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VP Biden officiating at same sex civil marriage riles Roman Catholic prelates

VP Biden officiating at same sex civil marriage riles Roman Catholic prelates

Monday, 1 AUG, Vice President Joe Biden officiated at a civil marriage for two men, Joe Mashie & Brian Mosteller. The men were both White House staff members. Mr Mosteller works for the President and Mr Mashie works for the First Lady. Mr Biden obtained a temporary license to officiate weddings from the City of Washington DC. The Vice President & Dr Biden hosted  the wedding in their government provided Washington DC residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory. It was an intimate affair attended by the families of the grooms.

Soon after the ceremony, VP Biden tweeted a photo of the ceremony and said that he was proud to marry the men in his home and that he was very happy for them. Dr Jill Biden tweeted from her account that love is love.

The Biden’s are Roman Catholic. Mr Biden is the first RC to hold the office of vice president. However, VP Biden has been a proponent of equal marriage for a while now. In fact it was the Vice President who brought the Obama Administration out of the closet regarding same sex marriage. On the topic of Catholics who are pro-same sex marriage, Mr Biden is in good company. According to statistics provided by the Pew Research Center, Roman Catholics rank higher than average US citizens (55%) for being in favor of marriage equality. 58% of US Catholics approve of same sex civil marriage.

However, the Roman hierarchy in the US devoutly toe the Vatican line regarding marriage equality. One bishop, the Bishop of Springfield,  embarrassed himself by conducting a public exorcism in NOV 2013 of the Illinois State Government after it voted to approve and the governor signed into law, same sex marriage legislation. A vice principal of a Catholic high school in Seattle was fired by the Archdiocese of Seattle in DEC 2013, after he married his partner.

A few days after the Vice President officiated at the wedding of Joe & Brian, three US bishops,  wrote a blog piece, Faithful Witness to Marriage, condemning his action. But, they didn’t mention the Vice President by name.

When a prominent Catholic politician publicly and voluntarily officiates at a ceremony to solemnize the relationship of two people of the same-sex, confusion arises regarding Catholic teaching on marriage and the corresponding moral obligations of Catholics. What we see is a counter witness, instead of a faithful one founded in the truth.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Louisville KY,
President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Bishop Richard J. Malone, Buffalo NY
Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, Miami FL,
Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

To support their opinions, the bishops quoted Pope Francis;

Pope Francis has been very clear in affirming the truth and constant teaching of the Church that same-sex relationships cannot be considered “in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.” Laws that redefine marriage to deny its essential meaning are among those that Catholics must oppose, including in their application after they are passed. Such witness is always for the sake of the common good.

Some folks have joked that the Vice President made the prelates hot under their Roman collars!

The main photo is from the Vice President’s Twitter account.
Facts for the story were gathered from the Seattle PI and HuffPost Religion.


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Confusion? what confusion? So, bishops….go ahead, excommunicate the Vice President of the United States…..and loose another great measure of credibility. The ball is in your court boys.

Paul Powers

I think they’re concern was misplaced. It would have been different if JFK had officiated. Everyone knew that he was Catholic. My guess is that most people don’t knowBiden’s religious affiliation.

Still, Catholic bishops have as much right as anyone else to express their views on social issues. And on some issues, like concern for the poor, for migrants and refugees, for people on death row, etc., I’m glad they do.

June B Butler

Just my opinion, of course. One of the RC bishops in flooded south Louisiana dispensed Catholics from the Sunday obligation to attend mass today. If you have to say it, and I know they do, for some older folks who take the Sunday obligation so very seriously – you know, missing mass on Sunday is a sin mortal enough to send you to hell. Just more evidence of the mindset of some bishops that Catholics don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t think for themselves.

June B Butler

Buzz off, bishops. Joe presided at a civil ceremony, so it’s none of your business.

Paul Powers

If Biden weren’t Catholic, the bishops probably wouldn’t have said anything.

June B Butler

Paul, I know that, but there’s a time to speak and a time to keep one’s thoughts to oneself. In this instance, the bishops erred in speaking their opinions publicly. Catholic marriages are their business, but there is no need for them to express themselves about every action of every Catholic in a prominent position. The majority of the flock is not with the shepherds in this matter of their right to decide who is permitted to love whom. Don’t get me started.

Prof. Christopher Seitz

Doesn’t the Catholic Church require sacramental marriage, so how does this involve how they actually view what has transpired civilly?

Chris Steele

Only if both parties are RC and thus bound by form. Otherwise the marriage is null for lack of form. If one party is RC, then a dispensation is required. If neither party is RC, then there is a putative marriage and the tribunal would have to look at questions of defect of consent or matter to declare it null. Obviously, the CIC would not countenance this as SSM is not even a thing in the RCC

Prof. Christopher Seitz

Thanks, Chris! Grace and peace.

Jay Croft

C’mon over, Joe! The water’s fine!

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