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More thoughts on gay ‘marriage’ August 13, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, Society.

Fr. Matthew Green is a relatively newly ordained priest in Newburgh, NY, an area I have been around many times due to my job.  He has  a post reflecting on today’s Gospel reading, Matt 19:3-12, concerning gay ‘marriage’.  There’s some very good doctrine, as well as some thinking on how those with same sex attraction should be treated by those in the Church:

As today’s Gospel shows, Jesus declares that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, which cannot be broken as long as they both live. God made men and women to be psychologically and biologically complementary, and the finality of marriage is the mutual love and support of the spouses and the formation of a family through procreation. These goals are not in fact always realized in marriage, but that is due to problems – culpable or not – on the part of one or both spouses as individuals; for example, some couples are not mutually supportive because of a lack of generosity, or are unable to have children due to a physical disorder. However, there is nothing intrinsic to the union of a man and a woman that makes these goals unattainable.

Christ clearly says that some people are not called to marriage, for a variety of reasons. He does not say that if this arrangement does not work for them, they can alter it and call it by the same name. If we can say that there is a right to marriage, then it is the right for individuals to enter a permanent relationship of companionship and at least potential procreation with a member of the opposite sex. “Gay marriage” is a contradiction in terms, failing by its very nature both the full complementarity and natural capacity for procreation that are part of the essence of marriage. Sexual relations between members of the same sex are contrary to God’s plan manifested in the biological structures of the genders and in revelation. Going against this plan is physically, psychologically and spiritually damaging. Hence it is not a “human right.” People who are incapable of the heterosexual relationship called “marriage” are called to live a celibate lifestyle…….

People who experience same-sex attractions are people just like anyone else, deserving of the same love, respect and consideration. Everybody has problems and sinful tendencies of one kind or another, and no one should be judged or categorized strictly according to their most obvious or egregious problem. But true compassion means wanting the best for someone in the light of truth, not distorting the truth to make everyone comfortable. This is why the Church stands firm on its teaching about marriage, and opposes anything that goes against this institution. Let us pray today that the institution of marriage be understood and respected, and that everyone will live according to the truth with respect and compassion.

I think that’s all very good, and needs to be said, repeatedly, by priests throughout the Church, because the dominant culture is so contrary to what the Church believes, and so many Catholics are badly confused on this subject.  I’ll offer just a couple of observations: until the 1960’s, procreative aspect of marriage was seen as somewhat superior to the unitive aspect.  Now, it’s probably true that back in the horrid, dark days prior to Vatican II (ahem), many in the Church probably did not stress the unitive aspects of marriage enough, which I think von Hildebrand and others were working to correct, but at the same time, I think the unitive is now somewhat over-emphasized and that this over-emphasis feeds into the contraceptive mentality that so many Catholics accept without question.   And the contraceptive mentality feeds directly into issues like gay marriage, for if a man and woman can marry and yet restrain the production of offspring through various means, and I’ll even include the long term use of NFP for no other reason than to not have more than two, or 1, or no kids in this, so that the procreative aspect of marriage is not freely accepted in its totality as a gift from God, barring some grave reason not to be open to having children, then that leaves a gaping opening through which advocates for such fundamental misconceptions as ‘gay marriage’ can march right through. 

I am very gratified to see a priest stress the fact that, as I have argued lately, everyone suffers from temptations to sin.  Some of us have been given very significant crosses to bear through great tendencies towards concupiscence, or addictions, or an unnatural love for wealth, etc.  Those with same sex attraction definitely have a significant challenge in leading lives in consonance with the mind of the Church, but they are not alone, in fact, they are in company with pretty much everyone else in the Church, to one degree or other.  I heard Fr. Smith at St. Mark today state that he thinks we, as Catholics, probably focus on the ‘gay marriage’ issue too much, when we should be focusing more on strengthening marriage between man and woman.  Well, I agree.  One reason for that is that gay marriage is an easier issue to get one’s hands on, whereas the problems with marriage as an institution in this country are many and varied.  But I wholeheartedly agree, the Church should be doing far more to strengthen marriage in this country, and so I’d by very gratified to hear pastors exhort the married faithful to start leading lives that the Church knows will greatly increase the odds that their marriage will last: through preaching not to use contraception, to be open to the creative miracle of procreation, that the Church does not view divorce as an alternative, and that marriage is an incredibly deep commitment and joining together sanctified by Christ and intended for great holiness.  I think these concepts have been almost totally lost in so many places in the Church, because they are almost never talked of.  Formation of the faithful is woefully lacking – and pastors, like this one in NY, have the primary means to address that.

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