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Why the Church Cannot Endorse Same-Sex “Marriage”: Chapter Seven of the World Meeting of Families Catechesis

World Meeting of Families Catechesis Series
The USCCB Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth is excited about the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) being held in Philadelphia in September 2015. This is part of a series of short articles focused on the WMOF Catechesis Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive and its implications for our daily lives. We follow the timing suggested by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by exploring one theme each month leading up to the World Meeting. Other reflections have been written by the Archdiocese of Military Services. Here is their reflection for Chapter 7.

Why the Church Does Not (Cannot) Endorse So-Called Same-Sex “Marriage”
Tim Roder
Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

Advocates of same-sex “marriage” can only make a case for its recognition by “premising marriage as mainly erotic or emotional satisfaction” and not as a social institution for the sake of uniting a man and a woman to each other, and children to their parents (134). Emotions run deep on this subject.

As the catechesis Love is Our Mission points out, the truth about marriage has been obscured in our culture so much so that it is barely recognizable. As contraception, sterilization, abortion and divorce have become socially accepted and even commonplace, accepting same-sex sexual relationships seems a “plausible next step” (134).

Once the core elements of marriage are separated—the unitive and procreative purposes—the line of what counts as a marriage is easily erased and redrawn. What’s morally acceptable becomes whatever people are comfortable with, or whatever “two (or more) consenting adults” agree on. Once established, this relativistic view is difficult to uproot.

Six adults raised by two people of the same sex submitted amicus curiae briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of man-woman marriage laws. I find the stories of these men and women compelling because they witness to the truth of the human heart: every person has an innate desire to know and be raised by their own mother and father. Children suffer when this does not happen, even if it is for a very good reason. We know this not only from these six people, but also from the experiences of adopted children, children of divorce, and children of artificial reproduction. These experiences and situations are not the same, but they do show us that whenever possible, children should be with their own mother and father in a stable, loving home.

The witness of these six adults and of others points to the deeper question: What is marriage? The only definition of marriage that upholds the dignity of the child is the union of a man and a woman—a union grounded in sexual difference and open to life. Even when the gift of children is not possible due to infertility or age, marriage does not lose its meaning.

Marriage in society is not about affirming adult romantic desires; it’s about bringing men and women together to become fathers and mothers of the next generation and recognizing the contribution that spousal love offers to society.

As a Sacrament, marriage is further about drawing men and women close to Christ in a mutual gift of self that mirrors and participates in His relationship with the Church.

4 responses to “Why the Church Cannot Endorse Same-Sex “Marriage”: Chapter Seven of the World Meeting of Families Catechesis”

  1. Joseph H Alfano says:

    Thank you for helping explain the truth about marriage and the Church’s position.

  2. Jane Healey says:

    I do not agree with this interpretation . I have a son in his twenties who has tried for many years to be the religiously and more socially acceptable “straight”. He finally decided to talk to us (his parents ..a mom and a dad) about his feelings of really knowing he was gay since he was about 10. For him, just like any straight person, he just wants to fall in love, marry and become a parent. The ONLY difference is that it would be with another male and the children would be adopted (likely saved from unstable foster care or orphanages). How can the church not support him in his right to the sacrament of marriage? It is your non acceptance of these things on top of years of scandal that’s pushing people further and further from the church.

    • DOM says:

      Thank you for your comment and I’m sorry that this issue is a difficult one for you in the circumstances. The Church exists to continue Christ’s mission on earth and to bring people to the salvation He offers. Part of the Christian life, for all of us, is the cross, and seeking to draw closer to God in the midst of our trials. You write that your son, “just wants to fall in love, marry and become a parent” but that he is attracted to other men. In this situation, the fact is that he does not actually want to marry and become a parent, because marrying is, in its nature, the relationship between a man and a woman who can become parents together. In other words, in desiring intimacy with another man, he is desiring something that is not what God created him for. Your son was created, as we all were, to love God and his neighbor. He was created a man, body and soul, humanly complementary to a woman.

      In saying that the only difference between your son and a male partner adopting a child is that they are two men assumes that a mother does not matter to a child. We are called to think about that more and to reflect on the difference between a mother and a father, and how much children suffer when they are missing one or the other. More on this is here: http://www.marriageuniqueforareason.org/faq/#sec2q4

      You also say that your son has a “right” to the sacrament of marriage, but the sacraments are never a “right,” but rather a grace and a gift, just like a child him- or herself is never a right. Single people may have a deep desire for marriage that is not fulfilled; some people are left by their spouse and must remain unmarried; a man may feel called to the priesthood but never be ordained. There are many situations in which people suffer because their desires are unfulfilled. Your son is not unique in this. It is normal for a parent to want to shield their child from all pain, but this is not possible, and certainly not in the Christian life. The cross is a necessary part of the redemption.

  3. Sam says:

    Cardinal Scola offers tremendous insight as to why Sacramental marriage must be between Man and Woman (already refered to on this site here: http://www.marriageuniqueforareason.org/2011/12/01/sexual-difference-asymmetrical-reciprocity/)

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