Metropolitan Cathedral

of San Jose, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Supreme Court has ruled that a same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. The Court has given the government 18 months to implement marriage equality. Needless to say, the Costa Rican Bishops’ Conference is displeased.

Catholic News Agency explains:

“In a democratic and pluralistic society like ours, legal recognition can be given to persons of the same sex that live together,” the bishops said. However, they continued, it would be “unjust if such recognition would claim to equate same sex unions with marriage.”

“Wanting to not discriminate against homosexual people does not authorize the State to confound the natural order of marriage and the family,” the bishops warned.

First of all, the first sentence of that quote is a lie. The teachings of the Catholic Church prohibit any recognition of same-sex unions. Were civil unions the issue, the bishops would find some reason to oppose it.

In the second paragraph they are giving an opinion (as fact) about what does, or does not, authorize the state to do something. Since they mention it, the concerns of the Vatican most certainly do “not authorize the State” to prohibit marriage equality.

The bishops have a very strange notion of what respect means:

“We reiterate our respect for the Costa Rican legal order, but we deplore that the Constitutional Chamber did not dismiss the petition…thus calling into question the origin and natural function of the family,” the bishops’ conference said in an Aug. 9 statement.

They “respect” and “deplore” what amounts to the same thing in the same sentence. Who writes this stuff? The following is eerily familiar:

“The family possesses a specific and original social dimension as a primary place of interpersonal relationships, the primary and vital cell of society: it is a natural institution, the foundation of people’s lives and the prototype of every social organization,” they stated.

They don’t get it. They never got it. They never will get it.

The bishops, around the world, intentionally confuse religious belief with public policy and they have virtually unlimited resources to attempt to effect their will. Ever since Henry VIII appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England (1531), the Vatican has been trying to prove that it has the power to influence the state.

They mention “the natural order” twice as if it were settled science. The natural order of things is religious dogma. It might be incontrovertibly true to them but that does not make it factual.

This is most certainly not an argument about Catholicism. The Church is free to teach anything that it wants. The Church is free to define its expectations of adherents. What it is not entitled to do is to impose its teachings on the state — any state.

The majority of Catholics, at least in the United States, are equally dismissive of the Church’s authority over the state. While Brian S. Brown, on behalf of National Organization for Marriage, was railing about the evils of marriage equality (none of which have come to pass), U.S. Catholics supported our right to wed in greater proportions than the general public.

“What is past is prologue” (Shakespeare: The Tempest). Over the next 18 months the bishops will be trying to impose their wishes relating to adoption and same-sex parenting.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.