More Discussion with Rev. Codega

I don’t think I need to comment on it since my response is at the top and his message below that. This is a very interesting discussion. A friend indicates that by reading these emails he’s already caught a few lies.

In particular the one about hospitals not being allowed to ask the religion as part of the objective interview. In my friends report, as of 2007 he was asked that question.

do not feel that the definition includes same sex couples, but the the Constitution, specifically Article 1, Section 2 of the Rhode Island Constitution says the law cannot discriminate. So one of two things has to happen to redress grievance, either a legislative solution, or a judicial solution.

Certainly you can challenge the numbers but one thing I do know is how hard it is to get oneself dropped from the rolls in the Catholic church. In essence you have to perform a very heinous act to be excommunicated, something akin to defiling the host. That inflates the numbers somewhat. I don’t necessarily fear believers, I just want them to keep it to themselves. There’s a fine line here between religion and the secular community, you know that as well as anyone. I won’t tread on your religious liberties if you don’t tread on my civil liberties. It’s really that simple.

I knew you’d entered the ministry later in life but hadn’t realized you had an engineering background. Tell me, wouldn’t that background be better suited to teaching at say Providence College, or even LaSalle, Hendricken, or the like?

What I find most interesting is your view of what the church was from the 1950’s through the 1970’s, in essence the pre and post Vatican II churches. I think as of Vatican II they started going on the right track and then JP II got in and n my view, completely screwed it up. Sure he was about the flock, always about the flock. And now we have Benedict. He’s not scoring many points with his latest gaffe about condoms. Is it my imagination or did we not have these problems when the popes tended to be Italian?

It always struck me as odd that the church has such a prurient interest in the sex lives of both its members and non-members. Wouldn’t one think that there are bigger issues to worry about, like homelessness, or the abused. The church in general really dropped the ball on the abuse thing.

What strikes me as interesting is your statement that you do not in any way submit to teaching of the Church with which you don’t agree. It proves my point that our understanding and interpretation of the Bible evolves over time. We’d no more re-introduce slavery than deny women the right to vote based on Biblical prescription. The same is true of our understanding of civil law.

For example, RI has one of the more inclusive non-discrimination acts in the nation. Has the church suffered from it at all? Friends in the legal profession tell me that there hasn’t yet been a direct challenge to any church in RI and I strongly doubt there will be. So I urge you to rest your fears that the proposed legislation opens the door, it does nothing of the sort.

Lets say someone does decide to follow suit because they can’t have their wedding performed in Cathedral Square. The justices of course would read the marriage statutes and find that the religious institutions are protected. This one line says it all “No court or other state or local governmental body, entity, agency or commission shall compel, prevent, or interfere in any way with any religious institution’s decisions about marriage eligibility within that particular faith’s tradition.”

I’m not sure how we could make the highlighted line any clearer. The entities prohibited are the courts or any state or local government entity, agency or commission. I suppose it overlooks the various boards that exist in the state but I highly doubt a challenge would come from that arena and more to the point they use the word ‘entity’ and that covers the boards too.

Compel, prevent or interfere. No court orders, no injunctions, no government takeovers. Pretty simple. The only change I’d make is the phrase “religious institution” to “religious entity”

Rev. John Codega wrote:
> Tony
> Sorry. When you stated you did not want to change the definition of marriage, for a moment I overlooked that you feel the definition already includes same sex couples. Changing the prerequisites does change the definition in my book. You’re right, we don’t agree on that either. Both sides seem unwilling to compromise on the definition of marriage. That’s why we’ll leave it up to the democratic process.
> I am familiar with the study from Trinity College. I had not had a chance to see it in it’s entirety Thanks for the link.
> I don’t question some drop in the RI Catholic population. There are many reason suggested for that. From empirical experience I always thought the 62% claim in the 90’s was too high an estimate then. That is also supported by the church census which show our numbers to be pretty steady in RI. I am a life long Rhode Islander. Most of my friends would also call themselves “spiritual” but not identify with any religion. (I am getting them back one at a time) This information does affirms that the US Populating continues to grow in numbers and held relatively steady in percentages.
> I also don’t question the increase in self proclaimed non-believers. Look around for evidence of that! This has happened all across Europe as well — following the increase in moral relativism including the sexual freedom and liberties. Thus the “fear” of the believers.
> I completely agree that our parish’s growth is an anomaly. However it highlights the trend that churches that are coming back to the basics of the faith and the teachings of the Church are thriving. Those who have watered down the theology over the decades are suffering – which in some regards applies to the U.S. Catholic Church as a whole.
> You are most welcomed to come and check out our demographics. We have our share if seniors of course but we also have lots of young adults, teens and families coming back to the Church. (no Hispanics, actually) I attribute our growth to two things – well, three things if you count the work of the Holy Spirit – families transferring here from neighboring parishes (and there are many) and men and women coning back to Church having drifted away.
> Those returning to church are of special interest to me because I was one one of them. I share my story publicly on many occasions: I was ordained at 36 years old. I am a scientist who believes – my first undergraduate degree and career is in engineering. Like many of outr generation I stopped practicing the faith during college. Many years later, I rediscovered, not what I thought the Church taught, but the beauty of the Church’s true teaching. This is what drew me back – especially John Paul II and the teachings on the Eucharist.
> I would guess the religiosity of our families was similar. I would take mine a step or two further and say, although my parents and grandparents “attended” church they were not religious. They did not have that relationship with God that is required. They “went” to church for fear of going to hell and tried to get us to do the same. My generation needed more than “damnation theology” preached at a usually painfully dry Sunday service, or the baloons and Kumbaya of the 70’s folk masses. Those who come back today, do so seeking and demanding (rightfully so) much more.
> On the Priesthood: I, in no way, submit to any teachings of the Church to which I don’t agree, nor do I sublimate any sexual drives. The joke among my friends was a pool that they were taking when I went into the seminary. They were betting on the date I would leave. They knew how much of the Church’s teachings I disagreed with when I went in, as well as the life I lead. But I truly felt called by God and they knew that, too. When I came to understand the entirety, the constancy and the beauty of what was truly taught, I became a believer. They all lost the bet. I got a case of beer out of it.
> To understand the priesthood your way also explains why you’re hooked on that interpretation of that one line from Paul’s letter to Timothy. Understanding the entirety of Paul’s writing especially the analogy of Christ taking the Church as his bride, makes Paul’s letters a great expression of free love by which we willingly and fully give ourselves and submit to the one whom we love. What woman would not freely submit to a man whom she knows would give his life without hesitation for her well being? When I was dating I treated women well and had no problem being treated well by them. It wasnt oppression – I like to think it was love. Mutual love and fidelity requires complete submission of one’s self to the other. Those are saint Paul’s words….”husbands, love you wives, as Christ loves his bride, the Church.” As a priest I freely give myself to the Church so that I can serve all people with an undivided heart – this is not a sublimation of my sexuality. If anything, my role as man and father is exemplified.
> I have read the legislation and realize that there is language included to “protect” the religious institutions. I don’t like the idea of opening the door because it will only take a couple of lawsuits to change that as well. Some say that is very challengeable because of the tax incentive our institutions enjoy. And we both know it will be challenged.
> NOM/RI is new. Although growing each day we are behind in the 13 year debate – but catching up. I am sure the database is far less than MERI’s. We’re working on that, too. I do admire the passion and energy with which the gay marriage advocates rally around a cause. I appreciate that is an issue that couldn’t be closer to your hearts. We have much to learn from you. It’s very difficult getting the comfortable-right worked up about anything. But we are trying.
> Peace to you
> Rev. John Codega
> Church of Christ the King
> 130 Legris Avenue
> Centreville, RI 02893
> 401.821.9228

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