Same Sex Marriage & Evangelization
Many people have been gathering their thoughts since the United States Supreme Court made a ruling that effectively overturned any state laws banning two people of the same-sex from getting a civil marriage license. This is not the first time that Catholic teaching has been at odds with civil law. No fault divorce, contraception, sterilization, abortion, and IVF are other examples of problematic or sinful behaviors that are legally permissible. I’ve written a couple of thoughts of my own on this ruling, along with ways in which Catholics can respond.
The Catholic Church has always maintained that marriage is limited to one man and one woman who are free to marry. It cannot be between people of the same-sex, more than two people, between people who are already married, between people who cannot consent, people who cannot consummate their marriage, between a child and an adult, and so on.
In particular, excluding people of the same-sex is not unjustly discriminatory due to the sexually complementary nature of men and women in the procreation of children. The Church does not make a purely “religious argument” (which is often meant as an “argument from authority”). Instead, it gives sound reasons why this type of union is not only immoral, but impossible. Chief Justice Roberts picked up on this in his dissent:
“This universal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is no historical coincidence. Marriage did not come about as a result of a political movement, discovery, disease, war, religious doctrine, or any other moving force of world history—and certainly not as a result of a prehistoric decision to exclude gays and lesbians. It arose in the nature of things to meet a vital need: ensuring that children are conceived by a mother and father committed to raising them in the stable conditions of a lifelong relationship.”
Children are conceived through a sexual relationship between a man and a woman, and as the American College of Pediatricians just pointed out, children do best when they are with their mother and father. Sometimes that doesn’t happen and they can be successfully raised in less than ideal conditions with loving people – which is great! We have lamented fatherless homes for decades because it is not ideal for a child to be raised without their dad. When the Church says it cannot admit two people of the same-sex to marriage it is not to be mean or because they want them to spend their whole lives alone. Instead it is out of the churches love and care for people with SSA that it opposes same-sex marriage.
Marriage is concerned first with children. That’s why we also do not recognize other sexual unions, friendships, or even business relationships as a marriage. Marriage is meant to give a child a stable home through which they are protected, educated, and nurtured. Marriage is meant to be total, faithful, fruitful, and free.
There is much more that can be said, but what can we do as Catholic evangelists?
What we always do.
1. Live your faith. You’ve been called to holiness. Attend Mass, go to confession, read the Bible, pray, and fast. Go about the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Live out the greatest commandment.
2. Learn your faith. Read the compendium of social doctrine which talks about marriage, the family, the political sphere, and Christians in public life along with Humanae Vitae. Learn the Theology of the Body. Know why marriage is only possible between one man and one woman. Understand how SSM will harm not only religious freedom, but children, culture, and family life.
3. Share your faith. Break the silence, tell your story, share the Good News, and live as a missionary disciple. Give away miraculous medals, start new relationships, be open to new friendships, invite people to encounter Jesus.
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