Friday, October 07, 2011

Quote of the Day

The Minnesota Roman Catholic bishops are playing fast and loose with reason in their statement opposing Catholics for Marriage Equality MN. . . . [They insist that] if the State allows same-gender civil marriage, “marriage itself” will be undermined. The bishops lead with the fear card.

. . . What is “marriage itself”? Are the bishops telling me there is an essence labeled “marriage” existing somewhere and all actual marriages should be patterned on it? Or have they taken an idea of marriage from the many conceptions that humans have constructed over the centuries, called it “marriage itself” and attributed it to Jesus. Are they saying that if I want to be a member of the Catholic Church I must never question that construction or think about any other?

As a person living in the post-modern Western culture, I have learned to find the meaning of words like “marriage” in looking at actual marriages. If I try to construct an idea of what marriage is that way, I find there is no such thing as “marriage itself.” There are many kinds of marriages. There are different marriage laws the world over. There are actually gays and lesbians who are in permanent mutually caring relationships and caring for children just like heterosexuals. Wow, the bishops are sure confusing me.

If the bishops mean that “marriage itself” is the Church’s conception of sacramental marriage, why should it be undermined if the civil law of marriage changes? Hasn’t the Roman Catholic Church lived for many generations in the U.S. with the distinction between civil marriage, according to State law, and sacramental marriage, according to the law of the Church? If Catholics are well-taught by the bishops and value the Church’s conception of sacramental marriage, why would civil laws allowing same-gender marriage undermine their values?

But that is precisely the problem. Catholics are not listening to the Church’s teaching. The bishops see that U.S. Catholics increasingly value equality, freedom, and democracy in governance, which are not part of Roman Catholic culture. . . .

– Paula Ruddy
"What is "Marriage Itself'?"
The Progressive Catholic Voice
September 30, 2011

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Photo of the Day – September 29, 2011
Local Catholics Premier Video Series on Faith, Family and Marriage
Responding to Whiny Catholic Bishops Who Cry Victim

Image: Michael J. Bayly.

1 comment:

Tim said...

With all due respect, but how would the bishops have any clue what would and would not undermine 'marriage itself'? Being unable to have a committed relationship, let alone marriage, means that there is no context or experience to inform their opinions.

Put differently, the Roman clerics have no more authority to speak about marriage than a Vegan can talk about the inherent superiority of grass-fed beef.

As my grandad would say, they're talking out of their hat (or mitre).

Just sayin.