The Illinois Senate is planning to approve marriage equality legislation Thursday, and the Catholic Church continues to rail against the effort. In the latest bishop-penned screed in advance of the Valentine’s Day vote, Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki turned his sights on the majority of Catholics who support marriage equality in spite of the Church hierarchy’s dictates, in the name of “love” (via Jeremy Hooper):
We would do well to remember the color red is associated with St. Valentine’s Day because Valentine died as a martyr on February 14, about the year 270. Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Emperor Claudius II. This Valentine’s Day we would also do well to focus on a more authentic understanding of the word “love.” Love never encourages sin or leads a person further into sin, but seeks instead to help others live a holy life. As St. Valentine demonstrated, love seeks to lead us further away from sin and closer to the truth. [...]
The Church hopes all civil servants will serve the common good and avoid acting contrary to that common good, especially in regard to basic institutions that, like marriage, are fundamental to the well-being of the whole society and her members. In a special way, the Church expects this of Catholics who have been called to the dignity and responsibility of public service. Catholics who propose or promote the legal establishment of marriage as something other than the union of one man and one woman harm the common good of society, as known by reason, and set themselves against the settled teaching of the Church.
The Catholic Church has great love and compassion for those who experience same-sex attraction and offers pastoral help for people dealing with this condition to help them live a life of chastity. This is a separate issue, however, from the definition of marriage as a natural institution between a man and a woman committed to an exclusive and life-long relationship open to the potential to bring new life into the world.
Catholics who support their LGBT friends and family are destroying society, and gay people have a “condition” that can be addressed by living a life of chastity. In other words, Catholics aren’t allowed to love gays and gays aren’t allowed to even experience love. Perhaps it’s not surprising that a man committed to a life of celibacy defines a “more authentic understanding” of love as no love at all.
Paprocki previously admitted that it doesn’t matter how many “religious freedom” protections legislators add to the bill, the Catholic Church will still oppose it.