Friday, December 21, 2012
LIKE THE CHURCH'S FIGHT AGAINST THE LEGALIZATION OF DIVORCE, THE CHURCH'S FIGHT AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE MAY WELL BE DOOMED TO THE SAME FATE
This is what Newt Gingrich had to say recently, from a political point of view and the Republican Party:
"I think that [same-sex marriage] will be much more difficult than immigration for conservatism to come to grips with," Gingrich told the Huffington Post. "It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to ... accommodate and deal with reality."
What's charming about Gingrich is that he did not try to dress up this analysis as a change of heart. His argument, instead, is explicitly political: The public has moved – let's chase them.
"The reality is going to be that in a number of American states – and it will be more after 2014 – gay relationships will be legal, period," Gingrich said.
MY COMMENTS: We live in a society that condones abortion on demand and has made artificial contraception, sterilization and abortifacients a part of "women's health care."
How have we dealt with Catholics who are in second marriages that are not recognized by the Church? We ask them to come to Church and pray, to seek God's grace of conversion in their lives, but if they cannot or will not separate or live chastely without sex, we tell them they are censured and cannot receive Holy Communion or the other sacraments except in the case of a life-threatening emergency.
Cannot we do the same for those Catholics who will eventually enter into so-called same sex marriages? Can we be pastoral toward them and if and when they start living as brothers or as sisters in that union, can we not invite them back to Holy Communion?
I think as a Church, we have a right to try to prevent the passage of same sex marriages through political and judicial means, but avoid alienating the larger culture that accepts same sex relationships from the Church. The Church cannot come off looking like bigots in this regard.
But when we fail, and no one says that we will succeed, we need to draw some lines, proclaim the religious nature of the Sacrament of Holy Orders and get the state out of our business as it concerns the legality of our infallible beliefs about the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
As I've said before, I think we should require Catholics to go to the courthouse the day or two before the Church wedding to take care of all the civil legalities for their "legal union" as the state understands that. And of course the Sacrament of Marriage needs to have a larger imprimatur in terms of civil legality, always had and always will. Then once the legal part of marriage is recognized by the state, then the priest solemnizes it in the religious ceremony that makes it the Sacrament of Matrimony, a sacred union.
That seems to me to be the best solution when all else fails.
And yes, we as Catholics need to view ourselves in this corrupt society as an alternative society which means we may well need to circle the wagons once again for our spiritual and moral protection, not to mention our strong Catholic identity.
Posted by Fr. Allan J. McDonald at Friday, December 21, 2012
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First time I've seen your blog.
Your comment about the Roman Catholic faith as being an alternate society to the current corrupt one?
Perhaps I am misunderstading your intent? But, you are implying that the current corrupt society has some measure or truth and validity and IS a true alternative and has a place with living Church? I couldnt disagree more. Never apologize for the Truth or truth.
Candidly, using Newt Gingrish as a...spokesman for any aspect of the Faith is not very useful.
In all charity, perhaps I misunderstanding your position. But, your statements and position appear to be aceepting of homosex.
Gingrich is wrong on at least one point- he says there are homosexuals in every family. There are NO homosexuals in my family, including my extended family on both sides. I believe that homosexuals are a very loud super-minority that overestimates their numbers.
As Catholics there are many things we accept as immoral, divorce, adultery, fornication, living together without marriage, etc but we are pastoral with sinners and place censures against some, like divorced and remarried Catholics.
The more our Culture become secular built on secular priniples the more the Catholic Church must provide an alternate society for Catholics to be nourished, sustained and strengthened to live in regular society and bring to bear what we believe about God and one another.
I don't think we need to single out any group of sinners as being more a threat to us than others as all sin is a threat, especially what heterosexuals have done to the true meaning of marriage with rampant divorce and adultery.
newguy40, Fr. M does not mean what you think he does. His position is absolutely orthodox, homosexual relationships and acts are wrong and the Church cannot and will not have anything to do with that. However, I believe he is just having a pastoral theoretical. He is simply thinking about possible pastoral strategies.
Carol H., you would be surprised at how many homosexuals and bisexuals there are in society. They are not as much of a super-minority as you think. I would say that at least for every nine straight Americans there is one "other-sexual."
Carol: There may be no homosexuals in your family but I am sure you know some (although I could of course be wrong about that).
There is one homosexual in my extended family and one transsexual (who lives in Germany, although I have had no contact with him/her for years now). Also, when I was in college my roommate was homosexual and I knew many others. In addition, today I have many homosexual friends and colleagues.
Reconciling my convictions and beliefs as a committed Roman Catholic and my rather traditional temporal values with the love and respect I have for these particular human beings in my life has been a source of constant tension for me. Therefore I greatly appreciate the combination of principle and compassion in Father McDonald’s post.
An adulterous man and woman with their arms around each other will only give scandal to those who happen to know their situation. Unnatural sexual unions, however, are more obviously scandalous, and the more we tolerate civil acceptance of them, the more natural they will seem to the ignorant, thus unnecessarily spreading the sin.
We should note that an informed adulterer who dies unrepentant goes to Hell, no matter how nice the rest of us were to him while he lived.
We should also state clearly that someone suffering from homosexuality, but who endeavors to resist temptations, certainly deserves the fullest possible support the Church can offer.
The Church might say that divorced Catholics living in nonsacramental second marriages have to abstain from Communion, but in most cases, it says so all too quietly. In fact, there are many priests who simply look the other way, thus making them complicit in the hypocrisy.
The Church can transform society, but it isn't going to happen until its members speak with one voice and those in authority clean up their own act.
It seems that the Holy Father might have answered your questions...
Isn’t the best way forward on this issue, as on so many other issues in which hearts and minds are at stake, appropriate and mutually respectful dialogue in which each side is open to, and listens to, the other at the very deepest level? If our God is a God of Truth (and He is), how then can He fail to lead all of us to His Truth if we are truly open and listening in this way?
Anon 2, You do not dialogue with evil. You condemn it and try to avoid it. Homosexuals should be marginalized, not abused or denied Constitutional rights, but marginalized. They are, indeed, a super minority as Carol says, but from all the press they get you'd think they were ninety percent of the population.
I hope no one misunderstands me, I do feel we should be fighting this as best we can, but we may not suceed, so I'm suggesting what we would need to do (IMO) in that event. Who knows, the Supreme Court may settle it in our favor, but I don't think we can count on it. I don't think popular vote is going to do it and will tilt in favor of SSM in the future. But we do need to use arguments against SSM in a pastoral way and we shouldn't be stoking the stereotypes about us Catholics, priests in particular, in terms of homophobia and the like. I think the Holy Father's comments to the Cardinals at his annual Christmas message are prophetic and right on. He'll get creamed, as all prophets do, in the media and by progressive Catholics.
Same Sex Marriage is but one small part of the assault upon Morality.
A new civilization is coming, likely in our life time. As always Michael Voris has something to say on the subject, and as usual, it is more straight forward and more practical than anything coming from our Bishops.
"...I think we should require Catholics to go to the courthouse the day or two before the Church wedding to take care of all the civil legalities for their "legal union" as the state understands that...Then once the legal part of marriage is recognized by the state, then the priest solemnizes it in the religious ceremony that makes it the Sacrament of Matrimony, a sacred union...
And yes, we as Catholics need to view ourselves in this corrupt society as an alternative society which means we may well need to circle the wagons once again for our spiritual and moral protection, not to mention our strong Catholic identity."
I have been saying this same thing for many years. The recent election is a 'civil imprimatur' & an important marker concerning where our Nation is (& has been) heading. It is better to render unto Caesar & make it clear in our own Churches that the world & our beliefs as Catholics will indeed be increasingly in conflict.
The time will come soon enough when Civil Unions will not be 'enough' & that a spiritual imprimatur will be not only desired, but demanded. This is when & where the battle must be fought for this is the true 'holy ground' for us as Catholics. Though I respect those who continue to feel the need to fight in our civil courts, the real tests are when those very courts impede upon our faith & belief system as is happening already with the HHS mandate or in other moral battles still waging such as abortion. So much time & energy is being spent trying to legislate morality in a country that no longer has a moral compass.
I would rather see my Priests speak truth loudly to their flocks & lead the way, Monstrance in hand, to the spiritual stands that need to take place in within our own Church. Only then will we see the purification in our own Church that is needed for the martyrdom that is yet to come. -Pgal
Gene, I agree that one shouldn't dialogue with evil. The pastoral problem with that is that we're always dealing with people and not with evil incarnate. One can condemn homosexuality, but what does one do with the homosexual? (You realize the dichotomy implicitly in your post since , but I wanted to bring it out more clearly.) Can we ever say that a person, no matter how depraved (e.g. Hitler, Stalin), has so completely given himself over to evil that no possibility for redemption exists? We have to be clear that we can't.
The reason I bring this up is where this line of thought leads if one isn't careful. I refer to the relish with which some fundamentalist preachers pronounce that certain people have gone to hell (a practice that I think reflects their own insecurity and need for validation of their world view). Aside from the fact that such pronouncements are highly presumptuous, the idea that certain people are _happy_ with the thought that other people are frying in hell for all eternity is the antithesis of the Gospel message. One can acknowledge God's justice without getting off on it.
I view homosexuality as a particularly vicious type of addiction that one is born with (or at least conditioned to at a very young age) and thus has no choice in--like a crack baby--which reduces one's culpability considerably. The only choice one has is whether to act on the addiction, and as in other addictions, consent of the will is impaired. All addictions are hard, but this one must be murder. I think that the best pastoral approach is this one.
This doesn't mean, though, that I won't reply to pro-gay arguments that distort the truth, stereotype, or spew intolerance to people who disagree. The Left's definition of "diversity" is "freedom to think only the way the Left thinks." The original decision on California's gay marriage ban, written by a gay judge who failed to recuse himself, was a shoddy, result-driven, biased, activist attempt to rewrite the Constitution, and I said so at the time. Unfortunately, the appellate opinion was better written. I'm not optimistic about what the Supremes will do.
newguy40 asks whether the "current corrupt society has some measure of truth and validity."
As Anonymous (Pgal) says, "Render unto Caesar."
One or more of the Letters contained in the New Testament says, and the thinkers and writers of the Church have said, that secular governmnts have authority from God to make just laws regarding people's conduct and that these laws must be obeyed. From another point of view,it is also the common opinion that man is made to live in society and indeed in a society to which rulers and laws give structure. Thus our current society, corrupt though it may be, has some measure of authority.
Christians have always had to live in non-Christian societies - in the pagan Roman empire, and in Muslim countries, India, China, Japan, etc. It does seem a new thing to live in a society that is as relativistic and unaccepting of natural law as ours is getting to be. Mr. Gingrich and Father McDonald seem simply to be musing about haw God's people are to relate to and function in this society and to show love of neighbor as we are commanded to do. It is a difficult and perhaps novel question. - Ancil Payne
Got a message indicating this may not have gone through so here it is again:
Beautifully said, Anon 5! The tolerance Gene calls for is important, of course, but Love requires much more.
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