Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Gay Former Vice Principal Sues Eastside Catholic

Attorneys for Mark Zmuda, the former Vice Principal at Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Washington, have filed a civil suit against the school and the archdiocese today in King County Superior Court. I have not seen the complaint yet, but it is certain to make claims under the state antidiscrimination statute (RCW 49.60). I understand that lawyers for the school and the archdiocese already have a motion to dismiss prepared.


March 7, 2014 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pope Francis Indicates a Possible Shift in View Toward Homosexuality

The Wall Street Journal has reported that when asked about the Church's position on gay priests, he responded, "Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? [...] You can't marginalize these people." In the wake of the sexual abuse scandals, many gay priests and seminarians felt judgment and pressure to leave on the basis of orientation. To the extent that such judgment and pressure comes from bishops and those responsible for priestly formation, it would seem that Pope Francis is likely to find it problematic.

July 29, 2013 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Teen Denied Confirmation and Communion for Opposing MN Amendment 1

Lennon Cihak, a 17-year-old from Minnesota, has reportedly been denied confirmation and communion for opposing Minnesota Amendment 1 on his Facebook page.  The unsuccessful amendment would have defined marriage in the Minnesota Constitution as between one man and one woman in the state.  According to the report below, Cihak's entire family has been denied communion.


November 17, 2012 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Endorsements and Theology

I am very disappointed in Rev. Billy Graham.  As a Catholic, I do not share all of his theology, but I have generally held him in high regard as a Christian leader.  If, as a matter of conscience, he has decided to endorse Governor Romney, that is fine.  If, as a matter of theology, he holds the conviction that Mormonism is a cult (a view he has publicly maintained for decades), that is his right.  However, hiding/denying the latter in order give greater credibility to the former strikes me as hypocritical. If this effective endorsement represents a shift in his theology, it would be far more meaningful to publish a statement indicating that Rev. Graham no longer believes that Mormonism is a cult. 


An archived version of the characterization of Mormonism as a cult, pulled from the Billy Graham website after it became obvious that it was in tension with the effective endorsement, may be found here...



October 20, 2012 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Another Circuit Strikes Down DOMA

On October 18th, the Second Circuit struck down DOMA in Windsor v. United States.  According to the majority, Section 3 of DOMA requires heightened scrutiny.  Combined with similar First Circuit precedent and the Ninth Circuit's decisions related to Proposition 8, it is now even more likely that the Supreme Court will take it upon itself to resolve the split.


October 19, 2012 in Powell, Russell | Permalink

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Another Judge Finds DOMA Unconsitutional

In the latest of a series of decisions striking down DOMA, today in Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, Judge Vanessa Bryant of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut found Section 3 of DOMA to violate equal protection.  In her 100-plus page opinion, Judge Bryant, a George W. Bush appointee, conlcudes that "homosexuals display all the traditional indicia of suspectness and therefore statutory classifications based on sexual orientation are entitled to a heightened form of judicial scrutiny."  Even so, she goes on to find that the statute fails to pass muster even under the rational basis standard.   

July 31, 2012 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reflections on Wealth

The following article has interesting thoughts challenging assumptions regarding wealth. While the author's arguments are not made in the context of Catholic teaching, several of his points seem consistent with aspects Catholic social thought. In particular, the article reminded me of the the Pastoral Letter, Economic Justice for All, and last Sunday's Reading from the fourth chapter of Acts. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/16

April 18, 2012 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Harvard Undergraduate Speaking on Christianity and Homosexuality

Below is a link to a recent talk given by Harvard undergraduate, Matthew Vines, on Christianity and homosexuality. He has a good grasp of scripture and Church tradition on the topic, which is impressive for someone his age. However, I believe that people are responding to his presentation because of the sense of authenticity, integrity and engagement he communicates. Although Vines does not address the particulars of contemporary Catholic teaching on the topic, I believe that the video will be of interest to many Mirror of Justice readers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezQjNJUSraY

April 9, 2012 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Casualties of the Culture Wars

The Wall Street Journal has a sobering article on the plight of LGBT homeless youth. Although I understand the impulse of the Church and the LGBT community to take positions on marriage equality, it is deeply saddening that more resources are not spent protecting children. As a Catholic, I am particularly concerned that public political discourse by both the laity and the clergy contributes to a culture that considers these children disposable. Although this consequence is generally not intended, a distorted view of Christianity sometimes provides the basis for abusing or abandoning LGBT young people.


March 8, 2012 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Another District Court Finds DOMA Unconstitutional

Yesterday, Disctrict Court Judge Jeffrey White granted the plaintiff's summary judgment motion and ordered OPM to enroll the same-sex spouse of a federal court employee in its benefit program in a 43-page opinion finding DOMA to be unconstitutional on equal protection grounds. White was a George W. Bush appointee.

See http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2017573133_gaymarriage23.html and --- F.Supp.2d ----, 2012 WL 569685 (N.D.Cal.)

February 23, 2012 in Powell, Russell | Permalink | Comments (0)