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In Praise of Marriage and the Catholic Church

6/3/2003 - 6:00 AM PST

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By: Deacon Keith A Fournier
(c) Third Millennium, LLC
Catholic Online


With extraordinary clarity, courage, compassion and deep conviction the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith issued its long awaited document entitled “Considerations regarding Proposals to Give Legal recognition To Unions Between Homosexual persons.” Along with millions of Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and good will, I am deeply grateful for the wisdom, the pastoral care, and the authority of the Catholic Church in speaking to one of the most vital issues of our day.

The document presents nothing new. It simply restates the unbroken tradition of the Catholic Christian Church for two thousand years:

“The present Considerations do not contain new doctrinal elements; they seek rather to reiterate the essential points on this question and provide arguments drawn from reason which could be used by Bishops in preparing more specific interventions, appropriate to the different situations throughout the world, aimed at protecting and promoting the dignity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and the stability of society, of which this institution is a constitutive element. The present Considerations are also intended to give direction to Catholic politicians by indicating the approaches to proposed legislation in this area which would be consistent with Christian conscience”

However, it does so at a time when such a clear, forceful and unquestionable restatement is absolutely necessary. Let’s face it; there is a social revolutionary movement, led by those on the fringes of the homosexual activist community, that is seeking to force legal recognition of homosexual unions, and equivalency between those unions with marriage. Such a movement not only undermines marriage and family, it threatens the civil order and the common good.

However, we must also be brutally honest about our own house. We have serious confusion in some circles of the Christian community. Purporting to speak for the Church, or to promote some “new way”, some Christian voices, (some deeply confused or misinformed, others deluded or disingenuous, and some overtly rebellious) undermine the Church, do violence to the truth, cause scandal, injure the common good and put their own souls in jeopardy.

Numbered among these folks are some unfaithful Catholic politicians who have already hidden behind a “public/private” duplicity concerning of their absolute duty to defend life. Now they are doing the same thing by failing to defend marriage and family and thus undermining the common good. The document could not be clearer in speaking to these folks:

“10. If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications. When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.”

The document also acknowledges that the Church is not simply speaking to Catholics in this powerfully written, clear, undeniable ringing defense of marriage and opposition of any efforts to equalize or legitimize homosexual practice or unions. It is also not only speaking to other Christians or people of faith. It is speaking to all people because the truth about marriage is meant for all men and women:

“Since this question relates to the natural moral law, the arguments that follow are addressed not only to those who believe in Christ, but to all persons committed to promoting and defending the common good of society.”

The document then systematically presents a lucid, solid, powerful defense of the truth about marriage and family. Yes, it presents that truth from biblical revelation, but also from the order of right reason, the natural law, the biological and anthropological order, the social order and the legal order. That is because truth is truth. Things are not true because they are Catholic; they are Catholic because they are true.

It is vitally important that every person concerned about being able to defend the institution of marriage study, read, re-read and imitate the manner of presentation in this extraordinary document. It lays out a tremendous framework for our “apologetic” work in a culture that has been sliding toward a rejection of the truth. I have seen too many well intended Christians and religious people try to make their arguments by simply quoting the Christian scriptures and ...

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