Dear Friends in Christ, July 5, 2015
Last week I had intended on continuing my series of articles on the popular subject of “gay marriage.” For two weeks prior I had laid out some initial points of reflection, which I lifted directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church’s compendium of doctrine and authoritative teaching. I was ready to plow ahead…………and then nature and current events stayed my course temporarily. I had multiple health and medical checkups to do, which naturally demanded my primary focus. Also, the Rummage Sale happened, which deserved some follow up. I decided therefore last week to offer my usual bulletin space to the coordinators of the Rummage Sale. You probably read their encouraging report last week. I would like to reiterate on that point how strong of a positive impression your hard work, organization, good attitude, and spirit of camaraderie made to so many. As I said at Mass a couple of weeks ago, your work and spirit that weekend were indicative of the strength of St. Mary!
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program…..
In regards to any issues of marriage, but particularly “gay marriage”, here are some statements or arguments that continue to be propounded in the public arena:
“The Church has no business telling anyone how to live his or her private life.”
“In our constitutional republic two people should be able to marry each other if they choose.”
“If people are born a certain way then they have a right to live lives according to that identity.”
“This is a matter of justice and civil rights, and the Church should be a promoter of both.”
“In a democracy if people vote to legalize “gay marriage”, such a decision should be respected.”
“Whom another person marries doesn’t affect anyone else; why care about another’s decision?”
“Who is anyone to judge how another person chooses to live his or her personal life?”
“The Church always seems to stand in judgment on social issues and is rarely ever helpful.”
“The Church leaders lost what teaching credibility they had years ago with the priest scandals.”
“If a state recognizes a marriage among two consenting parties, the Church should also.”
“This is a matter of politics and civil law, and therefore principles of religion should not be imposed.”
And of course as of last week we can add:
“The Supreme Court has ruled gay marriage the law of the land. Enough said!!!”
And on and on and on it goes. How much of this sounds familiar? Indeed, fallacies abound in the above points, but for the sake of space I will forego any rebuttals for the time being and get right to what I want to say in this small space. And that is – The Church DOES have and ALWAYS HAS had an essential voice and role to play in matters pertaining to marriage and the family. The Church has always understood marriage even before Christ to be a kind of “natural sacrament” that images the love of God for his people. With Christ marriage between two baptized persons is elevated by grace to the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony. The family unit itself mirrors in a very real but imperfect way the love of the Holy Trinity. The Church has always been the guardian of the truth about marriage, not only that which is theological in nature, but also that truth which is more philosophical or anthropological in nature. The very questions of what it means to be human, what it means to be male or female, what it means to unite oneself with another person in the complementary one-flesh union of marriage – these and many other fundamental human questions have been carefully guarded and expertly expounded by the Church throughout the centuries. We might consider the Church’s teaching in these and in so many other matters of life as a moral compass, as a beacon shining brightly throughout the land. And if we don’t listen to the Church as she exercises her Christ-given and Spirit-impelled role as a moral conscience for the world, then who will we listen to? The Trini-Me, better known as Me, Myself, and I? That would end is chaos. The government? That would end in tyranny. Surely we NEED the Church’s authority on moral teaching, however difficult it may be to stomach at times, to keep us from collapsing in moral disaster.
To be continued…