The Catholic Factor Of Proposition 8

From New Ways Ministry comes this interesting observation:

The reaction of the Catholic hierarchy to the news yesterday that a federal court has declared California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional has been, predictably, negative.  After all, the hierarchy, aided by over a million dollars from the Knights of Columbus, worked so furiously to get Proposition 8′s constitutional ban against marriage equality passed into law.

Bishop Gerald E. Wilkerson, president of the California Catholic Conference, and auxiliary bishop from Los Angeles, issued a response yesterday which included the following:

“We are disappointed by the ruling today by a panel of the Ninth Circuit that would invalidate the action taken by the people of California affirming that marriage unites a woman and a man and any children from their union. However, given the issues involved and the nature of the legal process, it’s always been clear that this case would very likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Marriage between one man and one woman has been—and always will be—the most basic building block of the family and of our society.”

But a reaction from an usher at Our Lady of Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles may indicate better where Catholics in the pew stand on this issue–even those who initially voted for Proposition 8.  Ruben Garcia is quoted on the public radio website,

” As a parishioner and a Catholic and a married man, I do believe in the sanctity of marriage,’ Garcia said, ‘and I do believe that it should be between a man and a woman, but I’m torn because I also believe in the separation of church and state. “

That may be the crux of the argument. Catholics are twisted by the legal/moral argument of the hierarchy- if it’s immoral, it must be/become illegal. The problem in a deomocratic society is this: morals cannot be legislated effectively as representative of the entire population- because they are not representative of the entire population. Despite what bishops want to believe, the reality is that morals are not universal- there is no clear agreement on any number of moral issues.
And ignoring reality by trying to persuade by legislation will only make the remaining few points of agreement much less accessible.