The Catholic Church is facing a dark time, with abandonment of the church or the faith by untold millions, ranking of celibate male patriarchy over availability of the Eucharist and pastoral services to hundreds of millions, and the loss of many millions to evangelical sects.
Maine church officials' empty, deceitful, abusive and bullying campaign against the Marriage Equality Act has made this the darkest hour for the Church in Maine — worse than the 1851 tarring and feathering of Fr. John Bapst on order of the Ellsworth Town Council.
The state properly provided same-sex couples the legal rights of heterosexual couples which only marriage assures. Heretofore, Catholic officials have never supported providing those rights, otherwise. So their only honest argument was that marriage has always been heterosexual.
The projection that the law leads to "teaching same-sex marriage" was a blatant appeal to homophobia. The claim that the Church required opposition to same-sex marriage was baseless; the Second Vatican Council affords primacy to informed conscience.
Command petition circulation, eight bulletin inserts, sermons, and a collection have abused and misused authority, angering and alienating those who resent introduction of bigotry into Sunday liturgies, coercion of freedom of conscience, and misuse of church funds.
Banning Pamella Starbird Beliveau as lector and Eucharistic minister for her conscientious exercise of her rights — as Catholic and citizen — was bullying and an abuse of power. (Not one bishop guilty of moving child abusers around banned himself from Mass roles.) It is intolerable.
William H. Slavick, Portland