October 2nd, 2012 by Peter
Ten years ago this month the Family Institute of Connecticut and the Connecticut State Council of the Knights of Columbus teamed up to gather nearly 100,000 signatures from state residents for the defense of marriage. It was this petition drive that put FIC on the map and stopped every attempt to redefine marriage at the legislature. Stymied by our success, gay activists persuaded the State Supreme Court to enact same-sex “marriage” by judicial fiat–and even then, FIC returned to the legislature to secure the nation’s strongest religious liberty exemptions to same-sex “marriage.”
None of our accomplishments would have happened without the October, 2002 Defense of Marriage Petition Drive. Ten years later, that petition drive is back in the news.
In reporting that, during a fundraising swing through Connecticut, Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan attended St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in downtown Hartford, local newsman Dennis House quoted a 2003 New York Times profile of the church that highlighted its refusal to participate in the petition drive. Pro same-sex “marriage” legislator Beth Bye and gay media outlets heard House’s dog whistle and barked accordingly.
I remember that New York Times article because I was interviewed for it, but you will not see me quoted anywhere in the piece. It was one of the most blatant instances of media bias I ever experienced.
The reporter wanted to know what I, as the architect of the petition drive, thought of St. Patrick-St. Anthony. I disagreed with their disobedience to the Archbishop, but otherwise had nothing but praise for the church. I told her what a breath of fresh air the Friars had been when they rejuvenated the failing parish in the early 90′s, of how they reached out to alienated Catholics, of the inserts they used to place in the Hartford Courant and Catholic Transcript listing their activities, of all the workshops and lectures and retreats I had attended there throughout my 20′s.
None of my interview made it into the Times and when I read the article I could see why. The reporter had written a story about poor, oppressed St. Patrick-St. Anthony, boldly shouldering the hatred of Connecticut’s conservative Catholics in its lonely resistance against the mean old Archdiocese of Hartford. The reporter had a long interview from the very person who orchestrated the petition drive–me–that completely contradicted the entire point of her article. So she simply left it out.
I still go to St. Patrick-St. Anthony for weekday Masses on those holidays when non-state workers are the only people in Hartford and St. Patrick-St. Anthony is the only Catholic church holding Mass in the capitol city. FIC does not focus on rooting out dissent in the Catholic Church (if you are aware of any, you should report it to Archbishop Mansell, not to us). I will say that, whatever its reputation, St. Patrick-St. Anthony has one of the most reverent Masses in town.
Paul Ryan’s attendance at St. Patrick-St. Anthony may give gay activists the giggles but it is about as relevant to same-sex “marriage” as my own attendance there. Which is to say, not at all.