There has been a lot of fuss from fellow Catholics over the recent SCOTUS decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the board in our country.
I haven’t said much about it from a political standpoint because I am, quite honestly, suffering from a major case of political burn out. But from a Catholic viewpoint I have to say…
I’m not worried.
Perhaps I’m naively optimistic, but I’m just not concerned, and I’ll tell you why.
Most of my readers and friends that know me know that I tend to lean left on a lot of issues. However, before I make a decision on something, I try to discern the Church first, because I am, of course, a Catholic before all else.
And as a Catholic, I stand in line with the Church’s teaching on marriage. It’s a pretty simple concept. For us, marriage is a Sacrament of the Catholic Church. It’s an institution, and I will, now and forever, hold true the the Church’s belief.
But at the end of the day, that’s not really here nor there when it comes to the law of a free, secular society.
And we are a secular society. Our country may have been founded on Christian principles, but we are not a Christian nation. We do not have a State Church or a single religion of the land. Men and women are free to live and worship how they see fit in the United States of America. Freedom of Religion is something that protects both the religious community and the non-religious community.
And since we are not a Catholic nation, there is no reason to expect our secular society to adhere to the Catholic Church’s beliefs.
My views on marriage exist expressly within the boundaries of my faith. Plain and simple. I do not wane from them, and I shouldn’t be expected to. But when it’s all said and done, my religious views don’t hold much clout with the law of a secular society. It has nothing to do with how I feel about anyone else’s interpretation of marriage. It doesn’t have anything to do with how anyone else lives their life. The Catholic Church has rules. If you want to truly be Catholic, you have to follow those rules. If you can’t follow those rules, don’t be Catholic.
I often use this analogy (because I’m a fervent Alabama football fan): If you want to play football for Alabama, you have to wear the jersey. You can’t play football for the Crimson Tide in an Auburn jersey, and vice versa.
And let’s be real, this is in no way the first time our country has ruled on marriage in a way that doesn’t line up with the Church’s belief. The Catholic Church is not ever going to marry a same-sex couple in the same way they wouldn’t marry a heterosexual Protestant couple, or an atheist couple, or a two people that are divorced without an annulment, or (technically) even two Catholics that expressly plan to use contraception in their marriage. That’s just how it is.
But as I said, I’m not worried. Some Catholics are, and they shouldn’t be. As Catholics, we were promised by Christ that the Church would outlast everything. The rule of law in a secular society isn’t going to bring about the downfall of the Church. Rome couldn’t do it. Nero couldn’t do it. The Protestants couldn’t do it. Allowing room for same-sex couples to get married under a civil banner and partake in the same legal rights as everyone else sure as hell isn’t going to do it. We’re going to be here until the sun burns out and the world meets its ultimate demise.
What we need to do is continue to exist. Spread the Gospel. Help the poor. Contribute to society. If the alarmists end up being right and we become outcasts, then we’ll worship as outcasts. If the country decides to go back on it’s Constitutional foundation of religious freedom and persecute the Church because our Sacraments don’t flesh with the secular law, then we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it (I don’t think that’s going to happen, but if it does, it’s not like Jesus didn’t warn us about it).
And please, please, please don’t attack the crowds that don’t believe the same as you. Don’t lambast the homosexual community as evil. They are not. Don’t waste your time fighting tooth and nail trying to change the minds of people who aren’t going to believe the same as us. It’s not worth it. Stick to your beliefs. Stick to them strongly, but remember that Jesus’ greatest command was to love one another. That doesn’t mean you have to endorse or validate someone else’s beliefs. But it does mean that you HAVE to recognize that, gay, straight, Catholic, Protestant, atheist, agnostic, muslim, transgendered, etc, all of mankind is created in the image of God. All of mankind possesses a God given dignity. All of mankind are children of the Father.
Live the Gospel, and don’t worry. One way or another, everything is going to be alright in the end.
Thank you for these reasonable words! I think it makes sense to Catholics – the line between marriage in the Church and marriage in the courthouse.
Catholics already have marriage rules pretty different than civil laws. You can get married 10 times in the courthouse, but not in the Church. If you don’t hold yourself out to the possibility of children, you’re probably not going to be able to marry in the Church, and even if you do, it won’t be sacramental. Same if you’re marrying an unbaptized person.
I do wish that our leaders – secular and religious – would make this clear, to put some people’s minds at ease.
Thanks for the comment. You should read Abp. Cupich’s statement. It’s the least alarmist. http://www.archdioceseofchicago.org/news_releases/news_2015/stmnt_150628.html
Look, I can’t say I view same-sex marriage as a valid union, and many, if not most, of the philosophical arguments in favor of traditional marriage as an institution that precedes society mesh more with my beliefs than others.
I also don’t see approaching it the subject in this manner as “laying down” and accepting defeat. I just think that A: We shouldn’t worry. B: If we want to continue to support the institution of traditional marriage, then the best way to do that is to just exist in society. As I said, contribute, live the Gospel, get married and start a family. That’s it. Trying to argue same-sex vs traditional marriage is a losing battle because each side’s argument is apples and oranges. You’ll never win hearts head on here, and there’s no reason to stir up more division.
Oof. Some serious typos in that comment. Please forgive me.
Wonderfully written. Thank you for putting so succinctly all the muddled thoughts going through my mind.
Thank you, Karen. I appreciate your comment. Glad you enjoyed it. Please share if you can.
Very well put,so glad to read your opinion. Looking forward on your thoughts as the situation developes.
Much appreciated, Dave. I have some follow up thoughts I may blog about soon. It’s hard for me to keep this blog up consistently these days! But I try. Thanks so much for reading.