Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, published a short article about marriage and civil society on the Chicago Catholic blog this past Sunday: “Reflections on ‘Chicago values’”
In addition to commenting on current events, the Cardinal outlines basic catechesis on marriage:
It might be good to put aside any religious teaching and any state laws and start from scratch, from nature itself, when talking about marriage. Marriage existed before Christ called together his first disciples two thousand years ago and well before the United States of America was formed two hundred and thirty six years ago. Neither Church nor state invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.
Marriage exists because human nature comes in two complementary sexes: male and female. The sexual union of a man and woman is called the marital act because the two become physically one in a way that is impossible between two men or two women. Whatever a homosexual union might be or represent, it is not physically marital. Gender is inextricably bound up with physical sexual identity; and “gender-free marriage” is a contradiction in terms, like a square circle.
The unfortunate thing about the Catholic Church in the USA is that albeit it claims that it defends marriage and children’s rights, the Church does so rather selectively.
Fact: A child has a right to bodily integrity. Fact: Circumcision abnormalizes the marital act for both the wife and for the husband.
When I have raised the issue of routine infant male circumcision in the USA with apologists for the Catholic Church, they hide behind the shibboleth that infant circumcision is “morally neutral”.
There is no moral neutrality in mutilating an infant’s genitals for life. It is about power and control. The Church ought to condemn this medically unnecessary practice. Catholic Latin America and post Catholic Europe do not do this to their baby boys. Neither should we!