Last week, President Obama declared, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” His public support for gay marriage followed Joe Biden’s remarks a few days prior, in which the Catholic vice-president said that he had a change of heart over the years and felt compelled to support same-sex marriage. During his interview, Obama cited his Christian faith as an underlying motivation in coming out for marriage equality:

"In the end the values that I care most deeply about and [Michelle] cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president."

Cardinal Timothy Dolan is not happy with the President. The head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops quickly released a statement:

“President Obama’s words today are not surprising since they follow upon various actions already taken by his administration that erode or ignore the unique meaning of marriage,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. bishops, in a May 9 statement.

“We cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society,” Cardinal Dolan added. “The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better.”

But while Catholic bishops have been clear in their opposition to gay marriage, some lay Catholic theologians are disagreeing, and quite publicly:

Yet while many non-Catholic Americans may take the political position put forward by the bishops as the final word in American Catholic life, progressive Catholic thinkers and theologians say it is time for the church to step back from political arguments about same-sex marriage, and reconsider its own position.

Among the theologians who say the bishops are in the wrong is Paul Lakeland, a professor of religion and director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University, a Catholic university in Connecticut. “That’s not really an argument that has a theological justification,” Lakeland said of the church’s opposition to same-sex civil marriages. “It’s an argument that’s based more on fear or repugnance.”

“There is a lot more to be said about these issues than one stream of words from the hierarchy,” Lakeland said.

Evidence suggests that Catholic bishops in the US are fighting a losing battle in opposing same-sex marriage, even among their own flock. Catholics as a whole support legalizing same-sex marriage at higher rates than their Protestant and Evangelical peers. As I’ve noted before, Catholic governors are responsible for signing same-sex marriage laws in five states. Some Catholic politicians feel comfortable expressing support for same-sex marriage not despite their faith, but because of it.

What is happening?

As with the public as a whole, the more visible gay and lesbian people are in families, schools, and the workplace, the more likely Catholics are to support laws that they see as extending civil rights to a group of historically marginalized people. But is there something about Catholicism in particular that would lead to acceptance of same-sex marriage, even as some church leaders rail against it? I think the sacramental nature of our faith, the belief that the world is good and infused with God’s grace, and the understanding of family and community as pivotal to living out the Gospel might compel Catholics to reject the call to take up a fight against same-sex marriage. Perhaps some of the laity have taken to heart the church’s emphasis on social justice, its call to protect the marginalized, and its preached message of inclusivity for all, and are now applying these themes to a specifc, modern situation. Some bishops may lament this break between shepherd and flock, but in some ways perhaps it is not so troubling? If Catholics are following what they believe to be well-formed consciences and standing up for those they see as victimized and marginalized, the Gospel message lives.

Michael J. O'Loughlin

(Image: The cover of Newsweek, in which columnist Andrew Sullivan considers Obama's record on gay rights and same-sex marriage. Sullivan, a Catholic, has been at the fore of same-sex marriage activism in the US).

Comments

Michael Barberi | 5/22/2012 - 3:28pm
Tim:

Very few people see clarity in HV. My research and education regarding sexual ethics is comprehensive. I fully understand Karol Wojtyla-JP II's earlier works and those of his papacy. I am not mistaken or confused over his philosophy and know the root of it.

You quote Scipture with an certain certitude to make your points. However, when it comes to contraception, HV never mentioned Scripture, nor did JP II base his defense of HV on Scripture.

The truth is not for the intellectuals, those with special gifts, or the so-called enlightened few. The Church's primary obligation and responsibility is to make the Divine Truth and their interpretations of Scripture, revelation and tradition intuitive to the masses. Unfortnately after 44 years, the Church has not developed a reasonable and convincing argument that is intelligible to the majority of Catholics, inclusive of theologians and many priests and bishops. We can debate the philosophical and theological underpinnings of contraception and disagree for good reasons. I have sound legitimate reasons for disagreeing with HV and I am a faithful Catholic who remains open to further enlightenment.

As for fear and trembling, we all look through a glass darkly. However, at the hour of my death, I will be full of joy and hope because I trust in Christ and His mercy. I strive to follow His teachings to be best of my abilities, as you and many others do. 

This will be my last comment on this blog. 


 
6466379 | 5/16/2012 - 4:08pm
Abe, I checked out Ephesians 5-21 and found no connection to what I had said Paul said, but I accept that I was wrong, misled over many years partly through my own fault at having never looked into its textual accuracy. Thanks for posting with me but unless you want to continue I guess this posting concludes our back and forth?
Beth Cioffoletti | 5/16/2012 - 10:59am
Yes, Joe, and what do sinners need most of all but to know that they are loved and that who they are is not "wrong".  When, in the history of humankind, has anything other than love healed one's soul?
Anne Chapman | 5/17/2012 - 3:34pm
Mr. Cosgrove, you and many others offer a difficult to understand theory that somehow giving gay couples the right to a civil marriage (state) threatens the "traditional family."  But I have never seen anyone provide any actual objective evidence of this - I have asked many times but nobody has answered. I have  asked for documentation of this alleged threat to the traditional family - once again, none has been offered.

 The theory makes no logical sense.  How does permitting gay couples who are already living together  the legal rights and protections and responsibilities of committment - marriage - threaten the family more than having gay couples live together without marriage? 

In most countries, the only legal marriage is the state marriage - the civil marriage at the court house. Those who wish to also have a religious ceremony may do so - but it is not required for a legal marriage, and in most countries (the USA is an exception), the religious marriage alone is not sufficient to meet the definition of marriage under civil law.   The proposal is for civil marriage to be open to gay couples - not religious marriages.


Michael Barberi | 5/17/2012 - 1:56pm
I think we keep missing 5 points, some already raised but ignored.

1. We are talking about sexual relations "wiithin" a marriage (civil or Church).

2. The difference between a Church marriage and a Civil marriage.The difference between a non-Catholic Christian Church marriage, and a Catholic Church marriage.

3. Salvation....yes Jim McCrea for individuals since spouses fall into this category. Hence, my question, appropriately for iindividuals within a same sex union or marriage: can they achieve salvation if for all practical purposes they follow the tenets of their faith (Christian, not necessarily Catholic)...remains unanswered!

4. Sexual boundaries with a marriage (civil or Christian Church). Incidentally, anal sex within a Catholic marriage is not immoral without completion. Check out the opinion of Janet Smith and Christopher West. I find this absurd, not per se, rather because it points to the ancient immorality of Onanism...the male seed must be deposited in its proper place.

5. Lastly, what some are calling 'sin' or 'truth' is based on the authority of the magisterium to declare what is right and wrong, good and evil, and what methods of sex and birth control spouse are allowed to practice. In the past, sex was only for procreation, sex during menstration was a mortal sin, sex during pregnancy was forbidden and sex had only "one" licit position. This morality was taught by bishops and theologians for centuries, but have been abandoned. Why does anyone truly believe that some other current 'controversial' Church teachings are the absolute moral truth, without remainder? This does not mean that "anything goes".
Michael Barberi | 5/17/2012 - 1:53pm
I think we keep missing 5 points, some already raised but ignored.

1. We are talking about sexual relations "wiithin" a marriage (civil or Church).

2. The difference between a Church marriage and a Civil marriage.The difference between a non-Catholic Christian Church marriage, and a Catholic Church marriage.

3. Salvation....yes Jim McCrea for individuals since spouses fall into this category. Hence, my question, appropriately for iindividuals within a same sex union or marriage: can they achieve salvation if for all practical purposes they follow the tenets of their faith (Christian, not necessarily Catholic)...remains unanswered!

4. Sexual boundaries with a marriage (civil or Christian Church). Incidentally, anal sex within a Catholic marriage is not immoral without completion. Check out the opinion of Janet Smith and Christopher West. I find this absurd, not per se, rather because it points to the ancient immorality of Onanism...the male seed must be deposited in its proper place.

5. Lastly, what some are calling 'sin' or 'truth' is based on the authority of the magisterium to declare what is right and wrong, good and evil, and what methods of sex and birth control spouse are allowed to practice. In the past, sex was only for procreation, sex during menstration was a mortal sin, sex during pregnancy was forbidden and sex had only "one" licit position. This morality was taught by bishops and theologians for centuries, but have been abandoned. Why does anyone truly believe that some other current 'controversial' Church teachings are the absolute moral truth, without remainder? This does not mean that "anything goes".
J Cosgrove | 5/17/2012 - 9:41am
Like so many other discussion on this site, it never addresses the essence of the problem.  In reality, what happens when some form of sexual activity is sanctioned outside of marriage?  The problem is a boundary problem.  Within marriage there is a clear boundary.  Outside of marriage there is no boundary and eventually you will have 10 year olds saying why not me and I am a mature 10 year old.  After all 11 year olds are allowed to do it and I am smarter and more responsible than a lot of them.  

That is where it will eventually end up once you sanction any sexual behavior outside marriage.  It will eventually creep all the way down to 10 year olds and to other forms of expression that we now as a society forbid.  After all it will be a right and some will advocate for it.  

So when one criticizes the Church or the bishops and does not address the boundary problem that has been recognized for thousands of years, they are being disingenuous at best.  Now I am not the least bit naive at what goes on in this world about sexual activity and at what ages but I do have to admit that I am amazed some times at what happens and I surely do not know everything that is going on.  But the Church has to take a stand or else some day in the future what we may now admit is abhorrent will be considered a 'right'  or maybe even a standard by some.  And how will we argue against it.  After all someone will say it is just an expression of love and affection for another.

I actually do not believe we will get to 10 year olds because I believe there will be chaos before that as society completley breaks down.  What the Bishops are defending is a stable environment for the people and the traditional family is the best known structure to provide that.  I would look to philosophies that undermine the traditional society as the real threat and that is what Mr. O'Laughlin and the other authors at America should look at.  Then it might be easier to take them seriously.  But at present they keep hammering  away at what has made our world stable which makes  me wonder what the real agenda is all about.
Carlos Orozco | 5/16/2012 - 9:58pm
Sin cannot be sacramentalized. To try to do so helps nobody, for basic charity consists of giving witness of the Gospel. Sodomy is extreme hedonism and a punishment from God, not an expression of His love. Tim's (#70) biblical refences are crystal clear.
david power | 5/16/2012 - 8:38pm
Tim,

I could write a book on bad homosexuals.
That said I could also leave the door open for more . I was quoting John and not Jesus.
You fail to see gays as your brothers in the human drama.
To reduce anybody to an ideological foe is wrong.
Augustine is a challenge .His words blow away the cobwebs of your dogma.
Homosexuals are faced with the same dilemmas as heterosexuals and they will be judged on how they loved.
Jesus commanded that we love on another.
Do you know that they do not love?
Fascinating it would be if you explained it 
LARRY | 5/16/2012 - 5:12pm
...of course, not everything legal is necessarily moral. Remember Nazi Germany's ''''legal'' Holocaust. 
LARRY | 5/16/2012 - 5:03pm
I like Worcester Bishop Daniel Reilly's genial way out of the domestic partner and gay marriage impasse: ''If the goal,'' he said to the legislative committee hearing on behalf of the Catholic bishops of Massachussetts, ''is to look at individual benefits and determine who should be eligible beyond spouses, then we will join the discussion... but not to change the public institution of marriage and deny the unique public value of the spousal bond between a man and a woman.''

Also, a blunt question not being heard in the media is this:  ''Does declaring himself in favor of same sex marriage make President Obama in favor of making mutual masturbation officially legal in the US?''
 
JIM MCCREA | 5/16/2012 - 5:01pm
Couples do not acheive salvation.  Individuals do.
LARRY | 5/16/2012 - 5:01pm
I like Worcester Bishop Daniel Reilly's genial way out of the domestic partner and gay marriage impasse: ''If the goal,'' he said to the legislative committee hearing on behalf of the Catholic bishops of Massachussetts, ''is to look at individual benefits and determine who should be eligible beyond spouses, then we will join the discussion... but not to change the public institution of marriage and deny the unique public value of the spousal bond between a man and a woman.''

Also, a blunt question not being heard in the media is this:  ''Does declaring himself in favor of same sex marriage make President Obama in favor of making mutual masturbation officially legal in the US?''
 
Michael Barberi | 5/16/2012 - 4:36pm
Tim:

I am not stuck on the wrong side of 1930s Angelicanism, at least for the reasons you might suspect.

Catholicism from ancient times to and including Casti Cannubii, was based on natural law and Augustine's stoic philosophy. From Genesis to at least the 16th century, there was no such term as "contraception". The act was called Onanism, which was coitus interruptus, and this act was akin to quasi-homicide. The reason: the male seed was thought to embody all that was necessary for human life; the only contribution of a woman was her womb where the seed would blosson into a human being.

This ignorance of human biology influenced our ancient and modern fathers of the Church. The root of the doctrine of contracepton was based on Genesis 38 and the Onan story. Could God have killed Onan because he violated a sacred vow before God, defrauded his father and sister-in-law and coverted his deceased brother's goods?Was this possible because a violation of the spirit of Levirate Law was punishable by public infamy, not death?

Coitus interrruptus was not part of the codes of ancient law. If God did not kill David because he committed adultery and killed the husband of Bathseba, and did not kill Lot because of incest...all violations of Natural and Divine Law, then God may not have killed Onan because of coitus interruptus, which was not in the codes of ancient law.

This narrative, that God killed Onan because of coitus interruptus, was repeated for centuries without criticism. When the condom was widely available after 1850, this was akin to coitus interruptus and condemned. The male seed was not being placed in its proper place. 

In 1930, there was no pill but there was discussion of the rhythm method. Casti Cannubii did not approve of the rhythm method. For the next 20 years, rhythm was debated and many bishops and theologians believed it to be a diliberate "manipulation" of the human fertility-infertility nexus in order to prevent and avoid conception during sexual intercourse. In was only in 1951 that Pius XII approved of this method of fertility regulation for "good reason". However, for these same "good reason", spouses cannot use any other form of fertility regulation including the pill that, unlike coitus interruptus and the condom, does not interfere in the physicial act of sexual intercourse.

It seems contradictory that God can be please when spouses do not want no more children for good reasons, but for the same good reasons, God is offended if spouses do something to prevent every marital act to be open to the transmission of life.  

Tim, you are stuck in a papal encycylical that proclaims that there is an inseparable connection, willed by God, between the unitive and procreative diminsions of the mariatl act. Until Humanae Vitae, no other pope ever talked about, written, or asserted an inseparability principle. Only in a small percentage of times, during a woman's entire life-time of fertility, is procreation possible. In fact, the monthly fertility window is only 4-6 days. Yet, most NFP programs require 12 days. If God wanted spouses to abstain during fertile days, then why is it impossible for science to easily pinpoint the moment of ovulation with reasonable accuracy, a priori, or retrospectively? Instead of abtaining for 4-6 days per month, spouses must abtain twice the number of potentially fertile days. I always thought God never asks of us to do the impossible?

Perhaps the answer, you might suggest, is to practice heroic virtue. I will end my blog comment by saying that symbolism and speculation about philosophical anthropology is a weak moral theory, and no one knows God's procreative plan.

As for homosexual marriages, for good reasons, the same reasons that govern heterosexual marriages, is an open question. My question still stands: Can same sex couples united under the same rules of heterosexual marriages, and lead lives similar to other heterosexual couples, achieve salvation?  
6466379 | 5/16/2012 - 4:02pm
Abe, I checked out Ephesians 5-21 but could see no connection to what I had said, that Paul had said, "Christian marriage is the most perfect model of the Church." I accept I was wrong, misled over many years, personally culpable because I never bothers to verrify the supposed Pauline statement with Textual proof. Mea Culpa! So I guess  this shoul;d conclude our back and forth, unless you want to continue. Thanks for the opportunity to exchance postings with you.
Beth Cioffoletti | 5/16/2012 - 2:52pm
"So, to be a Christian, we need to seek the difference between good and evil and follow the good, or we are liars."

I agree, absolutely, Tim (#80).

There is confusion about what is sin (and evil), and one must definitely struggle through all the hell and damnation sermons, as well as the clever disguises that evil parades around as.

The Catholic Cathechism defines sin as an offense against God, whatever turns us away from God's love for us. Whatever puts us in the place where grace cannot flow.

(Is it sinful for a homosexual to physically express love to the person he loves?  God made gayness.  Is the physcial expression of that gayness an offense against God?)

On the other hand, humans also are prone to want to exert power over whole races and classes of peoples, subjegating and oppressing them. 

The Catholic Cathechism says that the root of sin is in the heart of man, but this heart is also the source of charity, which sin wounds.  In fact, the difference between a mortal sin and a venial sin, is this charity.  In a mortal sin, charity is destroyed.

This whole business of personal sin is a serious matter, and we should take a closer at what exactly we mean by such terms.  I'd say that whenever the sin is identified in the other, rather than in oneself, one is on the wrong track.

Thomas MErton coined the phrase "systemic evil" to describe the a major battle for Catholics living in a "culture of death".

Systemic evil identifies a complex system in which each small activity can seem meritorious, even virtuous.  Yet, the output of the system, the product of the connecting the individual actions together, is evil.

Think of Hitler's Germany, with each of the participants doing thier job.  Think of the criminal justice system in the USA, or even the war machine with so many good and dedicated soldiers.
Rick Fueyo | 5/16/2012 - 2:28pm
What is the sin is the sinner?  That’s the case here.  When you tell someone that their very being, the innermost core of their existence is “objectively disordered”, you are the one that is poisoning yourself by oppressing others.
 
Gay and lesbians are not abstractions or analogies.  They are human beings.  They deserve dignity, and certainly in a civil legal sense, full legal equality.
 
Otherwise gentle people all throughout history have justified all manner of evil in the name of the Divine or the natural order of things.  The District Court judge in Loving v. Virginia did.
 
No doubt you sincerely believe the “poison” of homosexual love and are sincere in wishing to protect others from ingesting this poison.  But they may not want you to save them from the poison of legal equality.  And in a nation of laws and rights, you don’t have the right to decide that they must be treated as second class citizens in the interest of protecting them from the consequences set forth in a faith tradition they may not share
Tom Maher | 5/16/2012 - 2:18pm
Beth Cioffoletti # 76

The Bishops have very substantial basis in Church teaching for objecting  to same-sex marriage.  The Church's ethics on sexual morality are two thousand years old and are an essential part of the Church moral teaching that can not be ignored or trivialized.  

The Church ??'?s??????? teachings can not be dismissed as "shame-based?" nor can all sexual expression be considered sacred.  Your leap of logi?c that same-?sex marriage bestows sacredness does not have any foundation in Catholic moral ethics that would be recognized as authentic Catholic doctrine by the Bishops. 
Rick Fueyo | 5/16/2012 - 2:17pm
What is the sin is the sinner?  That’s the case here.  When you tell someone that their very being, the innermost core of their existence is “objectively disordered”, you are the one that is poisoning yourself by oppressing others.
 
Gay and lesbians are not abstractions or analogies.  They are human beings.  They deserve dignity, and certainly in a civil legal sense, full legal equality.
 
Otherwise gentle people all throughout history have justified all manner of evil in the name of the Divine or the natural order of things.  The District Court judge in Loving v. Virginia did.
 
No doubt you sincerely believe the “poison” of homosexual love and are sincere in wishing to protect others from ingesting this poison.  But they may not want you to save them from the poison of legal equality.  And in a nation of laws and rights, you don’t have the right to decide that they must be treated as second class citizens in the interest of protecting them from the consequences set forth in a faith tradition they may not share
Tim O'Leary | 5/16/2012 - 1:59pm
David #71
You are way off base here with a very misleading interpretation of the words of Jesus on love. How do you know you really have love, and not lust? Jesus said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15) and “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love” (John 15:10). In the 1st letter of John we get “The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.'' (1 Jn 2:4).

Beth #72 & 75
Jesus taught a clear difference between loving the sinner and hating the sin. Jesus expressed great outrage for sin (it is after all what killed him, and is lethal to his children) but great compassion for sinners (it is why he freely suffered  for us). Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:27-28) “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Lk 16:18) And to the women caught in adultery, he protected her from stoning but said: ''Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.'' So, to be a Christian, we need to seek the difference between good and evil and follow the good, or we are liars. This distinction does not sit well with the modern world. But, if you think about it, it does no good to one’s neighbor to pretend a sin is a good. It is in fact a sign of hate. It is giving them poison and pretending it is food.
Kang Dole | 5/16/2012 - 1:33pm
Bruce, I'm guessing you're thinking of Ephesians 5:21ff.-but, no, what you quoted isn't an actual Pauline statement.
6466379 | 5/16/2012 - 12:21pm
Abe - I've searched Ephesians as the best probable source of my Pauline quote but found no exact example, but lots of linking of the Christ, the Church and Marriage, Now you have me wondering if I've spent years falsely quoting Paul, which if true was based on flawed scholarship. Look over Ephesians and see what you can find. Also, if any other Poster can help, please chime in. 

Dave, The way it was taught to me included the name of God in Augustine's quote, not just Love. We live in an era of quick fixes and outreaches to everybody in a feel good way. We live in times that tends to call Bad, Good, and the opposite, where there are no Wrongs, but lots of Rights. Kids wear ripped clothing and think it fashionable, whereas if clothing was ripped in years past, it was either patched or turned into dusting rags. Now it's the thing to wear. Values are spinning on its head and a sense of confusion about what is right and what is wrong prevails. Is the Gay Marriage part of the whole topsey turvey understanding of objective morality? I think so, but about this, Dave, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.
JIM MCCREA | 5/16/2012 - 12:17pm
" - want to make sodomy a sacrament -"

I've read a lot of inane comments on this blogsite, but that one has to be at the top of the list.
Beth Cioffoletti | 5/16/2012 - 11:02am
How is it wrong, Tom (#74)?  What, specifically, have I said that is wrong?
Tom Maher | 5/16/2012 - 10:57am
Beth Cioffoletti # 72

Very heavy sophistry Beth.  This is like Rosie O'Donnell and the truthers denying the Unuted States was attacked on 9/11. A spectacularly big bold and wrong assertion even if you very much want it to be so.  The spectacular conclusion too many detailed facts such as two centruies of Christian teaching on sexuality much of which is directly from the Gospel text.  The Bishops ddi not get everything upside down and backward when they object to same-sex marriage.  
Anonymous | 5/16/2012 - 10:38am
Jesus dined with sinners because the sick need a physician.
Beth Cioffoletti | 5/16/2012 - 8:28am
Jesus - the one human being whom we attest to knowing the nature of God - made a point to eat with sinners, outcasts, and marginalized.  I'm sure this must have included the gay people of his era.  This drove the law-makers crazy.  There were rules (of cleanliness) to be followed. 

These rules are based in shame.

One of the things that strikes me about the anti-gay-marriage argument is the "wrath of God" that will be invoked if we break the shame-based rules.   

Our sexuality is at the very root of our humanity - this is who and what we are: sexual beings.  Isn't that the meaning of Adam and Eve leaving the Garden and covering themselves "because they were ashamed"?

But isn't this what the meaning of Jesus is all about?  Jesus/God takes on our humanity, our very sexualities.  Jesus ate with the homosexuals of his time, identified with them and asked them to identify with him.

This doesn't mean licentiousness.  It means that our human sexualities are sacred and should be known and protected as such.  Gay marriage bestows that sacredness.
david power | 5/16/2012 - 3:40am
Bruce,

You  must be new this Augustinian quote.
It does not speak about God at all.It states that if a man "loves" he can do as he pleases.The precept is to love.
You reproach a brother do it from love.You keep silent do it from love.
You give money  to a brother do it from love, you don't then do it for love.
To be moral is to love.Those who love are moral said Don Giussani.
Now it could be that all homosexuals want is an act of sodomy as Tim so finely put it and are covering up  their lustful cravings  with fussy and beautiful language about love.
That is not the point though.You can have a million degenerate homosexuals to counter the billion degenerate heterosexuals but if one of them loves , acts out of love then he is free to do as he pleases.He is a moral man.
It may not pass your test on what God wants but if it passes theirs then they must follow their consciences.
Love, and do what you like. 
Tim O'Leary | 5/15/2012 - 10:42pm
Michael # 69
I’m all for good traditions, but, in your several posts on contraception, I think you are stuck on the wrong side of 1930s Anglicanism. All Christian denominations before 1930 believed contraception was incompatible with a holy Christian life. Then, the Anglicans had their conference and made several resolutions, at least 2 of which are very pertinent to this discussion:

Resolution 15 - The Life and Witness of the Christian Community - Marriage and Sex http://www.lambethconference.org/resolutions/1930/1930-15.cfm
“Where there is clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience.”  The vote was: For 193; Against 67 -so much for determining truth by democracy.

The opponents objected that this would lead to increased infidelity, divorce (rare then, even among Anglicans, despite their founder's proclivities), and a reduction in the focus of marriage on the children. Some even thought it would lead to abortion and homosexuality but were mostly laughed out of the house as being scaremongers.

Now look at where we are today. This magazine and many of its readers, wantonly ignorant of natural law and biology and immune to the teachings of Holy Scripture (as interpreted across the denominational spectrum during the Reformation), support abortion on demand, and want to make sodomy a sacrament. They have turned both abominations into civil rights.

The Anglicans also made the following resolution #49 “The Anglican Communion is a fellowship, within the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.” They were not that then, but are even less now. They are in disarray, demonstrating the penalty one pays when one ransoms the gospel for pleasure and selfishness. http://www.lambethconference.org/resolutions/1930/1930-49.cfm.

The Catholic Church will not follow that path, but I think the Jesuits running this magazine will follow the Anglicans.
Romans 1:24-27 - Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
6466379 | 5/15/2012 - 8:58pm
Dave, Augustine wasn’t giving license to do whatever we pleased as long as we loved God. He didn’t mean that we could steal, lust, even kill, as long as we loved God. He meant that if we truly loved God we would do our best to do things his way and in that sense if we did things as God intended, then we could do whatever we pleased. Otherwise there would be moral chaos!
Augustine also said when asked if the Bible was a safe guide to explain how physical creation happened. His answer, “The Bible does not tell how the heavens “GO” but how to “GO” to heaven.” In other words, the Bible is not a scientific textbook, but a moral guide. As a “moral guide” the Bible would certainly not condone homosexual marriage. That’s the simple truth.
 Abe, Yes Paul did say that, but at 80 my fuzzy brain can't recall at the moment where, but I'll find it and get back to you.
david power | 5/15/2012 - 7:31pm
I know that it will drive Bill crazy but the best answer to Bruce's dilemma is found in the words of St Augustine.
"Ama et fac quod vis".Love and do what you like.
If the homosexuals abide in love then they abide in God and God abides in them.If they do not abide in love then God does not abide in them.
It is the same for everybody else. 
Rick Fueyo | 5/15/2012 - 5:49pm
Does anyone think we risk losing our individual salvation based upon an insufficient opposition to legal same-sex marriage recognized by the state?  To the extent that we do, does anyone believe that this risk is greater than the risk of treating our gay brothers and sisters uncharitably?
david power | 5/15/2012 - 5:47pm
I started to laugh  when I read Timmy saying that the bishops "could not keep silent" and were "worried about the effect on children".The guy is a phenomenon.
It is as if some hollywood anti-catholic hack is feeding him his lines.
The point made by Mike Appleton is important.The argument against homosexual marriage rests on the belief that it will hinder the common good.
A shift in norms is radical  and this is a challenge to Christianity which has gone from a following of Jesus to a normative lifestyle.What a Fall!
Obama however is the most cynical of  Politicians .I almost laughed harder at the idea that he is not motivated by political expedience than at what Dolan said.
Calling Biden a "catholic" politician is to openly insult the Holy Spirit.The guy is an Irish-american  catholic which means he has a political ideology and when that comes into collision with the teaching of the Church he knows which side his bread is buttered.
WWJD?

The truth is the truth always.God loves gays and we will just have to deal with it. 
Jesus never ran to norms and so it is funny to see the bishops doing so.  
JIM MCCREA | 5/15/2012 - 2:58pm
"It's not always about sex."

You damned right it is not always about sex.  At 71 and with 40 years (as of today) with the same man, it's a lot more than sex.

Any married couple knows that.

And stop conflating marriage with matrimony.  They aren't the same by a long shot.
Rick Fueyo | 5/15/2012 - 2:44pm
In response to the ad hominem, I am not an "trial lawyer", at least in the pejorative sense the term is usually employed, personal injury, et cetera. Not that it should matter, although it obviously does to some.
 
My words may have been poorly chosen, but I was actually attempting to invoke the intimate aspect of human relationships beyond the purely contractual dimension of legal rights, which can of course be addressed through a civil union construct.  I hoped to invoke the mysterious bond that happens between individuals.  Some might even call him it love, although that too is a concept foreign to the historic understanding of the marital institution.
 
We can now return to the proclamations of imminent doom that every attempted egalitarian change in the social order has confronted throughout history.
Rick Fueyo | 5/15/2012 - 1:43pm
Fr.:

Not to get into improperly intimate subject matter, but I don't think that our gay brothers and sisters want the protection of the institution of marriage just to legitimize sexual relations. The reality of situation, the only distraction of some theological precepts, is that sexual activity will occur even without the imprimatur of marriage.

But as a society, we promote marriage to promote stability, among other things. Intimacy of marriage quickly goes far beyond sexual contact, especially as the marriage matures. There is a whole post of dignifying developments that go along with growing old together, and having someone there for you, as well as a whole host of legal rights. I suspect that any marriage can be just as banal are the same time beautiful as heterosexual marriage can be. To deny the benefits of this committed relationship to so many of our citizens just seems cruel and wrong.

It's not always about sex.
REV J NOWAK | 5/15/2012 - 1:37pm
According to Romans 1:26-27, I Corinthians 6:9-10; and I Timothy 1:9-10, any genital sexual activity between persons of the same sex, ''practicing homosexuals'' is condemned. If, then, ''same sex marriage' is definded as a relationship between two same sex persons in which abolutely no genital activity is involved, I suppose some Christians and Catholics might not object. But, if this relationship involved either directly or indirectly any genital acts or the occasion thereof, of course, every Christian would have to condemn it. Do these approving theologians intend such an ''a-sexual'' union?
C Walter Mattingly | 5/15/2012 - 1:31pm
Beth (#2),
I admire your sincere sentiments, but to respond to the comment of Cardinal Dolan support of heterosexual marriage with "I don't know what to do with the bishops these days....they're stuck in something they can't get out of" rings true only in the sense that they are "stuck" in the words of Jesus Christ, who very clearly and explicitly states the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. It would be a very bold bishop indeed who would ignore or countermand the explicit words of Christ. Same thing with the idea of divorce, which cost us many members and lots of grief, as the NT tells us it cost Jesus. 
The idea of a union not explictly characterized as marriage, such as a civil union, does not explicity contradict the words of Jesus and would have much the same effect. There are some instances in the earlier Middle Ages of homosexual unions even being blessed within the Church. 
Another issue often quoted by various sources argue that homosexuality is exempt from the old psychology format we were taught, U = Environment X heredity, and is totally gene related. I doubt that, as we are told that every Spartan soldier at Thermopolae (sp) was gay. I suspect that's not because all 300 were so inclined genetically, but rather by the reality that from about 13 years of age on, the young Spartan hoplite was paired with an older mentor who had regular homosexual sex with him. It was a part of the warrior culture. The point being that homosexual marriage is a form of preferencing homosexuality itself, encouraging it rather than accepting of it. Civil unions would recognize the commitment of a gay couple to each other, even allow celebration of that commitment, without preferencing homosexuality with marriage. And it wouldn't necessarily conflict with the words of Jesus either.
 
Rick Fueyo | 5/15/2012 - 12:30pm
"We have a president who espouses a dysfunctional economic system and has partially implemented that system and the country is experiencing the results of his dysfunctional political and economic policies and wants desperately for the country to forget this as we near an election."

Bizarrely and consistenly wrong.  We can honestly debate whether the preferential option for the wealthy and powerful that has been part of policy orthodoxy for the GOP is solely responsibly for this crash, but we certainly cannot credibly blame remedial policies.  But credibility never seems to be a limitation.
Rick Fueyo | 5/15/2012 - 12:26pm
I don't think the issue of what Jesus would say about the potential legality under Jewish law of same-sex marriage is relevant or even responsive to the point being made. The point was argued was that he never addressed the subject. At least one citation in which he referred to marriages between male and female was provided in rebuttal. That can stand on its own.
 
The issue is not whether Jesus as a legal scholar thought SSM was outlawed under Jewish law. No dispute on that. Certainly, if he were sitting as a Talmudic scholar, he would've agreed as to the state of existing law.  But that never affected him, whether the issue was what was permissible to be done on the Sabbath, and what was permissible to be done by husband seeking a divorce, which is the context of the statement supposedly showing his opposition to same-sex marriage. Jesus consistently stood with the powerless against oppressive positivistic legal restrictions, especially when they were females. Hence his teaching on divorce, which was tremendously exploitative to wives in first century Palestine which is why, as somewhat of an aside, I find it incredibly ironic that those who seek to police orthodoxy in His name in this century so favor the soft misogyny of "complementarity."
 
Anyway, back to the point. Jesus never felt constricted by existing law, so his opinion as to what the state of existing law was is fairly irrelevant, presuming he had been asked exactly that question.  Half of his public ministry consisted of addressing opponents to his teaching that relied on the letter of existing law.
 
Thus, we have a hermeneutic as how he viewed all such issues, through the lens of who was being oppressed.  And in this case, it's hard to justify prohibitions on same-sex marriage, which seem oppressive. I just don't see how using either a Thomistic natural law or the statement regarding marriage being between a male and female in the context of discussing divorce, as justifying telling our brothers and sisters that they are not permitted to enter into the institution of marriage, that they are second-class citizens in that regard.
 
As another aside, I also find it telling that the Church invests none of its political capital in opposing divorce, since that is an aspect of the current legal institution of marriage that Jesus was far more explicit about. We could debate how he would view that teaching under current law, again emphasizing his consistent advocacy on behalf of the powerless, but that's beside the point.  His Church and other defenders of orthodoxy will employ no hermeneutic beyond literalness. And literally, Jesus greatly opposed divorce. But the Church has chosen to invest all that opposition to current marital laws on something he either never spoke about or only barely spoke about. That seems telling in terms of what the real motivation is, and makes me relate to our homosexual brothers and sisters to feel that it is nothing more than animus or discomfort directed to them. 
 
Lest any of us be perceived as holier than thou, discomfort with the rapid rate of change is an understandable human failing that affects all of us, albeit in different contexts. Attitudes about the subject of change greatly in 20 years, such that I tell my 15-year-old daughter and I could never conceive we would be where we are at this point at this time. But we are.  And I can see no argument in the name of elemental justice which justifies denying equal status in terms of marriage to our gay brothers and sisters.
Tom Maher | 5/15/2012 - 10:57am
JR Cpsgrove # 36

The Times/CBS poll released this morning confirms your observations.  The poll shows 67% beleived Obama's  pronoucments on same-sex marriage was politically motivated.  Maybe Tina Brown the editor of Newweek can make Obama into a clutural saint but most Americans are not accepting this as credible.  Obama declaring his personal support of same-sex marraige was a claculated political appeal that appears to be backfiring.  Obama's theme of "Change we can belive in" is not only not credible; it is suspect.  This is not 2008 anymore. Obama is no longer a celebrity let alone a cultural icon.

Vice President Joe Biden pre-announcemnt on NBC Meet the Press several days before Obama's official announcement in a ail  ABC interview was politcal staging testing the acceptability of the politcal message in support of same-sex marriage.  Certain portion the population will strongly approved.  But it now appears most people did not approve or saw this message as the politcal diversion as you pointed out from Obama's hopelessly failed economic policies.  Obama does not have a hope of an economic policy or a prayer of finding one by election day less tha six months from now.  Politically things are getting deparate for Obama who can now be expected to say or do anything to get himself re-elected. 

With 24 million people in long-term unemployment and more being added each day the economy is not performing as needed. We have a  stagnant economy that is not creating the number of jobs needed to absorb  people  entering the job market for the first time.  The nation still has urgent economic  problems that are  not resolved.   As you point out, the nation needs credible economic solutions not celebrity icons diverting attention away from the nation's severe economic problems. 
Amy Ho-Ohn | 5/15/2012 - 9:47am
Christ did not have much to say about homosexuality for the same reason he did not have much to say about human sacrifice: the disciples were Jews. By the first century A.D., the impermissibility of homosexuality and human sacrifice had been so definitively settled in Jewish law that it would have been obvious to everybody present that those were Gentile abominations which the one true God forbids.

Male homosexuality is not like eating pig meator plowing on the Sabbath. It's one of a very few crimes a Jew is forbidden to commit even to save his life. (The others are murder, idolatry and other acts of sexual immorality, like incest and bestiality.)

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Talmud/sanhedrin7.html

(The Gemara were compiled several centuries after Christ, but this is also about one fourth of the way down the page in the Mishnah, which was compiled approximately the same time as the NT.)
Kang Dole | 5/15/2012 - 9:04am
There's actually an alternative manuscript tradition for Matthew 28 (the so-called Old Mary papyrus) that would be of great use-alas, it is fragmentary.

"Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am...’ But the eleven interrupted him at this point and said, "Okay, sure Jeez, but before you go, can you straighten out this whole gay thing for us? I mean, people are bound to ask, eh?" And straightaway, Jesus said, "Verily, my children, you see when it comes to same-sex attra..."

At this point there is a lacuna in the papyrus.

It continues:

"...and so, really, I think that should satisfy everyone on this issue.' And the disciples said, "Oh, wow-thanks, Jesus, that actually makes a lof of sense. Thanks for clearing that up for us.' And Jesus said, "No sweat. Now, if you'll pardon me, I'm going to split. Uh, but I'll be with you always and stuff, so no worries.' And the disciples said, 'Oh, no problem, Jesus-always. You got it."
J Cosgrove | 5/15/2012 - 6:49am
I believe everyone is missing the real point of this OP.  It is not about same sex marriage.  We have a president who espouses a dysfunctional economic system and has partially implemented that system and the country is experiencing the results of his dysfunctional political and economic policies and wants desperately for the country to forget this as we near an election. We have had other political policies implemented years ago that are undermining the stability of the country both socially and economically.  And while the country is hurting big time and a large percentage wonders when they might be next to lose their job we are fiddling over orchestrated distractions as Rome is burning.  And the authors and editors of America are fiddling away as hard as anyone in the Democratic Party instead of defending their religion.
 
Why is America talking about same sex marriage, contraception benefits for women when the real issue with the country is spiritual and economic poverty for a large proportion of the country?  These are trivial issues that only have importance because it may distract from the fundamental rot that slowly but surely is spreading amongst us.  Is this the real immorality that is going on here?  Why is America consistently going against its Church that it is supposed to belong to by becoming cheer leaders for a political party that can only gain attraction with policies that are against their Church?  Why are the bishops demonized by nearly every article except when they issue a letter against the Paul Ryan budget?  
 
So we can argue back and forth on the morality or expediency of same sex marriage or contraception policies but that is not what is happening here.  Like puppeteers with their strings, the puppets are being manipulated to focus on things of no real consequence while far more important issues are being ignored for political expediency.  What is the next issue that will find the authors here at America pivoting against their Church using faux relitious arguments in order to support a corrupt political doctrine.  That is what I find most interesting at this site.
Tom Maher | 5/14/2012 - 11:29pm
Carlos Orozco
Tim O'Leary 


When one considers the worldwide membership of the Catholic church and most Christian churches this worldwide demographics heavily favor traditional Christian interpretation of homosexuality and marriage.

Recent immigarnts to the United States heavily favor tradition Christian teaching on homosexualtiy and same-sex marriage.  The California 2008 vote that banned same-sex marriage was heavily supported by immigrant groups of Christians of all denominations.  Immigration groups have tended to be a large part of the population growth of the United States this Christian influence will contiune to grow.

The Unitd Methodist at  their General Conference in Tampa Florida on May 3, 2012 voted to keep their strictures on homosexuality in part 40% of the approximately 1,000 delegates were from outside the United States.  The 2008 general conference the foriegn delegates were only 10%.  United Methodist from Asia, Africa and elsewhere do not have the liberal western values of religions that are less demographically diverse.  The Catholic church of course is universal and can not limited its evagelization to conform to secular western cultural and politcal influences.
Bill Freeman | 5/14/2012 - 11:14pm
Guy - I've got an idea.  If you dislike gay marriage so much, don't marry anyone of the same sex.  Then don't worry about anyone else.
Tim O'Leary | 5/14/2012 - 10:22pm
Jim #24
Sterile sex never has demographics on its side.
Carlos Orozco | 5/14/2012 - 9:53pm
What part is hard to understand, Abe? No rocket science.

Maybe Father O'Loughlin would like write anothe BS piece and correct the Lord.
Kang Dole | 5/14/2012 - 9:36pm
Oh, yes-that's quite explicit. I'm sure he had a full discourse planned on the subject to deliver after the Passover.

Pages