Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, laments SCOTUS rulings: "we are about to sink even lower. God help us."

"They are profoundly wrong and wrong-headed decisions..."
Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, founder and editor of Ignatius Press, which is based in San Francisco, expressed obvious frustration this morning in commenting about the Supreme Court rulings striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and dismissing Proposition 8.

"They are profoundly wrong and wrong-headed decisions," he stated in e-mail correspondence this morning. "And it is deeply depressing that in each decision a Catholic justice was the swing vote."

"There is a twofold problem that underlies both decisions," he wrote. "1) That issues of such fundamental significance for society should be decided by a single, unelected person. That’s what happens when there is a 5-4 decision. 2) That the judges of the Supreme Court who ought to be exemplary for their wisdom as well as their technical knowledge of the law can be completely blind to the obvious: this is not an issue of equality at all. Same sex unions are not in any way equivalent to marital unions."

Fr. Fessio specifically named Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote for the majority in the Court's ruling on DOMA ("United States v. Windsor"). "Justice Kennedy wrote, 'The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.' This is only slightly less outrageously self-contradictory than his famous 'mystery” utterance: 'At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.'"

That statement was written by Justice Kennedy (along with Justices Souter and O'Connor) in his opinion on the 1992 case, "Planned Parenthood v. Casey."

"If you can define your own concept of meaning," added Fr. Fessio, "well, I suppose you can play Alice in Wonderland with any concept you want, including marriage. So at least Justice Kennedy is consistent in his self-contradiction, and this decision is simply a consequence of the earlier principle. However, he even goes farther here and apparently can read hearts, since he claims that the 'purpose' is to 'disparage and to injure'. So one man sets himself against the wisdom of all recorded history which recognizes the obvious: a marital union can do what no other union can; further it is not only a benefit to the state, but the state cannot exist without it. Giving it special status and protection does not disparage or injure anyone; it simply recognizes an empirical fact that only the willfully blind can fail to see."

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