Low Moments for the Notion of Apostolic Succession

Apparently, the Catholic Church will shut its charity organizations in Washington, D.C., if the D.C. Council legalizes gay marriage.

For an organization purportedly modeled on a guy who had a lot to say about coping with adversity, you’d think they’d be doing better with this.


  1. From telling a continent ravaged with AIDS not to use condoms to covering up child rape for decades the Catholic church can always be counted on to place its own interests and dogma above its supposed humanitarian mission.

  2. I was heartened to read of a bunch of DC councilmembers saying essentially, “Fuck you,” to the Catholic church, “our government will not be bullied and threatened by religious organizations.” The other organizations that administer similar charities in the city can pick up the slack.

    1. From the link: John Wimberly, the president of the ACLU in Washington and a pastor, agreed the current phrasing could cause problems. He told the council that while the ACLU supports the bill he would recommend taking out part of the exemption to avoid confusion.

      I agree he clearly believes some of the language to be problematic, but it seems to necessitate a tweak, not an overhaul. His tweak would be to take out some exemption language.

      Seems it’s all the fuss of trying to codify exemptions that’s complicating the whole thing. To me, this idea of exemptions is something that should be left out of the bill and left to the courts. If you try to write them into the bill, you either end up with too much or not enough. You either end up providing so many ways out of acknowledging these marriages that it becomes a fall back for bigots, or you fail to enumerate all the exemptions and you could upset even reasonable people.

      Instead, consider that as religious exemptions, this is really a matter about the first amendment and free exercise of religion. Our understanding of the first amendment would always allow a Catholic church to refuse to perform a same-sex marriage, just as it doesn’t have to perform a Baptist marriage. So there’s no need for that language in the bill.

      There are going to be lawsuits in any case. If they bill says the church does not have to provide equal benefits to same-sex partners, then there will be suits demanding equal benefits. And if the bill says the church must provide equal benefits, then you can imagine the church will sue or do something to get itself sued. Leave the language out of the bill, and see where the line settles. (It won’t be in the church’s favor.)

  3. Yeah, but what’s all this got to do with apostolic succession?

    1. The implication of apostolic succession is the idea that the church embodies Jesus’ authority and values… which I think this disproves.

      1. So your contention is that Jesus would have been in favor of gay marriage?

  4. It’s primarily that Jesus wouldn’t have pulled a hissy fit and threatened to take his toys home.

    1. So the Catholic church should violate it’s religious principles and start providing gay marriages?

      1. You know that’s not the argument anyone is making.

        The church should continue to provide its charity services – as Jesus would have. However, if legislation prevents them from doing so in conjunction with the government based on principal, that’s fine. They can still provide these services independently.

  5. I’ll grant that it’s sort of a dick move they’re trying to pull here, but like any other sacramental characteristic, apostolicity is not dependent on individual moral qualifications.

    Nor does the Archbishop of Washington speak for The Church anywhere outside his own diocese.

  6. It shouldn’t hold unrelated outreach projects hostage to whether or not the jurisdiction decides to permit gay marriages.

    1. Why? If it’s conviction is strong enough in opposition then shouldn’t they let their conciences guide them?

    2. As I said, I think Jesus was pretty clear on how to handle adversity. That’s not a standard everyone can live up to, but I do expect “His” church to try.

      1. Catholics have long had a policy of avoiding events, etc that conflict with doctrine. That’s why so many opposed Obama going to Notre Dame or Senator Kerry taking Communion.

  7. and this is why i’m a “recovering” catholic! i’m guessing with patrick kennedy facing excommunication, he’ll become one too!

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