God, since other explanations collapse into naturalism when they are called to do so. Finally, there is a poverty of evidence that shows society rewarding same sex unions in the same way that hetero unions are rewarded. Unless you have a good cover story.

Of course, this is just my opinion. Thank you again for this blog. Perhaps I am number seven?


Leslie Klinger said...

Robert, I am proud to call you my Catholic Brother! Thank you for a well thought out reply. I think you are right, truly I do. I also think I am scared right now because of what I suspect are specific plans by haters to try and destroy The Church - and yet, we know, don't we, that they will fail...because no matter what they do, The Church will be here when Jesus returns!