Gay Marriage Is Legal, but It's Not Marriage
By Fr. Steve Ryan, SDB
Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court declared two weeks ago, the nature of the human person and the nature and purpose of marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Marriage is between a man and a woman because it is procreative. The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of the procreative dimension and the opposite sex complementarity of love is integral to God's Plan for life, love, family and the building of a civilization of virtue.
The Supreme Court got it wrong. The late-night comedians are laughing it up at Justice Scalia who dissented the decision. Catholic priests will go silent in the pulpit because it’s too controversial to get into. Obama is blabbing about the great triumph for America. Judeo-Christian values and sexual morality are discarded and seen as ancient history. But I'll still write this little editorial. Disagreeing with the re-definition of marriage does not make one a hater. As I write this I have in mind my friends and family members, parishioners and spiritual sons and daughters whom I love and who are gay. I do not hate them – I love them. I wish them a happy and holy life. I just know that from here on in – with marriage defined against both the logical nature and purpose that we understand through natural law and what has been revealed in scripture and tradition – we are taking a step that redefines morality. What's right or wrong, what's good or bad, what's in or out depends on the mood of the culture and the whims of individuals. Politicians follow immediately where the current is running. There are no more standards. Welcome to the dictatorship of relativism.
Archbishop Kurtz rightly said, “Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.”
Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. The Catholic Church and her clergy and hierarchy will continue to teach and to act according to this truth. In five years from now (most likely), the Catholic Church will lose her non-profit status unless She relents and performs gay marriages. Priests will be arrested for writing editorials like this one or preaching the truth from the pulpit. (I better get this published quickly.)
Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and further hurts family life, especially children raised by two same sex parents. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.
What to do? Say something controversial when the topic comes up at work this week, or let it slide? It's your choice. Look, I really did not feel like writing this but after sitting here praying I had to say something as a priest.
I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love:
- Faith tells us there is an unchanging truth about marriage. It's unitive and procreative because it's rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and it's confirmed by divine revelation.
- Hope reminds us that for thousands of years marriage has been for a man and a woman and that homosexual love (although it happened) was not the norm but a disordered love. Our hope is that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and their manifest service to the common good.
- Love must be present in this discussion. Don't bring up the topic at the water cooler at work if you are looking for a fight. That's not being loving. Then again, don't be a wimp and back down when the Church's teaching on marriage is trashed – lovingly speak the truth. Be ready – you may lose a friend or two because of our faith and moral convictions, but stay loving! Truth and love must go together.
Fr. Steve closes with a long quote from Ephesians 6:10-20, 24, which I won't reproduce here.