As the country teetered on the brink of default, and millions suffered from the shutdown of government and the impact on services such as WIC and SNAP, Catholics in Honolulu received an urgent letter this week from Bishop Larry Silva urging everyone to pray the rosary for the following reasons:
1. A Special Session of the Hawaii Legislature has been called beginning October 28 to consider a bill on "marriage equity" or "same-sex marriage."
2. Passing same-sex marriage would be a "concession" that would cause "freedom of worship" to be "seriously threatened."
3. "The rights of parents to see that their children are taught the sacredness of marriage between one man and one woman would be seriously undermined."
4. "The boundaries our young people so desperately need in our over-sexed culture will be widely expanded if not taken away altogether, thus leading to more confusion in their hearts and minds."
5. "The prohibition against homosexual activity . . . is written into each human heart, and there are serious consequences if we ignore it."
6. "Only the truth about the need to respect our human ecology and the true meaning of sexuality and the body can be loving, even when not accepted by all."
7. "When talking about same-sex marriage we must be careful to distinguish between equality of persons and equality of institutions."
8. No matter what our sexual attraction may be, we are all equal as persons."
9. "... the institution of marriage between a man and a woman cannot be equal to the union between persons of the same gender."
10. "This issue is critical for the vitality of our entire community."
Having examined my conscience, and understanding its primacy according to Catholic teaching and the recent reminders of Pope Francis, I am happy to join Bishop Silva in praying the rosary. But I respectfully dedicate my rosary, not to his goal of stopping same sex marriage but to a purpose central to the Gospels: the alleviation of the pain of all who suffer the indignity and injustice of economic and social discrimination in all its forms.