Bp. Hying on the Barbara Crabb decision: Love, Marriage & the Law

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Last week’s judicial decision striking down the marriage law of Wisconsin has all of us talking and thinking. The questions surrounding marriage, family and homosexuality are often complex and challenging. How does the church respond both doctrinally and pastorally to this profound social and legal shift? Certainly, increased pressure will be put on the church to acquiesce to this fundamental redefinition of marriage. As local media has been filled with images of same-sex couples marrying at the courthouse, amid hugs, kisses and tears, we readily acknowledge the human dignity, good will and loving intentions of these couples. As Catholics, however, we know there are deep values at stake in this same-sex marriage debate that need to be affirmed.

The Lord Jesus calls us to love, serve and accept everyone as brothers and sisters. Any prejudice or hatred against anyone for any reason finds no place in the Gospel or in a disciple’s heart. This call to love obviously includes anyone with a same-sex attraction. Many homosexuals have probably perceived more judgment and exclusion from us than love and acceptance. We need to accompany each other in support, prayer, charity and sacrifice, so that the first and fundamental message anyone hears from us is that God loves you, you have an inherent dignity and worth as a person and we respect and care about you. We can all work to be better at that. I know that I certainly need to. So, the church’s opposition to same-sex marriage is not rooted in prejudice, hatred or intolerance of homosexual persons.
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Best line:
In this new cultural climate, marriage has become a private sexualized friendship that may bear children or not, that may endure or not, that exists solely for the personal, emotional and sexual fulfillment of the partners.

1 comment:

  1. The challenge we all will face is that the "best line" you pulled out is 100% true (I too thought it was the best line when I read this column last night).

    The sanctity and purpose of marriage has been lost and it has become fundamentally as the bishop expressed, a tool to publically validate the connection two people have to one another. We have no real argument beyond "tradition" which is a non- argument by very definition to a progressive if marriage is severed from the procreation and rearing of children.

    Sadly, I believe it was in Utah, this very argument has been used in the legal debate on this issue. I just read that the attorney in the defense of Utah's (if I got the state right) "gay marriage" ban argued that it should be upheld because marriage is about procreation and rearing and thus had to be male-female, and the judge essentially dismissed it saying that societal contraceptive practice has made marriage not about procreation for 50+ years and subsequently it cannot be a good argument in this issue.

    We need to get back to converting hearts, one at a time, to embrace the dignity of procreation. There certainly are many younger couples doing our best to be witnesses (we're doing our part- #5 in 9 years is due in September!) but for so many others, including Catholics, this is completely out the window, and we're not receiving strong pastoral leadership from many priests about it, and sadly many of the priests that insist on addressing it precisely because their brother priests won't often speak so much about it that they do become a "broken-record" turn off, even to the committed faithful.

    We have to allow ourselves to be evangelized by Christ and His Church, and then get to doing the same to others, one person at a time as His Hands and Feet. We're rapidly winning the battle on abortion, and I know this battle will be won too, as much of the emotion of being the 'issue of the times" wears off (as happened in the 70's with abortion) and people start looking more at the reason and results of "gay marriage", but through that process, we have to be witnesses of what marriage truly is silently through our embrace of our spouses, children, and potential fertility, and we have to lovingly encourage it in others.


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