A Message to Catholic New Yorkers
From the Bishops of New York State
The Catholic Bishops of New York State
June 24, 2011
Feast of the Birthday of St. John the Baptist
While our culture seems to have lost a basic understanding of marriage, we Catholics must not. We must be models of what is good, holy and sacred about authentic sacramental marriage. Let this moment where marriage is being attacked from without become a moment of renewal from within – in our Church, in our communities and in our families – where marriage is indelibly marked by fidelity, sacrifice and the mutual love of husband and wife leading to children.
The Church does not seek to be at odds with the society and culture. The Church welcomes the opportunity to be part of the public dialogue and listens respectfully to all positions. But the Church cannot do otherwise than stand against the claims of any culture and any society that attempts to define a relationship into being what it is not. To that extent we members of the Catholic Church are called to be in opposition to the prevailing culture. And sadly we are called to do so again. We know well that marriage always has been, is now and always will be the life-long, life-giving union of one man and one woman. No act of government can change that reality. With respect for the dignity of every person, we proclaim this truth and we will be faithful to its meaning and to its observance in all that we say and do.
I agree. The Church, among other traditional religious groups, has done yeoman's work in trying to defend marriage. As the Bishops rightfully note, this is not about gays, who deserve our love and respect, but this is about protecting marriage and the family, which is the fundamental unit of human life.
My only question is this: why are Catholic politicians who vote for gay marriage (or abortion) apparently still in communion with the Church?
I never understood this "defending marriage" business:
Why does allowing two men or two women to form a civil marriage union harm my heterosexual marriage? I've never understood why granting civil marriage rights to same-sex couples allegedly harms my rights. This sounds like a bogus argument to me.
I think the Catholic church should be free to define the religious institution of Catholic Marriage. I think that should include their own criteria of eligibility, ritual... whatever they want. Catholic marriage is theirs to define.
On the other hand, I do not see why the opinion of certain catholic bishops should be binding on non-Catholics. I do not see why the state government should side with one religious group over another when determining which couples are eligible to form a civil marriage.
The definition of marriage is a cultural one, based on ancient religious principles. These cultural definitions are based on centuries of practical application of those moral principles within that culture.
It is a foundational principle. a corner stone, if you will. This is the central objection of conservative minded people like myself. I, personally, do not object to some formalized /legal union - but to redefine a central cultural concept to appease a voluntary minority is counter to reason.
Further with regards to Catholics (and many other religious groups) being afforded their own definitions: I could not disagree more.
The LEGAL definition comes to define ALL subject(ive) ones.
Take the UK, or my country Canada for example. Now that Gay marriage is legal, there is a tsunami of litigation to FORCE Churches to allow Gay Marriages on their property, to indoctrinate their children about 'alternate lifestyles', and the threat of being branded 'homophobic' if you stand against such unions and privileges. This is not theory, or conjecture it is happening.
Also, I feel the gay lobby is being manipulated by LARGER lobbies, namely polygamists - many of whom are EXTREMELY bigoted when it comes to homosexuals. Further why should gays WANT it to be called marriage? Would a Jew ask his Bar Mitzvah be called confirmation or first communion? Not only would it open the definition of those holy rites to broad interpretation (and hence political manipulation), but it would also demean and dissolve the uniqueness of his own position. Marriage is about love, union, and childbearing - between a man and a woman. It has been so in the West since before the sack of Pagan Rome. I am suspect of any leader who attempts to USE such ideas and groups (lobbies) in such a deconstructionism manner.