I suspect the last week has been less than pleasant for my state representative, Linda Chapa Lavia. (I don’t know her personally, though I think she has popped up from time to time at one or two of the parishes I play at.) She’s Catholic, and she voted for gay marriage in Illinois, despite the Church being entirely against gay marriage. Nothing novel about that, actually, except here’s what she said in voting yes:
“As a Catholic follower of Jesus and the pope, Pope Francis, I am clear that our Catholic religious doctrine has at its core love, compassion and justice for all people.”
Yes, it does. The problem, of course, is that Catholicism views gay marriage as inherently unjust, especially to kids. And when you cite Pope Francis (House Speaker Michael Madigan did too) in your vote for same-sex marriage, you’re going to get more attention than your run-of-the-mill Catholic voting for gay marriage.
Sayeth Rockford Bishop David Malloy, who’s my bishop and Chapa LaVia’s, in a letter read at all Masses this weekend:
Astonishingly, some of those who voted for this human redefinition did so by invoking Pope Francis or their Catholic faith. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived. This decision, however well intended, has no basis in nature and certainly not in the teaching or the practice of our Catholic faith. To quote Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and a similar bill was under consideration: “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. … [and] to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
Ouch. Wouldn’t surprise me if the bishop’s office has reached out to Chapa LaVia for a chat. (We wouldn’t hear about that, most likely, unless Chapa LaVia chose to publicize it.) Either way, I imagine it’s not a whole lot of fun to be criticized by your bishop. (He didn’t use her name, but she and Madigan are the only ones I could find who cited the pope in their yes votes.)
After she voted yes, she told her hometown paper, ““I’m emotionally drained.” No kidding. Unfortunately for her, based on the fact that the bishop has sounded off, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to get any easier anytime soon.