Washington D.C., Aug 21, 2014 / 11:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. Supreme Court put a hold on same-sex “marriage” licenses in Virginia on Wednesday after a federal appeals court struck down the state’s marriage defense amendment in July.
“The Supreme Court acted wisely in restraining the lower court from implementing a ruling of this magnitude before the high court has a chance to decide the issue,” stated Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Byron Babione. The group represented the defense of the marriage amendment in court.
After the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the amendment and refused to grant a stay on the issuing of same-sex “marriage” licenses in the state, the Prince William County Clerk petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to put a hold on the decision. The licenses could have been granted as soon as Thursday morning.
The current state amendment defines marriage as between a man and a woman and forbids the state from creating any other union that “approximates” marriage or that has “rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects” of marriage. It passed with 57 percent of the vote in 2006.
“Virginians deserve an orderly and fair resolution to the question of whether they will remain free to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws,” Babione said. “The Supreme Court is making clear, as it already did in the Utah marriage case, that it believes a dignified process is better than disorder.”
Other supporters of the state’s marriage amendment were pleased with the decision. The Virginia Catholic Conference, which had filed an amicus brief in the case, said the court showed it was “consistent.”
“It’s consistent with the way the Utah case was handled, and it also certainly promotes an orderly resolution of the issue and avoids the uncertainty that would have resulted if same-sex couples had been allowed to start obtaining marriage licenses tomorrow,” executive director Jeff Caruso told CNA.
The National Organization for Marriage also weighed in with praise. “This is another indication that the rush to judgment declaring marriage to be unconstitutional is not only premature, but incorrect,” president Brian Brown stated.
The author of the marriage amendment, Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, also supported the court’s decision.
“The refusal of the Supreme Court to be pressured by the Fourth Circuit judges into a decision that would make it difficult for them to uphold the Virginia Marriage Amendment approved by 1.3 million Virginians is to be commended,” he stated.
Marshall said the decision underlines how “arrogant” the appeals court justices were in their “bizarre” ruling.
“They didn’t cite anything, they didn’t define marriage, they didn’t go through the history of the Fourteenth Amendment,” he said of the justices. “That’s why I said it was arrogant hubris for them to do that.”
The supporters voiced hope that the Supreme Court will take up the case.
“Hopefully in the end the U.S. Supreme Court will recognize that states have the proper authority to define marriage and to affirm the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Caruso said.
“We look forward to the US Supreme Court taking one or more of the three marriage cases now pending before them, and ultimately ruling that defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is entirely constitutional,” Brown stated.
Manchester, N.H., Aug 20, 2014 / 07:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Prayer not only served as a source of strength for Catholic journalist James Foley – who was allegedly killed by militant Islamic State forces – but is now a foundation for his family and community.
Foley's bishop, Peter A. Libasci of Manchester, N.H., told EWTN Aug. 20 that the news of the journalist’s death is “very, very troubling,” but that the family and community have been “praying for him and for news of his whereabouts” since Foley's disappearance in Nov. 2012.
“It's been a family that has continued to pray,” the bishop said, adding that the community has also offered its support and prayers since Foley went missing.
“You just know that the reality of faith is what’s holding them right now.”
On Aug. 19, the Islamic State, a militant group who controls territory in Syria and Iraq, released a video titled “A Message to America” in which the video purportedly shows the beheading of Foley, though U.S. authorities have not yet publicly verified the film’s authenticity. After the beheading was shown in the online video, insurgents showed another man, stated to be another missing American journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff, saying that his life depends on American President Barack Obama’s actions.
Insurgents said that Foley’s execution was in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq.
In an Aug. 20 press conference, James Foley’s parents John and Diane spoke of their faith as well of their pride in their son.
“We thank God for the gift of Jim. We are so, so proud of him,” said Diane Foley. She added that they prayed to God for strength and were grateful that “God has given us so many prayers” throughout James’ captivity.
She also thanked their family, parish, local priests and community for their prayers.
“It's not difficult to find solace in this point in time,” John Foley said. “We know he is in God's hands, and we know he’s done God’s work,” the father added through tears.
“We need the courage and prayers now to continue without him,” John Foley continued.
Previously detained for six weeks in Libya in 2011, James Foley wrote a letter to his alma mater, Marquette University, a Catholic university in Wisconsin, about how he turned to prayer, specifically the Rosary, during his captivity, and how the prayers of family and friends also gave him strength.
“I began to pray the Rosary.” he wrote. “It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.”
When he was first allowed to call home after over two weeks in captivity, Foley said his mother told him about the prayers others have offered up for him. This news made him wonder if instead of his own prayers, “it was others’ prayers strengthening me, keeping me afloat.”
“If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom,” Foley said, “an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us.”
Marquette University offered its prayers for Foley and his family at the news of his death, and stated that it will hold a memorial Mass for Foley on Aug. 26.
President Obama stated that he was praying for the Foley family in an Aug. 20 press conference, and decried the tactics of the Islamic State.
The organization, the president said, “speaks for no religion,” noting that many of the Islamic State’s victims are Muslim. “No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day,” said Obama.
The president pledged that it would “do what we must do to protect our people” and would work to “do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.”
Secretary of State John Kerry, who got to know the Foley family during Jim’s first captivity in 2011, also offered his prayers for the Foley family in an Aug. 20 statement, calling the Islamic State’s actions “evil.”
“There is evil in this world, and we all have come face to face with it once again,” the Secretary of State said. “ISIL is the face of that evil, a threat to people who want to live in peace, and an ugly insult to the peaceful religion they violate every day with their barbarity” he emphasized.
“James Foley went to the darkest of places to shine the light of truth,” Kerry stated. “He was brave and bold, and no masked coward can ever steal the legacy of this courageous American who lived out the meaning of the word journalism.”
Bishop Libasci said that those who feel frustrated and angry in the wake of Foley’s execution should look towards the example of St. John the Baptist, who also died from beheading and whose feast day will be celebrated shortly.
“All I can think of is here was this young man who was pointing the way toward truth, here was a man who pointing out what was happening in the country of Syria, here was a man who was pointing to what we should be aware of,” the bishop said.
He added that Christians in this time should look to Christ as St. John the Baptist did. “Let us be one with Christ and let us remember the one who pointed the way towards Christ.”
“A Christian must always remember that revenge does not belong to us,” Bishop Libasci added. “Mercy, as difficult as it may seem is the most important message we can carry at this time.”
Washington D.C., Aug 20, 2014 / 02:40 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Calling for work that honors the dignity of the human person, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenksi of Miami echoed the words of Pope Francis, noting the troubling rise of young adult unemployment.
“Our challenge this Labor Day is to rise to the challenge of solidarity posed by Jesus,” said a Sept. 1 letter by Archbishop Wenski, who serves as the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
“Since each of us is made in the image of God and bound by His love, possessing a profound human dignity, we have an obligation to love and honor that dignity in one another, and especially in our work,” the archbishop said.
In the letter, he noted that though the economy has grown and unemployment decreased in the past year, job growth has been limited, leaving a high poverty rate and an unemployment rate among young adults of 13 percent, “more than double the national average.”
Many more young adults throughout the country, he said, face under-employment, high debts, and few job opportunities.
Young adults around the world face even worse prospects, he continued, saying that many youth globally “have resorted to the unstable and sometimes dangerous informal economy in an attempt to make ends meet.”
The archbishop remarked that “Pope Francis has reserved some of his strongest language for speaking about young adult unemployment, calling it ‘evil,’ an ‘atrocity,’ and emblematic of the ‘throwaway culture.’”
“Meaningful and decent work is vital if young adults hope to form healthy and stable families,” Archbishop Wenski stated, adding that more should be done to support young adults and provide a foundation for raising a family.
Failing to support fair work, he warned, has serious consequences, contributing to a drop in the birth rates and declines in marriage.
“Although not the only reason, many young adults, because they are unable to find decent work, are delaying marriage and starting a family,” he said.
To help young people, Archbishop Wenski encouraged support of policies and institutions “that create decent jobs, pay just wages, and support family formation and stability,” thereby honoring the dignity of workers and of work.
“Raising the minimum wage, more and better workforce training programs, and smarter regulations that minimize negative unintended consequences would be good places to start,” he suggested.