Today’s Need to Know- Dec. 12, 2016

  1. Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas and of the unborn. For 85 years, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has celebrated her feast with pageantry, procession, and a Mass; yesterday’s Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Gomez, was held in East Los Angeles College Stadium. According to The Angelus, an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe visited 50 parishes and five detention centers in the days leading up to the feast, as Catholics sought her intercession and protection.The USCCB has declared today, Dec. 12th, as a National Day of Prayer and Solidarity for Families of Immigrants. Let’s pray, as Archbishop Gomez suggests, for a “way forward” that respects our nation’s “obligation to secure its borders and determine who enters the country and how long they stay,” acknowledges the “human reality” of the undocumented, and “enable[s] us to welcome newcomers who have the character and skills our country needs to grow.” Read the statement by Archbishop Gomez here. (Also of interest…St. John Paul II’s prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico 1979.)
    This heartwarming news story about baby Matthew, who received fetal surgery at 32 weeks gestation for a potentially fatal defect, reminds us of the dignity of our most vulnerable human beings and Our Lady’s maternal care for the unborn. If you haven’t read it yet, do check out Mary FioRito’s recent article [cite to our link] on perinatal hospice—a compassionate approach for families facing the imminent loss of an unborn child—and an idea whose time is come.
  2. Legal battles: “mom” and “dad” v generic “parents”
    Language is contested territory in the cultural battles over the family. Language shapes our thinking, our perception of reality, and how we act.  Recent legislation in Ontario, Canada, ominously recognizes up to four “parents” and erases the terms “mother” and “father” from birth documents. Stella Morabito writes: “If you live in Ontario, you now have no right for the state to recognize you as either a mother or a father to your child, biological or otherwise. Likewise, no child there has the right to a legally recognized biological mother or father. Recognizing the relationship is now the sole prerogative of the state.” The law, “All Families Are Equal,” claims to “equalize” same-sex families by doing away with biological, reality-based terms like “mother” or “father” in favor of legally-recognized, generic “parents.” 

    In the U.S., lesbian couples are advancing similar claims through the courts, suing to be listed as co-equal “parents” on the birth certificate of any children born to one of the women during the couple’s legal same-sex ‘marriage.’ In most states, the law presumes that a married man and woman are the parents of a child who is born to the woman during the couple’s marriage. (Thus the husband is automatically listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate.) Same-sex couples have argued that their same-sex marriage entitles them to the same legal presumption as a heterosexual couple, with both spouses listed as parents. 

  3. But in a win for sanity, the   Supreme Court of Arkansas recently ruled that it is not a violation of a same-sex couple’s rights to acknowledge biological reality – that a child does in fact have a father and a mother: “In the situation involving the female spouse of a biological mother, the female spouse does not have the same biological nexus to the child that the biological mother or the biological father has. It does not violate equal protection to acknowledge basic biological truths.” (Thanks to Erika Bachiochi for highlighting this case.)
May Our Lady of Guadalupe intercede for all moms and dads—and the most vulnerable among us!