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“Is there anything left to say?”

July 7, 2011

Archbishop Dolan in his blog, meditates on the same sex marriage bill that passed in New York recently. He professes that it has been an ardous battle against those “with tons of money, “glitterati” from entertainment circles, political powerbrokers, and the media”. However, there were also the many “evangelicals, Mennonites, Jews, Moslem, Catholics, Amish, and so many more, led often by African-American and Latino believers — who simply believe that marriage is a given, at the very foundation of civilization, which the state has the duty to defend and protect, not to mutate”. This goes to show that marriage, in the traditional definition between a man and a woman holds an inherent dignity which transcends cultures and is timeless.

Already we see the redefinition of marriage pushing itself to be accommodated in school curriculums to be taught as normal and forcing Catholic adoption agencies to close due to cases brought upon them to allow same sex couples to adopt. The Church believes that a child must have a mother and father. Dolan reflects upon this:

But, three, we do worry indeed about this freedom of religion.  Editorials already call for the removal of guarantees of religious liberty, with crusaders calling for people of faith to be coerced to acceptance of this redefinition.  If the experience of those few other states and countries where this is already law is any indication, the churches, and believers, will soon be harassed, threatened, and hauled into court for their conviction that marriage is between one man, one woman, forever, bringing children into the world.

The passage of same sex marriage in New York was not ex nihilo. Dolan describes the hurling digression of  reducing the human being as defined not by objective reality, but through the subjective lenses of the current age:

Point six, the Church has always stood-up for marriage — one man and one woman, united in lifelong and faithful love, leading to new life in children – whenever and wherever it was in danger.  Veterans my age and over can remember sixty years ago when we fought widespread, no-fault divorce, convinced it would lead to a cheapening of the marriage bond and harm our kids (as, of course, scholarly studies now report has, indeed, happened).  Recall how the Church resisted the “contraceptive mentality,” fearing it would rupture the sacred bond between love and the procreation of children.  Then, remember how the Church sounded the alarm over rising rates of promiscuity, adultery, pre-marital sex, and cohabitation prior to or instead of marriage.  And now we ring the steeple bell again at this latest dilution of the authentic understanding of marriage [emphasis mine], worried that the next step will be another redefinition to justify multiple partners and infidelity.  If you think I’m exaggerating, within days of the passage of this bill, one major newspaper ran a flattering profile of a proponent of what was called “Nonmonogamy.” Apparently, “Nonmonogamy” is the idea that society is unrealistic to think that one man and one woman should remain faithful in marriage, and that openness to some infidelity should be the norm!

Let me say it again. None of this is anti-anybody, but simply pro marriage.

(By the way, as Professor Robert George at Princeton University eloquently points out, in warning about promiscuity, divorce, cohabitation instead of marriage, adultery, and “same-sex marriage,” the Church is hardly some shrill, bitter, reactionary, naysaying prude, but actually prophetically right-on-target.  Recent studies by people such as Myron Magnet and Kay Hymowitz show that the weakening of stable marriage and families is the cause of most social and cultural woes, especially burdensome on poor women and children.)

Finally, last point, for us in the Church, not much changes.  We continue to hold fast to the God-given definition of marriage, and acknowledge that no unfortunate legislative attempt can alter reality and morality.  Yes, we have a big catechetical challenge, in that we have to admit that quite a few people no longer hold to this timeless moral truth.  (Although I still believe most people do; thus the fear of a referendum on the issue by those who still claim this is a “grassroots movement” sweeping the nation.)  Yes, we do have our work cut out for us, as even some Catholics, and, scandalously, even political leaders who claim to be Catholic, tell us the Church is “out of it,” and has no claim on truth. [emphasis mine]

So, we try our best to witness to the truth, encouraging our married couples and their kids to be loving, radiant, “lights to the world.”  We acknowledge that, as St. Augustine taught, if something is wrong, even if everybody else is doing it, it’s still wrong; and, if something is right, even if nobody else is doing it anymore, it’s still right. [emphasis mine]  Like St. Thomas More, we’re willing to take the heat and even lose our head from following a conscience properly formed by God’s revelation and the teaching of His Church, even if it is politically incorrect, and clashes with the King’s demands to re-define marriage.

**I took excerpts from Archbishop Dolan’s post; the entirety can be read here.

Of course some of us are disheartened and perhaps there are those questioning their beliefs of what marriage is. And I think that is a good thing because to question is to grow. If there’s any consolation, Thomas Peters from Catholic Vote provides concrete evidence that hope is not lost:

Here are some quick things to recall about the struggle to protect marriage:

  • Efforts to redefine marriage in Maryland and Rhode Island, both deeply liberal states, were defeated this year. New York was the last chance activists had to try to redefine marriage in a state this year.
  • Minnesota and Indiana both witnessed positive movement this year towards defining marriage more securely as the union of husband and wife. Other states will soon follow suit.
  • 31 States, so far, have voted for traditional marriage when they have put it to the people.
  • The NY legislature has imposed gay marriage on the state. If it had gone to a vote of the people of New York – traditional marriage would have won. 57% of New Yorkers reject same-sex marriage. Advocates for redefining marriage know they lack popular majority support – which is why always resist allowing people to vote on the issue. New York was no exception to this rule.
  • According to a new comprehensive poll released by the Alliance Defense Fund, 62% of Americans favor traditional marriage (yes, you read that right).
  • The National Organization for Marriage (where I work) has pledged “at least” $2 million dollars to reversing same-sex marriage in NY. Votes against marriage and family will have real consequences.

The fight continues. We know the ending, it is now up to individuals to take up his Cross and put on the armour of light (cf. Romans 13:12).

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