Friends Jeannine Gramick and Frank DeBernardo from New Ways Ministry had an excellent Valentine’s Day Op-Ed in The Washington Post. In one of the most well prepared (both theologically and sociologically) essays I’ve read, they make the case for marriage equality:
In forming our consciences, Catholics also consult scripture and our theological tradition. Here, again, there is little firm reason to oppose marriage equality. The Bible presents us with a marital landscape that includes polygamy, concubinage, temple prostitution and Levirate marriages (in which a man is bound to marry his brother’s widow.) Jesus disputed the Mosaic law on divorce, saying that what God has joined man must not separate, but this dictum was modified in the letters of St. Paul.
When we see the manifold changes that marriage has undergone throughout history, many Catholics wonder why our bishops believe that heterosexual marriage in its current 21stcentury state is a matter of divine revelation.
Those who delve into the theology of marriage will encounter the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo, who articulated what Christians have come to call “the goods of marriage.” These are enumerated in contemporary terms as partnership, permanence, fidelity and fruitfulness. Same-sex couples demonstrate all of these attributes just as opposite-sex couples do, unless one defines “fruitfulness” narrowly as the ability to procreate. But many heterosexual couples cannot or choose not to procreate, and the church marries them anyway.
The deeper one looks into the church’s core teachings, the more one realizes that the bishops are not representing the breadth of the Catholic tradition in their campaign against marriage equality. Nowhere is that more true than in the area of Catholic social justice teaching.Catholic social teaching requires that all people be treated with dignity, regardless of their state in life or their beliefs. It upholds the importance of access to health-care benefits, the protection of children, dignity in end of life choices, and, most importantly, the promotion of stable family units. Marriage equality legislation would be an obvious boon to same-sex couples and their children in each of these areas, yet the bishops are spending millions of dollars opposing it.
Brilliant. If you’re a pray-er, these two deserve all you can give them.
- Catholic Case for Same-Sex Marriage Is Part of Religion’s Next Great Awakening (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
- Washington State Governor Signs Same Sex Marriage Into Law (crooksandliars.com)
- NYT/CBS Poll: Catholic Religious Leaders Out Of Touch (dgsma.wordpress.com)
- Majority Of New Jersey Voters Support Marriage Equality (thinkprogress.org)
- If You Really Want Marriage Equality in Washington, Then Pull Out Your Wallet (slog.thestranger.com)